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Dead Ringer AG Question


I was hoping to get some feedback from brewers that have more experience than me so I can try this same recipe with modified techniques to improve.

The issue I had with this batch is the FG never got to where I had expected. OG was spot on at 1.064. I used S05 and expected about 1.012 (80% attenuation) but I could only get it down to 1.018 (71% attenuation).

I will list my process and would welcome any thoughts for improvement:

  • I scaled the recipe to make 6 gallons. same grain bill. 2 row and crystal 40

  • I used 8 grams of Gypsum to lower PH and brighten hops. also used acid blend to nail 5.2 PH in the Mash

  • Mashed in at 152. I mashed for 75 min instead of 60 to make sure I had good efficiency. Iodine test said I was done.

*Pre-boil Mash efficiency was 1.054 (80%) I was happy with with.

  • Used Whrilfloc tablet at ten min. Post boil was 1.064

  • chilled using counterflow (used the Grainfather for the brew)

  • put in temp controlled conical fermenter and let trub drop out for an hour before pitching yeast.

  • dumped trub and cold break. had clear wort. Pitched 2 packs of S05 Pitch temp was a bit high at 83 F

  • fermentation started in about 5 hours and was very strong. Ferm temp 72 F

  • stalled at 1.020 for a day. increased temp to 73F and got to 1.018

My thoughts on how I could have gone wrong:

  • Did I mash at too high of a temp? directions say 152. would 148 have given more fermentable wort?

  • Did I mash for too long? Did the extra 15 min Mash, impact the sugars?

  • Did I kill some yeast cells at the ~83 F pitch temp?

  • Did I use too much Yeast? Mr. malty said about 1.4 packs. I used 2. I hydrated both packs pre-pitch.

It still tastes great! I just wonder where I went wrong. My thoughts are to try again with some changes.

I welcome your thoughts and really appreciate any advice you may provide.

Thanks for reading!


Me good luck with death ringer. Do think. Its the yeast what did give you a issue. Try next time to cool the wort more. Before you pitch the yeast.Temp control.important a thing. What helps the yeast as well. Use oxygen. Do you use a starter. Or pitch the dry yeast

Are you using a hydrometer or refractometer for SG? The refractometer does not show a correct reading in the presence of alcohol.

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I used hydrometer both pre and post

Solution would have been so simple if you had been using a refractometer otherwise everything seems good with your brew technique.

Some possible problem areas:
Mash temperature was actually higher than recorded. Thermometer has lost its calibration. Mash temperature wasn’t uniform and the temperature measurement was in a cooler area of the mash.

The yeast was rehydrated in distilled or RO water which will damage the cell wall structure of the cells.

The yeast was properly rehydrated, but pitched hours later. The reserves in the yeast cells were used up weakening the yeasts ability to bud.

How long was the beer in the fermentor? Did you drop the trub and yeast from the fermentor after four or five days into the fermentation?

A mash temperature of 148°F would have created a more fermentable wort but I don’t think 152°F was so high to finish at 1.018.

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I brew a very similar IPA quite often, mash at 154 for body and ferment with WY1272. Always gets it down to 1.011 or so. US05 should have gotten you much lower if given enough time.

Did you bottle or keg? Ferm temp of 72 is a little high for my taste. I ferment mine in the low 60s but your temp shouldn’t have reduced attenuation. More likely would increase it but add some esters. How much time did you give it in the fermenter?

I’d suspect mash temp may have been higher than you thought? What kind of thermometer do you use?

Thanks again for all the feedback. I wish it were as easy as brix vs SG!

I re-hydrated the yeast in tap water. it was only about 20 min so I don’t feel the yeast was damaged.

I used the Grainfather to do my mash. It has pretty good temp control. I watched and it didn’t swing by more than a degree at any time.

The beer was in the fermentor for 5 days. I cold crashed and pulled the yeast out when it stopped at 1.018.

I will try again. maybe the yeast was pitched too hot?

It was definitely pitched too warm to get a clean ferment IMHO. I didn’t see the 83 F on first read.

Lowering the temperature by 10 degrees or so during active fermentation likely stressed the yeast. Personally I think 5 days is way too short. At that point I might have tossed in another packet of yeast rather than ending fermentation. You probably would have gotten a few more points if you’d put in an active starter.

Try to get your wort to desired fermentation temperature or even a few degrees cooler prior to pitching. The yeast will react to an increase of a few degrees much more positively then a temp decrease.

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Did you keg this one or bottle it? If this beer is in the bottle keep track of the carbonation. The residual yeast in the bottle may slowly ferment out remaining sugars increasing the carbonation pressure.

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Thanks again. I will replicate the batch and chill further. I have been using the countrtflow chiller that cam with the Grainfather and it’s a pain to use. I have a immersion chiller, I am going to use that next time to get it down to about 70 before I pump to the fermenter.

maybe you’re just running it through the counter flow too fast. Can you restrict the flow to slow it down?

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