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OldSkrecz1

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Hello Everyone,

I was hoping that someone could help me out. I've been brewing for 15+ years now. I would consider myself an advanced brewer. But I am stumped right now. My last (4X) batches, have been stuck at 1.020.

current batch
10 Gallon
My current batch: Hazy IPA
25lbs of Briess 2row
1lbs of flaked oats
.5 40L
1lbs of sugar

Water was 50% RO and 50% filtered house water. added 2 teaspoons of Gypsum. Used 2 tbls of 5.2 PH stabilizer
Mashed at 152 for 45 mins, then 149 15 mins.. then mashed out @168.

Hops
2 oz of Apollo 20Min
1oz each Cryo Citra/Simcoe/Mosaic at whirlpool (30Mins)

2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient @15mins

Yeast - 1056 (2 packs) 4000ml starter on Stir plate. Also, yeast was 1 month old.
Aerated for 45 seconds, with a beer stone and O2 tank.

ended up getting 1.063 SG
right now it at 1.020 after a week.

I have a morebeer 12 gallon temp controlled conical fermenter. it was set to 68F the whole time.

Other things I did before this brew.
Calibrated my hydrometer and all kettle thermometers.

What do you guys think? What am I doing wrong? In the past I could get to 1.012, with no problem.
 

VikeMan

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Is your mashing system RIMS/HERMS by any chance?
 
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OldSkrecz1

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Its is a HERMS system.. I had my HLT set at 168F during the circulation.
thanks for your help
 

VikeMan

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Whenever I hear about attenuation issues with a RIMS or HERMS system, I immediately think about overheating the wort during the mash, i.e. the wort getting too warm right at the point of heat transfer, even if random mash temp checks (at random spots in the mash) seem okay. It often seems to be the case.
 
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OldSkrecz1

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So your thinking I should lower my HLT temp? In case I am de-naturing the enzymes?

I was thinking that I have excessive head pressure in my conical causing it too stop at 1.020
 

VikeMan

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So your thinking I should lower my HLT temp? In case I am de-naturing the enzymes?
Or, if you always used that temperature before, make sure it's still accurate and that the flow rate when engaged is still the same.

I was thinking that I have excessive head pressure in my conical causing it too stop at 1.020
What kind of pressure do you have? And is that new? Are you using a spunding valve, or if not, what's causing the pressure? FWIW, I use a spunding valve with my conical (in place of an airlock) set to 2-3 PSI, and it hasn't caused attenuation issues. I know others ferment under higher pressures (to reduce esters) and don't have that issue.
 

day_trippr

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Its is a HERMS system.. I had my HLT set at 168F during the circulation.[...]
Woof. That's mighty toasty. I would expect it would prematurely denature beta amylase early in the mash, leaving alpha to fend for itself for awhile.
I'd say a full system analysis is needed to understand thermal losses and come up with a solution that'll drop that hlt temperature by 10°F or more.

fwiw, for a 152°F mash temperature I run my hlt at 153.5-154°F, depending on my downstairs ambient temperature affected mlt vessel thermal loss rate...

Cheers!
 

Gozie Boy

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Woof. That's mighty toasty. I would expect it would prematurely denature beta amylase early in the mash, leaving alpha to fend for itself for awhile.
I'd say a full system analysis is needed to understand thermal losses and come up with a solution that'll drop that hlt temperature by 10°F or more.

fwiw, for a 152°F mash temperature I run my hlt at 153.5-154°F, depending on my downstairs ambient temperature affected mlt vessel thermal loss rate...

Cheers!
I think Tripper is onto to it. Have all your recent batches included things like flaked oats? Have you noticed a reduction is your circ rate? Don't want to be too quick with conclusions, but this may be similar to a batch that I am now dealing with. I seldom have any problem with attenuation, but this batch includes some wheat along with a (very) slightly finer grain crush, and I experienced a noticeably slower mash circ rate. As such, I had to raise my HLT temp much higher than usual (to about 158-159F) to compensate for the reduced heat exchange with the wort in order to maintain my target 152F mash temp. I was wondering what this might be doing to my wort as it passed through the coil at this higher temp. Well, after pitching I had a very strong drop in gravity over 4 days, but the past two days it hit the wall at ... 1.020 (I was planning on 1.016)! My take aways are to return to my previous mill gap, and to use some rice hulls, to increase my mash circ rate and reduce my HLT back to about Tm +1F.
 

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Woof. That's mighty toasty. I would expect it would prematurely denature beta amylase early in the mash, leaving alpha to fend for itself for awhile.
I'd say a full system analysis is needed to understand thermal losses and come up with a solution that'll drop that hlt temperature by 10°F or more.

fwiw, for a 152°F mash temperature I run my hlt at 153.5-154°F, depending on my downstairs ambient temperature affected mlt vessel thermal loss rate...

Cheers!
You have 1 degree temp loss through your hoses and pump? That's amazing

I usually will have my HLT set at 156-158 for a 150 mash temp - I also make sure to let the strike water creep up to the HLT water for awhile before mashing in, so that I'm not just seeing lag between the MT and HLT. So I don't dough in until my MT out temp is within +/- 1 degree of my MT in temp. because that means I've hit equilibrium.
 

Gozie Boy

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You have 1 degree temp loss through your hoses and pump? That's amazing

I usually will have my HLT set at 156-158 for a 150 mash temp - I also make sure to let the strike water creep up to the HLT water for awhile before mashing in, so that I'm not just seeing lag between the MT and HLT. So I don't dough in until my MT out temp is within +/- 1 degree of my MT in temp. because that means I've hit equilibrium.
Yep, well sometimes it's 2F, after everything has settled down (and my circ is flowing well!). I was surprised to find this myself, as I originally guessed I would have a few/several degree loss. Having said this, it does take me a lot longer to get from mash to mash out temp than I would like (c. 20 minutes, even a bit longer at times). I haven't seen a lot of discussion of how that transition time effects the mash calcs (I'm sure it's out there, just haven't really researched it).
 

day_trippr

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I have a very short run from my hex to my autosparge [edit: no pump in between, just 18" of 1/2" thick wall silicone tubing. Pump is at the input end of the hex.] and once I have the recirculation rate up between 2 and 3 gpm and everything has reached thermal equilibrium the differential has consistently been between 1.5-2°F. I do have the advantage of brewing indoors so I'm not fighting wind and cold...

Cheers!
 
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OldSkrecz1

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Thanks for your help everyone..
Apparently my HLT temp has been too high. I thought I had to stay under 170F, not to denature the enzymes? If that is the case, that would make my Wort more starchy, causing less attenuation. right?

It makes total sense.

I will adjust it in my next batch.

I don't know my flow rate. How would I calculate that?
 

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...

I don't know my flow rate. How would I calculate that?
You can't really calculate it unless you know the flow resistance of your grain bed (plus a few other parameters.) Best to just measure it. The easiest way to measure is put a rotameter type flow gauge in your recirc loop. These gauges must be mounted vertically to work correctly.

Brew on :mug:
 

Die_Beerery

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Thanks for your help everyone..
Apparently my HLT temp has been too high. I thought I had to stay under 170F, not to denature the enzymes? If that is the case, that would make my Wort more starchy, causing less attenuation. right?

It makes total sense.

I will adjust it in my next batch.

I don't know my flow rate. How would I calculate that?
Well you are killing beta straight away with temps like that and beta is whats going to drive that attenuation.
 

doug293cz

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Well you are killing beta straight away with temps like that and beta is whats going to drive that attenuation.
If the wort gets anywhere near 168 before it exits the HEX, then you will also be killing alpha amylase very quickly.

Brew on :mug:
 

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If your beer is still in the fermenter, it is not too late to add some alpha amylase enzyme, which will break down the larger dextrins into limit dextrins, creating more fermentable sugars. The enzyme will act over several days, since the temp is much lower than a mash. It will bring your FG down after a while.

Do not use glucoamylase (amyloglucosidase) for this, as it will dry the beer out completely, since it will break the limit dextrins down to fermentable sugar.

Brew on :mug:
 

VikeMan

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So Palmer, Mr. Wizard, and Narziss walk into a bar...
 

day_trippr

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Consider that as the center lane markings on the brewing highway, but you're certainly free to travel on either shoulder - or in the breakdown lane :)

Cheers!
 
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OldSkrecz1

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Thanks for all the input everyone. Im brewing this weekend.. will let you know how it turns out.
 
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OldSkrecz1

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Hello Everyone,
here are the results from my last brew, based on the recommendations above. I Adjusted the HLT recirc temp.
See below

Beer Name: Don’t mess up the Alpha stupid - American Brown
Date brewed: May 31 2020

11gallon
22lbs of Maris otter (Crisp)
2lbs White wheat (USA)
1lbs 40L
.5 lbs 60L
1lbs chocolate malt
.5 lbs Victory malt

Mash water Prep
Mash in with 9 gallons of Water. (6 RO, 3 house water)
Added 2 tsp Calcium Chloride 1 tsp Gypsum, and 2 tbsp of PH 5.2 stabilizer to the Mash water.

Mashed at 152 for 60 mins, then went up to 165 to mash out. (based on recommendation HLT never went above 158, except when I was mashing out ) There were a couple times where I need to fire up the mash tun (cooler day) to get the temp up. I did stir the mash the entire time it was on. Then reset the mash, and let the HLT adjust the temps, when needed. Overall, I felt it was a good mash.

60min – Magnum
15min – whirlfloc/2 tsp of yeast nutrient/ 1 oz of Cryo Cascade.
0min - 1 oz of Cryo Cascade
Ended up at 11 gallons @1.050

Cooled down to 70F
Had the Morebeer conical chill it to 67F ( It took 30 mins)

Aerated with a beer stone and tank for 1 min.
Pitched a monster pitch of 1056. 3 packs with a 4000ML starter on the stir plate (2days).
Set the conical to 68F (with 2-degree dif)

Hydrometer readings. (Using two different hydrometers)

June 4th @ 9am. the hydrometer 1.024 @ 72F I’m thinking I might be getting some stratification (desperate thinking) in the conical, so I shook it up twice.
@ 11am after shaking. Same readings.
I set the temp to 72F. will check tomorrow

I know its early, but in the past my fermentation with 1056 would have been done by now. I getting worried that its not going to dry out.
 

TheMadKing

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Hello Everyone,
here are the results from my last brew, based on the recommendations above. I Adjusted the HLT recirc temp.
See below

Beer Name: Don’t mess up the Alpha stupid - American Brown
Date brewed: May 31 2020

11gallon
22lbs of Maris otter (Crisp)
2lbs White wheat (USA)
1lbs 40L
.5 lbs 60L
1lbs chocolate malt
.5 lbs Victory malt

Mash water Prep
Mash in with 9 gallons of Water. (6 RO, 3 house water)
Added 2 tsp Calcium Chloride 1 tsp Gypsum, and 2 tbsp of PH 5.2 stabilizer to the Mash water.

Mashed at 152 for 60 mins, then went up to 165 to mash out. (based on recommendation HLT never went above 158, except when I was mashing out ) There were a couple times where I need to fire up the mash tun (cooler day) to get the temp up. I did stir the mash the entire time it was on. Then reset the mash, and let the HLT adjust the temps, when needed. Overall, I felt it was a good mash.

60min – Magnum
15min – whirlfloc/2 tsp of yeast nutrient/ 1 oz of Cryo Cascade.
0min - 1 oz of Cryo Cascade
Ended up at 11 gallons @1.050

Cooled down to 70F
Had the Morebeer conical chill it to 67F ( It took 30 mins)

Aerated with a beer stone and tank for 1 min.
Pitched a monster pitch of 1056. 3 packs with a 4000ML starter on the stir plate (2days).
Set the conical to 68F (with 2-degree dif)

Hydrometer readings. (Using two different hydrometers)

June 4th @ 9am. the hydrometer 1.024 @ 72F I’m thinking I might be getting some stratification (desperate thinking) in the conical, so I shook it up twice.
@ 11am after shaking. Same readings.
I set the temp to 72F. will check tomorrow

I know its early, but in the past my fermentation with 1056 would have been done by now. I getting worried that its not going to dry out.
I'm wondering if your 5.2 pH stabilizer might be causing an issue. I wouldn't ordinarily point to pH as the root cause of an issue like this because it has a small effect relative to other perameters, but it looks like you're doing everything right otherwise. 5.2 stabilizer has been discussed in depth here on HBT and it seems to be generally agreed that it's not a useful product. So I would suggest removing that from your brew day entirely.

My two cents, is let it ride for another week at least before doing anything because it is still early, but I would expect your gravity to be lower at this point as well.

If you gave the ability to measure pH at this point that might be a useful data point. If it's in the 4.3-5.2 range, I would expect a normal level of attenuation (the range is much tighter for flavor impacts.. I'm talking pure effect on yeast health here). If it's outside that range, it's a good indication that you started with a wonky pH coming from the boil kettle.
 

VikeMan

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I know its early, but in the past my fermentation with 1056 would have been done by now. I getting worried that its not going to dry out.
Personally, I wouldn't worry too much just yet (less than 4 days in).
 

Die_Beerery

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I'm wondering if your 5.2 pH stabilizer might be causing an issue. I wouldn't ordinarily point to pH as the root cause of an issue like this because it has a small effect relative to other perameters, but it looks like you're doing everything right otherwise. 5.2 stabilizer has been discussed in depth here on HBT and it seems to be generally agreed that it's not a useful product. So I would suggest removing that from your brew day entirely.
Kneejerk, I would say, thats entirely plausible. Temperature and pH have quite the large role on enzymatic activity. Now that temperature is controlled, pH should be looked at. Whenever I see water salts added in tsp and not grams, and 5.2 I feel sick in my stomach.
 
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OldSkrecz1

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I'm wondering if your 5.2 pH stabilizer might be causing an issue. I wouldn't ordinarily point to pH as the root cause of an issue like this because it has a small effect relative to other perameters, but it looks like you're doing everything right otherwise. 5.2 stabilizer has been discussed in depth here on HBT and it seems to be generally agreed that it's not a useful product. So I would suggest removing that from your brew day entirely.

My two cents, is let it ride for another week at least before doing anything because it is still early, but I would expect your gravity to be lower at this point as well.

If you gave the ability to measure pH at this point that might be a useful data point. If it's in the 4.3-5.2 range, I would expect a normal level of attenuation (the range is much tighter for flavor impacts.. I'm talking pure effect on yeast health here). If it's outside that range, it's a good indication that you started with a wonky pH coming from the boil kettle.
What PH meter do you recommend?
 

TheMadKing

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What PH meter do you recommend?
If you're serious about accurately measuring pH, I would look at the Milwaukee MW102, and really take the time to learn to use it and calibrate it. It's not cheap by a long shot.

If you're looking for just a ballpark you could probably get away with strips. I don't like them, but they will get you a better idea than guessing.

I don't have any experience with the cheaper meters available, but its always been my experience that you get what you pay for with Instrumentation.
 

VikeMan

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What PH meter do you recommend?
My 2 cents... I like the Milwaukee MW101 and MW102. Same meter, but the MW102 adds ATC and "automatic" calibration.

ETA: I haven't read the whole thread, but I believe there's some rather extensive discussion of pH meter options/quality in this thread... pH Meter Calibration

ETAM: While pH 5.2 stabilizer doesn't really do what it claims, my guess is that it's not causing a problem, i.e. I doubt it's taking a mash pH that would otherwise be in range and moving it out of range. Were you using it before your attenuation issues started? Also, I realize you're not measuring pH, but do you know what's in your water and are you using a mash pH calculator to predict where your pH should land?
 
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OldSkrecz1

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My 2 cents... I like the Milwaukee MW101 and MW102. Same meter, but the MW102 adds ATC and "automatic" calibration.

ETA: I haven't read the whole thread, but I believe there's some rather extensive discussion of pH meter options/quality in this thread... pH Meter Calibration

ETAM: While pH 5.2 stabilizer doesn't really do what it claims, my guess is that it's not causing a problem, i.e. I doubt it's taking a mash pH that would otherwise be in range and moving it out of range. Were you using it before your attenuation issues started? Also, I realize you're not measuring pH, but do you know what's in your water and are you using a mash pH calculator to predict where your pH should land?
Thanks Vikeman, for the PH meter recommendations.

In terms of my water I used. I used 6 gallons RO, 3 gallons house water in the mash, then sparged with all RO Water. I don't know what is in my water. Thats why I like to dilute it with RO. Is this a bad idea? Should I go straight RO, then add my 2 tsp Calcium Chloride 1 tsp Gypsum. ( I got this mineral ratio from Gordon Strong book). I always used 5.2 in the past, with RO/ House water blend in the mash.

So, at my last house (Wisconsin) I had well water with water softer conditioning. Which I know is not ideal for brewing, so that why I diluted it with RO.
My current house is in Charlotte, NC area. which is lake water I believe. But I always did this kind of blend.
 

VikeMan

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In terms of my water I used. I used 6 gallons RO, 3 gallons house water in the mash, then sparged with all RO Water. I don't know what is in my water. Thats why I like to dilute it with RO. Is this a bad idea? Should I go straight RO, then add my 2 tsp Calcium Chloride 1 tsp Gypsum. ( I got this mineral ratio from Gordon Strong book). I always used 5.2 in the past, with RO/ House water blend in the mash.
If you don't know what's in your water, building from distilled or RO is definitely a better idea (or find out what's in your water). The amount and type of salts (and sometimes acids like lactic or phosphoric) depends on your desired target pH, your preferences, the grain bill, and the base water.

If you decide to go down the water treatment path, get a mash pH calculator. My favorite standalone calculator is MpH, which is a free download. If you want an integrated brewing spreadsheet, BrewCipher (also free) includes the MpH models embedded in its water calcs.

ETA:
MpH link
BrewCipher link
 

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Thanks Vikeman, for the PH meter recommendations.
My current house is in Charlotte, NC area. which is lake water I believe. But I always did this kind of blend.
Am I correct in understanding that your attenuation issues have begun since moving to Charlotte? Or no?
 

VikeMan

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To clarify, did your problems start with the first batch you brewed after moving? Or were there some good batches there (new place) before the problem started, and if so, how many?
 
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OldSkrecz1

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To clarify, did your problems start with the first batch you brewed after moving? Or were there some good batches there (new place) before the problem started, and if so, how many?
Sorry guys!!! I never thought it would be a problem. Yes.. The chronic problems started happening, since i moved. Since the majority of my brewing water has been RO, mixed with house water. I didnt think it would be an issue. Also, I thought 5.2 wasn't a scam. For my next batch Im going straight RO with salts. Hoping to get a Milwaukee PH Meter by then. Ill let you know what happens to this current batch, after the weekend. I increased the temp to 73F.
 

VikeMan

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LOL. I still can't tell if the problem started as soon as you moved, or sometime after. But I will assume the former, unless you say otherwise!

Also, diluting base water with RO can be an effective technique, but 50% of the concentration of an unknown water profile is still an unknown water profile, if you take my meaning.

Feel free to hit me up when you start to build your next water profile from RO.
 
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OldSkrecz1

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Good Morning ,

After letting the beer sit for the weekend, @ 74F. The gravity, is still at 1.021.
Im thinking that I need to add some enzymes to dry this out. Then get a starter going and repitch.
What do you guys think?
Has anyone had good success with enzymes in the fermenter, and what brand did you use.
thanks
 

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Good Morning ,

After letting the beer sit for the weekend, @ 74F. The gravity, is still at 1.021.
Im thinking that I need to add some enzymes to dry this out. Then get a starter going and repitch.
What do you guys think?
Has anyone had good success with enzymes in the fermenter, and what brand did you use.
thanks
I have used glucoamylase extensively for making brut IPA's and I have more warnings than anything else:

  1. a little goes a long way - less than 0.25 gram in a 5 gallon batch is MORE than enough
  2. You don't need to pitch any additional yeast, what's in there should do fine
  3. It will dry your beer out to .997 if you let it go, so watch the gravity and chill it down to serving temps when it's where you want it
  4. I have had several instances where the yeast became super-non-flocculant and powdery, (the beer became milky) and produced a high amount of H2S (egg farts smell). I suspect that I have created the conditions to induce glucose repression by adding too much enzyme
  5. Clean your fermenter and kegs with a strong caustic or boiling water after the brew to make sure you denature the enzymes. They will stick around and affect your subsequent batches
 

doug293cz

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I have used glucoamylase extensively for making brut IPA's and I have more warnings than anything else:

  1. a little goes a long way - less than 0.25 gram in a 5 gallon batch is MORE than enough
  2. You don't need to pitch any additional yeast, what's in there should do fine
  3. It will dry your beer out to .997 if you let it go, so watch the gravity and chill it down to serving temps when it's where you want it
  4. I have had several instances where the yeast became super-non-flocculant and powdery, (the beer became milky) and produced a high amount of H2S (egg farts smell). I suspect that I have created the conditions to induce glucose repression by adding too much enzyme
  5. Clean your fermenter and kegs with a strong caustic or boiling water after the brew to make sure you denature the enzymes. They will stick around and affect your subsequent batches
If you don't want to dry the beer out completely, alpha amylase is a safer choice than glucoamylase (aka amyloglucosidase.) Gluco will reduce any remaining carbohydrates in the beer to glucose, which is fully fermentable. Alpha will reduce remaining carbohydrates to fermentable sugars and limit dextrins. The remaining limit dextrins will keep your beer from being totally dry.

Brew on :mug:
 
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