Batch size - What was I thinking?

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Batch size - What was I thinking?

Postby shaggyt » Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:52 am

So I started my 3rd batch on 8/6 with the follwing:

3.5 lbs LME
4 lbs DME
3 gal boil
3 gal cool H2O

My thought was that my end boil volume would dip below 2.5 gal and I'd end up with approx. 5.5 batch size. As it turns out, I was closer to a 6 gal batch at the boils end. After I added my cool water, my OG was 1.046 (70 deg).

After pitching White Labs Cal Ale yeast straight from the vile, I relaxed and enjoyed the last of 1st batch IPAs. Of course, my mind was racing as to the cause of low OG, reaching the conclusion that my batch size was too large.

The following day, I decided to add another pound of DME to boost the gravity. Boiled, cooled, added and stirred (thoroughly) on 8/7...I did not take a reading at this point (should have). As of now, krausen is in effect and everything seems OK.

Searching through the old posts, I realize I may not have stirred my batch enough, resulting in the low OG (predicted 1.055 @ 5 gal). Now that I've added the extra DME in 2 quarts of water, I calculated an OG of 1.053.

The reason for the post are these questions:
1. Should I anticipate a longer fermentation with larger batch size? I did not use a starter and the vile's good for 5 gal.

2. Are there any major worries or issues that may arise from my unorthodox actions taken? Possibly something I have not considered?

Looking forward to your wisdom.
shaggyt
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Re: Batch size - What was I thinking?

Postby billvelek » Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:50 pm

shaggyt wrote:So I started my 3rd batch on 8/6 with the follwing:

3.5 lbs LME
4 lbs DME
3 gal boil
3 gal cool H2O

My thought was that my end boil volume would dip below 2.5 gal and I'd end up with approx. 5.5 batch size. As it turns out, I was closer to a 6 gal batch at the boils end. After I added my cool water, my OG was 1.046 (70 deg).

Just arbitrarily picking an LME and DME from the ingredients list for BeerToolsPro, and setting my final volume to 6 gallons at 68F, BTP calculates an O.G. of 1.049 -- so the slight difference could easily be due to your measures of DME and LME, your "closer" to 6 gallons which I thereby assume is not exact, the temperature, and how you took your gravity readings. But it seems about right.
After pitching White Labs Cal Ale yeast straight from the vile, I relaxed and enjoyed the last of 1st batch IPAs. Of course, my mind was racing as to the cause of low OG, reaching the conclusion that my batch size was too large.

Although the vials are listed as sufficient for 5 gallons, I always make a starter anyway -- whether using dry yeast or liquid yeast -- because it speeds up krauesen. This could be especially important if your vial has begun to age. See the Mr.Malty yeast pitching calculator at http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html for more info.
The following day, I decided to add another pound of DME to boost the gravity. Boiled, cooled, added and stirred (thoroughly) on 8/7...I did not take a reading at this point (should have). As of now, krausen is in effect and everything seems OK.

You don't indicate how much water you used to boil the additional DME; we need that to accurately calculate the gravity.
Searching through the old posts, I realize I may not have stirred my batch enough, resulting in the low OG (predicted 1.055 @ 5 gal). ...

Stratification can be an issue, but BTP predicts an O.G. of 1.059 for 5 gallons with the original amount of extract; the extra extract will raise that, but it's too late to take another gravity reading that will be useful.
... Now that I've added the extra DME in 2 quarts of water, I calculated an OG of 1.053.

Gravity reading taken after fermentation has already started will be 'off'; your wort contains alcohol, which is lower than 1.000, in place of some of the fermentables which are always higher than 1.000. So, depending upon how much fermentation has already occurred -- which is virtually impossible to predict -- the longer you have gone from pitching time, the further 'off' you will be in any "O.G." gravity reading.
The reason for the post are these questions:
1. Should I anticipate a longer fermentation with larger batch size? I did not use a starter and the vile's good for 5 gal.

2. Are there any major worries or issues that may arise from my unorthodox actions taken? Possibly something I have not considered?

Looking forward to your wisdom.

Batch size itself has little to do with fermentation time if you have pitched a sufficient yeast count and have aerated your wort; the yeast count, health of your yeast, fermenting temp, original gravity, degree of aeration, and sugar profile (not just your percentage of unfermentables but also the ratios of various sugars), will all have some effect on fermentation time.

I wouldn't worry about anything; if you've properly sanitized, you ought to have a drinkable beer. If you are not completely satisified, change your procedures on the next batch, meanwhile it doesn't seem like any big deal.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
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Running BTP v1.5.3 on WinXP 2005 SP3 w/AMD Athlon 64@3800+, 1GigRam, Res 1024x768
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Thinking for next time

Postby shaggyt » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:40 pm

Thanks for the reassurance Bill...great advice too.

I don't believe I have the patience to go another batch without a starter. I used one on batch#2...the primary was pretty short, about 3 days.

It's funny though, with each batch I have different issue...who knew homebrewing and children would have so much in common!!!

Here's to the next one!
shaggyt
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Making the most of yeast

Postby billvelek » Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:29 pm

Most of the time I brew at least two batches on the same brew day -- occasionally three. I have two turkey fryers, three works out okay with keeping the wort for the third batch hot on the stove while the kettle from one of the other boils and then chills. But three is a lot of work, but sometimes I get over ambitious. Anyway, on my last brew day, I discovered that one of my pots is leaking. I don't know if I sat it down too hard on a sharp piece of stone on the carport, or what caused it. So I had to do three batches one boil at a time; boil, chill, boil, chill, boil, chill. Man, I'm definitely going to stick to double batches until I can replace that pot.

Anyway, I start making my starters a couple of days before hand -- when I plan things right -- and have had no trouble pitching all three starters from a single packet of dry yeast. I save money wherever I can.

I use "yeast nutrient" and "yeast starter" in my solutions; I'm not sure what the differences are, but they are supposed to be different. I also add at least one heaping tablespoon of bread yeast to the solution while it is boiling. This ruptures the bread yeast and adds, as far as I know, all the 'stuff' that yeast are composed of -- minerals and whatnot -- and I add a single drop of olive oil (this is supposed to help yeast to grow and multiply even if they don't have enough aeration), and I haven't had any head retention problems caused by it. I also use regular table sugar instead of DME. Since a single packet of yeast is ordinarily adequate for a single 5 gallon batch, all I'm attempting to do is increase the yeast count to at least three times the packet, but I'm pretty sure that I am exceeding that -- at least quadrupling it and probably more -- so that I'm confident that I'm probably pitching more than a pack of yeast per carboy, and it is "active" immediately when pitched. I get excellent 'quick' starts, and full fermentations, but no yeast bite that I've ever noticed. I begin with my "solution" in a single sanitized one-liter bottle; at the end of the first day of shaking it about every half hour, I add more sugar solution and divide it into two bottles (I don't bother with the bread yeast and nutrients except when I make the first solution). Then about the second day, I'll shake and pour a bit off of each one into a third bottle so that they are evenly divided, and then add some more sugar solution to all three so that they are equal levels. Each bottle is about half-full to allow plenty of room for aeration (shaking). It's worked great for me.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
Visit www.tinyurl.com/bvelek - portal to my brewing sites: 3,100+ members on 'Grow-Hops', and 1,350+ brewers on my 'BrewingEquip' group.
Running BTP v1.5.3 on WinXP 2005 SP3 w/AMD Athlon 64@3800+, 1GigRam, Res 1024x768
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