Author Topic: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.  (Read 6625 times)

flatblack82

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HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« on: April 18, 2009, 05:54:00 PM »
I've been using extract for about 4 years and just recently purchased the setup to begin producing all grain batches. For some reason they never turn out with the correct OG. The first batch I didn't trust BeerSmith with the strike water and therefore it was to cool to convert much of the starches to sugars. I brewed another batch today to hopefully redeem myself, but somehow it told me to strike with 3.75 gallons of water and sparge with 5 gallons of water. I did this and well I pretty much have a very unsweet wort after the ninety minute boil. I followed the BeerSmith recipe exactly this time. I got this recipe today off the BeerSmith website and was just hoping for some guidance. Thanks in advance.

-Joshua-

Offline Wildrover

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2009, 05:58:53 PM »
Can you tell us a little bit about your process?  It will be able to see where you going wrong if we know a little more about what you're doing. 

In the meantime, check your equipment settings in BeerSmith.  It is very important to have that dialed in so BS can work for you as best it can.  If you're sure you have those settings set up right I would suggest trust BeerSmith, some things might seem unintuitive but I've found that to be a very trustworthy program that usually gets me pretty close to where I want to be. 

Offline SOGOAK

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2009, 07:21:52 PM »
A stop gap idea is to dial the effeciency on the recipee down to 70-75, You'll use an extra pound of base malt here and there, but I'm always willing to pay $2 more for good beer.

Then once you get it together, you can figure out what you get effciency wise and set it accordingly.

One thing to know is the mashtun temp and the grain temp.  Brewing in the winter, I found that it was tought to get my 155degrees when both of those were like 30-40.

Also what sort of sparge are you doing?  There is an endless debate about fly sparge vs batch sparge.  Supposedly you get 5 efficiency points more with fly -IF YOU DO IT PROPERLY.  Batch is pretty much an idioits delight. 

But yea +1 on Mattlicker, please describe what you are doing and we can help you.
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flatblack82

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2009, 07:27:36 PM »
For both processes I've used the single infusion, medium body, sparge method. I mashed as instructed with 15qts. of water at 154.0 for 60 minutes and then sparged with two intervals of 2.5gallons. The total grain weight was 12 lbs.. I set up my profile with a 75% Brewhouse Efficiency and 5.0 gallon batch. I've since looked around on these posts and read that I should be able to set my Brewhouse Efficiency to 60% and it would turn out better, but I did this and the program neither changed the amount of water used or the amount of grains needed for the batch. I was suppose to get an OG of 1.053 but ended up with a 1.020. I live in Florida so I would figure more user error than temperature problems. Thank you in advance...

-Joshua-

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2009, 07:35:55 PM »
Joshua,
  The sparge water sounds like it may be a bit high for a 5 gal batch - how much wort did you end up with at the end??  There was a bug with batch sparge discovered very recently with some versions that could cause it to overcalculate the sparge water in some batch sparge situations.  I posted a patch for testing recently and plan to roll it out in the main distribution very shortly:
   http://beersmith.com/beersmith_patch.zip

  Note that this contains the executable only which must be dropped into your C:\Program Files\BeerSmith folder.  Let me know if this results in a lower batch sparge amount.

Thanks,
Brad
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flatblack82

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2009, 07:45:18 PM »
I clicked extract to C:\Program Files\BeerSmith and if that is the correct way of doing it, it did nothing for my temperatures or amount of water to use. Also, when I click update BeerSmith from the Internet it says that it cannot open a connection to the update server.

-Joshua-
« Last Edit: April 18, 2009, 07:57:28 PM by flatblack82 »

Offline BeerSmith

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2009, 09:54:36 PM »
Could you post the recipe?  Also did you end up with 5 gallons into the fermenter or a whole lot more?

Thanks,
Brad
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flatblack82

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2009, 06:23:05 AM »
I had a lot more wort in the kettle than 5 gallons after the 90 minute boil, so I continued the boil to end up with 5 gallons and that's when I took the hydrometer reading of 1.020. This morning, I completed another reading and it was exactly at 1.040. Even though the sugar content has gone up, I still don't understand why it's not at what it says it should be. Also, why did the hydrometer reading change so dramatically this morning? I know when you make from extract I had to shake the carboy to get an accurate reading. Do I also need to shake the carboy with all grain? Should I do as SOGOAK said and just always add an extra pound of base grain in every batch? The recipe is at the bottom of this page, and I severely appreciate all of your input.

-Joshua-

 
American Wheat

 
Type: All Grain
 Date: 8/19/2004
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
 Brewer: Don Pfeiffer
Boil Size: 6.52 gal Asst Brewer: 
Boil Time: 90 min  Equipment: Joshua's Equipment 
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0  Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00
Taste Notes: 
 
Ingredients
 
Amount Item Type % or IBU
5.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 41.67 %
5.00 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 41.67 %
2.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 16.67 %
1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (60 min) Hops 17.4 IBU
0.50 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (45 min) Hops 8.0 IBU
0.25 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (30 min) Hops 3.4 IBU
0.25 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (15 min) Hops 2.2 IBU
1 Pkgs Hefeweizen IV Ale (White Labs #WLP380) Yeast-Wheat 

 
 
Beer Profile
 
Est Original Gravity: 1.053 SG
 Measured Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.34 %  Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.26 %
Bitterness: 31.0 IBU Calories: 268 cal/pint
Est Color: 8.2 SRM Color: Color 
 
 
Mash Profile
 
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 12.00 lb
Sparge Water: 5.01 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
 
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 15.00 qt of water at 169.4 F 154.0 F

 
 
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
 
Carbonation Type: Corn Sugar Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 3.8 oz Carbonation Used: -
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 60.0 F Age for: 28.0 days
Storage Temperature: 52.0 F   
 
Notes
 
 
Created with BeerSmith
 

Offline Wildrover

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2009, 09:51:43 AM »
Joshua,

My guess regarding the hydrometer reading is that you took the reading hot and when you took it again it had cooled down a bit. Remember that when things are hot they expand and when they are cold they contract so when you take a hydrometer reading with hot wort it is going to read lower than what it actually is.  This is why its important to take get the temp of the wort when you are taking the hydrometer reading so you can use beersmith to make the appropriate adjustment.  It's the hydrometer adjust tool down on the left. 

Also, when it comes to efficiency there are a whole bunch of things you can look at.  First and foremost is the grind.  If you are not crushing the grain enough you not have good efficiency.  I know a lot of people just have the people at the LHBS crush their grain for them but a lot of LHBS either don't care about their grind or don't know enough to grind it finer than they are so try to be sure they are getting it pretty good.  Another option is to buy your own grinder which if this is a hobby you plan of having for a while is probably a good idea.  This allows you to control the grind to where you need without having to rely on anyone else.  You can also buy grain in bulk and store it since it won't be ground up as soon as you buy it. 

Also, how are you sparging?  Are you batch sparging of fly sparging?  Are you doing a mash out?  I personally like to decoct some of the wort from the mash after conversion in an effort to get the grain bed up to mash out temp.  I'll take a gallon or two and bring it up to near boiling and then put it back on the grain bed.  This usually gets the grist up close to 168-170 which is supposed to help gets those converted sugars into solution so they can flow out of the mash tun and into the kettle.  I then do two batch sparge rounds between 2 - 2.5 gallons each depending on the recipe and how much I need.  My efficiency has been in the 80's fairly consistently so I'm happy with the process. 

Also, how long are you giving the grains to convert.  I know people say an hour but the lower the mash temp the longer you need to let the grains sit.  I've given the grains two hours on plenty of occasion to make sure everything was converted.  I'm not real sure but I'd be willing to bet if you take the wort before conversion is over you starting gravity will be low as those unconverted starches get stuck in the grain?

Finally, I would recommend having someone who is good at all grain brewing come watch you one day to see what you do.  This is a great way to learn as with this hobby, the devil is in the details.  If you don't know anyone I would suggest going to Youtube and type in All grain brewing.  Plenty of people have filmed their process and put it up there.  Now everyone's process is a little different due to equipment, environment etc but if you watch enough you'll notice what they all have in common and you will be able to adjust their process to suit your home brewery.   

I learned a lot of how to fix some issues I had from watching youtube videos so you never know. 

hope this helps but keep asking if it doesn't.  We'll stumble upon the problem eventually

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: HELP!!! I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2009, 07:22:32 PM »
I mashed as instructed with 15qts. of water at 154.0 for 60 minutes and then sparged with two intervals of 2.5gallons. The total grain weight was 12 lbs.. .........I should be able to set my Brewhouse Efficiency to 60% -Joshua-


Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 15.00 qt of water at 169.4 F 154.0 F

Is there any chance your hot strike water was 154F when you added it, and not 169F?  I wasn't 100% positive I read that correctly. 

When I enter 12# of same grains, at 66% EE% I get an OG of 1.058 with a batch size of 5 gals.  When I enter 75%, I get 1.066.  Your recipe shows an estimate of 1.053 OG with 75%.  That seems backwards:  the higher EE% should get a higher OG, all else equal. 

The rest of the printout looks OK to me.  I recommend you check the equipment data for some weirdness.  But even the entered data seems odd to me.  (i.e., I can't duplicate the OG using the same items.)