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Author Topic: Almost all my brews are under attenuating  (Read 352 times)

Alskuld

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Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« on: February 25, 2019, 06:59:57 PM »
Hi all

I've been brewing all grain batches for 2 years and recently getting unusually low attenuation quite frequently. For example, on my last batch I brewed an Oatmeal Stout using Mangrove Jack's Empire Ale yeast that has medium attenuation, or about 73%.

I mashed at 67C for one hour and then mashed out at 78C for ten minutes, oxygenated the wort for 15 minutes, then added a yeast starter that I made day before. My starting gravity was 1.071. Fermented vigorously for two days, all activity stops within 6 days, I left it in the fermenter for 23 days at a steady temperature of 22C (72F). When I take a final gravity it reads 1.026!! Why on god's green earth does a healthy yeast culture drop out at 62 percent attenuation unless it was mashed at a very high temp? This is a reoccurring problem for me, what am I doing wrong?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 07:08:14 PM by Alskuld »

combat32

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 08:22:36 PM »
do you add any yeast nutrients and yeast energizer to the wort?

what size starter are you pitching?
for that size beer i would of used 2 packs rehydrated

your temps seem fine, on the mash out i would drop to 76C, once you get over that 77C temp you could pickup some tannings from the hulls.

is it happening with other yeast strains?
Have you tried US-05 on any?

do you control the temp during fermentation?

have you done any tests? like a sMasH split into 2 batches with say the empire yeast in one and US-05 in the other.

also is your hydrometer correct?

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Black Dog Brewery

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 09:04:17 PM »
Try making your yeast starter at least 3 days before brew day because your starter is actually a mini batch of home brew.

Just like a full fermenter of beer, it may take 12 to 24 hours to start fermenting.  So if you added the starter that you made the day before that means that you only achieved a fraction of the cell count that was achievable.

If I forget to make a starter or decide to brew last minute, I skip the starter altogether and simply add 2 packs of dehydrated yeast.  Not a good choice because I still think I under attenuate in some cases.

I think we are all accustomed to thinking 1 pack of yeast is good enough because every beer kit only comes with 1 pack of yeast.  It wasn't until I started to use BeerSmith that I learned that I didn't have enough yeast to do the job.
Cheers & 17,

Jim,
Long Island, New York
My Youtube Channel

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Alskuld

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 09:35:30 PM »
combat32 
I don't add nutrients or yeast energizers, unless I'm brewing wine. The batch is 6 gallons and I always only add one pack since it has been successful in the past, on a earlier batch I used Bulldog B1 yeast for my Belgian Quadruple/trappist and that one also dropped out earlier in the process, despite the batch size being only 4.5 gallons.
I tried us05 long time ago and had no problems. Haven't done any tests and I am usually kept busy.
I have very good control of the temperature since I have a storage room and good insulation. Regarding the hydrometer, It seems to work normally, with warm water in the test tube it stays very close to 1.000.
However, when I had more success with attenuation my batches were around 5 gallons, could that be the possible culprit?
 

Alskuld

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2019, 09:43:13 PM »
Black Dog Brewery
Thanks for advise, next time I will make my starter 3 days prior to brew day. It says on the package that it is suitable for up to 23 litres of wort, or 6 gallons, specifically 2 of them, it is more expensive but if it brings more success than I might as well try that also.

combat32

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 07:50:26 AM »
i use the rule of thumb any wort that is 1.050 and under i packet of yeast and over 1.055 i use 2 packets. you can also check out MrMalty.com to figure your yeast starters.
hope that helps, keep us posted on your next batch
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Keg 1- HB Blonde ale v2
Keg 2- Chocolate Milk Stout
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Alskuld

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 08:56:17 AM »
Yesterday I packaged my Oatmeal Stout as it was, it tastes sweet but somehow balanced out with the specialty malts, if it were another style like a belgian blonde, this would not be the case.
It has 242 calories per 12 oz and 6 percent alcohol it will be on the heavy side.

My next brew has a target gravity of about 1.050, it is a saison and therefore using a high attenuating yeast and I will keep you posted as soon as I get it going, thanks for all the help,
cheers

Alskuld

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2019, 12:23:35 PM »
Yesterday I brewed a 23 liter batch of a slightly modified recipe of a Belgian Pale Ale.

The grain bill consists of 5.1 kg Bestmalz Pale Ale and 200g of Cara Gold 45L.

56g   Styrian Goldings  Pellet     Boil   60 min    2.6 AA   
52g   Saaz   Pellet   Boil   3 min hop burst 3.8 AA
4g Amarillo    Pellet   Boil     3 min hop burst   

Protein rest at 52 C 10 minutes, 64 C 60 minutes and mashed out at 76 C. Wort boiling for 75 minutes.
Added 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient and quarter teaspoon of yeast energizer along with the Irish moss at the last 15 minutes of the boil. The post boil wort has a pleasant hoppy aroma.

I'm using Mangrove Jack's Liberty Bell ale yeast for this recipe with attenuation of about 76%, made a yeast starter day before the brew day, It did foam a little out of the jar as the yeast was quite active, I hope I didn't lose too many yeast cells due to this, but the lag time was short and I now have a nice active fermentation today with lots of foam on top.
The starting gravity is 1.051 and according to the online calculator I should have a FG of about 1.008.

I will let you know how it turns out. ;)

« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 01:03:18 PM by Alskuld »

combat32

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2019, 07:51:08 AM »
Pitching rate plays a role in a great fermentation.
i have made starters a week before to build up the cell count. well the amount of yeast since i cant count them  ;)  fermentation seems to kick right up. my Lager i did this year was 2 packs of 34/70 re-hydrated, chilled wort down to pitching temp and waited didnt see much until almost 8hrs later.
after that finished i made a IPL and transferred that on top of the yeast cake and it started with in 10 minutes. there are some strains of yeast that take 24-36hrs before you see activity which always makes me nervous  :o  maybe i need a bigger starter  :)
cant wait to hear how this turns out.
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Keg 1- HB Blonde ale v2
Keg 2- Chocolate Milk Stout
Keg 3- HB Peach Sour
Keg 4- HB IPL Ekuanot
Keg 5- 17 Red ale
Keg 6- HB Lager #4
Keg 7-
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Alskuld

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2019, 11:11:29 AM »
the fermentation has slowed down quite a bit, still showing activity, checked the specific gravity on day 4 and it's down to 1.017 and still going, I stirred up the yeast and moved the fermenter to a warmer place, just to make sure the yeast doesn't stall too early.

About the starters, I've read on the Mangrove jack's website that their yeast is not suitable for haresting and one should consider using new sachet with each brew, but I guess they just want to sell their products, right? I would definitely consider harvesting my own yeast .


combat32

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2019, 06:42:36 PM »
i would harvest, i try and do it as much as possible to see if i can.
look up Donosborn yeast harvest on youtube.
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Keg 1- HB Blonde ale v2
Keg 2- Chocolate Milk Stout
Keg 3- HB Peach Sour
Keg 4- HB IPL Ekuanot
Keg 5- 17 Red ale
Keg 6- HB Lager #4
Keg 7-
FV1- 
FV2- 
Planning-

Alskuld

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2019, 09:35:57 AM »
So for the last couple days, there has been no airlock activity, so today I kegged and put the remainder of the batch in bottles. The FG read 1.013, which is 5 points from my target gravity, but it is still fair enough to package at 74% attenuation, still too low. So basically one stage fermentation for 16 days at a constant temperature of 22 C.
Next time I will prepare my yeast starter 3 days prior to brewing and see if it changes anything, perhaps 6 gallon batch is too much volume for one sachet of yeast? 
« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 09:42:00 AM by Alskuld »

combat32

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2019, 08:17:09 PM »
pretty close to the threshold of using 2 packs.
I myself use 1 pack of dry yeast for 6gallons of 1.050 and under.
1.055 and up 2 packs of dry yeast, both ways I always rehydrate after i start my mash.
17
Keg 1- HB Blonde ale v2
Keg 2- Chocolate Milk Stout
Keg 3- HB Peach Sour
Keg 4- HB IPL Ekuanot
Keg 5- 17 Red ale
Keg 6- HB Lager #4
Keg 7-
FV1- 
FV2- 
Planning-

Alskuld

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2019, 09:10:35 AM »
I'm pleased to say that the Saison I brewed last week turned out successful in terms of final gravity, smells good too, according to my brew calculator I was supposed to hit FG of 1.007, well nine days into fermentation and it is at 1.007. What I did was I took some of your advise and made a starter 3 days prior to brewday, at it was well worth it, thanks!

The only concern is the risk of oxidation or infection since I'm letting it sit there for another 2 weeks.
cheers 17
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 09:13:58 AM by Alskuld »

combat32

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Re: Almost all my brews are under attenuating
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2019, 11:47:47 AM »
thats awesome, and dont worry about leaving for two weeks more.
ive done 2 weeks primary then 3 weeks in secondary with no problems.
plus i have a sour that is going on 2 years old in the secondary fermenter  :)
17
Keg 1- HB Blonde ale v2
Keg 2- Chocolate Milk Stout
Keg 3- HB Peach Sour
Keg 4- HB IPL Ekuanot
Keg 5- 17 Red ale
Keg 6- HB Lager #4
Keg 7-
FV1- 
FV2- 
Planning-

 

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