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Messages - madscientist

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Thanks for the quick replies.

I will check my settings in Beersmith and report back.  This may be a dumb question - Doing extract and partial mash even I never really considered efficiency since adding LME/DME usually got me to within a point or two of my anticipated OG, but now that it looks like it is important how do I calculate it?

Regarding grain crush:  I want to believe my LHBS guy is pretty good, but I could see him milling the grain incorrectly.  I wasn't there when he did it.  I usually e-mail my order in and pick it up on my way home from work.  Will definately look into this more.

I have a high tech wooden volume stick I made, so I will have to remember to measure my post-boil volume and grain absorptions as well next time out, but I think 5.5 gallons is a good estimate.  Fermenter was at the 5 gal mark, and there was some left in the kettle with hop trub and break material.

Hello AHA.  It's been a while since I posted here, but I have been on a brewing hiatus for the past few months while my wife and I prepared to move into our first house.  Since it is a brand new house, and she didn't want me brewing in the kitchen, she gave me the full support to convert from extract and partial mash to all grain.  This weekend i brewed my first two batches - Two hefeweizens for an upcoming party. 

The brew day went as planned and I didn't have any more troubles than expected for working with a new set up, however, on both batches my OG came out significantly lower than anticipated.  Beersmith told me 1.055 and I got around 1.043-1.045 on both batches.  While it's not a huge concern to me, I would like to know where I can improve my process. Here is what I did:

10lb grain (6# wheat, 3# pils, 1#munich, hefty scoop of rice hulls - figure 0.5 lb) - Grain was crushed by my LHBS.
1 oz German Hallertauer @ 60 min

Mash @ 1.4 qt/gal for 60 min - 152 deg F (14.00 qt)
Batch sparge with 4.2 gal of water - 168 deg F
Total boil volume = 6.5 gallons.  Boil 60 min, chilled to 70 and pitched a 1.2L starter of WY 3068
Anticipated OG: 1.055

So as I said before, my OG came in around 1.043-1.045 for each batch.  While 152 was my target mash temp, I only ended up hitting 149-150.  I didn't preheat the mash tun, and I think I could heat my strike water up to a higher temp.  (I only was going to 164). 

After the 60 min mash, I recirculated about 2 quarts of wort and drained the tun into the kettle.  Added my sparge water (at 168), mixed thoroughly (at least what I considered thorough), recirculated another 2 qts, and drained for a total boil volume of 6.5 gallons.  I had no stuck sparges, but there was some liquid left in the bottom of the tun (expected dead volume?)

My mash tun is a 52qt cooler with SS Braid. 

I believe my lack of OG can be attributed to the mash but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on what I could change.

Edit: I did not see a previous post on almost the same topic, so I'll read through that but feedback would be appreciated nonetheless.

Yeast and Fermentation / Rouse yeast?
« on: November 25, 2012, 08:42:43 AM »
So this relates to this topic

I'm wondering if I Should rouse my yeast and see if I can get it to go down a few more points and maybe clear up a bit.  Right now it's as cloudy as hell.  While I forgot to write it down I'm almost positive I used Irish moss.  Also I'm wondering if I should attempt a cold crash?  I would have to stick the fermenter on my deck since I don't have a fridge.  Is this just asking for trouble?  The gravity sample tasted fine.  Maybe slightly sweet but nothing stands out as a problem.  Currently the fermenter is at about 69-70F.

Hoppy Holidays Red Rye boiling away now.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: stuck at 1.020
« on: November 22, 2012, 09:14:36 AM »
I'm having the same problem with my IPA.  Thought the yeast was dead, so I went to repitch but the fermentation started up (this was after a 3-4 day lag).  I think the oxygen thing is probably a major player, maybe there just wasn't enough after it was sitting there for that long... also I have a feeling my pitching temp was WAY lower than my thermometer was telling me.  I bought a new one and was shocked to see how low it was after the lag time.  Regardless, the hydro sample I just tested tasted really good.  Still cloudy as hell, so maybe it's still going down, but very tasty and I couldn't really detect any off flavors. 

Equipment and Software / Boil kettle
« on: November 21, 2012, 02:36:10 PM »
So, my wife and I are looking to purchase a house in the next few months.  Once we move out of our tiny apartment, I'll be able to take my brewing to the next level - all grain, so I'm attempting to put a wishlist of equipment and upgrades together.  My first purchase will most likely be a turkey fryer with 30qt pot - I want to add weldless conversion kit so i don't have to siphon the wort out like I currently do.  My question is - what goes between the wort and the break material/hops?  I've been looking online and stuff like the bazooka screen and some of the false bottoms say they're only good for leaf hops.  Is there a false bottom that will work for pellet hops or are these kettles usually set up that they don't have anything there?  Thanks.

Nothing this weekend, but I'll be heading down to the Homebrew shop to get some supplies for my Black Friday Brew Day.. Brewing a hoppy red rye ale.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dead yeast?
« on: November 15, 2012, 05:19:08 PM »
So yea... took a while to get going, it's fermenting now.  Should I still reptich?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dead yeast?
« on: November 13, 2012, 02:16:33 PM »
Do you have the serial number off the pack? It may be a bad batch.

Yea I saved the packet from the trash lol.  I am going to call them and see if they can get any info.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dead yeast?
« on: November 13, 2012, 06:43:56 AM »
Looks like I'm stopping at my LHBS tomorrow since they're closed today.  Do you think if I contact Safeale they'd send me another packet of yeast?  I'd buy a second pack in the meantime, but do they do that if the yeast is dead?

Yeast and Fermentation / Dead yeast?
« on: November 13, 2012, 05:31:44 AM »
So Sunday I brewed an IPA and pitched a packet of US-05.  Starting gravity was 1.063.  I don't typically rehydrate and have ha excellent results.  So like the others I just sprinkled on top.  Pitching temp was probably around 62.  There have been no visible signs of fermentation.  When I looked at the beer it looks like its done fermenting but there is no Krausen at all.  Refractometer says its still 1.063.  So I'm wondering if the yeast is dead, I killed it, and should I repitch or rouse it somehow.  Yeas was purchased from my LHBS and well within the exp date. 


Personally for me, it's about the control I have over my recipe.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with Kits, and as many have said, many retailers sell quality ones.  I personally like the feeling of picking my own hops, talking with this forum and homebrew shop what hops go well, what grains are good for the recipe, and then building that recipe in Beersmith.  Then, if the first version of the recipe is meh, I can always tweak and adjust things. 

After a hiatus from brewing for over a month, the sparge water is currently heating for my IPA with Nugget, Columbus, and Zythos hops.  Homebrew shop was out of Simcoe and Amarillo, so I changed on the fly but I think this is going to be better.

Beer Recipes / Re: IPA Help
« on: October 02, 2012, 01:48:37 PM »
Here's what I came up with.  This is from memory, but it should get me to the 1.068-1.069 range, 58-60 IBU, and 7-9 SRM on the color scale.  Will ferment with US-05 yeast.  Will also add some gypsum to the mash.

5gal batch
3gal boil

1.5 lb Pilsner malt
1.0 lb Munich malt
0.5 lb Crystal 20
0.25 lb Crystal 40
0.25 lb 2-Row

Mash @ 152 for 60 min (1.5 qt/lb) - batch sparge

3 lb Dried Malt Extract @ 60 min
3.3 lb Pilsner LME @ 30 min

1 oz Columbs @ 60 min
1 oz Simcoe @ 20 min
0.5 oz Columbus @ 10 min
0.5 oz Simcoe @ 2 min
0.5 oz Amarillo @ 0 min

Dry Hop for 7 days with at least 1oz each of Columbus, Simcoe, Amarillo.

Beer Recipes / Re: IPA Help
« on: October 01, 2012, 10:19:15 AM »
Thanks for the feedback.  Right now I have eliminated Summit from the equation, and am focusing on 3 hops - columbus, Simcoe, and Amarillo.  I am thinking of staggering columbus/simcoe throughout the boil and using the Amarillo at flameout.  Someone brought up dryhopping - and I definately will do with at least an ounce of each hop. 

As for the yeast - After some further research and searching for topics covering the use of English yeast with american hops - I think i've decided to go with the US-05 instead. 

I currently have three versions of the recipe, one with 2-Row malt, one with maris otter, and one with the pils malt, so we'll see which one I decide on.   

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