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Messages - Illini Rookie

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That attenuation number has me wondering how you are measuring your gravity. Is your hydrometer's calibration off? That would certainly explain your efficiency issues.

I thought this too, but I have been brewing extract for awhile and never saw an issue. Obviously something could have happened to it in the past month or so.

How would I check it's calibration. Is there a standard procedure for using sugar water or something to determine if it's on? I used a refractometer for the first time these past two batches, and the numbers seemed align. If someone has a calculator or tool or something that can help me out, I would really appreciate it.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Time from Mash to Boil
« on: January 22, 2013, 05:32:52 PM »
In regards to Illini Rookie I think the thing it would have the most impact on is hop utilization.  A good rolling has many benefits but I believe the most noticeable would be hop bitterness and potentially some clarity.  If you are going for kettle carmelization that would impact it as well.

Then I lucked out! I was brewing a Kolsch. I didn't want a whole lot of hop bitterness, and no carmelization would be great!

Glad I wasn't brewing something else. The problem is I told someone we would brew this weekend and it is supposed to be 28F.  :o I was also told I am no longer allowed to brew on the stove. Might be a cold brew day.

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Ingredients / Re: Hops turned slightly brown. Can I dry hop with them?
« on: January 22, 2013, 05:30:09 PM »
No worries! I was just impatient.  :D

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I agree with dmtaylor and mtnrockhopper on this one. What are your volumes at each step in your process? The crush definitely is/can be the first thing you can correct easily if this concerns you. Not that I have to, but I double crush my grains. It's more about reaching consistent numbers than shooting for a specific number. If I felt all I could get was 60%, with the effort I wanted to give, and I got that every time using a specific method, then I'd be happy and wouldn't worry about chasing 70% or 95% unless my pocketbook or quality was affected.

The way you are calculating efficiency through BrewersFriend suggests you may not be accounting for your final volume, which can be different from what the recipe states. Your volume measurements may swing your efficiency around 5-10% if you aren't careful. Gravity is not the only factor in calculating efficiency.

So to answer some of the questions asked (and not just those in the above post)
- I did not double crush. My LHBS lets me crush my own grains, so running it through twice shouldn't be an issue
- I did hit final volume on both beers 5.5 gal. I had to actually add a little water on the IPA.
- My pre boil volumes: IPA 7.25-7.5 gal (pre-boil, mash was closer to 7); Kolsch 8 gal (mash and pre-boil volumes)
- IPA was the one I did a little bit of a sparge.

The most likely culprits to me appears to be crush, squeezing, and maybe pH. After I posted, I also read in another BIAB thread that it was recommended to bring the temp up to 165 or so for about 10 mins. Can anyone explain why this would aid efficiency.

I am not worried about the low efficiency if I can be consistent. What I am worried about is that I start scaling up recipes to compensate, and I end up with some monster out of balance by accident for my 3rd BIAB. I guess I will still just target the upper ABV for the style, and if I net out a little low, it will still be okay.

Luckily, the IPA has dropped to 1.004. The Kolsch is still TBD. I did a Brix and Gravity on the IPA and both seem to converge at around 7% which is what I was targeting. I don't think that sort of attenuation is repeatable though.


Thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it.


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Ingredients / Re: Hops turned slightly brown. Can I dry hop with them?
« on: January 21, 2013, 07:09:31 PM »
So in the end, instead of waiting to hear a response, I threw them away. I was happy with the Simcoe, and I figured I could just go get another 1 oz if I wanted to add it to the dry hop.

The IPA is tasting great, and I am thinking of pulling the dry hops after only 3 days after reading the OSU article.

My concern with the brown was that the oxidation of the hops would come through even more since it was being dry hopped. I would of been okay using them for bittering except for I seem to recall hearing negative things about Galaxy for bittering. If it had been the Warrior that was brown, I might of saved them.

Obviously I didn't know though otherwise I wouldn't have posted.  :D

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Time from Mash to Boil
« on: January 21, 2013, 07:00:29 PM »
To piggy back off this idea, what about if the boil is lost periodically throughout? I tried brewing in heavy wind and the temp was dropping which resulted in me losing both my flame and rolling boil several times throughout. I tried to extend the boil by about 10 mins, and I had at least had 20 mins of good rolling boil at the end.

Any reason to think this will be an issue in the final beer?

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First off, I hope this is the right spot. I consider myself all grain now even though I don't have all the extra equipment.

First batch with BIAB was an IPA that ended up around 55% calculated efficiency. Luckily, I was targeting a little higher gravity so the low efficiency didn't kill me.

Second batch was a Kolsch that I also targeted high. Again, I ended up low, but this time with some mild improvement (60%). Both efficiency numbers were gotten by changing the efficiency number in the brewers friend recipe calculator until my OG matched the program.

A couple of notes about my set-up and process.

10 gallon brew pot, custom bag (fiance sewed it for me) that fits well over the edges.

Grains were sent through the mill at the homebrew store, so even though I have read that grain can be practically pulverized without any fear of tannins due to the mesh of the bag, I had 'regular' crushed grain.

Mashed between 154-150 for the IPA, and 152-146 with the Kolsch. Both were stirred periodically and the temp brought up by boiling water when it dropped. I had three different thermometers (brew pot, probe, and a digital stick) and they all pretty much were around the above temps.

Mashed for 70 mins on the IPA and 80 mins on the Kolsch.

No iodine test because I don't have any.

Small sparge of grains on IPA after I pulled the bag (~2 qts at 170 over spent grains). Kolsch grains sat over a strainer, and I added all the drippings back.

Both batches ended up at the volume I wanted, so I don't think it was an issue of adding too much water.

No pH taken during the whole thing either. No dark malt to bring acidity down, but I don't think my water would lead to higher pH (near Boston, MA).

Sorry for the length, but I wanted to be thorough. What are the top reasons I could of ended up with a low efficiency.

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Ingredients / Re: Hops turned slightly brown. Can I dry hop with them?
« on: January 17, 2013, 04:12:20 PM »
Great thanks! I also had an ounce of fresh simcoe whole cone that is going in, so I am not worried about lack of flavor. The yeast is mostly done, and I wanted to get in while it was slightly active to head off any oxidation. I don't have much further to drop as far as gravity is concerned at 1.006 now, so hopefully not too much flavor is lost.

Thanks again.

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Ingredients / Hops turned slightly brown. Can I dry hop with them?
« on: January 17, 2013, 03:42:46 PM »
Hey All,
Need help quickly. I am doing a 1.5IPA and I intend to dry hop. I had used some pellet hops during the boil about a week ago, but I saved roughly 1/2 ounce for dry hopping (galaxy hops). When I went to get them out of the fridge today, they seem a little brown. I intend on dry hopping today during some still pretty good fermentation (day 5). The yeast are still healthy enough to take care of some oxygen.

I was wondering if they brown hops are going to add any off flavors. The hops only appear to be slightly browner but still smell good.

Anyone have any experience with this?

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Any off flavors that I should expect? I'm glad I didn't just toss it.

For a Kolsch style, is there anything else I can do to mellow any off flavors that might have developed? I've never heard of a dry hopped Kolsch, but I am willing to try.

Thanks for the info!


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Brewed a Kolsch this weekend. This was only the 2nd or 3rd beer that I used a yeast starter on. I followed Mr. Malty for setting it up. About 150g for 1600 ml starter. Yeast was European Ale from White Labs. Kolsch was an extract kit.

Long story short, some neighbors came over, and so the last bit of the brew day is a little fuzzy. I recorded an OG at 1.051. I pitched the yeast at around 65F.

I woke up the next day (~18 hours after pitching) and saw no signs of fermentation. This went on for about 4 days. I do work during the day, but I didn't see a bubble in the morning or night. I decided to check the gravity today and it is at 1.010! Not sure when it happened but it happened fast. 

It has a little bit of an off smell and kind a hot taste. Will this dissipate with the cold aging i had planned on doing for this style? Should I even bother racking and locking up a secondary for the next 6 weeks?

I know not to always trust the initial flavors and smells. The smell is almost like a sulfur, and the hot taste makes me think I fermented too fast.


Any thoughts?

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?
« on: November 18, 2011, 08:35:47 PM »
The temperature comment definitely makes sense. This was a 'moving' beer. Meaning, I moved right in the middle of this fermentation, so it had lots of time to get sloshed around and heat up. I guess the only consolation is that maybe my brew and transfer technique wasn't so bad.

What about dry hopping to help mask some of the off-flavors? I have some Cascade I could throw in. In the end, should I just chill it and serve it a football game where no one will really notice, or is there something I can do to save it?

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General Homebrew Discussion / Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?
« on: November 18, 2011, 07:49:10 PM »
So I am not sure where exactly this fits, because it covers quite a few things.

I brewed a high gravity IPA in late August. I fermented for two weeks, and then racked to a secondary. After about 5 weeks in the secondary, I put the beer into a keg. My OG was 1.070 and my current is 1.017.

Here is my 1st issue, last night I tried a sample and I ( and my girl friend who isn't big on beer) both tasted the dread flavor of medicine. There is just enough sweetness that this beer actually tastes kind of like medicine. I had planned on dry hopping and/or potentially trying to pitch some champagne yeast. I was thinking that if the champagne yeast took care of some of the sweetness or if the dry hopping covered up some of the off-flavors that this beer might be drinkable.

Why would the fermentation stop with so much seemingly left to go?

Is it worth trying to save? It was a pretty expensive recipe to just throw it away now. I also am not sure at which point the contamination happened. I normally don't age beer this long, but I was really hoping to see a further drop in gravity.

Thoughts? Other than replacing tubing is there a common technique issue that could cause this? FWIW I have a Kolsch at the end of fermentation that has no noticeable off flavor, so I don't think it is my plastic fermenter.   

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