What factors affect the body of a beer?

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I've made three homebrews so far. This morning I took a gravity reading of my third beer, which is a NEIPA, and tasted how it's turning out. Like all the beers I've made so far, it's pretty good in terms of flavor, but I would describe the body as thin and watery. I'm following recipes carefully, hitting target gravity readings, etc. but that's how they're turning out to my palate. I am going off the reservation a bit and replacing the yeasts called for in the recipes with Kveik strains since I don't have temperature control at this point in my equipment. So it could be that. Any thoughts or advice appreciated.
 

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The question in your title is a pretty complex one. Yeast definitely is one of the larger drivers of body in a beer.

As far as your specific beers, what strain of Kveik are you using? Voss? Lutra? Another one? Are you brewing all-grain or with extract? What recipes have you brewed with so far?
 
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First beer was a white stout with lactose and I used Kveik Hothead. Second was a brown ale made with Lutra. And the latest is a NEIPA made with Voss.

Edit: I'm doing all-grain on a Brewzilla 35L

I found a few other threads here that seem to imply that this is a common thing with Kveik. This one has some good commentary on this exact issue.
 
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Also want to add that I'm pitching the full package of yeast, which in most cases is overpitching for me as I've been doing smaller batches.
 

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Voss is good for IPA's and big beers but I find Lutra to mute flavors. If using Lutra to do a sudo lager I've found a heavy hand on the Munich malt helps. Also ,and I can't stress this enough is that although Kveik is done fermenting in 3-5 days and some drink it in less then 8 days ALL mine are at their peak after cold conditioning for 4 weeks. Way shorter then my other beers that get there in 6-8 weeks. And yeah, I lager all my brews.
 
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Voss is good for IPA's and big beers but I find Lutra to mute flavors. If using Lutra to do a sudo lager I've found a heavy hand on the Munich malt helps. Also ,and I can't stress this enough is that although Kveik is done fermenting in 3-5 days and some drink it in less then 8 days ALL mine are at their peak after cold conditioning for 4 weeks. Way shorter then my other beers that get there in 6-8 weeks. And yeah, I lager all my brews.
Thanks for that info. I'm still new to this so can you elaborate on what you're talking about? I typically have been bottling my Kveik brews after 8 days and then letting them condition for 3-4 weeks before drinking. I usually leave the bottles at room temperature for the first two weeks and then chill for 1-2 more weeks. Are you saying you leave it in the fermenter chilled for 4 weeks before bottling or kegging?
 

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How about mash temp? What kind of starting and finishing gravities? Measured with a hydrometer or a converted refractometer reading?

For me over time I've found that a combination of ABV and final gravity are the biggest influencers. I've tried putting extra oats and using higher mash temps in my stouts, and though I haven't tried a side-by side test of my own beers I haven't found that it makes an obvious difference (sampled months later, so not exactly scientific). I have found that simply bumping the grain bill and the gravities really does have a big effect.

So, maybe your beers are excellent and simply just not what you were hoping for. The fix could be a recipe adjustment?
 
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How about mash temp? What kind of starting and finishing gravities? Measured with a hydrometer or a converted refractometer reading?

For me over time I've found that a combination of ABV and final gravity are the biggest influencers. I've tried putting extra oats and using higher mash temps in my stouts, and though I haven't tried a side-by side test of my own beers I haven't found that it makes an obvious difference (sampled months later, so not exactly scientific). I have found that simply bumping the grain bill and the gravities really does have a big effect.

So, maybe your beers are excellent and simply just not what you were hoping for. The fix could be a recipe adjustment?
Each recipe I've tried have had different mash profiles. For the brown ale I mashed in at 166F and then mashed for 60 min at 154F. For the NEIPA it was mash in at 160F and then 60 min at 152F. When brewing I'm measuring gravity using a refractometer. I'm not sure what you mean by converted though. When taking gravity from the fermenter sample, I'm using a hydrometer and compensating for the temperature.

I've generally been hitting the target gravities for the recipes I'm following. Target OG for the current beer was 1.067 and I was at 1.066. The recipe called for a 30 min. boil and I was way under at 30 min. So I let it boil longer and after 65 min. I was measuring 1.066 so I called it. Target final gravity is 1.014 and I'm at 1.012 after five days, so ABV is a little higher than expected and FG may drop slightly before bottling day on Sunday.
 

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You're doing it right, perfectly I'd say, for the gravities. Some folks will measure fermented samples with a refractometer and then convert the readings (the refractometer won't measure correctly w/ the alcohol present). Hydrometer is perfect, bonus for the temperature compensation.

Your numbers and such sound good too. Hmm. Do you have experienced friends or family or a local homebrew club? Maybe you are indeed making good beer?
 
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You're doing it right, perfectly I'd say, for the gravities. Some folks will measure fermented samples with a refractometer and then convert the readings (the refractometer won't measure correctly w/ the alcohol present). Hydrometer is perfect, bonus for the temperature compensation.

Your numbers and such sound good too. Hmm. Do you have experienced friends or family or a local homebrew club? Maybe you are indeed making good beer?
Thanks for that! Definitely yes to both of your questions. I've joined a local hombrew club and attend regular meetings. I'm probably my own worst critic, and not sure if people are being nice if they say it's good. But I want to make beer that I like, and improve. And in each case, I will sample my beer along side beers of the same style that I like, and can taste those differences. The thin body characteristic I'm describing seems to be consistent across all that I've made so far, and I'm thinking the Kveik is the culprit. I'm also thinking as an experiment to prove that, I have a small fridge in my garage, it is too small for any of the 5 gallon fermenters I have, which is why I haven't tried to use it for more traditional yeasts. But now I'm thinking maybe I can make a 1 gallon batch and try to do a temperature controlled fermentation that way with the yeasts called for in recipes to see the difference the Kveik substitution is making?
 

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Your bottle conditioning is spot on. With bottling you should be able to save a few for side by ,or just to lengthen the conditioning to see if it makes a difference.
Before my pipe line was in place my last bottles were the best.
 
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I'm still pretty ignorant about all this stuff. I don't know what you mean by pipe line 😆

I just pulled out one of the last bottles of my first brew last night, which has been sitting in the fridge for about two months, and damn if it isn't significantly noticeably better. So letting is sit definitely also helps with this. Making the same beer again and then tasting side by side at different ages is also an experiment I'm going to try now.
 

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I'm still pretty ignorant about all this stuff. I don't know what you mean by pipe line 😆

I just pulled out one of the last bottles of my first brew last night, which has been sitting in the fridge for about two months, and damn if it isn't significantly noticeably better. So letting is sit definitely also helps with this. Making the same beer again and then tasting side by side at different ages is also an experiment I'm going to try now.
Pipe line: The amount of beer you have already produced and in bottles for later consumption. If you already have 10 cases and produce batches to keep 10 batches in bottles you have a pipeline, enough beer so you can drink beer that has had time to mature.

There are 3 things that a pipeline helps with. First it developing a proper head on your beer. In just a day or 2 in bottles your beer will have a significant amount of carbonation if stored in a warm location but pouring it into a glass will get you a bit of fizz like you get from Coca Cola. Given a week in the bottle, the heading will begin. By 3 weeks your beer will likely build and hold a decent head.

The second thing is what is suspended in the beer. There will be small particles that are nearly the same density as the beer and they will take time to settle. Some of them will take a long time to settle. That is what you have noticed from the beer that had been refrigerated.

The third deals with darker and/or higher ABV beers. I don't know just what happens but my porters gain apparent body and smoother flavor by about 3 month in bottles. A good stout becomes much better at about the 6 month point and continues to improve from there. Reports have been made that a barleywine needs a year.
 

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Things that are supposed to increase body but have not produced a noticeable effect for me: higher mash temperatures, dextrin malt.
Things that have worked for me: flaked barley, oats, or (especially) rye.
 

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Things that are supposed to increase body but have not produced a noticeable effect for me: higher mash temperatures, dextrin malt.
Things that have worked for me: flaked barley, oats, or (especially) rye.

I agree with your comment on mash temp and dextrin. I do feel that mash temp can have an impact on the "digestibility" of a beer (how full you tend to feel after a pint or two) but the impact on sweetness and body are minor. It is amazing how often Dextrin malt is used in commercial recipes. It makes me think it has to do something. I generally either skip using Dextrin malt, or add some wheat (which I think helps a little with a creamy head).

I am not sure what it is about flaked grains, but I do find they have a noticeable impact on body. In a related note, the recipe itself is one of the largest drivers of body. A recipe of 90% Pils and 10% Sugar will be quite different than one loaded with malts like Munich, Crystal, and Chocolate. Additions like Lactose or Maltodextrin should help as well (I have never used Maltodextrin myself).

Some other factors I have found:

Original Gravity: This is one of the biggest drivers. It is really hard to get good body in a 1.030 OG beer, and it can be very hard to keep down the body and sweetness of a 1.070+ OG beer. You can play with a high OG and a high mash temp, to produce a big body while still keeping the ABV in check (though the beer will have lots of carbs and calories).

Yeast: This is another big driver of body and sweetness in a beer. While I don't think that attenuation driven by mash temps has a huge impact, I do feel that attenuation driven by yeast does. In a split batch of US-05 vs S-33, the S-33 batch was more full bodied with more sweetness.

Water Chemistry: It is not as big of a driver, but pushing up the Chloride level can add a "fullness" to a beer. I tend to think that building up the levels of Calcium, Chloride and Gypsum in a beer helps with body. I might be wrong, but I feel I get better mouthfeel in a "full body" beer when I add both Gypsum and Calcium Chloride to get a 1:1 ratio at around 80:80 (which brings my water up to around 75 Calcium). Sodium could also have an impact, but it is not something I have played with.
 

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I think , and I am new to the game myself, mashing temperature and yeast choice are going to be major drivers together with adjuncts such as wheat malts, torrified cereals and rolled oats which will improve head retention and mouth feel. I repeat I am no expert but I do add these adjuncts and the difference is very noticeable in the glass and the mouth .
 

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A lot of factors can contribute to body so it's hard to say which one or ones causes your issue. You need to try changing one factor at a time to test causes. I would start with the yeast selection because that seems like an obvious issue. That might be difficult with your lack of temperature control. London Ale III is a popular strain for hazy IPAs and is a little forgiving of fermenting around 70F if you can at least keep temperatures in that range.
 

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I started adding .75-1lb of white wheat to my beers. Doesn’t change the flavor of what I was going for in my opinion, but gives it that little creaminess to it.

I’ve tried Carapils and Carafoam, to add dextrins, but I didn’t get the same affect I did with white wheat.
 
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