Low Og For Our Ag

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damianjthorpe

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G'day Brewers,

We did our first AG at the weekend (DrSmurto's Golden Ale). We used the volumes of grain given on the AHB recipe db. When we entered these into BeerSmith the expected OG was very low. Our measured OG was also very low, so we added som light DME to get the gravity up.

Can anyone shed some light on what we did wrong?

We want to give another recipe a go, and BeerSmith gives and expected OG of 1.012, when the recipe we found gives an expected OG of 1.052. Seems like I have selected something wrong in BeerSmith, but for the life of me I can't work out what :blink:

Cheers and happy brewing,
Damo
 

benno1973

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Damo - can you post up the beersmith recipe? I would be guessing that your volumes are out, but if you post the recipe up, it'll be easier to diagnose.
 

np1962

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G'day Brewers,

We did our first AG at the weekend (DrSmurto's Golden Ale). We used the volumes of grain given on the AHB recipe db. When we entered these into BeerSmith the expected OG was very low. Our measured OG was also very low, so we added som light DME to get the gravity up.

Can anyone shed some light on what we did wrong?

We want to give another recipe a go, and BeerSmith gives and expected OG of 1.012, when the recipe we found gives an expected OG of 1.052. Seems like I have selected something wrong in BeerSmith, but for the life of me I can't work out what :blink:

Cheers and happy brewing,
Damo
First thing that comes to mind - What volume did you aim for? Smurto's recipe is for 20L.
If you post your Beersmith file we could have a look and see if anything stands out.
Nige
 

damianjthorpe

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G'day Brewers,

As requested here is the BeerSmith file:

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: DBB DrSmurto's Golden Ale
Brewer: M.A.D.
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Pale Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 25.65 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.81 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 l
Bottling Volume: 19.17 l
Estimated OG: 1.043 SG
Estimated Color: 14.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 31.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.3 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
20.00 l London, England Water 1 -
2.40 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 2 56.5 %
0.80 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 3 18.8 %
0.80 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 18.8 %
0.25 kg Caramunich Malt (110.3 EBC) Grain 5 5.9 %
15.00 g Amarillo Gold [8.60 %] - First Wort 0.0 Hop 6 0.0 IBUs
20.00 g Amarillo Gold [8.60 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 22.4 IBUs
15.00 g Amarillo Gold [8.60 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 6.1 IBUs
15.00 g Amarillo Gold [8.60 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 9 3.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast 10 -
5.00 g Yeast Nutrient (Primary 7.0 days) Other 11 -


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 4.25 kg
----------------------------
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 11.07 l of water at 72.3 C 65.6 C 75 min

Sparge: Fly sparge with 18.83 l water at 75.6 C
Notes:
------
Steep for 60 mins. Steep water temp of 70C initiallly (should drop to 66C)
Sparge water needs to be 78C

Estimated water volume of 35L added to kettle to bring to boil then cool to add to mash tun. Took about 2 hours to get to boiling.

D's $2 thermometer tops out at 94.5C. M's digital thermometer works to over 100C

Created with BeerSmith 2 - http://www.beersmith.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I look forward to your comments Kaiser and Nige

Some of our grain did not look like it had taken on moisture properly (we ended up bagging the grain as our mush tun did not yet have a false bottom installed)


Cheers and happy brewing,
Damo
 

np1962

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Firstly - You have the brew type set to EXTRACT, this explains why BS predicts a low OG. Change this to All Grain.

Edit- Now you changed it. Not sure what you mean by Taken Up Moisture, assume you mean dough balls. This won't help your efficiency.
Dumb Q.-- You did have crushed grain?
 

damianjthorpe

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G'day Nige,

yeah grain was crushed, was a bit old too (more than a couple of months) and yes there were dough balls.

Sorry about the mix up with the extract/all grain bit. :huh:

Cheers and happy brewing,
Damo
 

np1962

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Damo,
Recipe in itself looks fine.
Mash schedule is OK but how you sparged is unclear given you had no false bottom or braid.
Notes are somewhat confusing, look more for an Extract/Partial recipe.

Dough balls would be part of your issue. Old grain depends on how it was stored.
How far away from your target pre-boil sg were you?
What was your sg into the fermenter?
 

benno1973

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Hi Damo,

You wrote in the notes:

Estimated water volume of 35L added to kettle to bring to boil then cool to add to mash tun. Took about 2 hours to get to boiling.
What do you mean by this? Your beersmith recipe says boil size of 25L (post boil 22L) which sounds about right, but your notes indicate that you were using 35L water? I assume you were using the kettle as an HLT, but as Nige pointed out, how did you sparge? Maybe give us a rundown of the brew process?
 

damianjthorpe

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G'day Brewers,


A short outline of our process:

We had about 35L in our kettle to heat through, but we used about 22-25L for the mash. We bagged the grain (similar to BIAB) to let it steep in the mash tun (esky) as we had no falsie. After steeping, we transferred the pre-boil wort to the empty kettle (after transferring the rest of the hot water to a bucket for sparging). We think the bag was too tight as we ended up with dough balls and a couple of dry spots in the grain. We sparged with around 2-4L of water at about 78C, then gave the bag a good squeeze.

So I guess the main problem was the fact that not all the grain was wet, so it didn't get the chance to release it's sugary goodness. The second might be too much water?

Pre-boil OG was very low, only just above one (1.006 or 8, can't remember which).

Look forward to your further comments - Nige and Kaiser and anyone else interested :D


Cheers and happy brewing,
Damo
 

warra48

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Your recipe indicated you Fly Sparged. If you did in fact do that, I'll bet you had some channeling while sparging.

I'd suggest you batch sparge until you get your process down pat. You are more likely to extract what's available this way.

I note there's mention of doughballs, and that will definitely reduce your extraction efficiency. You really need to stir thoroughly at dough in until all the doughballs are broken up and all the grain is wetted.
 

np1962

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Damo,
I'd really like to help out and give you an answer but all the "about" and "can't remember" as well as the vague figures that don't make sense are making it difficult.
If you used 25L to mash your grain and kept that around your mash temp for 60 or so minutes, drained and rinsed with 4L of 78C water I'd expect you to get close to anticipated volume and gravity, particularly as you were only aiming for 65% efficiency.
A reading of 1.006ish is not much above plain water so not sure that is really an accurate reading. The dough ball would need to be pretty big to give you a reading near that.
How had the grain been stored since being crushed and for how long?
What temp was the water when you added it to the grain?
Have you seen an AG brew being done by anyone else? May be good for you to attend a brew day and see how others do things.
AG is reasonably easy but does require some accuracy with measurements if you are to get close to the Beersmith predictions.
Happy to help as much as I can.
Consider joining the local Adelaide forum linked to in my sig if you're not already a member. Plenty of local guys that can help on there.
Some good brewers who would be happy for you to attend a brewday too.
Cheers
Nige
 

benno1973

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Hi Damo,

Thanks for the rundown. Process seems ok, despite a few flaws that you found out along the way. I don't think you used too much liquid altogether, although you probably could have used less for the mash and then used more for the sparge. For a grist of around 4.5kg, you'd want around 10-15L of water. The remainder could be sparge water, BUT (big disclaimer) I don't BIAB, so maybe this is how BIAB is done.

Anyway, 1.006/8 is incredibly low. You'd be struggling to get that low even if you just wafted the grain near the water, so something is definitely out of whack here. Doughballs definitely is one issue. As warra pointed out, stir like crazy to make sure it's all wet - some people use electric paint stirrers to get the job done, but a spoon and some arm work is fine. I still can't imagine that this would have been the sole cause of the issue though.

Secondly, is your hydrometer reading correctly? Does it read 1.000 when you sit it in water?

You also didn't mention how long you steeped for, was it 60-90 minutes?
 

manticle

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What's the bag made from?

How are you measuring gravity?
 

bignath

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echoing the call for "How long were the grains "steeped" in the bag for?

Also, it reads to me that your getting confused with OG's, SG's, and FG's plus some other terminology. Haven't done the calc's but im not convinced you would've got a preboil reading that low even using that large amount of water to mash in. As i said, haven't actually calculated that but i'd still expect it to be higher (much higher).

Is there someone who can get you around for a brewday? You'll get a truckload of understanding about how it's done by watching someone do it in front of you...
 

damianjthorpe

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G'day Brewers,

Many thanks to you all for taking the time to reply. :beer:

Seems like we have a lot to learn still, but we are keen to learn it quickly. I have joined the Brew Adelaide forum and asked if we can observe a couple of brew days to get our head around procedures.

Cheers and happy brewing,
Damo
 

benno1973

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G'day Brewers,

Many thanks to you all for taking the time to reply. :beer:

Seems like we have a lot to learn still, but we are keen to learn it quickly. I have joined the Brew Adelaide forum and asked if we can observe a couple of brew days to get our head around procedures.

Cheers and happy brewing,
Damo
Good one Damo! There's always a lot to learn at any level of brewing. Good idea organising to watch a brew day, really helps you understand the process. Just be sure to watch with an open mind - many people try and copy the exact setup of the person that they watched, but there's many ways to skin a cat as you'll see on this forum.
 

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