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PranK

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Hi Guys!

Finally, after 6 months of equipment collecting, I made the move last night to AG from PG/Extracts.

I was brewing the Brown Oak Ale in John Palmers 'How to brew' book.

I thought it all went beautifully, but, after the mash I only has an OG of 1.020. The mash temp was perfect, dropping from 68 ish to about 65.5 over the hour. Lots of stirring, I *may* have had a 'dough ball' or two because I am using twin bazookas which sit about 1" off the bottom of the cooler (which you cant get under when stirring.)

Then, I found the limit of my electric stove top, it barely reached a boil and when it did "boil" there was no surface breaking... It was more like like water movement, but it wouldn't get any hotter. (A burner is on the cards for the next brew.)

BG was 1.030 (though, I left the wort in the hydro jar over night and this morning it was more like 1.040.)

Then, if that wasn't enough, I used a Whyeast activator thingo, but couldn't break the packet inside, so I assumed it had already been broken and thought I'd use it anyway, which I did, but after pouring the yeast in, I noticed that the packet inside had not been broken.

I have limited bottles at my disposal and I'm wondering if I should just ditch this batch and do another one. I'd hate to spend the time bottling and aging only to find it is crap. Fermentation *seems* to have started, but its not going strong by any means (Yeast only went in about 3hrs ago though, so early days).

Why would my OG have been so low? I used the same volume of water as John in the book, 18.5L of water to mash, then sparged with 13L. I had a perfect amount for my fermenter after boiling. Volumes seemed good. The grain was crushed and sent to me last week by Grain and Grape - did I wait too long before mashing? I heard you have about 2 weeks to use the crushed grain.

Any help, opinions, feedback, anything, is welcome!

Thanks!

Christian
 

JaseH

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Did you adjust your gravity reading for the temperature?
 

Nick JD

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At 65C a 1.020 wort is actually a 1.040 wort at 20C.

Download Brewmate.

That table in Palmer doesn't even go up to the temps of a wort about to be boiled.
 

manticle

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Don't worry about the yeast nutrient sachet not breaking. Smacking the pack and allowing it to swell is a good indicator that the yeast is viable. That's all really - the yeast inside won't be a whole lot less healthy without this process. The time between buying and using grain is fine.

What OG were you aiming for?

Sounds like the beer and brew were all absolutely ok. The only thing I'd be concerned about would be getting the boil a bit more vigorous - will help with your OG too. Did you have more wort than planned at the end of the boil?
 

PranK

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At 65C a 1.020 wort is actually a 1.040 wort at 20C.

Download Brewmate.

That table in Palmer doesn't even go up to the temps of a wort about to be boiled.
Oh der me! I wasn't thinking of the difference between wort temp and air temp ... Gah! Thats perfect then! Thanks so much!

I have BeerSmith and just found the temp hydrometer calculator, looks perfect.

Don't worry about the yeast nutrient sachet not breaking. Smacking the pack and allowing it to swell is a good indicator that the yeast is viable. That's all really - the yeast inside won't be a whole lot less healthy without this process. The time between buying and using grain is fine.

What OG were you aiming for?

Sounds like the beer and brew were all absolutely ok. The only thing I'd be concerned about would be getting the boil a bit more vigorous - will help with your OG too. Did you have more wort than planned at the end of the boil?
The yeast pack still swelled after i left it out of the fridge for a while (and tried, with all my might, to break the impossible-to-find nutrient packet.)

I was aiming for 1.041 OG and 1.049 BG. Which, after calculating the temps, looks pretty good.

Definitely need a burner. I had roughly 19-20L of wort after boiling, so the volumes were good.

Thanks guys! I will watch for the fermentation now, its my first time using a clear vessel, so will be cool to see it happening.

Christian
 

the_new_darren

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If you put your hydrometer in 65C wort, I would check it didnt crack.

tnd
 

warra48

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If you put your hydrometer in 65C wort, I would check it didnt crack.

tnd
I agree, if you have a glass one.
Many today are plastic, and they seem to take high temperatures very well. I use mine regularly at this sort of temperature, without problems.
 

Nick JD

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If you put your hydrometer in 65C wort, I would check it didnt crack.

tnd
I've been doing this with a cheap, BigW hydrometer for 3 years now - right into the kettle. Hasn't cracked yet!

I always run it under the hot tap first though and I store it in a solution of botulism which has tempered the glass.
 

Muscovy_333

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Thanks guys, do you just chill the sample to 20C or so?

Yep, as soon as you finish your boil, pull a hydrometer sample and pop it in the fridge for 15 mins to take the heat out of it. Prior to taking a hydro sample just check the temp to see that it is near 20 degrees C. If you want to find the exact OG, adjust accordingly using a temp adjustment table, or leave you sample in the fridge until it hits 20 degrees C.
 

Yob

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I always run it under the hot tap first though and I store it in a solution of botulism which has tempered the glass.
:lol:

just recieved but havnt used in anger yet, my shiny new refractometer :ph34r:

temp adjustments? a thing of the past...

The replacement hydrometer I bought a while ago cost almost the same as the refractometer...

Wiked
 

PranK

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I have a refractometer for my fish tank, I tried to use it for this last time but got odd readings and I'm now wondering if it was due to the high temp.

Thanks Muscovy, I'll do that next time.

Bummed that I have to wait a few weeks before brewing again, I need more bottles!
 

manticle

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:lol:

just recieved but havnt used in anger yet, my shiny new refractometer :ph34r:

temp adjustments? a thing of the past...
Yes but corrections for alcohol will be a thing of the future.

I got mine a few days ago too.
 

JDW81

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If you put your hydrometer in 65C wort, I would check it didnt crack.

tnd
I've been chucking my hydrometer in hot wort for as long as i've brewing all grain, hasn't busted yet.
 

stux

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Broke my 4th hydro the other day, was forced to finally use my refractometer.

I think I won't be getting another hydro ;)
 

Nick JD

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I barely use my hydrometer anymore. Only for batches that differ a lot from my normal 4-5% beers, like lites or heavys.

My efficiency is within a percent or two each mash and my volumes are the same. I keg from secondary when it's quite clear there's no yeast activity.

Under these conditions hydrometers (and refractometers) and largely for self-assurance.
 

felten

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I have a refractometer for my fish tank, I tried to use it for this last time but got odd readings and I'm now wondering if it was due to the high temp.
Is it like a saline refractometer?
 

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