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First all grain, very low OG

I’ve brewed a few extract beers with some pretty good success, so I decided to try my hand at AG. I found a recipe for dunkelweizen for a 2.5gal batch and started cooking Monday night.
Everything seemed to go pretty good until the end. My OG ended up at 1.016, I put it in the fermentor anyway and pitched the yeast before crawling into bed. when I got up I had great krausen but that lasted about 24 hours. I used a liquid yeast smack pack and split it with an extract hefe I brewed at the same time, that batch is still bubbling.
grain bill
2lb Wheat malt
12oz TF&S Crystal II
4oz Chocolate malt
4oz Carapils
.75oz Tettnang
Wyeast 3068

Mashed with 6 quarts for 60min
Sparge with 2.5 gal
boil time 60 min.

I think I’ve narrowed my issue to either not milling the grain fine enough or my sparge. I have a 1gallon AG kit that has instructions to put grain in colander and pour sparge water over it a couple times. that is what I did. now that I’m researching it I don’t think it was enough.
I have a couple questions for the experts:

  1. would increasing my base grain make up for my poor sparge method?
  2. is there anything I can do at this point to it to increase the gravity? it has been in the fermentor for 5 days
  3. will it be drinkable as is?

To answer the easy question first: is it drinkable? Try it and see if it tastes good. You might find you like it this way.

I plugged your recipe into ProMash, and found you had a 35% efficiency; that’s about half what you should have been able to achieve on a first try. There are several factors that could have contributed to such a low efficiency, and I’m betting it wasn’t just a single thing.

Poor crush is likely a factor. If the crush was bad, the water won’t get to the starches and you won’t get conversion.
Mash temperature can also be a factor, but probably only if it was off by a lot. As long as you are mashing between 150 and 160, mash temp has a big effect on FG but not so much on OG.
Sparge is likely a big part of the problem. IF you got decent conversion, then a lot of that sugar got locked up in the grain and didn’t make it into your pot. A no-sparge mash will typically get above 50%, meaning that you would have done better by just mixing all the grain in all the water and then straining it through that colander. If I was to guess, I’d say that the water poured over the grain mostly ran off the sides and didn’t penetrate the bulk of the grain, leaving a lot of sugar trapped in the middle.

Hope this helps to narrow things down for the future. Also, look into Denny’s cheap 'n easy batch sparging or brew-in-a-bag for simple, easy to make good AG methods.

Last question: can you boost gravity? Yes. You can add sugar or boil some extract and add that. But I wouldn’t do either. Almost as much work as just making a new batch and trying to get it right.

thanks for the info.
My mash temps were good, started at 170. I checked every 15 min or so, never got below 150. The sparge water was slowly poured through the grain so I’m certain it didn’t run off the sides, but also didn’t spend enough time in the grain to extract the sugars.
I have been looking into BIAB and will probably start that the next batch, I don’t think the wife will be happy if I added a mash tun to my hardware, I am already taking up most of our bar space with the little equipment I have now.

This has been a great learning experience and I can’t wait to try it again.
plus at least I have 2 gallons of Bavarian Hefeweizen bubbling away if my Dunkel isn’t any good.
Cheers! :cheers:

[quote=“redsouthpaw”]thanks for the info.
My mash temps were good, started at 170. I checked every 15 min or so, never got below 150. The sparge water was slowly poured through the grain so I’m certain it didn’t run off the sides, but also didn’t spend enough time in the grain to extract the sugars.
I have been looking into BIAB and will probably start that the next batch, I don’t think the wife will be happy if I added a mash tun to my hardware, I am already taking up most of our bar space with the little equipment I have now.

This has been a great learning experience and I can’t wait to try it again.
plus at least I have 2 gallons of Bavarian Hefeweizen bubbling away if my Dunkel isn’t any good.
Cheers! :cheers: [/quote]
Sounds like you started your mash too high. MashOUT temp of 168+ is used to finalize the mash denaturing the enzymes to stop conversion. This leads me to believe you, at least partially, stopped the mash before it got started.

As rebuilt said above you want to be between roughly 150-160 for mash temps. Have a look at Palmer’s online How to Brew to start. http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

[quote=“redsouthpaw”]I’ve brewed a few extract beers with some pretty good success, so I decided to try my hand at AG. I found a recipe for dunkelweizen for a 2.5gal batch and started cooking Monday night.
Everything seemed to go pretty good until the end. My OG ended up at 1.016, I put it in the fermentor anyway and pitched the yeast before crawling into bed. when I got up I had great krausen but that lasted about 24 hours. I used a liquid yeast smack pack and split it with an extract hefe I brewed at the same time, that batch is still bubbling.
grain bill
2lb Wheat malt
12oz TF&S Crystal II
4oz Chocolate malt
4oz Carapils
[/quote]

You need more grain than this for 2.5 gallons. I brew three gallon batches all the time and to get 1.050 on my system I use a little over six pounds which would be abound five pounds for 2 1/2 gallons not 3 1/4 pounds. Five pounds would still leave you with only about 1.025 on your system which means something else also needs adjusting.

[quote=“Rookie L A”][quote=“redsouthpaw”]I’ve brewed a few extract beers with some pretty good success, so I decided to try my hand at AG. I found a recipe for dunkelweizen for a 2.5gal batch and started cooking Monday night.
Everything seemed to go pretty good until the end. My OG ended up at 1.016, I put it in the fermentor anyway and pitched the yeast before crawling into bed. when I got up I had great krausen but that lasted about 24 hours. I used a liquid yeast smack pack and split it with an extract hefe I brewed at the same time, that batch is still bubbling.
grain bill
2lb Wheat malt
12oz TF&S Crystal II
4oz Chocolate malt
4oz Carapils
[/quote]

You need more grain than this for 2.5 gallons. I brew three gallon batches all the time and to get 1.050 on my system I use a little over six pounds which would be abound five pounds for 2 1/2 gallons not 3 1/4 pounds. Five pounds would still leave you with only about 1.025 on your system which means something else also needs adjusting.[/quote]
How much grain you need depends on your brewhouse efficiency, which includes mash conversion efficiency, sparge efficiency and whatever losses you take from trub, absorption from hops, and any other kettle wort volume that doesn’t make it into the fermenter. Those numbers, especially the last ones, can vary wildly depending on the equipment you have and your process. On my system, that recipe would give me 2.5 gallons with an OG of about 1.033.

Thanks all. Some really good info for for me to take into account for the next batch. Looking into BIAB and have found several people say that I will need to increase grains but can’t find by how much. I will look to kick it up to arond 6lbs next time. Also after tasting this one, it tasted like coffee. All I could taste was the specialty grains, so that leads me to believe I need to run the grains through the mill a few more times.

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