Author Topic: New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...  (Read 735 times)

Offline BookWyrm

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New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...
« on: May 19, 2019, 09:53:31 AM »
I had a rough one yesterday, brewed a brown mild, but started off on the wrong foot immediately. Didn?t realize it but my strike water volume was too low, roughly a little more than 2 gal for a 5.5 gal batch. Total volume for this was 8.75 gal. So it was just big dough balls in there. I got more water going so roughly 4.5 gallons in mash now with grains, took roughly 15 min. Mashed for 60, fly sparged into the kettle for about 7 gallons and took a reading of 1.02, my goal was 1.031 and 7.5 gal in the kettle preboil. Conundrum, so i didn?t add water to thin it out even more and i started looking up ways to increase my SG. No DME on hand so I?m stuck. 60 minute boil, 2 small additions of hops, and crushed coriander seed at 5 min mark. Post boil, I?m reading on the hydrometer 1.052and I?m shocked. Post boil volume slightly more that 4 gallons so i really boiled it off. I used a calculator to determine if i added 1.5ish gallons of water it would bring me down to my post boil SG of 1.037 target. My brain couldn?t process adding so much water so i got it to 5 gallons by adding almost s full gallon of water. It now read around 1.045. Now this whole time I?ve had out my WLP005 to warm to wort temp. Using my insulated bags and frozen 2 liter set up it took me about 5 hours to get to pitching temp...all the while my yeast was out during a 68 degree beautiful Long Beach day. I pitched last night about 7 and see no activity. I know I?ve given multiple crazy variables as to why I?m not seeing activity but i hope some of you could muddle through this and give me some advice. Did the water make it too thin? Did i leave my yeast out too long and it died? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 09:59:20 AM by BookWyrm »

Offline Oginme

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Re: New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2019, 10:36:27 AM »
OK, so you have a lot going on here.  Your main question a gather is about your yeast.  Your ambient temperature is fine for the yeast.  Since you pitched last night, I would give it 24 hours to see some activity.  If you are judging activity based upon your airlock, then make extra sure that you have your carboy or pail well sealed so that the CO2 is not exiting elsewhere.  Depending upon the yeast and the age of the pack you pitched, it may take longer for the yeast to really get rocking, so I would not panic until you reach 48 hours with no activity at all (no krausen, airlock activity, bubbles in the wort, etc.).
Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline BookWyrm

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Re: New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2019, 10:50:26 AM »
Thanks. My lhbs isn?t open on Monday or tuesday so I?ll go buy another pack of yeast today just in case. What are your thoughts on adding a gallon of water to increase the volume and get closer to my desired SG? Should I have just let it ride? I didn?t mention, I didn?t do a starter so the one pack would have MPnot been enough cell count for a batch as high as 1.052 , that?s why i wanted to bring it down a bit.

Offline Oginme

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Re: New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2019, 11:20:23 AM »
There is nothing wrong with topping off the fermenter.  In fact, BeerSmith provides for that option as there are some brewers who need to as their equipment capacity is limited. 
Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline dtapke

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Re: New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2019, 08:57:34 AM »
I had a rough one yesterday, brewed a brown mild, but started off on the wrong foot immediately. Didn?t realize it but my strike water volume was too low, roughly a little more than 2 gal for a 5.5 gal batch. Total volume for this was 8.75 gal. So it was just big dough balls in there. I got more water going so roughly 4.5 gallons in mash now with grains, took roughly 15 min.
Create an equipment profile that accurately reflects your equipment, there's multiple tutorials, youtube videos, and information on the beersmith page for guidance.

Mashed for 60, fly sparged into the kettle for about 7 gallons and took a reading of 1.02, my goal was 1.031 and 7.5 gal in the kettle preboil. Conundrum, so i didn?t add water to thin it out even more and i started looking up ways to increase my SG. No DME on hand so I?m stuck.
This was likely an error while doing your reading. If you didn't thoroughly stir the wort in the boil kettle it is easy to get inaccurate readings.

60 minute boil, 2 small additions of hops, and crushed coriander seed at 5 min mark. Post boil, I?m reading on the hydrometer 1.052and I?m shocked. Post boil volume slightly more that 4 gallons so i really boiled it off. I used a calculator to determine if i added 1.5ish gallons of water it would bring me down to my post boil SG of 1.037 target. My brain couldn?t process adding so much water so i got it to 5 gallons by adding almost s full gallon of water. It now read around 1.045.
There's a calculator built into Beersmith for this to make your life a bit easier. "Tools-Dilution tool" enter 4g, dilute with water, adjust the water quantity until you see the sg you want. See my attached screenshot.

Now this whole time I?ve had out my WLP005 to warm to wort temp. Using my insulated bags and frozen 2 liter set up it took me about 5 hours to get to pitching temp...all the while my yeast was out during a 68 degree beautiful Long Beach day. I pitched last night about 7 and see no activity. I know I?ve given multiple crazy variables as to why I?m not seeing activity but i hope some of you could muddle through this and give me some advice. Did the water make it too thin? Did i leave my yeast out too long and it died? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
your yeast, and beer, are quite likely just dandy. "Lag" phase of yeast is often anywhere between 7-24 hours when pitching the correct amount of yeast cells. Relax, make some adjustments, brew again.

keep in mind that diluting your wort to attain a particular gravity may result in an excess of wort. alternatively you could've just had a higher gravity beer! also keep in mind you'll have approximately a 4% cooling shrinkage, and you'll leave some trub behind in your kettle. It sounds like the main thing you need to do is make an accurate equipment profile. check here: http://beersmith.com/setting-up-your-equipment-in-beersmith-2/

I recommend doing a "batch" with just water to take measurements on all of your losses in various places, as well as a 60 minute boil to determine your actual boiloff volume, keeping in mind many things can alter this slightly. how vigorous the boil is, ambient temperature, relative humidity etc.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 09:00:14 AM by dtapke »
32g eHERMS
Drinking: Dopplebock, NEIPA, Pils
Primary: empty
Secondary/Lagering:
Next Brew: RIS

Offline BookWyrm

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Re: New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2019, 08:15:53 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, I?ll update my profile although it?s usually very accurate. My low volume strike water gaffe just threw me for a loop from go. I didn?t trust the first wort reading so i gave it a good stir and got the same reading ,adjusting for wort temp. Fermentation was in full bloom when I got home from work Monday, roughly 44ish hours after pitching. Thanks for all the feedback!

Offline dtapke

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Re: New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 10:17:49 AM »
If you have an accurate profile, it should tell you an accurate quantity of strike water needed.

I have a really hard time believing that you boiled 7 gallons at a 60% rate and boiled off the 4.2 gallons (leaving 2.7g behind) to attain a post boil gravity of 1.052, additionally if you had 4g of 1.052 and added 1g of water you should be closer to 1.042 not 1.045 but that is well within a common margin of error.

It's of note that 7g of 1.031 boiled off at a 40% rate (still CRAZY HIGH) would yield 4g of 1.054.

It should be noted that most brewers experience boil off rates from around 10-25% and NOT 40-60% my personal boil off rate varies between 13 and 16%

it really just sounds like you're mostly just having issues getting accurate readings.

heavy activity at 44 hours is pretty normal. on long lag time yeasts i've used (lag of 18-24 hours) i generally get very light activity for the following 12-24 hours followed by lots of activity for the following 12-24 then slowly settling down.
32g eHERMS
Drinking: Dopplebock, NEIPA, Pils
Primary: empty
Secondary/Lagering:
Next Brew: RIS

Offline BookWyrm

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Re: New brewer here had a few issues, looking for advice...
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 06:10:07 PM »
You may be right, I need to be more focused, it sounds like.

 

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