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High OG's What gives

Ok here is the set up.

I have traditionally hit and usually very slightly exceed the expected OG (one or maybe two points). I had been using my blender for grain “processing” (I won’t start the argument as to whether this is crushing the grain :wink: . I found a corona mill for VERY cheap and it grinds grain like a champ. I had honestly expected to see a drop in my OGs as the corona simply does not pulverize as much of the grain as a blender does. Instead I have a interesting jump in my OGs. Cream ale (expected - 1036, actual - 1040), Sierra madre PA (expected - 1048, actual - 1054), and the wower Extra PA (expected - 1037, actual - 1050). I have checked the calibration on my (both) Hydrometers (heck I am a chemist, I did think of that). I am at a loss to explain my elevated OGs. I cracked the 1st cream ale saturday. It is fine if a tad dryer (again unexpected) than the only other batch of cream ale I have brewed (it was blendered).

I am kinda in a WTF mode. I suppose I can just accept that my effeceincies are high and not wonder why … but … did I mention I am a chemist? It is bugging the crap out of me as to why? I know I can just cut my grain bill slightly if I want to correct but I would like to know what I am correcting for.

The only thing I can think of that would have had any infuence on the OG was that I did add 3% Acid malt as I built the water up from RO water. But I don’t see a 3% malt addition bumping the OG up like I have seen.

Any suppositions or solutions welcome.

Barry

Using a blender chops the grain and doesn’t crush it. Your grain is actually being crushed, which is allowing more water to soak in and converting the starches better.

What are your efficiencies now compared to before?

I only have half a dozen batches under my belt since switching to AG, but typically exceed anticipated OGs as well. I consider it a good thing. I get to choose between a stronger beer, or more beer, or a compromise between both.

Gotta ask again because without numbers, there’s no way of telling what’s going on. So what type of efficiencies were you getting while using a blender and what are you getting now with a proper mill crush?

EDIT: Sorry, thought you were the OP. I’m curious to know what efficiencies he’s getting. But getting high OG and good efficiency sounds like a good thing. It’s also possible that his high OG is a completely unrelated to efficiency. But going from a blender to a grain mill is definitely going to change some things.

I don’t see why chopping vs. crushing would lead to more conversion. So long as the endosperm is exposed, it doesn’t seem like it would matter if it’s crushed or chopped.

That said, is it possible more of the water was getting left behind in your blended grain beds, due to less husk material available to create a good filter?

Also, is the custom-built water a new approach? If so, do you know how hardness and/or alkalinity compare with your previous water source?

Definitely makes a difference.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index. ... _the_Crush

Having said that, there are people on this forum that claim to get 80% efficiency using a blender.

Have you been monitoring your pH? pH has an effect on conversion and by adding the acid you may have put it in the right range to increase your conversion therefore increasing your gravity.

The batches when I used the blender:
Cream ale (the 1st one i did not the one mentioned above) - expected 1036 - actual 1041.
Honey Brown ale - expected 1040 actual 1045,
Speckeled heifer Cream ale expected 1038 actual 1038
Imperial Stout - expected 1078 actual 1080.

As you can see I was already running to the high side I just seem to be a bit higer now even than before.

I assume the way one calculates brewhouse effeciency is just based on hwat percentage of the expected OG one gets??

I batch mash (cooler and wire hose) and haven’t changed anything.

As I mentioned I have noticed that the last batch of Cream ale (corona processed) does seem to have an astringency that the 1st (blendered) did not. It is only “just” ready. Alot of that may fade in a week or two.

Barry

[quote=“Vulkin’”]The batches when I used the blender:
Cream ale (the 1st one i did not the one mentioned above) - expected 1036 - actual 1041.
Honey Brown ale - expected 1040 actual 1045,
Speckeled heifer Cream ale expected 1038 actual 1038
Imperial Stout - expected 1078 actual 1080.

As you can see I was already running to the high side I just seem to be a bit higer now even than before.

I assume the way one calculates brewhouse effeciency is just based on hwat percentage of the expected OG one gets??

I batch mash (cooler and wire hose) and haven’t changed anything.

As I mentioned I have noticed that the last batch of Cream ale (corona processed) does seem to have an astringency that the 1st (blendered) did not. It is only “just” ready. Alot of that may fade in a week or two.

Barry[/quote]

What efficiency did you use to get your “expected” OG? If you worked up your recipe with and expected efficiency of 70% and are now actually getting 75% that would account for the few extra points. The higher gravity points you’re getting are not that big of a difference and I still think are a happy side effect of crushing your grain and not chopping it.

Second time to type this as the "system lost the 1st reply. ARRRRGH!

I have simply been going by the recipe’s OG (found in iBrew). That may in fact not be the right approach. I am only on about batch 15 or so so I would never claim to be an old hand at this.

As for the water building. No changes there, for any light colored beer I add 3% acid malt and 1/2 teaspoon of CaCl. No problems as of yet.

I really was thinking the small bump in gravity I was seeing was from the acid malt addition until I got really surprised when an extra pale ale expected to be at 1037 hit a wopping 1050. Not even sure if I am still in the same beer type at that point :wink:

Barry

[quote]Definitely makes a difference.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index. ... _the_Crush[/quote]

I mean, I realize the quality of the crush makes a difference, but it seems to me that as you move closer to pulverized grain (blender) you get higher extraction with slower runoff, whereas, if you move closer to cracked grain (grain mill) you get comparatively lower extraction with faster runoff. Not that you can’t get full conversion from cracked grain, it’s just that starch exposure increases as you move from barely cracked grain to pulverized grain. From Kai’s site:

[quote=“Kai”]flour to grits ratio
the more flour the higher the efficiency but also the chance for a slow lauter or stuck sparge[/quote]
The main point being, more husks being intact might increase runoff flow, but not extraction rates. I.e., I don’t think that’s the answer to Vulkin’s mystery.

Ah. Does iBrew use an assumed efficiency? It sounds to me like you’re just converting the grains well, and are getting better at it. Have you ever worked with the formulas for calculating efficiency and/or used an efficiency calculator? If not, I’d give that a try. That way you can get a sense of your average efficiency and weigh your grist out so you’ll hit your target OGs. Basically, you could make the same beer with less grain if your OGs are consistently higher than the predicted OG.

For example, if the recipe calls for 10 lbs of 2 row and estimates 1.056, that’s ~75% efficiency. If you’re getting 80% efficiency, you’ll get ~1.060 with the same grain bill, or you can reduce the grist to 9.5 pounds and get closer to the recipe’s 1.056.

I hope that helps and/or doesn’t tell you things you already know!

Think I am going to have to just cut my grain bill. I brewed an Orange Heifer this weekend (speckled heifer with a slight hops reduction and the additon of bitter orange peel). I had no acid malt to use as I usually do for my lighter colored beeers so I punted and added the juice from one orange to the mash for its pH effect. The Expected OG for this beer with an effecience of 70% is 1.038. My OG … a whopping 1.050. I did note that this time and most others I do ended up with slightly (think maybe a 1/4 - 1/2 gallons) extra wort. The recipe calls for a preboil volumn of 5.8 gal and I am around 6.25 to 6.3 gallons. Not sure If that would cause that dramatic a rise in gravity either (I still end up after any boil down or add back with a final 5 gal volumn in the fermentor). It is also of note that I am not having high FG’s. If anything I sometimes finish a shade drier than I might have expected.

Now I am not really complaining here my beer is very good and it is just extra alchohol :wink: , but… I am a chemist for cryin out loud! It makes me nuts to have this sort of mystery.

Barry

What was the grain bill?

[edit]Is this the recipe

? If so, 1.050 at 6.3 gallons is around 100% efficiency, which makes me think some measurement is off somewhere. NB states 1.042 as the target OG, which is ~85% efficiency at 6.3 gallons. Assuming this is the recipe you’re working with, how certain are you about the 6.3 gallons, pre-boil?

You gotta love variation ;0. If you look at the very same recipe on Ibrew it has the expected OG as 1.038 with a 70% eff. expected for a 5.83 gal batch. Crazy as they are both supposed to be the same recipe from the same supplier (NB). I am relativly tight on the 6.3 gal. I brew do my boil in a 15 gal pot that I meter with an aluminum rod that I graduated myself (the slow way one gallon at a time). That said there is bound to be quite a bit of error in the measurments here as we ain’t talking graduated cylinders but instead essentially bucket chemisty. I don’t doubt that there is something off somewhere but as said I am having a devil of a time IDing it.

At least Im only 10 points high going by the print version of the recipe unlike the 12 for the iBrew version.

Barry

Are you weighing your grains yourself or getting them prepackaged from NB?

VERY good question!! I hadn’t thought about that. I have 4 more kits direct forom NB that they weighed out and I just never thought of confirming thier weights. Hmmmmm. When I get home I will see if I can tell. I have a triple beam I savd from a building demolition but I don’t have the multiplier weight and can’t therefore go very high on it. I had planned to pick up a goood kitchen scale in the next bit here anyway as I convert from kits to scooping out of grain bags ( I now have 50lb or both marris otter and two row pale malt, still gotta build up my color/caramel malts.

Barry

It’s seems possible that they would send too much grain on occasion, but I would be surprised if it happened this consistently!

Regardless, having bulk grain on hand is awesome! I definitely recommend a decent digital scale for weighing out your recipes.

[quote=“ickyfoot”]It’s seems possible that they would send too much grain on occasion, but I would be surprised if it happened this consistently!

Regardless, having bulk grain on hand is awesome! I definitely recommend a decent digital scale for weighing out your recipes.[/quote]

When I brewed a stout a couple of months ago I weighed out my target hops instead of just throwing the whole oz. in like I planned. Good thing I did I actually had 1.2 ozs., thanks N B. I used the extra in a bitter I just brewed instead of just the pioneer I planned on which left me .2 oz. extra pioneer, plus the .15 over an oz. of the pioneer they sent me. Thanks again N B.

Was this a Hop Union pack of pellet hops? If so, I’ve noticed that every package I’ve ever had of theirs is over by about .2 oz, regardless of where I bought them.

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