Irish Red's a little short

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Thurston Brewer, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I brewed up my first Irish Red Ale today - recipe here: http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/419294/irish-red-ale-01

    Aside from comments about my recipe, I would like some input re: mashing. I ended up 10 points shy on OG, and I'm not sure why.

    Could it be because of the short mash? Only 45 minutes because I wanted to keep a lot of body, but I checked for starch conversion and that was complete..

    Could it be because I forgot to add the brown sugar in the boil and added it after the wort was cool? I stirred it pretty well and could find no sign of undissolved granules, but you never know...

    Could it be because of the Maris Otter? I've never used it before, so perhaps it's just not very modified? or requires special handling?

    Anyway, the yeastie beasties have custody of it now, so I'll leave it in their capable hands (they do have hands, don't they?) I hit the mash spot on and the color was great... we shall see.
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    How was your grain crushed? What temp did you mash at. Mash temp,is linked to fermentability of wort, time is for enzyme conversion. Did you sparge your grains. Did you BIAB?
     
  3. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    10 points low is a fair hit
    What sort of efficiency do you normally get ?
    Nothing wrong with MO , converts well
    temp is fine for more body , that mash thickness looks ok ( mental metric converted ) so assuming you doughed in properly and didn't have a dough ball it should have been fine
     
  4. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Crush was good - looked like it normally does
    Single infusion, mash temp 153 °F
    Batch sparged 2.5 gallons @ 140ish F
    Efficiency usually right about 70% with this setup/method
    Pretty sure no doughballs

    Looking it over I'll bet I just didn't get the sugar stirred in well enough. I'm gonna stir it again in the morning and take another reading (before the yeast kicks in, I'm hoping). Maybe the gravity's there, just not in solution yet. If I take the sugar out of the grain bill it would come to 1.060, which is pretty close to what I saw...

    Would you guys expect any flavor difference for not having boiled the brown sugar? Also, based on an xbeerment, I decided to leave the trub in... that shouldn't affect the gravity, though...
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I let the trub in my beers following same method I've not noticed any draw back to flavour or clarity on this. Since milling my own grain to about little corser than flour consistency I have to be extra careful on dough balls as it loves to clump together I grabbed the wisk out last brew to break em up
     
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  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My bet is you were a kilogram short of grain. Ten points is about a fifth of the expected yield for this style, the grain bill should be around five kg; ergo, a kilogram is missing. Assuming a five gallon or 20 liter batch.
     
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  7. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Actually I do 3 gallon batches. I'm sure the grain was correct as I weighed it out myself, so I don't think that was it.

    I checked this morning and there's a big, fat krauesen on top so I'm not gonna get another chance for an OG reading... I'll do my regular monitoring measurements and maybe that will illuminate the issue.
     
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  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    just add your sugar to the fermenter, you'll be fine
     
  9. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Yep, that's what I did. I was just concerned that I might not have stirred it into solution - adding the granules dry and all. I know it will dissolve in over time and what with the fermentation turbulence and all... just not happy that I didn't get the extract I was looking for.

    I took another reading just now and it came out to 1.050 after about 15 hours. Can't really be sure from that, but I think it's in line with an OG of 1.058 so I'm guessing it was just inefficiency in my mash. Could have been the pH, which I didn't check (lack of preparation) or the short mashing time.
     
  10. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I like the idea of simplifying the process, and not having to give up any beer by excluding the kettle bottom. Did discover a couple of negative side effects of transferring the trub into the fermenter, though:
    1. Lots of crap in the krauesen, making it undesireable to harvest yeast from there.
    2. Bits of hop clog my sampler (Thief) making is harder and messier to take hydro readings
    Ah, well... nothing for free, right?
     
  11. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    its either a lack of efficiency, wrong water amounts or not mashing long enough to get the correct efficiency, could be the grain was old or hard , lots of things can happen but "ph" no thats not it
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That will work. Yesterday I had a batch come up a few (ahem) points short. After rounding it out with 14 ounces of DME (batch size was six gallons for the mathematically inclined), my inner Sherlock took over. First, I overshot my mash temps by about 4 degrees (not enough grain mass). Second, the low extract (not enough gravity points). Third, a very high volume of wort left over in the mash tun (not enough absorption). Fourth, some measurement confusion at the LHBS because there wasn't enough of the Weyermann German Pale malt (two people measuring). Fifth, checking past batches, I come up right with the amount of grain that SHOULD have been in the mix, Sixth, checking efficiency (my actual yield against expected) both with and without the pound (without it, I got what I actually read).... A couple of points isn't worth thinking about at homebrew scale but when you have significant differences, there are ways to check what actually happened to get the results. In this case, I was able to determine I was a pound short on my grain bill (within reasonable confidence).

    By the way, on a three gallon batch, I'd estimate you were about 500 grams short on grain. Or you forgot the sugar in the boil. That's not a worry: If I'm expecting flavor from the sugars, I generally add them at about day 4 of the fermentation.
     
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  13. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Racked to secondary today - 1.013 and still slipping downward. It may not have much more fermenting to do but I'm keen to let it sit and relax for a few days to be sure it's finished and cleaned up everything. I also expect it to clear quite a lot before I bottle it. It was still very cloudy when I racked it.

    I noticed a curious thing: when I was siphoning out of the primary, there was a lot of activity stirring up from the bottom... in several places it looked like underwater fountains had sprung up, creating turbulent upflows with lots of particulate matter in it. I figured it had something to do with the trub I left in at the bottom. Perhaps it had trapped some gas that was being released because of the stimulation of siphoning the beer. Anybody else observe this before?
     
  14. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    always do a gentile stir at the bottom a couple of days before racking, that way if good yeast its trapped on the bottom they get released and finish eating and you just wait, time is irreverent, you wait till its done
     
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  15. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I kegged a batch tonight and on inspection of trub yeast cake at bottom I noticed little spors creating around the edges sort of like an extremely slow boil.
     
  16. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Yep, something definitely seems to be going on down deep. I like Ozark's suggestion of giving it a stir a couple of days before racking. Could well help with attenuation, too.
     
  17. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I see it often in bucket fermentations. Although I can't prove it, my hypothesis is as the pressure on the sludge lessens, as it does when the beer level above it becomes lower, the gas trapped in the sludge is released. It's a yeast fart, nothing more.
     
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  18. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Sounds logical Nosey I had 23 lt sitting on top of that 2 lt of trub and them yeast were farting I ferment in bucket too
     
  19. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    When top cropping I scrape off the hop particulate and other crap off the krausen on day 2 primary then on day three I then take my top crop yeast and add this to jar and top up with sterile water. And on the trub thing you do have to deal with this eventually thirsty either at the bottom of the kettle or the bottom of fermentation vessel I choose FV. If you make starter for your brews you could try pinching some starter to save for next brew before pitching yeast. I used to top crop and wash yeast from bottom but that is a lot of work. Cheers:)
     
  20. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    Harvesting only from krausen can lead to genetic drift pretty quickly

    Remember reading on the Wyeast website instructions for brewers to harvest from the middle of the fermentation vessel to ensure consistency through generations

    Harvesting from trub lead to higher floccing and lower attenuation , top cropping lead to the opposite

    Will try to find the page and add the link tonight
     

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