Looking clearly now.

Reactions to and impressions of commercial and home made beers and beverages. Travelling and experiencing beers from around the world.

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Looking clearly now.

Postby Gmku » Thu Sep 23, 2004 1:35 pm

It's been 7 days since I bottled my pale ale and every day the bottles are looking clearer and clearer.

This is my first batch ever. I experienced a problem that I notice crops up in this forum and other discussion forums I've visited: I had a fast-working fermentation (apparently over in about 24-36 hours) and a high terminal gravity (given the style) of around 1.020 (original gravity was about 1.054). The common denominator whenever I read about this "problem" is the use of DME and/or the use of a fast-acting dry yeast. I used a couple packs (rehydrated) of Munson's dry ale east. I used 3 pounds of Laaglanders DME (together with a 3.3 pound can of Munson's liquid extract).

I was very worried at first. And I was worried at the time of bottling. Sure, the beer looked "beery" enough as I peered inside the fermenter (I was using a single-only fermentation process). And it smelled a little "beery," like a warm pale ale or an alt. Malty, hoppy, earthy, nothing weird. But it poured into the bottling bucket and the bottles extemely muddy looking. Almost over night, however, the beer started looking clear in the bottles. I popped one open out of curiosity after the first day and whaddayaknow, I get the little whoosh of gas releasing, a little swirly fog in the neck, and nice head of foam when I pour. So, it's BEER. And it even tasted a little like an ale--very sweet, but still bitter enough from the hops. And yeasty tasting, with a lot of particulate moving around with the large carbonation bubbles.

Which is all to say that, in about another week, I think I might just have some drinkable beer, in spite of the worry about the high ending gravity and cloudiness.

After seeing my problem echoed in other posts I really don't think of it as a problem any more, so much as I think it might just be a factor in using: a) a lot of dried extract and b) a super-fast working and high attenuating dry yeast.

I'm going to try a liquid yeast vial with my second batch, slated to brew next week. And I'm going to use mostly syrup. I'd like to see if there's a difference in how it ferments out.

Anybody have a similar experience? Or insights?
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What's the problem?

Postby Push Eject » Fri Sep 24, 2004 12:41 am

Everything you described sounds very normal.

High FG from DME. No worries, all is well.

Chilling, i.e. refridgeration, causes proteins to clump together and fall to the bottom of the bottle after a short time (once the proverbial "chill haze" has passed where said proteins collect in suspension)... this leads to the very normal bottle-conditioned by-product known as sediment.

Brew on, my brother,
Charlie
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Beginner's jitters, is all, I guess.

Postby Gmku » Fri Sep 24, 2004 9:52 am

I was a little surprised by the fast fermentation; everything I read said bubbling in the airlock would continue for a good 5 to 10 days. And the FG threw me because if was higher than the recipe's number of around 1.014. I thought I must have screwed something up.

But like I said, so far, everything else seems to be going normally: bottles clearing, no signs of infection (no telltale ring around the neck or funny smells), and an okay couple of taste tests.

Always good to get some validation from experienced brewers, though. i appreciate the feedback.
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So...

Postby Gmku » Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:45 am

If I substituted syrup for the dried malt would I most likely get a lower FG?

And would this affect the OG? That is, would it affect the body of the beer, maybe thinner with syrup vice dried?

& in turn, would that decrease the ABV?
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Postby just-cj » Sat Sep 25, 2004 7:43 pm

You said, "I used 3 pounds of Laaglanders DME" -- that is the "problem." Laaglanders is infamous for being less fermentable than other extracts. It's something like 55% fermentable, whereas Muntons is more like 80%. So, switching your brand of extract will most likely result in more fermentability, a lower final gravity, and more alcohol (if you're in to that).
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Consider going to "All Grain"

Postby Azorean Brewer » Sun Sep 26, 2004 7:29 am

Hey guys,

I started in 1991 brewing just extract brews. No specialty grains, no partial mash. Those beers were good, and I was impressed. Three years ago I went all grain, and WOW what a difference. The malt complexity that you can brew is amazing. I now brew beers better than anything I ever brewed before and also sometimes better than what I can buy (sometimes not always). My final gravity is always on target and finishes clean.

The cash out lay is a little more, but if you do the proper research and truly love brewing and figure on sticking with this sometimes frustrating hobby, the only natural progressing will be to go all grain. I was so intimidated by the thought of all grain, but it really is not difficult, just a little more time consuming and more equipment intensive. Bottom line is understand the requirements, and gather all of your equipment first or you will end up with a frustrating mess and become sorry you ever went that road.

This post is meant to start you thinking about it and start reading about all grain. I spent a year researching the requirements, and gathering everything I needed before I made the swictch, and I was a nervous wreck when I brewed my first batch, and everything came out OK, I am glad I did it. I have now made over 25 batches of all grain, and one advantage is that an OUTSTANDINGLY EXCELLENT batch of brew now costs me from $15-$18 USD, where as an OK or PRETTY GOOD extract batch was costing me in the range of $30-$35 USD (or more).

Good luck with your fermentation problem and brew on ...

Regards,

Paul.
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