Author Topic: "watery beer"  (Read 2570 times)

Offline denny

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2018, 03:33:54 PM »
Thanks for the tip. I used to do #1 above, especially from the days of using a cooler for my mash tun. The more I read, I decided to start doing a fly sparge method instead, hoping it would improve my relatively low efficiency numbers. I've always wondered if I was sparging properly. My other thought was to partially (say half) drain the tun for the first runnings, then start to sprinkle the sparge water until hitting my preboil volume.

Everything I read on fly sparging tended to make me believe that consistently moving liquid would help rinse the remaining sugars, so this meant not draining the first runnings before conducting the sparge. I'm certainly willing to go back to the old method, or incorporate a hybrid method to see how that affects things.

I appreciate the insight.

This is a misconception that refuses to die.  I get 83-85% batch sparging.  Take a look at www.dennybrew.com
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2018, 03:48:25 PM »
When I batch sparge I am also in the mid to low 80(s)


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Offline Kirk

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2018, 05:25:13 PM »
Just looking at the recipe, why are you adding the acid malt and do you need the lactic acid addition? If you touched on it already, then just ignore my question.

Also CaraPils (depending upon manufacturer) and Caramel 10 are essentially the same thing.

Since it is a watery "feeling" I would lose the acid malt and determine if you need to add the lactic acid in the first place. Think about boosting the CaraPils.

My last suggestion would be to use a hydrometer to be sure what you are reading on that refractometer is correct. It sounds like you are using a pH meter, refractometer, thermometer, and other measurement devices which can be very precise, but only if calibrated properly. A good old hydrometer can be temperature corrected via a chart to determine if you are actually getting what you think/measure you are getting.

I originally tried acid malt thinking it would be enough to lower the pH into the 5.2ish range or at minimum reduce the lactic acid contribution. However, it isn't doing nearly enough. I was planning on getting rid of this for the next brew and replacing it with more base malt. The latic acid contributions (along with the acid malt) brought my pH down to ~ 5.2 at 150F. I believe this equates to ~ 5.5 at room temp. My pH without any acid additions is quite high (around 6.8-7). The original post has my water chemistry.

I originally had carmel 20 in the bill, removed it a couple brews ago, then decided to add a little back in hoping for a touch of color.

Yes, I believe things are calibrated correctly. However, it's certainly worth another look to be sure.

Thanks for the insight.

Offline Kirk

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2018, 05:31:44 PM »
Mike raises a good point. How much attention are you paying to pH? If adding acid malt and lactic acid, maybe the pH is too low. Low mashing pH does tend to produce a beer that comes across 'thin'.

Mash pH is measuring ~5.2 at 150F with the acid additions. The pH meter is calibrated (4.0 and 7.0 solution) and appears to be working correctly from what I can tell. Also the pH of my tap water is pretty close to what I calculate using my profile.

The acid malt isn't contributing a lot of reduction from what I can tell. I was planning on removing that out of the grain bill and replacing it with more base malt.

Also does my total and residual alkalinity seem high? This may explain why I need this much lactic acid to bring the pH down to the 5.2 range?
Thanks,

Offline Kirk

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2018, 07:09:55 PM »
Thanks for the tip. I used to do #1 above, especially from the days of using a cooler for my mash tun. The more I read, I decided to start doing a fly sparge method instead, hoping it would improve my relatively low efficiency numbers. I've always wondered if I was sparging properly. My other thought was to partially (say half) drain the tun for the first runnings, then start to sprinkle the sparge water until hitting my preboil volume.

Everything I read on fly sparging tended to make me believe that consistently moving liquid would help rinse the remaining sugars, so this meant not draining the first runnings before conducting the sparge. I'm certainly willing to go back to the old method, or incorporate a hybrid method to see how that affects things.

I appreciate the insight.

This is a misconception that refuses to die.  I get 83-85% batch sparging.  Take a look at www.dennybrew.com

Thanks for the link. Yeah, I think I'll go back to doing a batch sparge splitting the total pre-boil volume in half. I always liked this method. This will save me some time too since fly sparging takes a while to complete.

Thanks again.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2018, 07:17:01 PM »
So a couple of things that I've learned regarding the boil off. The best way to reduce things like DMS, and other nasty's is a vigorous boil. Now mine is a bit much likely, but I have no good way of reducing it other than cycling the heaters manually (which is perfectly fine).

Well here's another myth that will die. Excessive and prolonged boiling CAN AND DOES actually damage wort. Back in the day, pro brewers did boil off with long and hard boils that evaporated 15 or more percent of the original wort volume. Then they had the realization in the 70's, that energy efficiency was actually a good thing (oil embargo) and there was a flurry of activity in investigating wort boiling and what its effects were. They found out about what it takes to deal with DMS and other volatiles in wort. They also devised better kettles that significantly reduce the heat stress on wort and the amount of evaporation. Now, modern breweries are typically evaporating 4 to 10 percent of the original volume and still producing the DMS reduction they need for good beer. I'm not going to steal the thunder of my upcoming HomebrewCon presentation, but I've spent over a year of intensive study on this subject and conference attendees and AHA members will learn more about this subject and why they shouldn't be abusing their wort that way.

One effect of excessive boiling that may align with this thread's subject is that you can reduce the wort's Coagulable Nitrogen content too low and that can reduce head retention and possibly some body.

Checking wort pH at 150F means that you have little idea where your pH actually is. Calibrating the meter with room-temp calibration standards and then expecting the meter to report correctly at 150F, is folly. In addition, that offset between room-temp and wort-temp pH is variable. You can't (and shouldn't) apply it with confidence. Do cool off the wort sample into the 60F to 70F range to improve your measurement and avoid abusing your probe.

Denny, I agree that batch sparging can produce pretty decent efficiency. But in this case, I expect that the large amount of wort produced in the initial runoff means that there will be less sparging water volume used in the subsequent batch or fly sparge. Getting that water/grist ratio to a more typical range is likely to help either sparging method.
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Offline denny

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2018, 07:31:53 PM »
Thanks for the link. Yeah, I think I'll go back to doing a batch sparge splitting the total pre-boil volume in half. I always liked this method. This will save me some time too since fly sparging takes a while to complete.

Thanks again.

Splitting the total preboil volume in half is not the advantage that many people think it is in batch sparging.  I mash with whatever ratio I like, usually around 1.65 qt./lb., and then sparge with whatever amount it takes to get my boil volume.
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Offline Kirk

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2018, 08:10:10 PM »
So a couple of things that I've learned regarding the boil off. The best way to reduce things like DMS, and other nasty's is a vigorous boil. Now mine is a bit much likely, but I have no good way of reducing it other than cycling the heaters manually (which is perfectly fine).

Well here's another myth that will die. Excessive and prolonged boiling CAN AND DOES actually damage wort. Back in the day, pro brewers did boil off with long and hard boils that evaporated 15 or more percent of the original wort volume. Then they had the realization in the 70's, that energy efficiency was actually a good thing (oil embargo) and there was a flurry of activity in investigating wort boiling and what its effects were. They found out about what it takes to deal with DMS and other volatiles in wort. They also devised better kettles that significantly reduce the heat stress on wort and the amount of evaporation. Now, modern breweries are typically evaporating 4 to 10 percent of the original volume and still producing the DMS reduction they need for good beer. I'm not going to steal the thunder of my upcoming HomebrewCon presentation, but I've spent over a year of intensive study on this subject and conference attendees and AHA members will learn more about this subject and why they shouldn't be abusing their wort that way.

One effect of excessive boiling that may align with this thread's subject is that you can reduce the wort's Coagulable Nitrogen content too low and that can reduce head retention and possibly some body.

Checking wort pH at 150F means that you have little idea where your pH actually is. Calibrating the meter with room-temp calibration standards and then expecting the meter to report correctly at 150F, is folly. In addition, that offset between room-temp and wort-temp pH is variable. You can't (and shouldn't) apply it with confidence. Do cool off the wort sample into the 60F to 70F range to improve your measurement and avoid abusing your probe.

Denny, I agree that batch sparging can produce pretty decent efficiency. But in this case, I expect that the large amount of wort produced in the initial runoff means that there will be less sparging water volume used in the subsequent batch or fly sparge. Getting that water/grist ratio to a more typical range is likely to help either sparging method.

I'd like to see your presentation regarding boil off rate and its effects - sounds interesting.

I'd like some clarification on pH. It seems as there is a lot of confusion out there as to the correct way to measure it, and at what temperature these normal ranges are referring to.  Additionally, does Auto temperature compensation only refer to the instruments ability to calibrate or to measure the pH of wort (or whatever solution).

Again, thanks for the insight.

Offline Kirk

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2018, 08:12:40 PM »
Thanks for the link. Yeah, I think I'll go back to doing a batch sparge splitting the total pre-boil volume in half. I always liked this method. This will save me some time too since fly sparging takes a while to complete.

Thanks again.

Splitting the total preboil volume in half is not the advantage that many people think it is in batch sparging.  I mash with whatever ratio I like, usually around 1.65 qt./lb., and then sparge with whatever amount it takes to get my boil volume.

Gotcha. I'll shoot for a reasonable grist ratio, and sparge with whatever I need to get to the boil volume. I have a lot of things to change for this next brew. :)

Offline denny

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2018, 08:23:14 PM »
I'd like to see your presentation regarding boil off rate and its effects - sounds interesting.

I'd like some clarification on pH. It seems as there is a lot of confusion out there as to the correct way to measure it, and at what temperature these normal ranges are referring to.  Additionally, does Auto temperature compensation only refer to the instruments ability to calibrate or to measure the pH of wort (or whatever solution).

Again, thanks for the insight.

pH is always measured at room temp...around 70F. 
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Offline MDixon

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2018, 09:02:01 PM »
Skip the acid malt, skid the lactic acid, and skip measuring the pH. Remake the beer substituting either C10 or CaraPils for the Acid Malt and see how it turns out. My $0.02.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 11:53:04 PM by MDixon »
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Offline thcipriani

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2018, 10:03:44 PM »
FWIW, I have a similar mash-tun situation as you (3 gallons under the false-bottom). It doesn't seem to affect the final product much apart from making it hard to hold temps steady. Doesn't seem like a lot of hops for an IPA, and it sure seems like a lot of lactic acid for such a thin mash; however, watery flavor (in my experience) seems to come from low yeast vitality. Large amounts of lethargic yeast make for watery beer. I don't see much discussion about your pitch-rates or procedures -- could that be a possible culprit in this instance?
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Offline Robert

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2018, 10:21:16 PM »

I'm not going to steal the thunder of my upcoming HomebrewCon presentation, but I've spent over a year of intensive study on this subject and conference attendees and AHA members will learn more about this subject and why they shouldn't be abusing their wort that way.

Martin, this has been one of my pet obsessions for years as well -- and I've finally got my boil off down to ~4% after some difficulties putting principle into practice! -- and I'd really like to hear your presentation, but won't be at HBC.  Will the content subsequently be available otherwise?
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Offline BrewBama

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"watery beer"
« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2018, 11:23:19 PM »

I'm not going to steal the thunder of my upcoming HomebrewCon presentation, but I've spent over a year of intensive study on this subject and conference attendees and AHA members will learn more about this subject and why they shouldn't be abusing their wort that way.

Martin, this has been one of my pet obsessions for years as well -- and I've finally got my boil off down to ~4% after some difficulties putting principle into practice! -- and I'd really like to hear your presentation, but won't be at HBC.  Will the content subsequently be available otherwise?

If I may; The AHA will post them on the website for member access. I’ve seen nearly all presentations posted from past conferences. https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/seminars/

Getting down to 4% boil off is tough. I have a 3500w induction cooktop and even at a simmering 2400w I still boil off ~ 10% (from 7 to 6 gal). I’ll keep turning it down and shorten the time on subsequent brews.


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« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 11:34:55 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline Robert

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Re: "watery beer"
« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2018, 12:08:25 AM »

I'm not going to steal the thunder of my upcoming HomebrewCon presentation, but I've spent over a year of intensive study on this subject and conference attendees and AHA members will learn more about this subject and why they shouldn't be abusing their wort that way.

Martin, this has been one of my pet obsessions for years as well -- and I've finally got my boil off down to ~4% after some difficulties putting principle into practice! -- and I'd really like to hear your presentation, but won't be at HBC.  Will the content subsequently be available otherwise?

If I may; The AHA will post them on the website for member access. I’ve seen nearly all presentations posted from past conferences. https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/seminars/

Getting down to 4% boil off is tough. I have a 3500w induction cooktop and even at a simmering 2400w I still boil off ~ 10% (from 7 to 6 gal). I’ll keep turning it down and shorten the time on subsequent brews.


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Thanks, I'm glad we get to benefit from Martin's research.  And yeah, 4% is tricky (and I still get more like 5-6 if I'm not careful with the burner level;) I was stuck at 10% for quite a while.  But I saw your question on a new thread, there is more to it.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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