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First All Grain Attempt

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brunoshad

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All, I did my first all-grain a few weeks ago and attempted to brew a belgian wit. My gravities are looking pretty good but the beer looks very, very "unfiltered" and doesn't appear to be clearing any at all. My question, should I have strained before putting into primary? I did not strain and now I'm wondering if I should strain when I put into bottling bucket.
 

acidrain

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Belgian wit's are naturally cloudy.
What yeast did you use? Weihenstephan is a monster!
Best you can do is cold crash it for a couple days and siphon off the top for bottling.
 

jro238

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All, I did my first all-grain a few weeks ago and attempted to brew a belgian wit. My gravities are looking pretty good but the beer looks very, very "unfiltered" and doesn't appear to be clearing any at all. My question, should I have strained before putting into primary? I did not strain and now I'm wondering if I should strain when I put into bottling bucket.
Don't strain it into the bottling bucket. It will oxygenate the heck out of the beer destroy its shelf life.

It is a naturally cloudy beer so I wouldn't worry too much but cold crashing will improve it some if you want.
 

2bluewagons

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What was your recipe, did it include flour or late-addition starch to keep it cloudy? Or do you think it's just yeast in suspension?

If you wanted a clear beer, why brew a wit? I am still not sure if I believe that clarity is important to flavor, although I've heard it from many trusted sources.
 
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brunoshad

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So, a little more explanation of what happened. Again my first attempt at AG. I misunderstood my LHBS instructions about the mash water and I drained off and didn't use, at first. I used my sparge water in the kettle, but since my gravity was so low, .010, I got nervous and added 3# off DME. After realizing my mistake of not using the original mash water, I added back to brew in fermenter. My OG was 1.065...but this brew is very, very cloudy. I totally get it's a wit and should be somewhat cloudy, but I can't see through this. Also, I checked the gravity and it's at 1.001..Is that even possible? I used WPL400 yeast. It may turn out tasting okay, but if I calculate correctly, the ABV will be 8%.
 

rico567

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You mean by "mash water" the first runnings that came out of the mash tun?
 

2bluewagons

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So you mean you drained off first runnings and let it sit in a bucket or something while you boiled your sparge runnings (with the DME), and then adding unboiled first runnings to your fermenter? If I have that right, how long and at what temp did your first runnings sit? Was the bucket (or other container) covered during that time?

Very likely that something else grabbed a hold of all those delicious first runnings such as a wild yeast, lacto, or any number of critters while you were busy brewing the rest of the liquid. Whether or not they would have grown to sufficient numbers to have the ability to compete with your WLP400 pitch, it's hard to say, but they probably did enough to have an impact on the flavor, and as you have noticed, the clarity. Wild yeasts are notorious for not flocculating.

If you are into wild ales, you might get something very nice, maybe kinda Berliner Weiss-ish. Or it might be sour barn water. Have you tasted it yet?
 

fmr_army

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First off, congratulations on turning grains into beer! Well done.

I suspect that it's just cloudy. Schmag (yeast, bits o' hops, cold break, hot break and so forth) are going to naturally stay in suspension - particularly if there is ANY sort of fermentation going on. Wheat beers, in particular, stay wicked cloudy for me. There's some stuff you can do at the front end to make it clearer on the back end such as getting a good hot break, good cold break, using irish moss, skimming the scum during boil, etc. Or you can have perfectly wonderful beer that MIGHT be a little cloudier, by not doing any of that stuff.

I ferment for two weeks or so (combination of primary and secondary, depending on my motivation/care levels and time available) then keg. I force carb in my keezer for another 3-5 days. After a couple of weeks of cold crashing (which is what it's doing while sitting there waiting for me to drink it), it finally starts getting clear. Matter of fact, when my beer comes clear out of the tap and I start bragging to my wife about what an awesome bremeister I am, I also know that I'm within a few days of running dry.

Bottom line (in my opinion): you're like 90% of homebrewers and will have tasty, cloudy beer. You could always drop it off at my house, and I'll dispose of it...
 
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brunoshad

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All, appreciate all the feedback. I have not tasted yet, but still one more question. What do you think about the gravity being at 1.001???? Again started at 1.065
 

hunter_le five

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All, appreciate all the feedback. I have not tasted yet, but still one more question. What do you think about the gravity being at 1.001???? Again started at 1.065

Might be an infection. Does it taste or smell funky?

Otherwise you got some crazy attenuation. You sure it's 1.001 and not 1.010?

What temperature did you mash at, btw?


Sent from the mothership.
 
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brunoshad

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Might be an infection. Does it taste or smell funky?

Otherwise you got some crazy attenuation. You sure it's 1.001 and not 1.010?

What temperature did you mash at, btw?


Sent from the mothership.
It's definitely 1.001. I thought damn, I brewed water....Mash temp. was 150
 

hophop

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Is your hydrometer accurate? Mine read .004 and .006 too low. I have to figure this into my readings.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

jro238

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So, a little more explanation of what happened. Again my first attempt at AG. I misunderstood my LHBS instructions about the mash water and I drained off and didn't use, at first. I used my sparge water in the kettle, but since my gravity was so low, .010, I got nervous and added 3# off DME. After realizing my mistake of not using the original mash water, I added back to brew in fermenter. My OG was 1.065...but this brew is very, very cloudy. I totally get it's a wit and should be somewhat cloudy, but I can't see through this. Also, I checked the gravity and it's at 1.001..Is that even possible? I used WPL400 yeast. It may turn out tasting okay, but if I calculate correctly, the ABV will be 8%.
This has to be one of the best "oh god, wtf did I do" first all grain stories that I have heard (my first AG hefeweizen tasted like grain husk and creamed corn after about 2 weeks in the keg so definitely not trying to make you feel dumb :mug:).

If I understand correctly that you mashed, drained the first runnings into a bucket, boiled the sparge water, DME, and hops, then added the unboiled first runnings directly into your fermenter then I can assure you with about 99% certainty that you are going to have a sour beer (might not be bad, wits were historically relatively sour beers).
Lactobacillus (lactic acid forming bacteria) is naturally occurring on pretty much all grain that you will use in your brewing. The boil normally takes care of this, but if you didn't boil your first runnings then it is happily fermenting away in your primary alongside your yeast. I would let the beer ferment out and give it a taste. If it is sour then just set it aside in a glass carboy for a few months and try it again--it will probably be much better.

EDIT: Having bacteria and possibly some wild yeasts in your fermentation would explain the very high attenuation (1.001) that you are seeing.
 
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