How close is close enough?

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Ward Chillington, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Not yet a year under my belt with this craft but I do have about 10 batches worth of learning so far and I am focusing in on 3 recipes I like that and while looking at my records I am seeing some swing in the numbers of one recipe while the other 2 are with in a few points of each other.
    For instance, ABV and SG.... This second batch of Blonde I just put up is looking good within one point on its OG of 1.050 where my first batch was 1.049 and my Brown has got numbers that are + or - .05 points with the OG, FG and ABV but the Porter I put up a couple of weeks ago has been all over the place. 1.058 and 1.050 OG then 1.010 and 1.023 FG with ABV's of 6.3 and 4.3, While the OG was not too far apart, the FG is some 13 points and a full 2% difference in the alcohol!

    So the question has to do with repeatability. How far off some target number is close enough? What kind of tolerance is there within the system and how much of a delta do you need to have where there's a discernable taste difference?
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Stuck fermentations don't count in the average. That's just an outlier that we all get now and then. A sample size of 2 isn't indicative of anything. If most of your batches are within a few points here and there, you're doing fine.
    Keep brewing. ;)
     
  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Pluss two styles at opposite ends of brewing spectrum one a light colored light bodied beer and the other a darker beer with more malt flavour and probably different yeast selection.
     
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  4. JT_YYC

    JT_YYC Member

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    All of these things being said, and without much information on your fermentation control if any, I have had similar issues. When I bought an inkbird, and heater blanket to go along with it, that alone drastically improved my FG. It's not the end all be all, but brewers always say, temp control and sanitization are the most important things.
     
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  5. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Indeed JT, tempature control is my new focus and this batch of blonde that I just put up has been getting the royal treatment from me. I moved it up into my pantry from the cool 60 degree(F) basement the other day as I noted the wort tempature started dropping in concert with my fermentation lock burps. The result now 2 days later is the wort temp has bumped up to about 66 and the fermentation still seems strong. I'm getting into day 7 and I have to say that most of my ales to date have been petering out by now and flocculation would be underway but not with this batch.

    Trailben, to your question, I used an 11.5 g packet of Safale 05 to this 5 gallon batch. The porter and the brown have been Safale 04. I don't do a starter but I do rehydrate in a few cups water with a heaping tablespoon of honey. When I pitch, I can see that I have a viable yeast culture started by the bubble up in the container. And full disclosure, my first batches were just pitched from the packet and with minimal pre-pitch oxygenation. Now I shoot a minute's worth of oxygen through an air stone into my wort.
     
  6. zised

    zised New Member

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    Honestly I attribute all my high FG beers to something going wrong during the mash (high mash temp). I know stuck fermentations can happen but they are relatively rare in my experience.
     
  7. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Working with a live organism can give differing results sometimes I suppose. I'd expect a fresh pack of yeast to performe well under normal fermenting conditions but maybe recultured yeast a few generations in may display some slightly random outcomes.
     
  8. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    I think there is more tolerance to the system in terms of what ends up being detectable by average taste buds than we think. Brewing seems to be a fairly forgivable hobby and the more I've learned about it the more laidback I've become. Don't get me wrong I still like to plan out, record, and study my estimated gravity at each point of the process, but I don't freak out about it if I get something I wasn't expecting, just note it down to help improve my consistency for the next batch. Cheers!
     
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  9. Texas Ale Works

    Texas Ale Works Active Member

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    This ^

    What is a point here and there? I was all about the numbers, I it was sucking the fun out of brewing. Close, for me, is good enough. I use and look at all my numbers now, but I don't chase them. Brewhouse efficiency goes sideways might need to check my mill. Volumes get off where did the liquid go? Leak? Boil-off? did I not add enough water to start? Really the only number that is important to me is 1.020.....as long as I get past that I am good.

    T
     
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  10. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I am going to back up JT and Trialben here...different recipe, different results.
    As a bit of an anecdote, I have been brewing the same recipe over and over again for a while now (with at most small changes to malt and/or hops), and have been really happy with my consistency. This past weekend, I forgot to dilute my first-runnings (my recipe involves a single batch sparge and separate boiling of the first and secondary runnings, each diluted with a small amount of water to reduce the pre-boil SG), and made up for it by putting the full dilution volume in the second boil. At first I was thrown by the additional volume at the end, but the numbers were still spot-on! Turns out, it was just the relatively lower boil-off that increased the resulting volume of wort and decreasing the resulting OG. Obviously the hop utilization will be off a bit too, but seeing as I primarily dry-hop, no biggie... :)
     
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  11. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    It took me a while to dial in my boil again when I got a different burner. All kinds of things affect the outcome.
     
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  12. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Hawk, I think you just hit the nail on the head or in this case put the cap on the bottle! I am still dialing stuff in and it is just not a new burner, it's everything and it's gonna keep changing!

    Thanks folks!
     
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