Author Topic: can you repair a beer  (Read 3289 times)

Offline jimrod

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can you repair a beer
« on: February 28, 2012, 01:00:01 AM »
I started to brew an IPA Saturday but only came up with a OG of 1.050. I was shooting for 1.068 What a disappointment. Can I do anything now to save it?

It has been fermenting for only 2.5 days.

It took 29 lbs of grain for a 12 gal batch. Calif V yeast. and I kept that mark of 153 exactly for 1 hour.

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 01:34:49 AM »
The thing to do would have been to add some extract during the boil if you missed by that much.  If there is room in the fermenter it is not too late to boil some extract and add it.  You'll need about 6 lbs of DME to get back to 1.068, you should be able to dissolve that in ~3 qts of water, it will get you close but you might need a bit more to hit your number.

I'm assuming it will be too bitter if you don't do something, but it might still be good.  You can always do nothing and just wait, it will probably turn out better than you expect.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline davidgzach

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 05:45:09 AM »
I'd cut my losses at this point and see how it turns out, unless like Tom said you think it will be much too bitter to drink.  Then +1 to his recommendation.

That's also quite a miss.  Do you have an idea of what happened?

Dave
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Offline hokerer

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 10:07:28 AM »
That's also quite a miss.  Do you have an idea of what happened?

Agree that that's quite a miss.  Looks like he was expecting just under 80% efficiency and ended up getting less that 60%.  Something definitely went wrong.
Joe

Offline euge

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 10:10:57 AM »
It's better to chalk it up as a learning experience and drink the beer. You'll be reminded every time you drink one. ;)

Saving a beer usually only works in limited circumstances. In this case you could get your gravity up but your hop utilization is already affected.

Drink it.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2012, 04:16:41 PM »
Like the others said, there are a few things you can do.  If it was my beer, I'd let it ferment out.  Wait at least two to three weeks and taste it.

Are you fermenting the entire batch in the same vessel?  If not then you can treat each 6 gallon batch separately if you're not happy with the taste.  One you could do as Tom suggested and boil some DME/Corn Sugar and add it, let it ferment out and taste it again after fermentation.  Or you could add some fruit to try and mask the hops if your IBU/SG ratio is too high.  Or just add some fruit flavoring.

First things first, I would just wait and taste it...you never know.

Or, I was just reminded of Vinnie Cilurzo's comment in Zymurgy a few years ago.  Whey they were thinking about making Pliny the Younger a Triple IPA,  with less alcohol than the Elder (8%).  Basically hopping the beer more than Pliny the Elder, while reducing the OG and finished alcohol.  They decided not to do this and brew Pliny the Younger which is 11%, but your beer could be an interesting beer.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 04:23:10 PM by liquidbrewing »
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Offline jimrod

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 09:02:45 AM »
The IBUs on this beer rose to 51 because of the lack of ABV. Originally a 41 IBU IPA.  57% efficiency.

This has happened 2 of the last 3 batches. I am using a HERMS. I was very careful not to over heat the mash during recirculation.

Could a low pH of 5.0 - 5.2  cause this low efficiency ?  I used the Bru'n water program to calculate the amount of lactic acid to add but a paper test showed the pH to be lower than calculated.

or   Should I mash for longer than 60 min. to ensure more conversion ?

I want to do another 12 gal batch this Saturday and I want to get this problem corrected.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 10:32:40 AM »
The IBUs on this beer rose to 51 because of the lack of ABV. Originally a 41 IBU IPA.  57% efficiency.

This has happened 2 of the last 3 batches. I am using a HERMS. I was very careful not to over heat the mash during recirculation.

Could a low pH of 5.0 - 5.2  cause this low efficiency ?  I used the Bru'n water program to calculate the amount of lactic acid to add but a paper test showed the pH to be lower than calculated.

or   Should I mash for longer than 60 min. to ensure more conversion ?

I want to do another 12 gal batch this Saturday and I want to get this problem corrected.
Yes, the pH could be affecting it but the strips are notoriously inaccurate and hard to read.  If it is a concern though, I would cut back on the lactic acid. 

I would also look at your crush and double check the temp of your herms to make sure you're not denaturing the enzymes.  Is this a newer herms, or have you used it a lot before?  You can mash longer, but 60 minutes should be enough for most recipes.

I really think the crush could be an issue - if it was the enzymes (either temp or pH), I would expect a better efficiency but a lack of attenuation when it ferments.  The low gravity in the kettle, to me, seems like a crush problem but I could be wrong.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jimrod

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 09:55:38 AM »
I have been using this HERMS for about 2 years or roughly 20 batches. All the pots are converted kegs.

I've looked back on my last 6 brews and discovered low efficiency in every one (mid 60s). This one was very low. I buy and crush grain at 3 LHBS which all give me low efficiency so I don't think it's the crush.

I had the same idea about denaturing the enzymes so I watched the temp of the HLT to make sure it didn't get over 160. The only other thing I can think of is watching the pH.

I think there is something simple I"m missing that's why I need help.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 10:41:07 AM »
I buy and crush grain at 3 LHBS which all give me low efficiency so I don't think it's the crush.
LHBS are notorious for keeping their mills loose to keep them from jamming.  I would look at the milled grain closely next time and make sure you are getting a decent crush.

If you know anyone with a pH meter that would be a good tool to borrow for the next batch, or just cut back on the acid additions so your strips give you a good reading.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline davidgzach

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 04:14:08 PM »
+1 to double checking the crush.  Frankly, if you've invested enough for a HERMS, I would drop another $200 on a grain mill and a PH tester.  One of these HAS to be the culprit IMHO.

In the meantime, try a brew without the additions and see what happens.  What in your water chemistry was making you add them in the first place?  Just curious.

Dave
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Offline jimrod

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2013, 08:41:59 AM »
I did fix the problem. I replaced the bazooka hose with a false bottom and slowed the sparge to a crawl.
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Offline duboman

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can you repair a beer
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2013, 09:38:15 AM »
You can also try and double crush next time, or get your own mill to have complete control
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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2013, 11:37:42 AM »
You can also try and double crush next time, or get your own mill to have complete control
+1.   I've been having my LHBS double crush for years.  It's helped my efficiency (~83%) stay fairly constant, whereas before, it was anything but.
Jon H.

Offline joe_feist

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Re: can you repair a beer
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2013, 08:26:06 AM »
Sounds like crush could be a factor, but you also mention pH and length of mash. Do you check for conversion at the end of the mash? I know the iodine test has fallen somewhat out of favor and I don't remember the last one I did either. But, it could be one more piece of data, iodine is cheap and you can always toss it in the first aid kit when you're done.
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