I know this question has been asked, but ...

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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I know this question has been asked, but ...

Postby TheUKDave » Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:35 am

Hi guys,

It's been a little while since I was last brewing - I was well into it during univeristy, but since getting a job it's become much harder.

I made my first brew in about 10 months on Sunday, the yeast went in at around 10pm, so this evening will be 4 days of fermentation in a general, all-pupose plastic fermentation bucket. I have a glass carboy I use for secondary fermentation. The recipe is supposed to be a light summery ale with some honey, O.G. was 1.036, F.G. should be about 1.011.

The yeast I used came from a local microbrewery (and didn't cost me anything :D) and was really really light and frothy. It went like the clappers and I was up at 7am the next morning skimming the yeast before work (it had already come out the top of the airlock). But after only another 24-36 hours it seemed to really slow up, last night (3 days fermenting) I don't think there were any bubbles coming from the airlock at all.

Peering inside, I can see that there is a very thin (probably thinner than 1/8") wet/sticky looking head. I plan to take a hydrometer reading tonight, but I'm wondering when to rack to the secondary. Should I wait until the head is gone? should I wait until the gravity is approaching 1.011? Or should I just wait until it has been about 5-7 days (as seems to be the standard)?

Thanks in advance for any help
Dave

P.S. Fermentation temp is around 19 Celsius (66 Fahrenheit)
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Postby TheUKDave » Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:49 pm

I just took a hydrometer redaing of this brew. It's already gone shooting past the predicted F.G. and is now at 1.005.

So now my original question stands, 'when should I rack this to the secondary?'. But I also have 2 more questions, 'What could have caused this over fermentation?' and 'What affect (other than increased abv) will this have on the final result?'

Thanks
Dave
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Postby BillyBock » Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:58 pm

Racking too early has its drawbacks--it could prematurely stall your fermentation. My ROT is to just let it be for 2 weeks for an ale, and 1 month for a lager to complete primary ferment. After that is when I begin the secondary phase.

As far as the lower FG, it could be a number of factors. Without seeing the recipe, I'm just speculating. But the primary factors (excluding contamination) would be wort fermentability and yeast attenuation properties. The typical published yeast attenuation rates (70% to 75%) are for typical all-malt worts. If you have adjuncts which are 100% fermentable, your resultant wort will be more fermentable and you'll see lower FGs. Since you used honey, my guess is that's the reason.

The effect this will have on the final result is you will have a 'drier' beer. In other words, it has less residual sweetness. It may seem 'thinner' in body and it may be apparently more bitter than intended.

But it's beer none the less--so cheers!
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Postby TheUKDave » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:06 am

Thanks billy.

It was a pretty simple recipe:
2.5Kg English Mild Ale
0.3Kg Maris Otter Pale
0.3Kg Crystal Malt
0.15Kg Honey

I did a single infusion mash for 90 minutes at 150-155F.

Come to think about it,, the mash may only have been 60 minutes. The O.G. was precisley what the recipe said, but if it were a short mash would that mean that less unfermentables would go into the wort?

So is there a way to add some unfermentables when I rack to the secondary, I really wanted some sweetness to this beer and I would like a little extra body.

Dave
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Postby BillyBock » Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:24 pm

Maltodextrin powder will be your friend here. It has 1.040 points per pound per gallon (ppppg). In other words, if you added one pound of maltodextrin in one gallon of water, you'll get a specific gravity of 1.040. In a 5 gal batch this would raise the gravity by 8 points. So you'll probably want to add 1/2 pound to your 5 gal batch to bring it up by 4 points. The trick is to sterilize it by boiling, which will drive off oxygen as well. Then rack the beer on top of this cooled mixture without splashing
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