Author Topic: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches  (Read 1474 times)

Offline lasersnake

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Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« on: July 23, 2018, 11:54:26 PM »
Hi Team,

I have been having some issues on the last 5 brews I have done (since getting a new system) with low apparent attenuation of the yeast or high final gravity. All brews seem to be consistently coming out 5-6 points above the estimated FG.

Set Up:

3 Vessel electric HERMS 5gal (batch size) system. Mash efficiency 78% Brewhouse efficiency 66%.
SS Brewtech Brewbucket fermenters inside a temp controlled fridge with an accuracy of +-0.1 deg Celsius.
Yeast Starter temperature controlled chamber with a stir plate.
Beersmith 3 for all recipes.

After stirring my grains in to the strike water (calculated temps in Beersmith 3) the mash temp stabilizes within a couple of mins and stays constant for the entire mash. The mash temp at the top of the Mash tun is approximately 1 deg different to the bottom and remains very consistent.

My water has been tested and I treat it accordingly for each brew. Mash PH is always between 5.2 and 5.3.

I have tried different ways of pitching yeasts and different yeasts - dry yeast rehydrate, dry yeast not rehydrated, liquid yeast large starter, decanted starter and liquid yeast straight from the pouch. Yeasts have been Safale US05, Mangrove Jacks M44, WLP001, WLP090. Yeast is always pitched in to well aerated wort.

I check the gravity with a hydrometer and then recheck with a different hydrometer. For FG lately I have been checking straight out of the fermenter at fermentation temps then checking again once the beer is cooled and fined (with gelatin) then warmed back up to 20deg (hydrometer calibration temperature).

My previous system was a Robobrew and I never didn't hit my estimated FG over 15 batches, the only thing that has changed in the process is going to a 3 Vessel system.

Here is a link to some of the sample recipes I have done - http://beersmithrecipes.com/listrecipes/143366/lasersnake

I just pulled two beers out of the fermenters and here are the numbers for them;

6Foot5 IPA - 23l Batch

6.35kg Pale Malt (93%)
0.16kg Cara-Pils (2.3%)
0.16kg Medium Crystal (2.3%)
0.16kg Vienna (2.3%)

3 Packs of Mangrove Jacks M44 rehydrated. Fermented at 19.5deg for 7 days then slow rise to 21 for 5 days.

Estimated OG = 1.062
Actual OG = 1.061

Estimated FG = 1.011
Actual FG = 1.016


And the other batch;

S Bomb IPA - 23l Batch

6.60kg Pale Malt (89.6%)
0.77kg Medium Crystal (10.4%)

2l Starter with WLP001. Fermented at 19.5deg for 7 days then slow rise to 21 for 5 days.

Estimated OG = 1.066
Actual OG = 1.065

Estimated FG = 1.013
Actual FG = 1.019

My yeast attenuation for these is around 70% which is lower than the low side of both yeasts used.

I think it is very strange that all batches are consistently 5-6 points above estimated FG. If anyone has any ideas I would be really grateful.

Offline Robert

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 12:06:42 AM »
With attenuation issues, my first thing to consider is mash temperature.   Is it possible that on your old system, you were actually mashing at a lower temperature than intended, and that you are consistently maintaining a higher temperature  now?  70% ADF is not unusual for ale yeasts depending on the wort sugar profile.  (The manufacturers usually seem to state a rate that assumes a highly fermentable wort.)
Rob Stein
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Offline lasersnake

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2018, 12:45:32 AM »
With attenuation issues, my first thing to consider is mash temperature.   Is it possible that on your old system, you were actually mashing at a lower temperature than intended, and that you are consistently maintaining a higher temperature  now?  70% ADF is not unusual for ale yeasts depending on the wort sugar profile.  (The manufacturers usually seem to state a rate that assumes a highly fermentable wort.)

Thanks for your reply. The robobrew is definitely a bit sketchy with mash temps and they can vary a bit, which was actually my whole reason for going to the HERMs system (I wanted consistency). I know on my new system I am definitely getting the temperature that my mash profiles in beersmith are set up for (have tested with multiple thermometers) so I would have thought the recipes I am brewing off should still be spitting out a realistic FG!

Offline majorvices

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2018, 01:09:37 AM »

I think it is very strange that all batches are consistently 5-6 points above estimated FG. If anyone has any ideas I would be really grateful.

I know you said your hydrometer was temperature calibrated but is is gravity calibrated? Not unusual for those to be off over time. The only hydrometer I trust is my lab hydrometers and I still check and calibrate them with distilled water regularly and especially when I get an odd reading.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2018, 01:22:03 AM »
Your final gravity don't seem all that high.  You could try a  more enzmatic malt.  Perhaps the pale ale malt you are using is lower in enzymes, perhaps not.

Offline lasersnake

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2018, 01:27:21 AM »

I think it is very strange that all batches are consistently 5-6 points above estimated FG. If anyone has any ideas I would be really grateful.

I know you said your hydrometer was temperature calibrated but is is gravity calibrated? Not unusual for those to be off over time. The only hydrometer I trust is my lab hydrometers and I still check and calibrate them with distilled water regularly and especially when I get an odd reading.

Yeah I thought this as well... I have just done a test in distilled water at 20deg C (calibration temp) and both hydrometers are good (one is actually 1 point under).

Offline lasersnake

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2018, 01:28:15 AM »
Your final gravity don't seem all that high.  You could try a  more enzmatic malt.  Perhaps the pale ale malt you are using is lower in enzymes, perhaps not.

I have tried different brands and malts - from ale to pilsner to dark etc and all the same results!!

Offline Robert

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2018, 01:38:35 AM »
So instead of what BS recommends, try adjusting your mash temperature lower.  Only way to find out if that's it.  Software is a starting place, actual results you experience in your brewery are your ultimate guide.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2018, 06:55:50 AM »
How long are you mashing?

Offline jeffy

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2018, 10:03:54 AM »
Not giving your yeast enough oxygen will cause low final gravity.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2018, 10:25:25 AM »
Definitely agree with two pieces of advice here: Lower you mash temp a couple of degrees while increasing your mash time and increase your aeration time.

IIRC you said you are using calibrated thermometers but if not, make sure they are calibrated. One or all of those options should fix your problem.

Online denny

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2018, 02:41:17 PM »
How are you deciding what your FG "should" be?
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Offline narcout

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2018, 04:02:59 PM »
Are you measuring the temperature of the wort immediately after it exits the HERMS coil? 
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2018, 04:53:07 PM »
How are you deciding what your FG "should" be?

Second that. The published attenuation ranges for each yeast strain should guide your first brew with each, but as you're seeing now, they can't possibly predict the precise attenuation for every ingredient/equipment/process combination.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Low attenuation/missing FG on all batches
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2018, 06:10:10 PM »
Yeah but if it is recipes he has regularly brewed then he can come to expect similar results. I do recommend a force fermentation test to make sure it is your mash as opposed to your fermentation.