Author Topic: Beer Mystery  (Read 369 times)

Offline tommymorris

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Beer Mystery
« on: July 11, 2018, 02:05:50 AM »
BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): My beer is much darker than expected and I don’t know why.

I have been perplexed by my last brew. It came out significantly darker than I expected and significantly darker than BeerSmith predicted.

Recipe:
3 gallons, OG 1050
85% 2-Row Pale (Briess)
10% Munich 9L (Avangard)
5% Organic Crystal 60 (Briess)
33 IBU Mosaic @ FWH
0.5 oz./3 gallons Mosaic @ 1
1 oz./3 gallons Mosaic @ steep
Cal Ale slurry

BeerSmith SRM = 7

Picture:


Some clues:

1. The taste has a bit of burned flavor (smoke or roast.) My homebrew club friends taste this too.
2. I brew with a GrainFather. It could have HSA issues. But, other batches have not been darker than expected.
3. There was a burned spot (caramelization) stuck on the bottom of the kettle after the brew: approximately 1”x3”. It was a bear to get off.
4. I was sober when measuring grains.
5. BeerSmith predicts 9 SRM for reversing the C60 and Munich percentages.
6. I brewed a batch with the reversed grain bill. Picture below. This beer is very young and still loaded with yeast in suspension. This is 85/10/5: 2-row, C60, Munich, ie. I flipped the C60 and Munich from the original.

7. The beer is awesome. Homebrew club wanted more.  Sweet like an Amber Ale with the slight smoke/burn flavor adding a nice complexity. The Mosaic hops are killer.

Any ideas why this beer is so dark?



- formerly alestateyall.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 02:12:38 AM by tommymorris »

Offline Robert

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 02:17:45 AM »
My vote goes to #3.  A little burnt sugar would go a long way in a 3 gal batch, and the taste is the dead giveaway.  Nothing in your grain bill can account for that, so you know the scorch got right into the beer.  HSA in the system would have affected both batches equally.  (As a side note, kudos to those who are sober at every stage of the brewing process.  Except maybe coming up with ideas. )
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 02:29:25 AM »
My vote goes to #3.  A little burnt sugar would go a long way in a 3 gal batch, and the taste is the dead giveaway.  Nothing in your grain bill can account for that, so you know the scorch got right into the beer.  HSA in the system would have affected both batches equally.  (As a side note, kudos to those who are sober at every stage of the brewing process.  Except maybe coming up with ideas. )
Oh, Robert! Measuring grain is the first stage. No one is sober for every stage.  Right?

I agree with #3 being the culprit.


- formerly alestateyall.

Offline Robert

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 02:43:41 AM »
^^^
 ;D
Sobriety is probably at least recommended at stages involving math (at least in my case ::) ) flammable, caustic or breakable materials; or water and electricity in close proximity.  (I brewed this morning, I'm now exempt.   8)
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 02:49:04 AM by Robert »
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 10:47:35 AM »
My vote goes to #3.  A little burnt sugar would go a long way in a 3 gal batch, and the taste is the dead giveaway.  Nothing in your grain bill can account for that, so you know the scorch got right into the beer.  HSA in the system would have affected both batches equally.  (As a side note, kudos to those who are sober at every stage of the brewing process.  Except maybe coming up with ideas. )

I think that burnt spot on the bottom is the smoking gun.


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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 11:10:01 AM »
I agree with the others.

As for being sober while brewing, I never drink while brewing.  That probably has more to do with starting at 5AM than any level of self control.  SWMBO would not be very happy to come down to the brewery at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning find me tipping back a pint for breakfast.  ;)

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline Robert

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 11:47:37 AM »
^^^
I'm an early morning masher too.  Helps to make sober brewing a non issue, and leaves the afternoon for "productive" and "responsible" stuff on brew day. OTOH the traditional SOP in British breweries is to mash in the first brew of the day bright and early, and while it rests, convene for a "brewers breakfast" which of course includes beer.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 12:03:22 PM »
Two other possible culprits: boiling too long and mashing pH being too high. Both can increase color in the wort.
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Offline TeeDubb

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2018, 02:41:20 PM »
Another thing I have had happen on my system once, which is Grainfather-like: I had an air pocket form under the grain bag and parts of the heating element started to overheat locally which scorched the wort.  This was during a batch sparge and after the primary mash wort was collected.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2018, 03:24:51 PM »
Two other possible culprits: boiling too long and mashing pH being too high. Both can increase color in the wort.
Brunwater predicted PH of 5.23. I didn’t actually measure the PH, but, Brunwater seems accurate from other batches I have measured.

The Grainfather boil seems pretty gentle to me. The boil length was 60 minutes.


- formerly alestateyall.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2018, 03:31:30 PM »
Another thing I have had happen on my system once, which is Grainfather-like: I had an air pocket form under the grain bag and parts of the heating element started to overheat locally which scorched the wort.  This was during a batch sparge and after the primary mash wort was collected.
How did you observe the problem? Was it obvious or did you figure that out after the brew? Just curious.

On the Grainfather, overheating the element is supposed to trip a breaker on the unit. In fact, the build up of scorched wort right over the element is a known problem. I have only had it happen once. It can trip said relay when it is bad. Mine was apparently bad enough to leave a burnt taste and darken the wort but not bad enough to trip the relay.  I wish I knew how to avoid the problem or even know it is happening. Grainfather recommends scraping the bottom of the kettle during the boil with a metal mash paddle. That is easier said than done. You can’t see to know if you have done any good or to even know if you needed to scrape in the first place.


- formerly alestateyall.

Offline TeeDubb

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Re: Beer Mystery
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2018, 03:49:48 PM »
I first smelled something during the batch sparge and turned turned off the heating element.  I started stirring the mash a bit and then got a big burp of air that came around the grain bag.  After I collected all the wort, I could see some discoloration and burnt wort on the heating element close to the bulkhead.  It all cleaned off with a little scrubbing and I ended up not using the second runnings from the batch sparge since there were some little bits of carbon particulate in the wort.

I now place my mash paddle between the grain bag and the side of the kettle when I mash in and batch sparge to ensure any trapped air has a path out. A full and wet grain bag seems to make a nice seal against my kettle.