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WLP004 - Is this normal attenuation???

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mopowers

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I'm still relatively new to homebrewing, so take it easy on me. We brewed a red ale recently and fermented with WLP004 Irish Ale yeast (our first time using this strain). We mashed at 152* and the OG was 1.060. It finished at 1.020 - a bit on the sweet side, for our taste. The beer is defenitely drinkable, but I'm just curious if this is typical attenuation for this particular yeast strain? We typically ferment with WLP090 and love the dry finish of that strain.
 

Ayzala

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I think that is way too high of a mash temp for a red ale. 148 is the highest I would go, you're leaving too many unfermentable sugars at 152, thus the higher finish.
 
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mopowers

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I think that is way too high of a mash temp for a red ale. 148 is the highest I would go, you're leaving too many unfermentable sugars at 152, thus the higher finish.
Thank you! Do you think a 148* mash would've gotten the FG down to around 1.014-1.015?
 

VikeMan

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Thank you! Do you think a 148* mash would've gotten the FG down to around 1.014-1.015?
According to a couple of studies with single infusion mashes, 152F would actually produce a more attenuable wort than 148F.

There's the old saying about mashing low for maximum attenuation, but in reality there's a sweet spot, and attenuation falls off on both sides of the sweet spot. I believe the reason that old saying survives is that the fall-off to the left (i.e. lower temps) of the sweet spot is pretty gradual. It's much steeper to the right (higher temps).
 
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mopowers

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Thanks guys. I guess next time I'll stick to the 090. Not a big fan of the 004.
 

VikeMan

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Is the beer still in the carboy? If so, you could re-pitch some of your favorite 090 along with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of amylase enzyme and let it dry the wort out further.
If the issue is that the yeast strain (WLP004) is not attenuative enough, and the solution is to add a more attenuative strain (one that will use more maltotriose, WLP090), there should be no need to add enzymes, unless he wants a beer even drier than WLP090 would naturally produce.
 

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Correct, but if the OP used a 152F mash and they find they really preferred the 148F, the easiest way at this point is to add some enzyme and let it break up further. The 090 to get them closest to the profile and attenuation they are used to. Practical methods to readjust at this point...

Just pulling out all the stops to get them closer to what they want!
 
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mopowers

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Thanks guys. Unfortunately, we've kegged the beer. It's still good, just not our favorite. Just not a fan of the 004 for flavor or attenuation. This is all great info!
 

dmtaylor

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Enzymes are overrated. In fact they often (usually?) ruin perfectly good beer, and should be reserved only as a last resort after every other option is exhausted. IMO.
 

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As others have mentioned, your mash temp was in the sweet spot for a 60 min mash. If you went below 149 and mashed longer you could have produce a more fermentable wort. The chart below, which is based on a number of experiment data sets, shows 152 is near the top of the attenuation curve. The lower attenuation numbers for the mashes below 149, are probably due to 60 min mash times. Here is the link to the article if interested - Measured Mash Temperature Effects

1601564362484.png


While WLP004 is an "Irish Ale" yeast, it is a mediocre attenuator. Try WLP 007, it will attenuate better than WLP 004 and it makes a great Irish Dry Stout or Red Ale.

"This yeast is known for its high attenuation, achieving 80% even with 10% ABV beers. The high attenuation eliminates residual sweetness, making the yeast well-suited for high gravity ales and clean, well-attenuated beer styles. This strain has become a go-to house strain for American breweries due to its clean profile and high attenuation. It’s an ideal strain for American and English hoppy beers as well as malty ambers, porters and brown ales. This strain can be a substitute for WLP001 California Ale Yeast®. "
 

VikeMan

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Here is the link to the article if interested - Measured Mash Temperature Effects
Interesting article that I hadn't seen before, though I'm familiar with the Troester (Kai) and Doss (Wyeast) data included. One thing I noticed though... the Woodland article states that Troester's data showed maximum attenuation with a 148F mash. That must be a typo, because Kai's data actually showed maximum attenuation at ~151F. And the Woodland article author's own chart shows Kai's maximum in the right place too.

Also, the Woodland author includes his own data. Ok, I guess, but it's implied that each of his beers used different grists, yeast strains, and mash lengths from one another, so I wouldn't read too much into the mash temp plot from his his data.
 

Holden Caulfield

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Interesting article that I hadn't seen before, though I'm familiar with the Troester (Kai) and Doss (Wyeast) data included. One thing I noticed though... the Woodland article states that Troester's data showed maximum attenuation with a 148F mash. That must be a typo, because Kai's data actually showed maximum attenuation at ~151F. And the Woodland article author's own chart shows Kai's maximum in the right place too.

Also, the Woodland author includes his own data. Ok, I guess, but it's implied that each of his beers used different grists, yeast strains, and mash lengths from one another, so I wouldn't read too much into the mash temp plot from his his data.
I am not sure regarding the accuracy of their plotting, but in aggregate, I think it provides some good direction on mash temps and fermentability...
  1. For 60 minute mashes, 148 - 152 will yield similar attenuation, + or - 1.5% (up to brewer to decide if 1.5% is similar:))
  2. Every degree above 152 will start to have increasingly significant impact on reducing fermentability - this is due to the increasingly rapid denaturing of the Beta Amylase above 152, see graph below
1601568811225.png


One point the graph in my post #12 does not demonstrate is that the most fermentable worts can be attained by mashing for very long times below 147, as the Beta Amylase is denatured very slowly and will keep on cracking maltose off the end of the starch molecules. The authors of the article mention that they believe most of the studies were done on 60 minute mashes which is why attenuation goes down below 150. I checked Brukaiser's site (which is fantastic), and his test mashes were in fact 60 mins - " Once the 60 min mash was complete a sample of the wort was tested for starch conversion with iodine on chalk "
 
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1HW

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The Kai study makes clear that there is a near-linear drop off in attenuation after its peak (~4% per 1°C). The data are less linear for low temps (possibly because there are no data points below 60°C). The only tested temperature in the range that folks are debating (148°F - 152°F) was at 66°C (150.8°F), so there's no data to conclude that 148°F would be preferable to 152°F, or vice versa. Also note that the study had a methodological flaw w.r.t. temps, specifically ~8°F temp drops at the 30 min mash stir.

The Wyeast data show virtually no correlation with temp in normal mashing temp ranges (and no difference between the 148°F and 152°F). It's an interesting question whether one could eek out a few percent more within this narrow range (a sweet spot within the sweet spot), but we would need more data to be confident in any findings.

I would look at the other factors noted in this thread (primarily yeast strain and, secondarily, mash time) before chalking up lower than expected differences in attenuation to a ~3-4°F difference in mash temp.
 

dmtaylor

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the Woodland author includes his own data. Ok, I guess, but it's implied that each of his beers used different grists, yeast strains, and mash lengths from one another, so I wouldn't read too much into the mash temp plot from his his data.
Just another anecdote:

My own data after about 100 batches all with different grists, yeasts, mash parameters, looks more like a friggin shotgun pattern. The "trend" line is laughable! But this is the honest truth in my experience:

1601574837578.png


I would look at the other factors noted in this thread (primarily yeast strain and, secondarily, mash time) before chalking up lower than expected differences in attenuation to a ~3-4°F difference in mash temp.
^^^ THIS!
 
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Beermeister32

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Here's an interesting clip from an old Olympia Beer annual report. Shows their brewmaster and references that the beer could be a blend of up to 100 different batches to even things out.
oly 100 brews.PNG
 
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mopowers

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Thanks guys. I'm thinking we'll give the WLP007 a try next time to see how it does.
 
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