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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2003 * September 15, 2003 * How did I screw this up?! (long rant) < Previous Next >

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Farmer Ian (
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 01:54 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK, so way back on 8-10, I had a spare hour or so, so I decided to brew morebeer's ESB extract kit that I had. My big kettle had been "liberated" from me by a friend, so I could only do a 3.5 gallon boil that day. Finished the boil with around 2.5 gallons left, and all in all was fairly pleased with the boil. (Except that I believe that "whirfloc" is german for "boilover") Was all ready to use the CFC that I had just made, when I got called away for several hours. Before leaving, I covered the pot best I could, and went about my merry way.

4 hours later, I am back, and time to get the wort into the primary via the CFC. Worked wonderfully. To aerate, I pinched off the hose that I was adding water to the fermenter with, to make a fairly wide pressurized stream into the wort in the bucket. Much froth ensued.

Now it is time to pitch the yeast (Safeale in this case) So, first I take my OG. According to the sheet that comes with the kit, I should expect 1.048-1.055. I come up with 1.040! :( In fact, took 3 seperate samples, and each agreed.

I put the fermenter in the fridge overnight. By morning it is at 60 degrees, but fermentation has begun. Remove the fermenter to the basement and the water/ice bath. From this point on, temp is held fairly constant at 68.

On the 16th, I got around to racking to secondary, I took a SG and came up with 1.22

On the 20th, SG is still 1.22

On the 23rd, SG is 1.22

On the 27th, SG has dropped to 1.215 (an estimate, my hydrometer is not that accurate)

It does not taste that bad, it has a definite malty character, but it is not sweet. The sample sitting in the hydro flask acts almost carbonated, so I am thinking this thing is done. Not much of a beer, 2.5%abv at this point.

Any insights as to why I did so poorly with this? This beer is bitter, but it is far from "extra special". And, of course now I am bitter as well. And I can't RDWHAHB because I am friggin OUT! >:[


Walt Fischer (
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 03:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1.040 to 1.22? 1.215? its going UP!
Were gonna need Fredrick to model this one..;>

Im thinking you REALLY mean 1.022 and 1.015
If so.. youve got 3.28% not 2.5%
Which aint much, but better...

If you post the recipe, we'll be able to help ya out more....

Im thinking its gonna go lower still too...


Doug Pescatore (
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 04:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Walt, it's a kit so I am guessing the recipe is dump in the extract and boil. If you had boil overs you may have lost some of your fermentable there. I am not sure which extract you were using, but I have heard that some do not ferment as well as others. Salale has always done a good job for me, and since you used a dry yeast you should already have a large population of yeast to do the job even if your areation was less than optimum.

You can call a lawnmower beer.


Denny Conn (
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 06:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is a very common problem when you don't do a full boil...the wort and top up water weren't fully mixed, so the reading you were taking was watered down. Tell us how many pounds of extract you used and whether it was liquid or dry, and we can calculate the gravity more accurately than measuring it.

Walter Price (
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 07:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with with Denny "wern't fully mixed". You probably had about 6 lbs of extract and the OG was about 1.050 and if you allow the secoundary to warm up to room temp it will go to 1.010 or thereabout. (Good yeast) Your abv will then be close to 5%. Also try letting your hydrometer sample sit over night (in the test vial) and read it after the still fermenting wort has degassed a little -(it may not)

Paul Hayslett (
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Look on the bright side. If it got infected while waiting to be chilled, the gravity would be too low, not too high. You say it doesn't taste bad and is not too sweet, so it is at least drinkable. And it's nice having a lower-alcohol alternative in the fridge, for when you still need to be able to function after having a couple.

Sometimes Ninkasi smiles upon you and sometimes she doesn't. It isn't always obvious why. The best thing to do is to put it behind you and get busy on the next batch.

Farmer Ian (
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 12:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Indeed, typos galore in my original post. The gravities should have been 1.040 OG, and 1.022, and 1.0215. That is how I got to 2.5% abv.

I thought about the "poor mixing" possibility from reading another (somewhat controversial) thread here. I suppose that this is a possibility, and will defer to the physicists on my mixing technique.

The "recipe" called for 7 lbs English Light Malt (liquid), and 1.25 lbs steeped grains. I have done partial boils before, and had worse boilovers, and have had higher OG's than this.

I could take it out of the water/ice bath, and let it warm up to finish, but was a bit leary of that, as room temp. where it is at ranges from 70-80 during the course of the day, and was worried about fermenting too warmly, and the flavors that it would produce. Perhaps at this point, flavor contribution would be minor?

My main concern now is that I am going to have some free time tomorrow that I was planning to use to bottle this stuff. I guess I will pull it from the water bath, and see if fermentation activity picks up in the next 24 hours.

Since I "let" the wife mow the lawn, and she is not a huge fan of my endeavours, I suppose I will call this a "cow milking" beer.

Beer_Lifter (
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 07:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's probably fine - my guess is that your initial reading was off. Also, I have had terrible luck getting Alexanders (the brand that morebeer uses in its kits) to ferment properly. I have used it several times, and have always ended up with high FG. Bottom line - you have beer - it may not be exactly what you were expecting, but it's beer none the less.

Denny Conn (
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 04:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ian, your OG was around 1.051. Figure (7 lbs*36ppg)/5 gal.=50.4 plus a bit for your steeping grains. You're on track, although your attenuation is still a bit low at this point.

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