Confusing/bad’ish brew day....

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OpenSights

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Brew day today! Other than the normal good time with a couple of buddies and a few session beers, it didn’t go quite so well... in a number of ways.

I consider myself new to brewing, but have been brewing for 2.5 years. I’m at the point where I kinda know what I’m doing, but know I’ve just scratched the surface. This is my 4th AG. First two were pathetic, third I hit every number almost perfectly, now this one...

The beer on the other hand, I should’ve used my smaller tun, but that one I’ve had a couple stuck sparges. This is the first beer recipe that I’ve written by myself and from research and advice from all my friends who have used ginger in a recipe I decided to change the recipe on brew day.

A couple of things don’t add up, mostly my water volumes and my OG.

What I don’t get is all the sugars were there, hops, ginger and other ingredients changed a bit, same with boil times. I did over sparge. 60 minute boil I loose a gallon with my keggle. Over sparged by half a gallon. Plan was a 60 minute boil, and this was a 5.65% beer. No biggie, not going for ABV, just a little bit of alcohol with ginger and lemon. One of my lp tanks was acting up. Thought it was my regulator. Nope. So I had a half of a 20#er. So change of plans. 30 minute boil. Here’s where it gets confusing, I ended up with 4.5 gallons out of 6.5 gallons pre boil. My OG ended up at 1.030 instead of 1.047. Yes, over sparged, but under boiled, ended up with less wort than I should’ve and lower gravity

Recipe:
5 gallon, 60 minute boil, OG 1.047, FG 1.040, S-04, IBUs: 32.9, color 6.3 SRM
5# Pilsen 2 row
1# caramel malt
4oz black strap molasses @60
1# 8oz light brown sugar @60
1oz Centennial @60
1oz Citra @20
32oz peeled, coarsely chopped fresh ginger @20
5oz ginger race (granulated) @10
1oz lemon peel @10

I wrote the recipe before I did a bunch of reading and talking with people, so I knew I was going to change up the schedule.

What really went down:
No Centennial. I planned on cutting it down to 30 minutes, but nope, no Centennial. Looked for another hop in stock, chose Kohatu. Never used it before, got it for cheap when my LHBS was closing. Reading up on it, decided it might pair well with the Citra, lemon and ginger. (I know early American hard ginger beer also used orange peel, but that’s not for me.) Decided to drop boil to 30 minutes, no need to boil the malt and sugars other than to concentrate from over sparging. Oh, and could only find 1oz of ginger race...

So 30 minute boil
Ginger root @10
1oz Citra, 1oz Kohatu, 1oz ginger race, 1oz lemon peel @5

At the last few degrees before transfer to the fermentor, when my back was turned cleaning up what I could I went to check temp and found the lemon peel bag floating in the cooled wort! So I decided to drop a campden tablet and pitch tomorrow night.

After the wort was in the fermentor I was cleaning up the snacks, cans and everything else I got stung by a yellow jacket on my left pinky! SOB! I haven’t been stung in probably a decade! 1/4 of my hand is swollen.

But I made MY beer today! The wort is sweet, so I have a hard time believing my hydrometer, but how can it lie? Tonight I’m going to be thinking of how to raise the OG 0.017, or if I just let it ride. I wanted to make an alcoholic version of Vernor’s, which is why I went light on malt, but still wanted it part of the party. Kind of traditional beer, but extra ginger.

Next time I’m going to copy the revised and cut the lemon peel or citrus hops in half. Right now the lemon and ginger are having a fist fight. I’m hoping the ginger wins and the lemon settles down, but I have my doubts.

Any thoughts for next time?
 

mongoose33

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Unclear from your recipe--are you doing a 5-gallon batch? If so, it looks to me like you're short on fermentables. I don't use sugar in my beer, but from what I can tell, it's not enough sugar to get you to where you want to go. I could be wrong, but double-check that.

I'm a believer in new brewers--you're not, but new to all-grain--choosing simple recipes and processes at the outset. The more moving parts, yada, yada, yada. And your recipe looks like a lot of moving parts, to say nothing of timing, that ginger stuff, etc.

*****

One thing I've personally noted: if I am brewing and have guests, it's almost a guarantee I'll mis-time something, forget something, screw something up. Further, with guests, inevitably I'll be quaffing a brew or two--which doesn't make me focus any better. :) So generally I don't have guests any more to avoid the distractions. I'll bet this is a contributing factor to how your day went. Don't ask me why I think that.... :)

Don't feel like you're the lone ranger here making all these errors. We've all been there. I'd give you a list of all the errors I have made, but I don't think we have enough bandwidth. :)
 
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OpenSights

OpenSights

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Unclear from your recipe--are you doing a 5-gallon batch? If so, it looks to me like you're short on fermentables. I don't use sugar in my beer, but from what I can tell, it's not enough sugar to get you to where you want to go. I could be wrong, but double-check that.

I'm a believer in new brewers--you're not, but new to all-grain--choosing simple recipes and processes at the outset. The more moving parts, yada, yada, yada. And your recipe looks like a lot of moving parts, to say nothing of timing, that ginger stuff, etc.

One thing I've noted: if I have guests, it's almost a guarantee I'll mis-time something, forget something, screw something up. Further, with guests, inevitably I'll be quaffing a brew or two--which doesn't make me focus any better. :) So generally I don't have guests any more to avoid the distractions. I'll bet this is a contributing factor to how your day went. Don't ask me why I think that.... :)

Don't feel like you're the lone ranger here making all these errors. We've all been there. I'd give you a list of all the errors I have made, but I don't think we have enough bandwidth. :)

Yes, 5 gallon

Trust me, I’ve had a few bad brew days from sampling too much, that’s for sure! Between three of us we had 10 6% or less. One only hung out for an hour or so.

The 30 minute boil had the grain tea, for lack of a better term, and brown sugar/molasses. “So 30 minute boil
Ginger root @10
1oz Citra, 1oz Kohatu, 1oz ginger race, 1oz lemon peel @5”

I just can’t explain the difference in water loss and low ABV compared to the last batch. Maybe if I didn’t have a sight glass I would only be questioning my strike water/sparge water eye balling pre boil wort. Maybe the sugars should be added to WP? Maybe they were broken down somehow during the boil?
 

dwhite60

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I'm with Mongoose. First thing about that recipe was not near enough fermentables. Getting 1.030 out of what you had is actually pretty good.

It will still be beer.

Also, like mongoose said, keep it simple for now.

I've been doing this for almost thirty years. Longer I do it the more I find myself liking simpler versus nineteen malts, 18 hops with additions spaced on the 15 second interval, pitched with 12 different yeasts.

I want something that complicated I'll just talk to my wife.

All the Best,
D. White
 
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OpenSights

OpenSights

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I used BeerSmith to make the recipe, according to the app, my OG should’ve been 1.047. I may have taken a screenshot before BeerSmith lost it.

This is the recipe was my inspiration.

 
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OpenSights

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Hindsight, I should’ve added whirlflock at 10 minutes. I noted it for next time.

Thanks for the advice! Any idea which direction I should go for more fermentables? I want to keep it light body with not to much malt, but I do want it present.

I think I almost nailed the ginger flavor, but want to cut the lemon in half, so that it complements the ginger and not compete each other.

I could add 1lb 2 row and another half pound of caramel malt.... when I get home I’ll punch in original, modified, and some adjustments for the next batch.

Was that a good call using the campden and wait to pitch because of the lemon peel bag blowing into the wort just before transfer to the fermentor? I’ve never heard of using campdem in a beer before....
 

bracconiere

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Lol! Hey, my kid’s a ginger! Lol!

my first kiss was with a ginger! lol, if you got one at home why could you only find 1oz 'of the ginger race'

gingerrace.jpg
 
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OpenSights

OpenSights

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Sorry they’re not in order...

What I ended up making: 30 minute boil.

FE8ED055-731E-4574-911A-69E41BC6EFE1.png


Original idea: 60 minute boil.

EACB78CD-DE64-4734-8D65-C1074401FFDC.png


My next attempt?: 30 minute boil.

6FDDC588-60F0-4E03-98B4-66BBC7033199.png



I want to keep it low ABV to make the strong ginger burn at the forefront in both aroma and taste, complemented by the lemon. (By burn, I mean not so you can’t drink it, like Vernor’s, and if you don’t know Vernor’s ginger ale, take Canada Dry but multiple the ginger by three.) I want a light, refreshing body and mouthfeel.

Opps, forgot to add whirlfock in the third recipe @10 minutes. I’ve only used it once and was amazed!
 
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OpenSights

OpenSights

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I think I just figured it out! My strike water was over temperature! This is the first batch with so little grain in the tun! My strike water was 174f, probably too hot.


EA82E5BA-6492-4D49-9026-C6090F81BD54.jpeg


I sparged at 147f.
 
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