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Too low on my temps - can I prevent too dry of a fermentation?

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hughes_brews

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I just brewed my second AG last night. It was an IPA that called for mashing at 154. I picked up a new thermometer since I wasn't sure I trusted the one I used on the first batch.

Using the new thermometer, I heated my strike water to 166. In hindsight, I think I failed to stir the strike water before reading the temperature so I'm sure it read higher than what it really was. That was my first mistake. Anyway, my mash was 148 based on the new thermometer and 165 based on the floating thermometer I used for my first batch. :eek: Both thermometers read at 32 in crushed ice water. Now I really didn't know which one to trust. I had a dial thermometer that I used to use for extract brewing (the low end is 60, so I could not test in ice water). That one read 153. Now I have three thermometers with three wildly different readings.

Once I brought the wort to a boil, I did a check with the thermometers to see if I could figure out which one is correct. The new one I bought read 212 dead on. Crap! It looks like I mashed at 148 instead of 154. This would also explain why my first batch mashed too hot (or so I thought) and ended up fermenting very dry.

My question is, is there anything I can do at this point to prevent too dry of a fermentation?
 

david_42

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Other than pitching a low-attenuation yeast, no. And even that may not help much. I'd suggest getting some maltodextrin and adding some after the fermentation is complete.
 

dontman

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I won an award for a beer that ended up at 008 when I was targeting 012-014.

Might not be exactly what you envisioned at first but will probably be excellent. I would rather be low than high on my gravity.
 
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hughes_brews

hughes_brews

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Yeah, I'm sure it will still be good.

Funny thing, though - I listen to XM radio while brewing and in the middle of my temperature issue, "Strange Brew" by Cream came on.

At least going forward, I will learn from my mistakes (and know which thermometer I will be using). ;)
 

HotbreakHotel

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I agree -- I'd just leave it and enjoy it for what it is.

Sometimes our errors are the seeds of future breakthroughs! It's not like the lower temp will make it bad, just a littler drier.
 

tprokop

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On the problem of not knowing which thermometer to trust, get some water to a rolling boil and stick them all in. The one that reads 212F is your friend. With 2-point calibration (32F and 212F), you should be able to trust that the thermometer will be right, especially inside the two points.
 

dontman

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On the problem of not knowing which thermometer to trust, get some water to a rolling boil and stick them all in. The one that reads 212F is your friend. With 2-point calibration (32F and 212F), you should be able to trust that the thermometer will be right, especially inside the two points.
Odd thing to feel compelled to join and post about the first time. But welcome anyway.

As far as the calibration I would disagree. Fact is a thermometer, especially a digital one can float all over the place between those two points (32 and 212)and you won't know. On something as important as mash temps where two degrees can substantially change the character of your beer the only calibration that is of utmost importance is the mash temp spectrum. To do this, buy a $5 scientific thermometer and measure against your others at 148 and 158. Some people do this calibration with every batch, I tend to do it every month or so. ( Every four to six batches.)
 
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hughes_brews

hughes_brews

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I'm glad you mentioned that. The new thermometer that I picked up did read 212 during the boil, but I wondered if it could still be off in the mid-range temps. Where would I look for a scientific thermometer?
 

dontman

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I "inherited" one from a lab.

There was a thread recently about this issue where someone posted a link to a great deal on one.

Maybe someone recalls that thread?

Just remember to only use it to calibrate and not on your beer because they are glass and could be a danger to your beer if they broke into it.
 

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