First All-Grain

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drobinson

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I brewed my first all-grain batch last Sunday (3/2), a lawnmower IPA, and it is currently sitting in my temp controlled chest freezer in the carboy. The original gravity was 1.044 and after taking my first gravity reading last night (3/9) the hydrometer read 1.014 (67%). I would always hit 73-75% when brewing IPAs with extract, using the same yeast, US-05, and that number would usually be reached by this time. Here's a breakdown of the brew:

3 Gallon final volume into 3 gallon carboy
5.5 #'s of 2 row
.25 #'s of carapils
.25 #'s of crystal 20
Mashed at 149 for 90 minutes
61% brewhouse efficiency
1 oz centennial at 60
1 oz centennial at 30
1 oz centennial at FO

Pitched full packet of US-05 at 60 degrees and shook the carboy for a few minutes, maintained a temp of 63F for first 5 days and have bumped it up to 64F since. I had a very strong fermentation for the first 4 days, blow off tubing utilized. I don't know if it indicates anything but the krausen is still nearly into the neck of the carboy. My concern is the current pace of the fermentation. I was hoping and expecting 80% attenuation as the mash was done at 149. Is there anything you can see that I may have overlooked that would cause such a low attenuation? If not is there anything that could be done to reach my expected attenuation rate?
Thank you in advance for any responses!
 

Pappers_

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Congratulations on your first all-grain batch! Three thoughts about your attenuation:

1) don't worry too much until you are sure that fermentation is done

2) was your mash temp accurate?

3) a 1/2 lb of carapils/crystal in a 3 gallon batch is quite a bit and will result in a higher FG than if you used less
 

duboman

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Congratulations on your first all-grain batch! Three thoughts about your attenuation:

1) don't worry too much until you are sure that fermentation is done

2) was your mash temp accurate?

3) a 1/2 lb of carapils/crystal in a 3 gallon batch is quite a bit and will result in a higher FG than if you used less
+1
Check your thermometer as you may have mashed higher than you think creating a less fermentable wort and 1/2lb crystals is a lot for that size batch and is less fermentable malt in general.

I would also say that at this point you can raise the temp to like 68 and rouse the yeast and give it another 5 days or so to try and finish up. I like to leave my beers at least 10 days to ferment out before checking gravity.
 

Keith66

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I have a question similar to drobinson's. I just switched from extract to biab, and brewed a bohemian pilsner a little over a week ago. I pitched SAFLAGER 34/70 at about 70*F then put it straight in the garage at 53*F (ambient). (Yeah, I know these temps are a little warmer than desired.) I had foam on top at 62* in about 12 hours, and good krausen and lots of churning at 58* in 24 hours. Krausen and most sediment finally dropped a couple days ago leaving small bubbles on top and (here's the subject of my question) corn meal (or sand) sized particles suspended throughout the beer. There's still very slight movement within the beer, and lots of sediment on the bottom, like an inch (5-gal batch in glass carboy). In other batches, I've seen almost all sediment drop out after fermentation slows/stops, but not with this one. This is the first time I've used real lager yeast, and this is the coolest fermentation I've done. What are the particles in the beer, and are they normal? I feel like I'm in new territory having switched to biab and lager yeast/temps all at once. Thanks in advance for the help!
 

Keith66

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This post is just to put this thread on top of the Recent list in hopes that someone will read it and reply. Here goes nothing!
 

RM-MN

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The particle you see are probably yeast that have begun clumping together prior to settling out when the activity stops but some of the yeast are still active which is why you see the churning. Since you are using lager yeast and fermenting cooler the time to complete the ferment increases.
 

Keith66

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The particle you see are probably yeast that have begun clumping together prior to settling out when the activity stops but some of the yeast are still active which is why you see the churning. Since you are using lager yeast and fermenting cooler the time to complete the ferment increases.
That was my best hunch. I brewed 10 days ago, think I'll check gravity and rack and let it fall out. Thanks much!
 

AerationStation

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How long was the mash? Sometimes you need to let those low temp mashes sit a little longer than 60 min to get full conversion

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masonsjax

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He said it was a 90min mash. I agree to let the temp rise to as high as 70 and see if it goes down a few more points, but as was mentioned, that's a lot of crystal for 3 gallons and it might be as far down as it can go.
 

HomebrewPadawan

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Give it another few days, check the gravity, give it 48 hours check the gravity; if it's the same...it's as low as she can go captain
 

Keith66

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This might be time to let it have a diacetyl rest?
I brought it into my 68* living room a couple days ago to rest. It's up to about 66* now and a little clearer.

EDIT: drobinson, I see answers to your question and mine possibly getting confused. I don't want that, sorry. I'll hand the mic back to you and bow out. Best of luck with your lager!
 

MindenMan

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Just because you hit the F.G, doesn't mean the yeasties are done eating. The cloudiness you mention is the yeast still producing CO2. When the wort drops out completely clear, that generally means the CO2 is no longer being produced by yeast, and, the CO2 that gets trapped by the trub is now out. There is no reason to hurry your beer, and it will be ready when it's ready. That said, I ferment my beers at 63-64* F for two weeks at least, and then raise the temperature to 68-70* F, to finish. My beers are in the primary for 4 or 5 weeks, then I cold crash for another week, and bottle clear beer from my bottling bucket at that point.
 

MindenMan

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Keith66, leave your beer where it is. Every time the beer is racked, there is another chance for infection, so your best bet is to wait.
 

Keith66

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Keith66, leave your beer where it is. Every time the beer is racked, there is another chance for infection, so your best bet is to wait.
10-4! As of this morning, it's starting to clear up a lot. The green haze from all the trub is giving way to yellow beer, and the little yeast clumps are getting smaller and moving less. I should mention that it has smelled AWESOME at the airlock the whole time, nice and malty with fresh saaz! I'm going to let it sit in the mid 60s for a few more days and maybe rack at 2 weeks. Thanks again!
 
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drobinson

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Thanks everyone for the responses, I'll have to pay it forward and help new home brewers out once I get some experience under my belt. Based of the responses my questions are:

- how quickly does everyone usually crank up the temp? Slowly inch up the Johnson control or at once shoot up temp control from 66F to 72F? (Wort is usually 2F cooler)
- Half a pound of specialty grains is over the top for my grain bill and desired style? I was under the impression that the specialty grains are fairly fermentable when mashing with base malt.

As an aside, I used two thermometers for mash and registered 150 F on the bottom of tun for both and 148 F at the top.
Thanks again!

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MindenMan

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Patience is always the key to home brewing. Right now I put myself in a pinch, I just put a Strong Scottish Ale in my fermentation chamber, and my Amber ESB is still in the fermentation bucket. The Amber ESB was brewed on 02-12-2014, and is sitting in the living room in the corner waiting to be cold crashed. I really don't know how long the SSA will be in high gear fermenting as this is my first try at one. I haven't had any problems with long primary times so far, and this is only my second ESB, so I really don't expect any surprises with it. I hope.
 
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drobinson

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So an update:
I pushed the temp up to 67-68F and gave it a swirl and four days later I'm looking at 1.009, or 79% attenuation! This is day 11 of fermentation so I'm hoping to squeeze another point or two out. The wort sample I took was 67.5, which was actually 2F warmer than my one gallon carboy filled with water that I leave in the chest freezer as a control, so I assume the 2F degree differential can be somewhat attributable to an active fermentation. Next up is 1 oz of centennial dry hop once FG is met.

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