Yikes! - my O.G. was too high !

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DeafSmith

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I just finished my second mini-mash - a Sierra Nevada Porter clone kit from AHS. I was not happy with my conversion results from my first mini-mash, so I made myself a MLT from a 5 gallon Igloo cooler with S.S. braid to do this one. AHS said my expected O.G. was 1.061, I got 1.072 (at 72 degrees), both for 5 1/4 gallons
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Here's the ingredients (hops omitted as not germane to this discussion):
2 1/2 lb 2-row
10 oz. Crystal 60L
10 oz. Chocolate Malt
1/4 lb. Black Patent

6 1/2 lb. Amber L.M.E.
8 oz. Malto Dextrin

I admit I didn't follow the mash and sparge instructions, which were as follows:
* bring 2 1/2 gallons of water to 160 degrees, then soak the grains (in a grain bag) in this water, maintaining 155 deg. for 45 minutes, then dunk and drain the bag
* Pour 170 degree water (1 quart per 2 pounds of grain) over the grain bag and let the liquid drip out.

What I did was to put the grain in my preheated cooler, then strike with 8 quarts of water at 163 degrees - this set my initial mash temp. at 155 exactly. The temp. was dropping a little faster than I would have liked, maybe because I had quite a bit of headspace in the cooler, so I ended up doing a couple of decoctions with about a pint and a half of thick grain mixture heated to boiling and added back to heat up the mixture. I never let the temp. drop below 150 degrees. After an hour, I drained (recirculating the first quart or so), then sparged with 6 quarts of water at 180, which brought the temp. up to 164 (I was trying to hit 170), then added another quart of boiling water (still only got up to about 165). I drained that (recirculating the first part of the runoff). I ended up with just a hair less than three gallons of wort at 140 degrees and gravity 1.026 (temp. when measured in my wine thief was probably about 120 degrees). I haven't sat down and calculated the efficiency yet, but apparently it was significantly more than AHS was figuring on - is the cooler method I used that much better than the grain bag dunking method? Does the O.G. I got sound reasonable for this recipe?
 

bottle-o-jeff

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Quickly throwing that into beersmith, and setting brewhouse efficiency to 100% I get an estimated OG of 1.070.

Maybe they gave you more than 6.5 lbs of malt extract?
 

nosmatt

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what was the reading temp cprrected? could not have been much different from your reading... sure you had 5.25 gallons post boil? i have never been more than a point over with extract or mini mash recipe.


so I ended up doing a couple of decoctions with about a pint and a half of thick grain mixture heated to boiling and added back to heat up the mixture.
why would you not just added a bit of boiling water instead of boiling the grain? this is the whole reason for a vorlauf, to keep grain bits from the boil kettle.
 
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DeafSmith

DeafSmith

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what was the reading temp cprrected? could not have been much different from your reading... sure you had 5.25 gallons post boil? i have never been more than a point over with extract or mini mash recipe.




why would you not just added a bit of boiling water instead of boiling the grain? this is the whole reason for a vorlauf, to keep grain bits from the boil kettle.

My gravity temp. corrected to 60 degrees would have been about 1.073. I took the measurement immediately after adding top up water to the fermenter (6 gallon Better Bottle) which I had previously marked on the outside with lines for 5 gallons and 5.5 gallons, so I know I had very close to 5.25 gallons.

I didn't want to add more water to the mash because I wanted to be sure that I had enough room in the brew pot to add the LME without danger of a boil over and I didn't want to reduce the sparge water to compensate for fear that would reduce my mash effeciency. In hindsight, I could have added a little more water. As for the boiling, I only took a small amount from the MLT, boiled that and added it back to the MLT during the mash. Vorlauf was done at the end of the mash and during the sparge, so no grain bits entered the brew pot.

I think maybe there was too much LME - not that I'm complaining. :D
 

ChshreCat

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Did you do a full boil or top up with water after cooling? Might just be that your top up water wasn't totally mixed and your thief got it's sample from the denser wort at the bottom.
 
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DeafSmith

DeafSmith

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Did you do a full boil or top up with water after cooling? Might just be that your top up water wasn't totally mixed and your thief got it's sample from the denser wort at the bottom.
I added top up water, about a gallon before adding the wort, and about 3/4 gallon after. Then I shook the hell out of the carboy for a couple of minutes before taking the hydrometer sample - I'd be really surprised if it wasn't thoroughly mixed.
 
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