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The old high FG issue...

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everfrost

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Please review and comment...I know this has been hashed out many times and I've searched and read many threads on this issue...

Code:
Recipe: Fuller's London Porter Clone from BYO
Style: Robust Porter
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.25 gal      
Boil Size: 7.43 gal
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Estimated Color: 38.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 28.3 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.40 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
7 lbs 12.0 oz Pale Malt, Halcyon (Thomas Fawcett) (3.0 SGrain        68.89 %       
1 lbs 12.0 oz Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)                     Grain        15.56 %       
1 lbs         Crystal Malt - 75L (Simpsons) (75.0 SRM)  Grain        8.89 %        
12.0 oz       Chocolate Malt (Thomas Fawcett) (508.0 SRMGrain        6.67 %        
1.65 oz       Fuggles [4.50 %]  (60 min)                Hops         25.6 IBU      
0.35 oz       Fuggles [4.50 %]  (15 min)                Hops         2.7 IBU       
1 Pkgs        London ESB Ale (Wyeast Labs #1968) [StarteYeast-Ale                  
1 Pkgs        Nottingham (Danstar #-)                   Yeast-Ale                  


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 11.25 lb
----------------------------
Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp     
60 min        Mash In            Add 14.06 qt of water at 177.0 F    153.0 F
My OG was 1.054. My FG is sitting at 1.027 after 7 days in the fermenter...I know this is a somewhat early reading, but airlock activity has ceased. I know things continue, but I can't see it dropping 10 points to get near where its supposed to be.

First things first. I use a couple thermometers, with my gold standard for calibration being a glass lab thermometer. These are supposed to be the fairly accurate, although come to think of it I have never tested it with boiling water and/or ice bath. Should I do this. Everything I've read indicates they are the best to use, so I guess I never have. This could of course solve all my problems if it's out of whack.

So I nailed my mash temp and it held during the mash. Would dropping the temp a few degrees make a *huge* difference (i.e. the 10 points I'm lacking) in the gravity? I know lower temps make more fermentable wort.

For the yeast, I made a 2.5qt starter for the London ESB and it was nice and active when I pitched 24 hours later. I rehydrated and pitched the Notty at the same time. Fermentation temps were around 70 degrees.

Wort was aerated thoroughly with pure O2 for at least one minute.

I have always had a problem getting my FG to be spot on, but seems to be that I'm stuck in a rut with higher than what my type A personality deems acceptable. Don't get me wrong, all my beers have been drinkable beers with only one being overly sweet.

So I guess I'm looking for suggestions on what I might be doing wrong or need to tweak in my process. I might start making half batches until I can get this under control. In addition, if my FG doesn't move much more, what can be done. I have another packet of dry yeast. Should I make a small starter with it and get it going good and dump it in?

Many thanks in advance...

Chad :mug:
 

Yooper

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The only thing I can think of is that your thermometer is faulty. If you actually mashed at say, 159, that would explain the high FGs. Check that first, since it's easy to do and would answer the questions.

I wouldn't bottle that beer at 1.027. That's way too high, so you can try swirling the fermenter and waiting a week before pitching a new yeast if it doesnt' come down.
 

cvstrat

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Gently swirl the fermenter. Get the beer going in a very gentle tornado-like fashion around inside your carboy. Then let it sit for another day and see if you get any action. I have used this technique to revive stalled fermentations. Hope this works!
 

JuanKenobi

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I have always had a problem getting my FG to be spot on, but seems to be that I'm stuck in a rut with higher than what my type A personality deems acceptable. Don't get me wrong, all my beers have been drinkable beers with only one being overly sweet.

So I guess I'm looking for suggestions on what I might be doing wrong or need to tweak in my process. I might start making half batches until I can get this under control. In addition, if my FG doesn't move much more, what can be done. I have another packet of dry yeast. Should I make a small starter with it and get it going good and dump it in?
Definitely check your thermometer calibration first. I really doubt that the yeast is the problem in your case. Either your starter of Wyeast or the Notty should be enough to chew up a 1.054 wort by itself. Plus you're using O2 to aerate and fermented at 70 degrees.

Could you give some original/final gravities of some of your other brews? It sounds like a real problem if you're considering half-batches. I have had a similar problem since I moved. I haven't gotten a water report yet, and am a real noob when it comes to water chemistry, but it seems like that is the culprit. I've only reached desired FG on 2 out of 8 batches since I moved. However, most we're within 2-3 points so I haven't worried too much. The batches I've done with bottled water have been spot on.

Another thing to think about is temperature fluctuation. I feel like this has contributed to my recent FG woes (https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/ss-minow-blues-123997/) in addition to the water thing.
 
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everfrost

everfrost

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The only thing I can think of is that your thermometer is faulty. If you actually mashed at say, 159, that would explain the high FGs. Check that first, since it's easy to do and would answer the questions.
Thanks Yooper. Checked my thermometers today with ice water and they were spot on, so I don't think that's the problem which is nice because that would have really pissed me off it was something that simple, although I figure it probably still is something very simple...ha

Could you give some original/final gravities of some of your other brews? It sounds like a real problem if you're considering half-batches. I have had a similar problem since I moved. I haven't gotten a water report yet, and am a real noob when it comes to water chemistry, but it seems like that is the culprit. I've only reached desired FG on 2 out of 8 batches since I moved. However, most we're within 2-3 points so I haven't worried too much. The batches I've done with bottled water have been spot on.

Another thing to think about is temperature fluctuation. I feel like this has contributed to my recent FG woes (https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/ss-minow-blues-123997/) in addition to the water thing.
Thanks for the info and advice. The temperature held pretty constant, if fluctuating only by a degree or two. I haven't really delved into the world of water chemistry either, but I just got my first report. This may be a somewhat moot point though, as I use pH5.2 to stabilize the mash pH at 5.2.

When I get a minute to go through my notes, I'll post some previous OG/FG combos. If memory serves, things haven't changed much from extract to AG brews, but this one by far takes the cake as being so far off.


Thanks again to all so far. Gonna check my hydros in a bit, but I'm fairly certain they are reading accurately too. I'm stumped.
 

Hotspur

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Did you preheat the mash tun? I made the mistake of preheating my tun, but not telling beersmith that, which ended up with me mashing too high, resulting in a higher than normal FG.
 
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