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Questions on Mash, getting very high attenuation

 
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darkrabbit



Joined: 16 Jan 2019
Posts: 9
Location: Brampton, ON


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:09 pm    Post subject: Questions on Mash, getting very high attenuation Reply with quote


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Hi all, I am getting some very high attenuation numbers and I really want to get this figured out as my beers are coming out with a much higher ABV and more dry than I desire. I think it's related to mash at this point but I wanted some thoughts:

Before eBrewery:

Prior to having this setup I used to brew in my garage using a drink cooler for a mash tun and get very high attenuation numbers. However I can likely attribute that to some +/-5F variances in the mash process. Depending on what day I decided to brew (outdoor temp), how well I hit mash temp, how much heat loss there was in my mash cooler, etc. The inconsistency is a major reason I moved to this setup. I got around 85% attenuation, maybe 70-75% mash efficiency.

Now:

With the eBrewing setup, the temperatures are very consistent and the process much more streamlined. I have no variance in mash temp due to recirculation. My mash efficiency is 91-96%. However my attenuation is still very high, 83%. Any yeast strain. Even dry yeast. I already know the following:

- The refractometers are bang on. I did a brew last weekend, checked calibration against a digital and analog refractometer using 3 different samples and 3 measurements each, plus one check against distilled water.
- Thermometers were calibrated, and are accurate within 1F, read with a Thermapen right next to the temp probe.
- pH probe is correct as well, recalibrated and verified with solutions.

So I am running out of reasons for this. One which I am thinking is my mash process. Here's how it goes on a brew day step by step (on Kal's site) on a 60 min @ 156F mash:

- Add grain to mash water @ mash temp: 0 min
- Stir mash: +3 mins @ 146F (10F drop from mixing grain) - 3 mins of mash time
- Let sit 10 mins then do pH check: +10 mins @ 146F - 13 mins of mash time
- Start recirculation. Ramps up to 156F in 10 mins. This is where timer is supposed to start: +60min @ 156F - 73 mins of mash time
- Ramp to 168F in 15 mins: +15 mins @ 156F-167F - 88 mins of mash

By this process the mash takes essentially 88 mins minimum, with no pH adjustments. While the timer is 60 mins, sure, the ACTUAL time of grain and water contact at a mash temp is higher. From what I understand, @152-156F, this is going to produce a VERY fermentable wort and result in a dryer beer. With the extremely good efficiency, I can safely assume that this recirculation process is incredibly good at grabbing fermentable sugars and likely doesn't require so much mash time.

So what I am asking:

1) Am I going down the right path here? Are my statements regarding attenuation relating to mash process accurate?

2) By dropping mash time and maybe sacrificing a few points of efficiency, could I get the amount of fermentable sugars down thereby dropping my attenuation and produce a less dry beer?

Thanks in advance!

-J
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9882
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Questions on Mash, getting very high attenuation Reply with quote

darkrabbit wrote:
I got around 85% attenuation, maybe 70-75% mash efficiency....
My mash efficiency is 91-96%. However my attenuation is still very high, 83.

I think you may be incorrectly using the terms mash efficiency and attenuation. The two things are not really related. You can have very high mash efficiency but very low attenuation. The reverse is also possible.

Mash efficiency = the % of the potential sugar you extract from mashing grain
Attenuation = the % of the sugar that the yeast eat and turn to alcohol (not all sugar will be converted by the yeast)

Mash efficiency is affected by: mill gap setting, mash tun geometry/configuration, mash duration, grain bed disturbances, sparge time, sparge water temp, pH, and again probably a few others I'm forgetting.

You get a high mash efficiency by using good equipment and paying attention to the other things mentioned above. High mash efficiency means it takes less grain to make the same beer. If you use my setup as designed and my brewing process per my BREW DAY STEP BY STEP guide you should expect around 95% mash efficiency on most any beer other than really high ABV ones. Aiming for high mash efficiency is often the goal by many. It is separate from attenuation.

Attenuation is affected by: the grist composition/how fermentable the wort is (some grain does not provide as much or any fermentable sugars), yeast strain/pitch rate/yeast health (including level of oxygen, nutrients), fermentation temp, mash temp, mash density (water to grist ratio), and probably a few others I'm forgetting.

Generally speaking if you do everything right (pitch the right amount of healthy yeast that has all the food and oxygen it needs) then you will play with your recipe (both grain and yeast choice), mash temp, and mash density to get the attenuation you want.

Quote:
Any yeast strain. Even dry yeast.

Whether a yeast is dry or liquid in theory has no relation to the attenuation of the strain. There may be cases where the same strain in either liquid or dry produces a consistently higher or lower attenuation then the other format, but there's no general understanding that liquid yeasts always attenuate more (or less) than dry yeasts.

Quote:
- The refractometers are bang on. I did a brew last weekend, checked calibration against a digital and analog refractometer using 3 different samples and 3 measurements each, plus one check against distilled water.

What are you using to measure the final gravity? You can't us refractometers as the presence of alcohol throws them off. There are offset calculators but they will never be as accurate as a hydrometer.

The starting gravity may not also be correct too as refractometers are designed to read samples of sugar water and fruit juice, not wort. A wort correction factor need to be applied.

Before going any further, I would recheck everything using a calibrated hydrometer. See here for how: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=7

99% of the time when people have the sorts of questions you do that related to gravity readings, I find it's because a refractometer is involved and is being used incorrectly.

Quote:
From what I understand, @152-156F, this is going to produce a VERY fermentable wort and result in a dryer beer.

No. That's middle to higher mash temperature. It's not what you should use for a very fermentable wort.
Closer to 148F is what you want for a really dry beer. Or better yet, a step mash with a long rest at 148F then a shorter rest at 156-158F.

Quote:
I can safely assume that this recirculation process is incredibly good at grabbing fermentable sugars and likely doesn't require so much mash time.

No. The starch to sugar change is based on temperature. Generally speaking the lower the temp, the longer it takes for conversion. How well you wash those sugars out after is another story. Recirculating if done correctly will however provide a very stable consistent temperature across the grain bed. Most batch sparging picnic cooler mashers will only hit their target temperature in one area of the tun as the outside will be cooler than the inside. It will also drop over time as heat is not being added continuously to maintain temp.

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:15 pm; edited 10 times in total
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9882
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some extra info on mash efficiency:

Mash efficiency is the amount of sugar that is extracted from the grain. Most brewing software will calculate this for you after you measure the wort gravity in the boil kettle after sparging is done.

Some things to look for if you wish to maximize your mash efficiency:

(1) Mill gap setting: I recommend between 0.045" and 0.050" if building a clone of my setup. Finer is not better with recirculating systems such as this and will actually lower your mash efficiency. Most in-store crushes are already too fine for recirculating systems. They assume you're not using a recirculating systems. Milling too fine can also cause stuck sparges/recirculation. More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/grain-mill

(2) Mash tun geometry/configuration: I recommend Blichmann kettles and their false bottom. The false bottom is slotted across the entire area which helps avoid channeling. The false bottom also sits on a stepped kettle edge which helps avoid sidewall shunting. When the grain is rinsed of sugars in the Mash/Lauter Tun during the lautering phase, the liquid will always try to take the most direct path / path of least resistance. Channeling happens when the water flows towards a single spot or smaller area on the bottom of the mash tun, commonly seen when only a braided hoses or similar is used for wort pickup. The water flows directly to the slotted hose and ends up misses areas of grain which leaves sugar behind. By using an entire slotted bottom area like the Blichmann false bottom, the water instead moves from top to bottom in a piston-like manner and no grain is left unwashed. Sidewall shunting happens when the liquid passes between the wall of the kettle and the mass of grain. This also reduces the amount of sugar removed from the grain. Since in our setup there is no easy path for the liquid to pass through at the kettle/false bottom junction, sidewall shunting is greatly reduced or basically eliminated and mash efficiency increases. More info:
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/kettles-overview

(3) Post boil gravity: Make sure to mix your pre-boil wort well in the boil kettle before taking a gravity reading as otherwise the thicker wort with more sugar will be in the bottom and throw off your pre-boil gravity (it will be too low and you will incorrecty assume that your mash efficiency is low when it may not be).

(4) Hydrometer temperature compensation: Make sure to compensate for temperature when using your hydrometer. Most are only accurate at either 60F or 68F. More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=7

(5) Hydrometer calibration: Has your hydrometer been calibrated? More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=7

(6) Sparge time: The longer you fly sparge, the higher the mash efficiency. Aim for 60-90 minutes, or even up to 120 minutes.

(7) Grain bed disturbance: Do not touch the grain bed after mashing in all the way through to until you're done sparging. Doing so can hurt your efficieny as you may cause channelling.

(8) Sparge water temp: Sparge water should be hot but not too hot (168-170F). This helps with sugar extraction.

(9) pH: Keep your pH in check to maximize sugar extraction. More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step

(10) Volume of wort: Make sure your volume of wort in the boil kettle is accurate. If you sparge too long and collect too much wort in the boil kettle, the gravity will be lower than you expected.

(11) Mash duration: The longer you mash, the more starch that is converted to sugars. The lower the mash temperature, the longer this takes.

Do not confuse mash efficiency with brewhouse efficiency. Mash efficiency is how well the setup is able to extract sugars from grain in the mash tun while brewhouse efficiency is the entire efficency from start to end of the brewing setup and while it includes mash efficiency it also factors in how much wort get into the fermenters (some is lost due to hop/trub absorption), dead space that can't be transferred, and so forth. Brewhouse efficiency will always be lower than mash efficiency. For the most part I don't care about my brewhouse efficiency with the tiny volumes we produce at the homebrew level. If a cup or two gets left behind here or there that's fine and we can't do anything about wort absorbed by hops.

Kal

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darkrabbit



Joined: 16 Jan 2019
Posts: 9
Location: Brampton, ON


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Questions on Mash, getting very high attenuation Reply with quote

kal wrote:

I think you may be incorrectly using the terms mash efficiency and attenuation. The two things are not really related. You can have very high mash efficiency but very low attenuation. The reverse is also possible.

Mash efficiency = the % of the potential sugar you extract from mashing grain
Attenuation = the % of the sugar that the yeast eat and turn to alcohol (not all sugar will be converted by the yeast)

Mash efficiency is affected by: mill gap setting, mash tun geometry/configuration, mash duration, grain bed disturbances, sparge time, sparge water temp, pH, and again probably a few others I'm forgetting.

You get a high mash efficiency by using good equipment and paying attention to the other things mentioned above. High mash efficiency means it takes less grain to make the same beer. If you use my setup as designed and my brewing process per my BREW DAY STEP BY STEP guide you should expect around 95% mash efficiency on most any beer other than really high ABV ones. Aiming for high mash efficiency is often the goal by many. It is separate from attenuation.

Attenuation is affected by: the grist composition/how fermentable the wort is (some grain does not provide as much or any fermentable sugars), yeast strain/pitch rate/yeast health (including level of oxygen, nutrients), fermentation temp, mash temp, mash density (water to grist ratio), and probably a few others I'm forgetting.

Generally speaking if you do everything right (pitch the right amount of healthy yeast that has all the food and oxygen it needs) then you will play with your recipe (both grain and yeast choice), mash temp, and mash density to get the attenuation you want.



No confusion, just poor sentence structure. This all makes sense. Really, what I am trying to say is my attenuation has been consistently high with either my old or new setup. And I thought mash time related to attenuation as well.

Quote:

What are you using to measure the final gravity? You can't us refractometers as the presence of alcohol throws them off. There are offset calculators but they will never be as accurate as a hydrometer.

The starting gravity may not also be correct too as refractometers are designed to read samples of sugar water and fruit juice, not wort. A wort correction factor need to be applied.

Before going any further, I would recheck everything using a calibrated hydrometer. See here for how: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=7

99% of the time when people have the sorts of questions you do that related to gravity readings, I find it's because a refractometer is involved and is being used incorrectly.


I am using a refractometer with Beersmith to calculate the offset due to the presence of alcohol. I checked a fermenting wort and, with the calculations from Beersmith for the refractometers, my hydrometer, digital and analog refractometer all read within 0.001 SG. When searching for solutions, yes this was a common issue but in this case everything is correct.

Quote:

No. That's middle to higher mash temperature. It's not what you should use for a very fermentable wort.
Closer to 148F is what you want for a really dry beer. Or better yet, a step mash with a long rest at 148F then a shorter rest at 156-158F.


Quote:

No. The starch to sugar change is based on temperature.


I don't want a dry beer for this one Smile The mash temp should be good then. BUT I thought mash time would affect this as well, not just temp. So the longer the mash the more fermentable the wort will be. If this isn't the case then... back to the drawing board I guess.
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darkrabbit



Joined: 16 Jan 2019
Posts: 9
Location: Brampton, ON


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Some extra info on mash efficiency:

Mash efficiency is the amount of sugar that is extracted from the grain. Most brewing software will calculate this for you after you measure the wort gravity in the boil kettle after sparging is done.

Some things to look for if you wish to maximize your mash efficiency:

(1) Mill gap setting: I recommend between 0.045" and 0.050" if building a clone of my setup. Finer is not better with recirculating systems such as this and will actually lower your mash efficiency. Most in-store crushes are already too fine for recirculating systems. They assume you're not using a recirculating systems. Milling too fine can also cause stuck sparges/recirculation. More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/grain-mill

(2) Mash tun geometry/configuration: I recommend Blichmann kettles and their false bottom. The false bottom is slotted across the entire area which helps avoid channeling. The false bottom also sits on a stepped kettle edge which helps avoid sidewall shunting. When the grain is rinsed of sugars in the Mash/Lauter Tun during the lautering phase, the liquid will always try to take the most direct path / path of least resistance. Channeling happens when the water flows towards a single spot or smaller area on the bottom of the mash tun, commonly seen when only a braided hoses or similar is used for wort pickup. The water flows directly to the slotted hose and ends up misses areas of grain which leaves sugar behind. By using an entire slotted bottom area like the Blichmann false bottom, the water instead moves from top to bottom in a piston-like manner and no grain is left unwashed. Sidewall shunting happens when the liquid passes between the wall of the kettle and the mass of grain. This also reduces the amount of sugar removed from the grain. Since in our setup there is no easy path for the liquid to pass through at the kettle/false bottom junction, sidewall shunting is greatly reduced or basically eliminated and mash efficiency increases. More info:
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/kettles-overview

(3) Post boil gravity: Make sure to mix your pre-boil wort well in the boil kettle before taking a gravity reading as otherwise the thicker wort with more sugar will be in the bottom and throw off your pre-boil gravity (it will be too low and you will incorrecty assume that your mash efficiency is low when it may not be).

(4) Hydrometer temperature compensation: Make sure to compensate for temperature when using your hydrometer. Most are only accurate at either 60F or 68F. More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=7

(5) Hydrometer calibration: Has your hydrometer been calibrated? More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=7

(6) Sparge time: The longer you fly sparge, the higher the mash efficiency. Aim for 60-90 minutes, or even up to 120 minutes.

(7) Grain bed disturbance: Do not touch the grain bed after mashing in all the way through to until you're done sparging. Doing so can hurt your efficieny as you may cause channelling.

(8) Sparge water temp: Sparge water should be hot but not too hot (168-170F). This helps with sugar extraction.

(9) pH: Keep your pH in check to maximize sugar extraction. More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step

(10) Volume of wort: Make sure your volume of wort in the boil kettle is accurate. If you sparge too long and collect too much wort in the boil kettle, the gravity will be lower than you expected.

(11) Mash duration: The longer you mash, the more starch that is converted to sugars. The lower the mash temperature, the longer this takes.

Do not confuse mash efficiency with brewhouse efficiency. Mash efficiency is how well the setup is able to extract sugars from grain in the mash tun while brewhouse efficiency is the entire efficency from start to end of the brewing setup and while it includes mash efficiency it also factors in how much wort get into the fermenters (some is lost due to hop/trub absorption), dead space that can't be transferred, and so forth. Brewhouse efficiency will always be lower than mash efficiency. For the most part I don't care about my brewhouse efficiency with the tiny volumes we produce at the homebrew level. If a cup or two gets left behind here or there that's fine and we can't do anything about wort absorbed by hops.

Kal


Thanks! Mash efficiency is definitely impressive on this setup. My mill gap is 0.045".

Pre-boil wort I measure by waiting for the convection currents to mix everything up (so around 205F) and then use a turkey baster to grab a sample in the middle. I let it cool then take a reading, then dump what's left back in.

Sparge temp is 168F to start then per your instructions I turn the element off and let it cool over time. Makes sense to do it this way if it reduces tannins.

pH is always in check.

My brewhouse is around 82-85%.

So point 11: "Mash duration: The longer you mash, the more starch that is converted to sugars. The lower the mash temperature, the longer this takes. "

This is what I mean... so time does affect conversion of starch to sugars, and the longer the mash, would it not make a more fermentable wort and therefore a more dry beer? I think this is where I am getting confused a bit.

-J
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9882
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Questions on Mash, getting very high attenuation Reply with quote

darkrabbit wrote:
I don't want a dry beer for this one Smile The mash temp should be good then. BUT I thought mash time would affect this as well, not just temp. So the longer the mash the more fermentable the wort will be. If this isn't the case then... back to the drawing board I guess.

You are correct. The lower the mash temp the dryer the beer, but the longer it takes to get there.

Kal

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9882
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

darkrabbit wrote:
So point 11: "Mash duration: The longer you mash, the more starch that is converted to sugars. The lower the mash temperature, the longer this takes. "

This is what I mean... so time does affect conversion of starch to sugars, and the longer the mash, would it not make a more fermentable wort and therefore a more dry beer? I think this is where I am getting confused a bit.

The lower the mash temp the longer it takes to convert starches to sugars.
The lower the mash temp the more of those sugars will be fermentable by yeast (turning sugars into alcohol).

Using an example:

Mash at 160F and those starch to sugar conversions that will happen will be done fairly quickly. Mashing longer would note produce a wort that attenuated more. At this temperature it may only take 20 minutes to get 95% conversion (I'm completely making up the 20 and 95 numbers just to explain - they may be completely different).
Mash at 147F and those starch to sugar conversions that will happen much slower. So to maximize that conversion you need to mash longer. It may take 2 hours to get 95% conversion (again, numbers only to illustrate a point).

What types of sugars are produced during this conversion is a completely different story. Some will be fermentable, others not.

I'm greatly oversimplifying this with on/off type binary logic here as there are all sorts of different enzymes in play here that work in different temp ranges, but it explains it at a high level. To really dig into how the chain reactions work at different temps give Palmer's book a read: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/how-to-brew

So I'm really not sure where your issue is I'm afraid, or if there's something that's being measured incorrectly. Sorry! I was hoping it was the usual refractometer issue that many have but not from the sounds of it.

Kal

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darkrabbit



Joined: 16 Jan 2019
Posts: 9
Location: Brampton, ON


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
darkrabbit wrote:
So point 11: "Mash duration: The longer you mash, the more starch that is converted to sugars. The lower the mash temperature, the longer this takes. "

This is what I mean... so time does affect conversion of starch to sugars, and the longer the mash, would it not make a more fermentable wort and therefore a more dry beer? I think this is where I am getting confused a bit.

The lower the mash temp the longer it takes to convert starches to sugars.
The lower the mash temp the more of those sugars will be fermentable by yeast (turning sugars into alcohol).

Using an example:

Mash at 160F and those starch to sugar conversions that will happen will be done fairly quickly. Mashing longer would note produce a wort that attenuated more. At this temperature it may only take 20 minutes to get 95% conversion (I'm completely making up the 20 and 95 numbers just to explain - they may be completely different).
Mash at 147F and those starch to sugar conversions that will happen much slower. So to maximize that conversion you need to mash longer. It may take 2 hours to get 95% conversion (again, numbers only to illustrate a point).

What types of sugars are produced during this conversion is a completely different story. Some will be fermentable, others not.

I'm greatly oversimplifying this with on/off type binary logic here as there are all sorts of different enzymes in play here that work in different temp ranges, but it explains it at a high level. To really dig into how the chain reactions work at different temps give Palmer's book a read: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/how-to-brew

So I'm really not sure where your issue is I'm afraid, or if there's something that's being measured incorrectly. Sorry! I was hoping it was the usual refractometer issue that many have but not from the sounds of it.

Kal


No this is really good, thank you! It helps explain a bit more about what's going on. 80's attenuation isn't unusual either apparently, Beersmith just seems to think with my recipe I should hit 68% attenuation and it's off but to be fair BS is usually WAY off on attenuation estimates for whatever reason. I seem to get consistently high attenuation compared to many others, and am just trying to understand a bit more.

So at 156F vs 147F, assuming maximized efficiency, the TYPES of sugars that are produced will differ where more fermentable ones are in the 147F range. This makes a lot more sense.

I actually have Palmer's book open beside me, I am reading the entire section on mash Smile

I may or may not have a 'real' issue so much as I just need to make recipe and step adjustments to get where I want to be.

Thanks a ton for all the info. It helps to bounce these ideas off people!

-J
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9882
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

darkrabbit wrote:
80's attenuation isn't unusual either apparently, Beersmith just seems to think with my recipe I should hit 68% attenuation and it's off but to be fair BS is usually WAY off on attenuation estimates for whatever reason. I seem to get consistently high attenuation compared to many others, and am just trying to understand a bit more.

I don't know of any software that is able to look at all the things that affect attenuation (that I listed above) and actually come up with a reasonable number. It's far too complex. Most software has no concept of how fermentable specific grains are at all. Example: Put in 10 lbs of continental pils 2-row, or crystal malt, or plain sugar and they'll all be treated more or less the same way in most software even though in the real world the crystal will add very little fermentables, the pils fairly high fermentables, and the plain sugar almost 100% fermentable.

I would completely ignore any sort of attenuation numbers software gives you. That's up to the brewer to figure out through trial and error as there are far too many variables to model in software. Whenever I work on a new recipe it can easily take half a dozen brew days to hit the FG where I want it to actually be. If it's new yeast I haven't used, well, all bets are even farther off.

The problem with brewing software is that one author of software will add something to try and estimate some number and all others have to follow otherwise they appear to have less features. This doesn't help the brewer of course as it can confuse people.

Brewing software is great, but it gives people the perception of accuracy by giving exact numbers when in the real world a lot of it is complete guesswork. Manufacturers are no better. Case in point, White Labs states the attenuation of their popular WLP001 (Chico) yeast is between 73-80%: https://www.whitelabs.com/yeast-bank/wlp001-california-ale-yeast
I can however easily do 90% when brewing an IIPA that is very fermentable. Much of the numbers manufacturers give are meaningless, much of the numbers that brewing software give are just as meaningless. Through experience you'll get to know what's what.

Quote:
So at 156F vs 147F, assuming maximized efficiency, the TYPES of sugars that are produced will differ where more fermentable ones are in the 147F range. This makes a lot more sense.

Correct.

Cheers!

Kal

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GrumpyWally



Joined: 06 Mar 2015
Posts: 54
Location: San Diego, CA

Drinking: Students Stout

Working on: Tripwire Tripel, Dubbel-Quad


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what if your fermentation vessel is contaminated/infected such that there are other gremlins eating stuff that perhaps your yeast doesn't?

I've got a Blichmann conical. It uses ball valves in both the bottom dump and racking arm. I have always disassembled and cleaned/sanitized both after every brew. I had some trouble with off flavors and and noticed that the gasket between the valve casings seems "ragged" so I started boiling both valves prior after assembly but prior to use. It seems to have helped.

I also had a problem early on with what was possibly beerstone in the fermentor and worked really hard to get the inside all nice and shiny again.

You might consider doing a forced wort test (take a sample just before pitching your yeast) to see what grows in your wort besides the yeast.

Just adding my 2 cents here - good luck.
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darkrabbit



Joined: 16 Jan 2019
Posts: 9
Location: Brampton, ON


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GrumpyWally wrote:
So what if your fermentation vessel is contaminated/infected such that there are other gremlins eating stuff that perhaps your yeast doesn't?

I've got a Blichmann conical. It uses ball valves in both the bottom dump and racking arm. I have always disassembled and cleaned/sanitized both after every brew. I had some trouble with off flavors and and noticed that the gasket between the valve casings seems "ragged" so I started boiling both valves prior after assembly but prior to use. It seems to have helped.

I also had a problem early on with what was possibly beerstone in the fermentor and worked really hard to get the inside all nice and shiny again.

You might consider doing a forced wort test (take a sample just before pitching your yeast) to see what grows in your wort besides the yeast.

Just adding my 2 cents here - good luck.


I had considered that as well, but I am quite diligent with sanitizing. I have a Spike unitank, and several Fermonsters. The unitank is fairly new and the parts get a Star San bath before I assemble.

I had never even considered boiling the Spike parts beforehand, I really like that idea. That should effectively murder anything living in them. The butterfly valves and the sample valve could definitely use it as they do have non-SS parts that could hold nasty things.

And I really like the idea of the wort test! How much of a sample would you suggest, or just put like 100 - 200mL in a beaker?

I have to find a basket for my boil kettle so I can hold all the parts in there for boiling while not hitting the element...

-J
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701pilot



Joined: 10 May 2016
Posts: 40
Location: northern california

Drinking: Bohemian Pilsner,Caribou Slobber, Munich Helles, Weissbier, Black Bute Porter, RIS, Irish Red Ale

Working on: Milk Chocolate Stout


PostLink    Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might try to mash in at a higher temp. I suspect the 13 minuets at 146 deg. might be the problem, because it followed you from your old system with the same process.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9882
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

701pilot wrote:
I suspect the 13 minuets at 146 deg. might be the problem

I think that's too short of a time at that very low temp for it to overly dry out the beer. At really low temps like that it takes a long time for the starches to convert to fermentable sugars.

Kal

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GrumpyWally



Joined: 06 Mar 2015
Posts: 54
Location: San Diego, CA

Drinking: Students Stout

Working on: Tripwire Tripel, Dubbel-Quad


PostLink    Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

darkrabbit wrote:

And I really like the idea of the wort test! How much of a sample would you suggest, or just put like 100 - 200mL in a beaker?


I just dump the stuff I use to take a final SG hydrometer reading into a 250 ml flask and put an air lock on it. Of course, this means that I need to keep the hydrometer jar, hydrometer, and the flask pretty well sanitized as well.

darkrabbit wrote:

I have to find a basket for my boil kettle so I can hold all the parts in there for boiling while not hitting the element...

-J


I just take the two assembled valves into the kitchen and boil them on the stove in a few quarts of RO water using a 4 quart dutch oven.
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