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jletson

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Hi everyone,

I started my first all-grain batch two days ago. I scaled down an oatmeal stout I found on here (I don’t remember who posted it, so please take the credit if it was you!) and it was off to the races! I was shooting for one gallon of wort after the boil, planning to keep some of it aside to use to carbonate the final product.

I made two changes to the recipe. First, I took the advice of some folks in the reply thread to the recipe and added a little black patent malt to make sure I got the color I wanted for the beer, and I substituted rye for the oats. I had flaked rye in the pantry and I wasn’t sure what else I’d do with it, so now it’s beer.

Anyway, It’s been about forty hours since I pitched my yeast, and the airlock has stopped moving. OG was 1.053, and it was 1.025. The 1 gal. jar I’m using to ferment was almost completely full, so I’m wondering if the pressure in the jar would have negatively affected the yeast, even with the airlock. I also may have underpitched. I used one-fifth(ish) of a packet of Safale US05, rehydrated.

Here’s my question: for a batch this size, should I expect yeast to behave significantly differently than it would for a five-gallon batch? I’ve only ever done 5 gal., and I’ve only ever done extract brewing, cider, and mead. In any prior brew, I’ve had quick motion in the airlock for two or three days before any slowing down. My last batch blew through the airlock about ten hours after pitching it. I was thinking of starting a small culture with the leftovers from the packet and some sterile wort, but the progress so far has me thinking I might wait a few more days.

I’m treating this batch as a learning experience, so I’m okay if it’s not a great beer, but it shows some promise, and I’d like to save it if I can. Any advice would be welcome. I’ll include my notes for the batch below so you can follow my process.

Thanks, everyone!
JL



Rye Stout started 8/13
First All-Grain batch! Shooting for one gallon. No promises as to quality!

1#12 Maris Otter malt
2 oz. Munton’s chocolate malt
2 oz. Briess caramel malt 80 lovibond
2 oz. Briess victory malt 28 lovibond
2 oz. Munton’s black patent malt
4 oz. rye flakes
.5 oz. UK Fuggles hops 60 min. boiling
Safale US-05 ale yeast

Ground malts at Sunset Hydro. Kind of dusty, worried it’s a little finer than it should be.

Mashed grain in 3qt. 170F water to balance at 145F for 10 min. Added another 2qt. 175F water to top out at 160. Checked periodically until 60 min total mash time.

I’ve already learned an important lesson: always have more water than you think you need!

Recirculated liquor through grains once, sparged with 1 gal 177F water. 2.25 gal boil volume, 1 gal target volume. Definitely did not get an even sparge. It felt like there was plenty of good stuff left in the grains, but I had the volume I wanted and then some.

Plan is to save some of the wort to use as priming sugar in place of DME.

Reached post-boil volume of 1.375 gal after approx. 90 minutes. Gravity corrected for wort temperature is 1.053. Wort is jet black. Glad I put the black patent malt in the mix at the last second.

Strained 1 gal. into small fermenter, bottled approx. 48 oz. to store for priming. Will need 8 oz. to carbonate 1 gal. in bottles.

Pitched approx. 2-3 g. rehydrated yeast (in approx. 1 c water) into wort. Will check in morning for signs of fermentation. Fermenter is completely full, so I’ve placed it in a plastic bucket to catch the inevitable blowoff. Visible, but slow, fermentation observed 8/14. Yeast may be underpitched, but nothing has blown through the airlock so far. Need to get a smaller scale if I’m going to continue doing this.

Fermentation has slowed down substantially. Three to five pops of the airlock per minute at 1:30 a. 8/15 (~30h). Will take gravity sample in the morning and possibly culture some yeast for a repitch.

Gravity after approx. 40h is 1.025. Thick, dark brown, opaque. Smells like canned brown bread, molasses. Thin mouthfeel, very prominent black malt flavor. Little bit of rye spicy flavor, hop bitterness comes through at the end.

Don’t think it needs more yeast at this point. Will leave alone until Sunday and check again.
 

Javaslinger

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Relax and Have a Homebrew... The pressure is not going to affect the yeast. With an airlock, how much pressure could you possibly have? Certain no more than you would in a larger bucket with more wort...

Given the size of the batch you're fine with the amount of yeast. It's probably still fermenting, albeit more slowly. What Final Gravity are you supposed to end up with? A big stout might not finish much below 1.020.
 
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jletson

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Relax and Have a Homebrew... The pressure is not going to affect the yeast. With an airlock, how much pressure could you possibly have? Certain no more than you would in a larger bucket with more wort...

Given the size of the batch you're fine with the amount of yeast. It's probably still fermenting, albeit more slowly. What Final Gravity are you supposed to end up with? A big stout might not finish much below 1.020.
I’m hoping for something around 1.015.
 
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jletson

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What was the fermentation temperature? If it was high fermentation will be fast. But not necessarily good. Mid sixties wort temperature is best for most ale yeasts.
Between 70F and 74F. Ambient temp in the kitchen. A little high, but below the 77F the packet says it can tolerate.
 

Javaslinger

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I’m hoping for something around 1.015.
There's no hope in beer.. ;) Your final gravity can be predictably determined by any number of brewing software based on your mash temps, Original Gravity and yeast. Reading over your process it's clear that you're guessing... Guessing is fine and fun and will likely get you good beer, but you can't be stressing about the details when you guessed...


Mashed grain in 3qt. 170F water to balance at 145F for 10 min. Added another 2qt. 175F water to top out at 160. Checked periodically until 60 min total mash time.
I'm not clear what you're saying here. Was your strike temp 170F and it fell to 145 after mashing in? Again, with a brewing calculator you can know exactly what volume you'll need to work with to end up with an appropriate volume after boil. You'll know exactly the appropriate Strike Temp to achieve your desired mash temps after mashing in. You're all over the place here, it looks like, which will likely mean that you mashed high and won't get as low a FG as desired.

Still, the beer will be fine. But if you want to obsess about the details (like we all definitely do) then you need to get a brewing calculator.... There is a abundance to choose from. Beersmith is the best (but more complicated and not free) while you have many perfectly adequate free options that are simpler to use and understand - BrewersFriend and BrewToad are just a few.
 

Javaslinger

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Between 70F and 74F. Ambient temp in the kitchen. A little high, but below the 77F the packet says it can tolerate.
You're yeast can tolerate it sure... but your beer might have some less desired characteristics. But still, it will be fine, tasty, fun and exciting. Precise output requires precise input.
 

kh54s10

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There's no hope in beer.. ;) Your final gravity can be predictably determined by any number of brewing software based on your mash temps, Original Gravity and yeast. Reading over your process it's clear that you're guessing... Guessing is fine and fun and will likely get you good beer, but you can't be stressing about the details when you guessed...
IMO, this is not accurate. There are so many variables that will have an effect on the final gravity that hitting the number spot on is dumb luck. Yeast will eat until there are no longer any sugars that they can consume. For instance if a recipe builder is used for a light beer and calls for low mash temperatures it will be expecting an easily fermentable wort. If the same beer was mashed hot, the wort will have sugars that are not consumed and the FG will end up being higher. In 7+ years I and 102 batches I think I might have hit the final gravity predicted exactly, 10% of the time at best.
 

Javaslinger

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There are so many variables that will have an effect on the final gravity that hitting the number spot on is dumb luck.
This is not exactly what I meant. Nor is that true either. You can estimate accurately what it should be. What the ACTUAL number turns out to be, of course, varies by any number of things contributing to error. That is not to say that, in a perfect world, where you hit your volumes and temps, have enough yeast, etc, etc you SHOULD hit very close to that number. It's not dumb luck when it happens - it's precision.

Do you think probrewers miss their targets routinely? Nope - they hit them routinely. Homebrewers can also achieve that same accuracy.

Knowing that ESTIMATE is the only what you can ever figure out what you're screwing up and how much! Brewing without that number is guessing...
 

kh54s10

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This is not exactly what I meant. Nor is that true either. You can estimate accurately what it should be. What the ACTUAL number turns out to be, of course, varies by any number of things contributing to error. That is not to say that, in a perfect world, where you hit your volumes and temps, have enough yeast, etc, etc you SHOULD hit very close to that number. It's not dumb luck when it happens - it's precision.

Do you think probrewers miss their targets routinely? Nope - they hit them routinely. Homebrewers can also achieve that same accuracy.

Knowing that ESTIMATE is the only what you can ever figure out what you're screwing up and how much! Brewing without that number is guessing...
+

I guess it is degrees of precision. It sounded to me that you were saying that if you use a recipe design program and it said your FG should be 1.010 you should get 1.010. My experience is that +/- .003 is a reasonable range. Or 1.013 to 1.007. Should you strive for closer - sure. Should you worry if it is not. IMO, no.
 

Javaslinger

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I guess it is degrees of precision. It sounded to me that you were saying that if you use a recipe design program and it said your FG should be 1.010 you should get 1.010. My experience is that +/- .003 is a reasonable range. Or 1.013 to 1.007. Should you strive for closer - sure. Should you worry if it is not. IMO, no.
I'm not going to argue with any of that, but....

You can get it - if you do it all right, but it's not easy. My point was that if you don't even know your predicted FG, you're shooting bling and can't be worrying about numbers.
 
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jletson

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You can get it - if you do it all right, but it's not easy. My point was that if you don't even know your predicted FG, you're shooting bling and can't be worrying about numbers.
Yikes, I think I created some unnecessary confusion. The predicted FG was 1.013. I said I was hoping for 1.015 because the yeast seemed to be slowing down. Sorry!
 
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