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FedoraDave

I'm gonna have to dump this one

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I tried an all-grain recipe last week. My efficiency was really bad; QBrew said the OG should be between 1.060 and 1.070. My OG was 1.026. Not only that, but it was an American Pale Ale, with an aggressive hops boil. I taste-tested it yesterday and it's a mess. No flavor from the malt, and way too bitter as a result. No balance.

I'm going to dump it and use the keg and bottles for something better.

First time it's happened, but I supppose it was inevitable. I had my doubts about this one, but I'll try it again soon. I should get better efficiency in the future.

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Keep some DME around so if your preboil gravity reading is off (saying you didnt get the efficiency you were expecting) you can bump it to where you need it. Costs a bit more (your overall batch price), but better than having to toss a batch.

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kedogn wrote:

Keep some DME around so if your preboil gravity reading is off (saying you didnt get the efficiency you were expecting) you can bump it to where you need it. Costs a bit more (your overall batch price), but better than having to toss a batch.

Yeah, that was suggested to me elsewhere, Ken. It's not a bad idea, and one I'll keep in mind for the future. Sadly, it's too late for this batch, but even a pound or two of Light DME would have salvaged this at brew time.

At least I know where the problem was, and it's fixed now, so I'm ready to try this recipe again ASAP. I think it's a good one, and I want an AIPA recipe in my stable.

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I was wondering about adjusting OG. Is that a way to keep things consistent across batches? IE: If you brew something, get a OG of X and end up liking the brew - when you attempt to brew it again, if the OG of that second batch isn't X, would it help to adjust the batch until the OG is X? Would that make it more likely that the 2nd batch is similar to the 1st?

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FedoraDave wrote:

At least I know where the problem was, and it's fixed now, so I'm ready to try this recipe again ASAP. I think it's a good one, and I want an AIPA recipe in my stable.

What was the problem Dave?

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skydvr wrote:

I was wondering about adjusting OG. Is that a way to keep things consistent across batches? IE: If you brew something, get a OG of X and end up liking the brew - when you attempt to brew it again, if the OG of that second batch isn't X, would it help to adjust the batch until the OG is X? Would that make it more likely that the 2nd batch is similar to the 1st?

OG is one of the factors, but there's also IBUs, what hops you used, the malts and steeping grains used, fermentation temperature, yeast used, and so on. You can have two batches with the same OG that taste completely different.

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Zobl wrote:

FedoraDave wrote:

At least I know where the problem was, and it's fixed now, so I'm ready to try this recipe again ASAP. I think it's a good one, and I want an AIPA recipe in my stable.

What was the problem Dave?

The problem was my LHBS doesn't grind the grain for you. And I didn't have a mill at the time, so I crushed the grain by hand. And not very well, either. So my efficiency was poo. And since this is an AIPA, I had a very aggressive hop schedule. Supremely low OG + massively high hop bill = bleargh!

Of course, now I have a grain mill, and can do this the right way. So I'll dump this stuff, buy more grain and hops, and try again.

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FedoraDave wrote:

Zobl wrote:

FedoraDave wrote:

At least I know where the problem was, and it's fixed now, so I'm ready to try this recipe again ASAP. I think it's a good one, and I want an AIPA recipe in my stable.

What was the problem Dave?

The problem was my LHBS doesn't grind the grain for you. And I didn't have a mill at the time, so I crushed the grain by hand. And not very well, either. So my efficiency was poo. And since this is an AIPA, I had a very aggressive hop schedule. Supremely low OG + massively high hop bill = bleargh!

Of course, now I have a grain mill, and can do this the right way. So I'll dump this stuff, buy more grain and hops, and try again.

Good luck with the sequel.
What mill did you buy? I think I remember you mentioning it before but I don't wanna search the forum (yeah, lazy). Like to hear how you like it. I can see one in my near future. B)

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It's a Victoria. Hurst/Olds suggested it, and the price was right. It's a little low to the table surface, and can't be adjusted for height, but it actually works out pretty well.

You can find them online.

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Thanks for the kudos, Dave. 80% efficiency CAN be achieved using one of these; and I'm what grandma called "frugal". :charlie:

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Hurst/Olds wrote:

Thanks for the kudos, Dave. 80% efficiency CAN be achieved using one of these; and I'm what grandma called "frugal". :charlie:

I used it to crush 1/2 lb of steeping grains for the Old Paternal recipe my brother gave me for Christmas, and I think it worked pretty well. I may have to adjust it again for the 2-row, since the Chocolate grains were kind of small, but I do think it could go well.

Once I get comfortable with this, I can see a lot of AG brews in my future.

Even using it for the grains I'm going to steep in an extract recipe is a plus; fresher ingredients mean fresher beer.

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I'm sorry to hear about FDs loss - but it is heartening to know that I'm not the only one who had a AG disaster with ridiculously low efficiency at one time...thank God for having an HME on hand for the save...

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Definately not the first, nor last people to have issues. I've been letting one of my AG disasters condition for several months hoping it would get better but it really hasn't. The carbonation sucks, its way to sweet, and well i'm just not happy with it. It might be my first one to be dumped since i want the bottles. :) It happens.... when eagerness outruns readiness.

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You got to start somewhere and more than likely get better by learning from previous mistakes. I find an even bigger problem is being to timid and putting off doing some of the advanced brewing techniques because you think it will be a disaster. I am only two AG batches in and have already upped my efficiency by 14% from the first batch (thanks to DRabbit's advice and a MLT cooler).

Here is another mash/sparge calculator that might be of help.
Mash/Sparge Calculator

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D Rabbit wrote:

Definately not the first, nor last people to have issues. I've been letting one of my AG disasters condition for several months hoping it would get better but it really hasn't. The carbonation sucks, its way to sweet, and well i'm just not happy with it. It might be my first one to be dumped since i want the bottles. :) It happens.... when eagerness outruns readiness.

Yeah, I can't see using up bottles for something with a ridiculously low ABV, no flavor, and enough hops to make your hair stand on end. Better to take one for the team and chalk it up to experience.

I'm going to turn right around and try this recipe again because now that I can crush the grains properly, I think it'll turn out well, even for a SMaSH recipe. I can make alterations and improvements on a good first batch until I get the recipe the way I want it.

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Sorry about your loss, FD. Now I'm getting nervous about my first AG, which I'm planning on bottling this weekend.

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Couldn't you use some DME still... just boil it in water for a few minutes and pour it in? You won't get a good feel on what you're ABV is exactly because you can't stir, but at least you

I'm pretty sure papazian has a table on additions to raise gravity.

I missed my gravity by 20 points on my first all-grain batch too... a DIPA. I was thinking about doing this if it ended up tasting too gnarly.

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Tindel wrote:

Couldn't you use some DME still... just boil it in water for a few minutes and pour it in? You won't get a good feel on what you're ABV is exactly because you can't stir, but at least you

I'm pretty sure papazian has a table on additions to raise gravity.

I missed my gravity by 20 points on my first all-grain batch too... a DIPA. I was thinking about doing this if it ended up tasting too gnarly.

It probably won't help much to do that either. Typically your hops grab on to the sugars added to the brew, whether that is from the grains converting from starch to sugar or from the added DME/LME. Without very good conversion I bet the hops weren't retained very well either, so if he adds the DME he will probably turn it from low gravity with some hops to a pure malt brew. It might still turn out well but I guarantee it won't be what he is looking for.

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D Rabbit wrote:

Tindel wrote:

Couldn't you use some DME still... just boil it in water for a few minutes and pour it in? You won't get a good feel on what you're ABV is exactly because you can't stir, but at least you

I'm pretty sure papazian has a table on additions to raise gravity.

I missed my gravity by 20 points on my first all-grain batch too... a DIPA. I was thinking about doing this if it ended up tasting too gnarly.

It probably won't help much to do that either. Typically your hops grab on to the sugars added to the brew, whether that is from the grains converting from starch to sugar or from the added DME/LME. Without very good conversion I bet the hops weren't retained very well either, so if he adds the DME he will probably turn it from low gravity with some hops to a pure malt brew. It might still turn out well but I guarantee it won't be what he is looking for.

It's a little late in the game for that, anyway. I think I'd be pouring good money after bad if I did that. Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and learn from the experience. And my success rate is much higher than my failure rate, so I don't really feel too bad about it.

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