MASSIVE SLUDGE IN MY CHOCOLATE PORTER

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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MASSIVE SLUDGE IN MY CHOCOLATE PORTER

Postby capps24 » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:10 pm

Hey whats up everyone- my first time posting, been on the site for a while though.

Recently my friends and I brewed a chocolate porter. When it was time to move it to the secondary car boy, we noticed about 2.5 gallons worth of "sludge" on the bottom of our first fermentation bucket. We only got 2.5 gallons out of our 5. Anyone have any ideas as to why this happend?? We have brewed similar chocolate porters before, and this didnt happen.

Recipe had about 8 lbs of extract (light liquid, and dry light), 2 lbs of grains (chocolate malt, roasted barley) and 8 oz of cocoa. Along with our hops of course.

Any thoughts????
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Trub

Postby slothrob » Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:13 am

I can't think of anything that would cause 2.5 gallons of trub. :shock:
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TRUB

Postby capps24 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:41 pm

I cant figure it out either. I guess I will chalk it up to a freak thing. Maybe we just didnt stir enough during the boil?? But I dont think that could have been the main problem.
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:02 am

Well, if you didn't stir enough during your boil, you would have noticed all the sludge as you were transfering to your fermenter. What's your full recipe look like?
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Did you boil your grains in your kettle?

Postby billvelek » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:42 am

Please forgive me if that sounds like an insulting question, but I note that your question was your very first post, and other than your comment that you've brewed a porter before, I have no idea what your level of brewing experience is. And you indicate that you might not have stirred your kettle enough. I don't know any brewers who do much, if any, stirring of their kettle. Sure, if I use pellet hops, I will use my spoon to scrap the hops off the walls of the kettle as the volume is reduced by boiling, and I'll stir that back in, but that's pretty much all the stirring I do. So, with your stirring and 2.5 gallons of "trub", I have to ask if you dumped all of your grain into your kettle? That's the only thing that comes to mind as to how in the world you could possibly ever have that much trub. If you did, you might as well just dump everything out now. The boiling would have denatured the enzymes before they had a chance to convert the starches, and with all that husk material in the kettle, it will be loaded with tannins. If that is what you did, all I can suggest is that you need to read up a bit on brewing beer, and I don't mean to say that in an insulting way. If that's NOT what you have done, 2.5 gallons of trub from 8 pounds of extract and runnings from a 2 pound mini-mash (or steepings), defies all explanation -- probably even with 8 ounces of cocoa.

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GRAINS AND TRUB

Postby capps24 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:33 am

Dont worry I would never take any comments personally, that is why I am here to learn. We have been brewing for about a year now, twice a month so by no means are we experts at all, so no questions are dumb that you can ask me, haha. We didnt mix the grains in, we always steep them. With the stirring too we usually do minimal stirring when we dump in the hops, and extracts, just to get it off the side. I thought maybe we should do more with a thicker beer.

The point about the transfer from the pot to the fermenter is a good one, we did have an unusual amount of trub, but now that I remember, we decided to pour some in thinking that we may lose the chocolate taste. That must be our culpret. Thanks for all the tips guys.

Here was the full recipe -(may not be exact, I am at work)

3.3 lbs liquid light extract
3 lb light dry extract
1 lb chocolate malt
1 lb roasted barley (dark)
1 oz cascade
1lb flaked barley
8 oz cocoa
1 tsp irish moss

any suggestions on the recip let me know. I plugged it into the calculator too on the site, looked ok
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some thoughts on your recipe...

Postby slothrob » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:01 pm

It looks more like a Stout recipe than a Porter recipe, due to the Roasted and Flaked Barley, but that's arguable.

Roasted and Flaked Barley need to be mashed, not steeped. Also, they have not been malted, so will not self convert from starch to sugar. Perhaps what you are seeing is a big cloud in your fermentor from trub and starch? Maybe that will settle out.

Personally, I think the only way to make an extract Stout is to use dark extract. Otherwise you need to do a partial mash that includes approximately an equal amount of base malt to supply the enzymes. Or you need to stick with a Porter, getting all your color from Chocolate Malt, which can be steeped.
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RECIPE

Postby capps24 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:01 pm

Thanks for the info- I didnt know that about the flaked barley- we were told to ad it directly to the boil. that could be the cause of our issues possibly. It could have been a cloud due to starch. cant tell now since we got rid of the excess trub already. thanks alot for the tips from everyone. the message board is a big help!!! I will post again , soon.
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:38 pm

I think I'd stop taking advice from anyone who told you to add grains directly to the boil.
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Re: RECIPE

Postby slothrob » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:19 am

capps24 wrote: flaked barley- we were told to ad it directly to the boil. that could be the cause of our issues possibly.

Yes I think that's the problem.
You made Oatmeal.... well, Barleymeal, and its sitting on the bottom of the fermentor.

At the very least, this will be a learning experience. There's a lot to learn. I'd still let it finish, if only out of curiosity. It's amazing how much can go wrong and still make beer. However, you might want to start another batch soon, in case this is less than delicious. You probably should run the recipe by us or someone other than the last guy, or get a kit from a reputable shop.
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Re: RECIPE

Postby billvelek » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:58 pm

capps24 wrote:snip ... about the flaked barley- we were told to ad it directly to the boil. ... snip
Well, I suspected as much; that's the only way it would have been physically possible to get that much solid material in your fermenter. Your source of advice clearly doesn't know what he/she is talking about ... at all. Some practices in brewing are 'debatable'; that one is not, and is so fundamentally flawed that it demonstrates what I would consider almost a complete lack of knowledge about any level of brewing with grains. He/she/you/your brewing partners might know extract and kit brewing, but I urge you to spend a few hours reading at least an on-line source of info. It is, afterall, a hobby that you should find interesting to read about ... especially new material that you are unfamiliar with. After a dozen years of brewing, I still read on the subject. I recommend that you read John Palmer's book to get started: http://www.howtobrew.com/ I started with Papazian's "Joy of Homebrewing" back before there was hardly anything on the Internet, and it was a good start; but it is a bit outdated now, and some advice is contrary to modern homebrewing practice. I think "Brewing for Dummies" by Nachel is a good book to buy at a bookstore. Other books I have are a bit more along the lines of recipe design.

Asking questions on groups like this is fine, but it is not a substitute for reading at least one book about homebrewing. As you've learned, answers here aren't going to help you with problems that should have been avoided in the first place.

P.S.: I agree with slothrob that you might as well let this finish; you've really got nothing to lose unless you need the equipment for another batch ... and miracles do happen. However, I will add a word of caution/advice that wasn't mentioned: taste your beer first before you go through all of the work of sanitizing bottles, bottling, etc. I would still _consider_ bottling it even if it seems marginal or has some slight defects in flavor so long as you think you will be able to tolerate them -- because it might not get any better with age. Many times beer will improve with age, but if you have tannins in your beer from boiling your grains, that will cause a very distinct acrid taste known as "astringency" -- an undesirable bitterness that is different from hop bittering. To my knowledge, no amount of aging will ever take it away.

Cheers.

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Postby jawbox » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:10 pm

My top five brewing book recommendations

1) How to Brew, John Palmer
2) Designing Great Beers, Ray Daniels
3) Brewing Classic Styles, Jamil Zainasheff & John Palmer
4) New Brewing Lager Beer, Greg Noonan
5) Radical Brewing, Randy Mosher
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Thanks

Postby capps24 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:17 pm

Thanks again for the advice. hey brewing is a series of tests and trial and errors. We have made some good beers in our first year, and certainly some bad ones as well. I have read Papazian's book, must have skipped the flaked barley section, hahaha. The beer may work, we are going to bottle tomorrow so I will test it. Thanks again
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books

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:39 am

I agree... Designing Great Beers is an excellent book. When I first picked it up, I thought I was back in high school looking at a science book, but it's really a resource I wouldn't want to do without now.

I'm also a fan of Brew Ware. Not for it's brewing information (of which there is little) but for the simple fact that it saved me bundles of money over buying equipment.
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Re: books

Postby billvelek » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:23 pm

Suthrncomfrt1884 wrote:I agree... Designing Great Beers is an excellent book. When I first picked it up, I thought I was back in high school looking at a science book, but it's really a resource I wouldn't want to do without now.

I'm also a fan of Brew Ware. Not for it's brewing information (of which there is little) but for the simple fact that it saved me bundles of money over buying equipment.
Yes, I have 'Designing Great Beers', too, and it's the most technical book that I have. It is excellent in that it covers a lot of information -- particularly about beer styles -- and has LOTS of tables for reference material, even in the front before you get into specific styles. But just to be clear for the newbies, it is not a replacement for a general brewing book because it doesn't get into some of the general brewing topics like sanitation and metallurgy like Palmer's book does. I think Marty Nachel's 'Homebrewing for Dummies' is an excellent book for basic brewing info needed by beginning brewers, and that a newbie might take one look at 'Designing Great Beers' and be a bit intimidated. In other words, I think it is an EXCELLENT _second_ book to purchase, but get something else first. I don't know what the second edition of Papazian's book is like, nor Palmer's except for what I've seen in the on-line version, which seems very complete. I also have 'Clone Brews' and 'Beer Captured', but they are also for recipe design. I'd recommend either Nachel's or Palmer's as a first book.

What sort of stuff have you made from the directions in 'Brew Ware'? One of these days I'm going to build a HERMS, but until then I have what I need. I've thought of making a stir plate, but that's about all I'd consider making at this time. I do need to make an oast for my home grown hops, but I don't need a book for that.

Cheers.

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