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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dons on February 01, 2011, 03:25:39 PM

Title: Sugar
Post by: dons on February 01, 2011, 03:25:39 PM
I just made a batch of pale AG.  Due to being an idiot, I noticed as I was into the bottling process that I had run low
on priming sugar.  I live in a place that is 1.5 hours away from a brew store.  So, I decided to supplement with regular
household granulated sugar.  In fact, of the half cup total, all but 3 tablespoons was granulated.

So, I'm Day 8 tasting.  The hops are unnoticeable, but worse yet is that this brew is reminiscent of Dogfish 120.  For
those who have not tasted it, it has a cloying sweetness to it that is not very pleasing to me personally.  I have never
had a batch that tasted like this - and I'm hoping that it will calm as it ages.

Question then is:  did I really screw up by this substitution?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: tygo on February 01, 2011, 03:36:48 PM
No, table sugar and corn sugar are interchangeable and both will ferment out completely.  How long ago did you bottle the beers?  It may just been that it's not done carbonating yet.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: bluesman on February 01, 2011, 04:22:11 PM
Granulated table sugar is a good priming sugar. What was your OG and FG of your beer? What temp are you currently conditioning the beer?
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: denny on February 01, 2011, 04:23:16 PM
Granulated table sugar is a good priming sugar. What was your OG and FG of your beer? What temp are you currently conditioning the beer?

And what was your fermentation schedule?
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: dons on February 01, 2011, 04:44:09 PM
OG:  1.044 at 75 deg F
FG:  1.016 at 67 deg F

Brewed on 1/1
Racked on 1/8
Bottled on 1/23

Beer being conditioned at 68 deg F

Strange part is that when I tasted the first bottle on 1/28, it had some hop taste and no sweetness.
3 days later, the hops seemed to disappear and the sweetness began.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: stlaleman on February 01, 2011, 04:46:14 PM
Sounds like perhaps you did not have your priming sugar evenly distributed.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: tschmidlin on February 01, 2011, 05:08:23 PM
OG:  1.044 at 75 deg F
FG:  1.016 at 67 deg F
That's not a great attenuation either, so the beer might be on the sweet side from the start.  Plus it might not be long enough for the beers to fully carbonate, give them another week and try again.

If the sugar is not evenly distributed, put them in boxes or something in case you get some bottle bombs.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: majorvices on February 01, 2011, 05:15:09 PM
I have a hard time understanding how a 1.044 OG beer can taste anything like DFH 120 min.... even with that type of low attenuation. Can you post a recipe? What yeast did you use? What was your fermentation temp?
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: kgs on February 01, 2011, 05:33:12 PM
OG:  1.044 at 75 deg F
FG:  1.016 at 67 deg F

Brewed on 1/1
Racked on 1/8
Bottled on 1/23


Hmmm, one week on the yeast cake. With that FG, sounds like it needed more time with the yeast.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: dons on February 01, 2011, 05:38:30 PM
I'm sorry, I misworded my original post.  What I MEANT to say is that this brew was reminiscent of DFH120 in that there is (to me) overwhelming sweetness that I do not associate with normal pales.  I don't mean to imply that I accidentally brewed a DFH120.  I'm sorry for the error.  Given that here is the recipe:

10.5 pounds domestic 2-row malt
 .5 pounds Crystal 45
 .5 pounds Cara pils malt
1 ounce Perle pellets 90min
4 ounces Nugget pellets 15min
2 ounces Cascade whole hops 1min
1 ounce WL001  White Labs Calif 001

Mashed with 3.5 gallons at 155 deg F for 1 hour.  
Sparged with 2.5 gallons at 160 deg F

I have a feeling that the "answer" is what was previously mentioned - I had a poor distribution of sugar.  Having previously been strongly warned that aeration should be kept to a minimum during transfer to bottling bucket, I dumped the sugar (after boiling it for 5 minutes) into the bottom and just ran the siphon on top of it.  I'm thinking that I should have not been so worried about aeration and should have done a good stir job before starting to boil.  And thanks for the warning of detonation - in FACT, I lost 6 22oz bottles due to explosions on my last batch.  I then put it down to the unwise bottling into the thinner 22 ounce bottles, but I'm thinking now that it was a bad sugar distribution even then.

Thanks guys!!!  Still learning.
Don


Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: dons on February 01, 2011, 05:44:53 PM
To answer KGS:

Yup, a week does not sound like much.  What happened is that after 2 days in the primary, activity when to absolute zero.  I have never had this happen and put it down to a bad sparge process (addressed in another thread I posted entitled "do i need a rest?") that resulted in too little sugars in the wort.  No, I did not take hydrometer readings to verify the yeast death - I know now that I should have.  However, to test it out, I put a solid cork on the carboy for 6 hours, and then removed it - and it had not even a hint of sound as I took it off.  I took that to mean that the yeast was exhausted.

Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: bluesman on February 01, 2011, 05:55:05 PM
What temp did you ferment?  I calculate 64% attenuation which is really low for WLP001 even considering A mash temp of 155F. It's likely your fermentation was incomplete. That coupled with lack of bottle fermentation would give you a relatively sweet beer at this point.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: jamminbrew on February 01, 2011, 05:57:31 PM
Another question is how much sugar did you prime with?  Did you mix in the bottling bucket, or add ugar to each bottle?
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: jeffy on February 01, 2011, 05:59:37 PM
 "And thanks for the warning of detonation - in FACT, I lost 6 22oz bottles due to explosions on my last batch.  I then put it down to the unwise bottling into the thinner 22 ounce bottles, but I'm thinking now that it was a bad sugar distribution even then."

Or bottling a bit too soon.  You seem to have quite a lot of unfermented sugar at a FG of 1.016 for a low gravity beer.  Next time wait a bit longer or add more yeast or aerate the cooled wort better so that the yeast gets a chance to finish its work before bottling.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: denny on February 01, 2011, 06:20:35 PM
OG:  1.044 at 75 deg F
FG:  1.016 at 67 deg F

Brewed on 1/1
Racked on 1/8
Bottled on 1/23


Hmmm, one week on the yeast cake. With that FG, sounds like it needed more time with the yeast.

Just what I was thinking.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: denny on February 01, 2011, 06:22:11 PM
I have a feeling that the "answer" is what was previously mentioned - I had a poor distribution of sugar.  Having previously been strongly warned that aeration should be kept to a minimum during transfer to bottling bucket, I dumped the sugar (after boiling it for 5 minutes) into the bottom and just ran the siphon on top of it.  I'm thinking that I should have not been so worried about aeration and should have done a good stir job before starting to boil.  And thanks for the warning of detonation - in FACT, I lost 6 22oz bottles due to explosions on my last batch.  I then put it down to the unwise bottling into the thinner 22 ounce bottles, but I'm thinking now that it was a bad sugar distribution even then.

Thanks guys!!!  Still learning.
Don




I don't think so.  Given the sweetness and exploding bottles, I th9ink you bottled too early, before fermentation was finished.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: dons on February 01, 2011, 06:23:51 PM
Fermented at a pretty steady 68 deg F.  Might have been a couple spikes here and there, but not many.  Agree that fermentation was incomplete and yeah, I bottled too early.  Hoping it will settle down as time goes on.  

I primed with just under a half cup of sugar.  Boiled in a pint of water on stove and added to bottling bucket before siphoning.  

And, yes, Jeffy, that is EXACTLY what I'll do.  When activity stopped prematurely I had a notion to add more yeast and give it another chance, but being in the backwoods it would have meant another long trip to get yeast.  UNLESS I wanted to risk using a bit of regular household cooking yeast and see if I could stir things up a bit, if you will.

Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: denny on February 01, 2011, 06:24:58 PM
FWIW, I keep a couple packs of US-05 on hand at all times for unexpected situations.  It's cheap insurance.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: smoga on February 01, 2011, 06:34:49 PM
Just a couple of questions to satisfy my curiosity:

What's your thermometer? Is it a dial thermometer? When's the last time it was calibrated?
and did you make a starter? and if so how large?
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: dons on February 01, 2011, 07:29:04 PM
What's your thermometer? Is it a dial thermometer? When's the last time it was calibrated?
and did you make a starter? and if so how large?


I have the old standard dial, analog type thermometer.  Not attempted to calibrate for couple of years.  I'm not sure of the process for calibration but what I just did was put it in an ice bath, note lowest temp I could get it to and did the same in boiling water. 

In the ice I could not get below 35deg and it got to 213deg in boiling.  I would guess that means that, on average, my thermometer is showing about 2 deg higher than true.

No, I did not make a starter.  Frankly, I'm not sure the process of doing that (ie, what medium to use, how long to wait before adding to wort, etc).  And I don't know if it is necessary.  I don't want to start  a new topic here, though.  I'm sure there is another thread I can find about it.

Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: denny on February 01, 2011, 07:32:14 PM
I have the old standard dial, analog type thermometer.  Not attempted to calibrate for couple of years.  I'm not sure of the process for calibration but what I just did was put it in an ice bath, note lowest temp I could get it to and did the same in boiling water. 

In the ice I could not get below 35deg and it got to 213deg in boiling.  I would guess that means that, on average, my thermometer is showing about 2 deg higher than true.

Unfortunately, that's not a great test.  It could be WAY off around 150 where you really need it to be accurate.  The best way to calibrate it to get a calibrated lab thermometer and compare your to it at mash temps.


No, I did not make a starter.  Frankly, I'm not sure the process of doing that (ie, what medium to use, how long to wait before adding to wort, etc).  And I don't know if it is necessary.  I don't want to start  a new topic here, though.  I'm sure there is another thread I can find about it.



Unless your beer is under 1.040 OG, making a starter will always make you better beer IMO.  For great info, see mrmalty.com .
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: smoga on February 01, 2011, 07:43:55 PM
Amen Denny!

dons, I experienced many of the symptoms you describe here; The low extraction rates, the lack of fermentability, the reluctance of yeast to clean up. I solved it one way:
I bought a lab thermometer... Sing praises to the brewing gods!

The dial thermometer I was using was at least 6 degrees off (high) at 150F I was mashing in way too low.
when I switched to using the lab thermometer, my extraction rates jumped almost 10 points.
I brewed a beer similar to your beer (OG 1.043) last week using only 8 lbs. of grain vs. your 11lbs.

A lab thermometer and making yeast starters will change your (brewing) life.  
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: majorvices on February 01, 2011, 08:35:30 PM
I have the old standard dial, analog type thermometer.  Not attempted to calibrate for couple of years.  I'm not sure of the process for calibration but what I just did was put it in an ice bath, note lowest temp I could get it to and did the same in boiling water. 

In the ice I could not get below 35deg and it got to 213deg in boiling.  I would guess that means that, on average, my thermometer is showing about 2 deg higher than true.

Unfortunately, that's not a great test.  It could be WAY off around 150 where you really need it to be accurate.  The best way to calibrate it to get a calibrated lab thermometer and compare your to it at mash temps.


No, I did not make a starter.  Frankly, I'm not sure the process of doing that (ie, what medium to use, how long to wait before adding to wort, etc).  And I don't know if it is necessary.  I don't want to start  a new topic here, though.  I'm sure there is another thread I can find about it.



Unless your beer is under 1.040 OG, making a starter will always make you better beer IMO.  For great info, see mrmalty.com .

+1 on both accounts, I've gotten into the habit of double checking with the lab thermometer every time I brew just about. As far as making a starter go, couldn't be simpler, just like making a small batch of 1.040 beer. DME as the medium (or you brew up several batches as AG.) I know you said you didn't want to "start a new topic" - but had you made a starter (or, more accurately, started with the appropriate pitch of yeast) you would probably have not run into this problem. Pitching enough healthy, fresh, viable yeast is one of the most important aspects of brewing.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: bluesman on February 01, 2011, 09:32:07 PM
One other important task to put onto your process checklist is estimating and targeting your terminal gravity. When you brew beer there are vital statistics (range) that are inherent to a particular recipe and process. One of the critical statistics is terminal gravity which is calulated and targeted during the fermentation process. Factors such as grist bill, mash regime and yeast origin must be considered in order to estimate and target a terminal gravity.

In your case using the grist bill and mashing parameters accompanied with WLP001 should have brought you down to the 1.010-1.012 range of terminal gravity. With this knowledge you would have allowed for the yeast to finish it's job prior to bottling.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: dons on February 01, 2011, 11:02:07 PM
I'm starting to find myself wondering what I have done right.
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: morticaixavier on February 01, 2011, 11:03:52 PM
I'm starting to find myself wondering what I have done right.


you started to learn how to make your own beer!
Title: Re: Sugar
Post by: majorvices on February 01, 2011, 11:13:55 PM
I'm starting to find myself wondering what I have done right.


Every batch is a learning experience. Brewing is a craft and the longer you do it the more you learn how much you don't know. I've been brewing for 15+ years and I still am amazed how much there still is to learn, which also makes it still fun. That said, once you learn proper fermentation practices everything else falls into place.  ;)