Houston, we have a problem…

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Houston, we have a problem…

Postby thebuddrik » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:41 pm

…not a huge problem. I set out to brew an amber ale. My mash tun is pissing me off and I need a new one. This is the 3rd or 4th time I brew with it and I find it has too much dead space. I figured I would just tilt my kettle to make up for it. I finished brewing and took my reading. It should have been around 1.061 or something. It was 1.080! WTF! All I can figure is I boiled off too much. I forgot to check out my final volume before I put it into the carboy so I am not sure about what it is. It looks like it is about where it should be, maybe a little low. My question is do I have enough yeast for that? All I pitched was 1 pack of dehydrated safale us-05. I have a second pack in the fridge. Should I pitch it tomorrow morning and give it another shake? Somebody let me know how I should fix it.
Thanks
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Postby Imakewort » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:22 pm

My mash tun has 1 gallon space below the false bottom and I do not have any problems, so to help i would need a better description of it and are you using a brewing program?
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Postby Mob_Barley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:26 pm

If you have an extra carboy, measure the volume that's equal to the one with the beer in it. It's a good idea to mark your carboy with tape at one gallon intervals, so you'll be able to know the volume in it. If you wanted the OG to be 1.061 it's easy to add water to dilute to the proper OG. Your hop utilization may be off a bit, but if you can live with that, the beer should still turn out fine.

If the final volume ends up more than you planned after adjusting the specific gravity to 1.061, you may need to pitch some more yeast. Check Mr. Malty's yeast calculator to see if you'll need more yeast based on the ending volume of beer after SG adjustment.

Of course, this only fixes the problem with the beer, not how you ended up 20 points off on your OG. Once you determine the volume into the fermenter, this might tell us something.

Let us know if you have any problems.
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Postby yeastmeister » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:55 am

Hmmmm....lemme get this straight....your complaining because your mash run gave you too much gravity? :)

First, no worries on the yeast, I'd be surprised if it wasn't bubbling as I type this. SF-05 is a good yeast, it will handle it. That single pack should handle it.

Go with what Mob Barley said about measuring an adding water if you want, just make sure you boil it first, and keep it sanitary while it cools.

Give us some more information and we will be happy to help. If it was me, I'd just leave it and let it go, I don't like adding stuff to wort once its done, too much chance for an infection.
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Postby aleguy » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:19 pm

I agree about the yeast being more than adequate. Most of what I brew starts around 1.080 or higher. I always use Safale 05 because it is clean, not temperature sensitive, and it is always available at a moment's notice.
As far as the dead space in your mash tun, maybe you just need a longer pickup tube? I wouldn't worry too much about the wort left behind because after sparging, it is the least desirable wort anyway. (You ARE sparging aren't you?)
I have to say I'm a little confused because I though you were using Yeastie's old cooler tun.
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Postby thebuddrik » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:15 pm

The more I think about it I think the problem is in my software. I just had my computer worked on and had to reformat the whole thing. I kind of shot from the hip on all of the settings for my brewing equipment :oops: . It was dialed in pretty close before all of that crap with my laptop.
I ended up just leaving it alone. I had checked on it this morning and it was bubbling. I just hope that it comes out drinkable. It sure will be strong :lol: .
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Postby redtail28 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:25 pm

Can you post your grain bill?
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Postby aleguy » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:46 pm

If you treat it properly, no one will ever know the difference. You might consider hopping your priming sugar to help make up for lost hop utilization, but you could end up with too much hoppiness for an Amber.
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Postby thebuddrik » Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:26 pm

Grain bill: 10 lb. Maris Otter 3, 1lb. Aromatic 23 , 1lb. Crystal 60
Hops : 1/2 oz Magnum 12% 60 min., 1oz Liberty 4.5% 30 min., 1oz Crystal 3.3% 2 min.

...and that is a good idea about hopping the priming sugar, thanks
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Postby Mob_Barley » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:24 pm

I punched it into BeerSmith, if you were using 75% efficiency, to get 1.080 OG you'd have to boil down to 4.2 gallons. A 5.5 gallon batch would get you at 1.061 OG.
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Postby thebuddrik » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:37 pm

1.061 was exactly what I was going for. I have 1.25 gal in the bottom of my kettle that is supposed to stay in there. I tilted my kettle and used some of it to make up for my error.
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Postby aleguy » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:17 am

I understand leaving the last of the final runnings in your tun, but why are you leaving good beer in your kettle? I can see a quart or two because it's almost all hops and cold break. But five quarts seems excessive loss to leave in the kettle. Did you lose your siphon?
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Postby thebuddrik » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:07 pm

That is all that comes out when I drain it with the ball valve. I had been thinking of putting a dip tube to get a little more but have not gotten around to it.
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Postby Mob_Barley » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:35 pm

I haven't gotten around to drilling out my new kettle yet. I just whirlpool the heck out of it, put it in the fridge to settle and get to pitching temp, then use an auto siphon and siphon into the fermenter. The only time I have to leave a lot of beer in the kettle is when the whirlpool doesn't do the job and I have a lot of break material and hops all mixed up. When it works right, it's all in a nice cone in the middle of the kettle and I just siphon at the edge.
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Postby aleguy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:07 pm

I think a dip tube inside the kettle about 1/2" from the center bottom, coupled with some tubing from the ball valve should allow you to get pretty much everything but the hops out. The only things you have to remember are to always keep the outflow of the tube below the bottom of the kettle and don't shut the valve when the level is below the top of your dip tube. (Where it goes through the keg.)
Dip tubes are very easy and inexpensive to make.
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