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Need advice on cutting grain bill

Ok. I give. For whatever reason I dependably come in ~10 points High. I mean dependable on session beers. The Higher gravity beers get closer to the assumed OG the higher that number is. In other words I donlt see as big an effect the Higher the OG/ Grain bill… Thus I am ready to try and just adjust for a high brewhouse effeciency and go on. I am going to need to drop about about 10 points from mt 1.038ish beers. How much grain from a 8 lb or so bill do I need to cut?

Barry

Sounds like it’s a problem with efficiency (nice and high), not grain bill amount. To me, that means you’re going to have to find the sweet spot thru trial and error. If you’re looking for a 10% drop, try just droping 10% of the grain. However, 10 point drop from a 1.038 is quite large (in percent) at 26.3% so I’d think you want to drop close to 2 of the 8 lbs.

I routinely get about 85% efficiency and 8 lbs 2row gives me 1.050. A 10 point drop cuts the 8 lbs to about 6.2.

just a thought.

:cheers:

How about upping your final wort volume? Instead of cutting down the grain bill for 5 gallons… up your mash/sparge water, starting boil volume and finish up with more wort. Maybe estimate somewhere around 5.5 gallons. That should drop your OG and you end up with more beer :smiley: win win!

10% makes sense but I was just guessing myself.

I considered just upping my final volumn but… well I already get within an inch of the neck at high Kreoy-howeverya spell it. I figure adding any more means addding a blow off guaranteed ever time and that screws up my kitchen more thus I would rather not go that route. I can but would really rather just adjust the recipie to get the correct vloumne at the correct OG. Plus I’m a friggin chemist and it rather annoyes me that I am not getting what I am shooting for. I don’t mind the beers I have made at all, they are great, but, my intention was to brew a low grav lawnmower beer not a mid grav beer. I am trying to get to that point where you kinda know what you are going to get from where you start.

Ok, I see two easy solutions.

  1. Use buckets to ferment. They’re like 6.5 or 7 gals and will have plenty of head space even if you ferment 5.5 gallons of beer in them.

  2. When building your recipe, bump up your estimated efficiency for your lower gravity session beers. For example: I generally hit 75% eff (plus or minus 3%). So that’s the estimated efficiency I use when building my recipe. If I started hitting 85% and my sessions were getting up to average strength beers, I’d just start using 85% for my estimated efficiency when building a recipe. That way you’re using less grain but your recipe should still be in line.

If you already have recipes built and just want to adjust them, then re-enter them into whatever program you use and set your efficiency to what you’ve been getting. You should see your estimated OG go up to what you’ve been getting. Then just start backing the grain down until you get back to the OG that you were hoping to hit.

Not to poke fun, but for a chemist I would think a solution to this problem would come easily. And too be honest, your problem isn’t a problem at all. It’s an issue that any brewer would love to have. If your issue was your gravities were too low, then you’d have a completely different set of things to look at in your brewing process. Your current issue is that your brewing process is TOO good for lack of a better term. Smile, it’s a good problem :smiley:

LOL - You make me think of my college years. My wife and I went to college together, both chemists. She was the master of the classroom but had to work hard at the labwork. It would make her insane that I would ALWAYS walk into lab and with out too much effort nail whatever we had as a lab assignemnt. Sooo yes I am aware that as usual my “problem” is that I am a bit too(?) good at lab like things. There was a downside. I had to work my butt off in classwork (the understanding). Long and short is that it is no new thing for me perform well in a lab setting and then spend quite some time gaining understanding of why and how I did it. As expensive as my hobby can get I just want to acheive concsiouse control of my results sooner rather than later.

Thanks for the advice I had not thought about changing the effeciency in ibrew and then readjusting the grain bill till I get the original expected OG. That sounds like it should work perfectly.

Barry

And obviously college did not fix my spelling shortfalls as I read the dang thing three times and still missed some errors. Whatever :wink:

If your MT is big enough to handle the grain and all the water at one time, you could try no-sparging - it’ll reduce your efficiency a little while keeping the maltiness at the same level (reducing the grain bill can lead to a thinner beer).

I hear that. My spelling and grammar are horrendous! Thank god for the computer age. If you all could see my handwriting, you’d steer clear of me. Looks look serial killer scribble.

That’s not a bad idea. The only downsides I see would be that you’re still using more grain than you need to and mashing less efficient than you’re able too, which for a chemist may be an emotional struggle. And you’d have brew a few batches to really dial in what your non-sparge efficiency is.

But on the plus side, you’d shorten up your brew day a little.

[quote=“dobe12”]The only downsides I see would be that you’re still using more grain than you need to and mashing less efficient than you’re able too, which for a chemist may be an emotional struggle.[/quote]As a chemical engineer and former chef, I totally understand the difficulty with deliberately lowering the efficiency of a process, and it took me a while to let go of the mindset that maximum efficiency is a measure of a brewer’s skill, but once I accepted the no-sparge method into my life, brewing (and the beer) has never been better. Purchasing grain in bulk and washing at least a little of the remaining sugar from the grain for use in starters does help to keep the engineer part of my brain happy, though.

You know I hand’t though about just going no sparge. Hmmm. It is a bit offensive as shadetree mentioned to my more OCD chemist sensibilities but… It sure is an easy answer. i have been playing with my recipies since the suggestion was made. We are talking a significant reduction in grain bill to get the expectec OG/%Al. When I saw just how much grain I would be pulling out I had two very strongly competing thoughts. 1) Wow this will save a bit o cash, and 2) exactly what other effects is removing this much grain from my beer going to cause? Is it going to be “thin/watery”? does going no sparge salvage the mouthfeel as well as the malt flavor that I do feel is important to come through in these low gravity beers?

No sparge would be easier and lets be honest I am not saving a ton of cash by removing a couple of lbs of grain from a recipe.

Now about getting good enoug wort off the remains to get a yeast starter. Could you explain? That would be well enough reson to keep the original bill and go no sparge as it would end up saving both time money (no DME needed for starters then).

Thanks all

Barry

[quote=“Vulkin’”]Now about getting good enoug wort off the remains to get a yeast starter. Could you explain? That would be well enough reson to keep the original bill and go no sparge as it would end up saving both time money (no DME needed for starters then).[/quote]For example, I’m brewing a simple APA on Sunday, 34 lbs of grain, no-sparge, so when I have drained the MT to the kettle, there will be 34/8=~4 gallons of 1.040 wort held in the grain, for a total of 160 points. If I add three gallons to the grain and drain, I’ll get three gallons of 160/7 = 1.023 wort back (7 is the total volume of liquid in the grain plus what I added).

[quote=“dobe12”]Ok, I see two easy solutions.

  1. Use buckets to ferment. They’re like 6.5 or 7 gals and will have plenty of head space even if you ferment 5.5 gallons of beer in them.

  2. When building your recipe, bump up your estimated efficiency for your lower gravity session beers. For example: I generally hit 75% eff (plus or minus 3%). So that’s the estimated efficiency I use when building my recipe. If I started hitting 85% and my sessions were getting up to average strength beers, I’d just start using 85% for my estimated efficiency when building a recipe. That way you’re using less grain but your recipe should still be in line.

If you already have recipes built and just want to adjust them, then re-enter them into whatever program you use and set your efficiency to what you’ve been getting. You should see your estimated OG go up to what you’ve been getting. Then just start backing the grain down until you get back to the OG that you were hoping to hit.

Not to poke fun, but for a chemist I would think a solution to this problem would come easily. And too be honest, your problem isn’t a problem at all. It’s an issue that any brewer would love to have. If your issue was your gravities were too low, then you’d have a completely different set of things to look at in your brewing process. Your current issue is that your brewing process is TOO good for lack of a better term. Smile, it’s a good problem :smiley: [/quote]

I agree especially with #2. If you have the ability to go back through the batches you’ve done and look at efficiency and OG, you should get a handle on what happens on your system as your OG goes up or down. If you can’t, start keeping track.

Why change to brew-in-a-bag if you get good & consistent results with the techniques you’ve been using? In my mind, you’d just be starting all over again to understand how to hit the OG consistently.

If I’m not mistaken, efficiency only affects the yield from the malts that require mashing. So if you are adjusting the grain bill, just do it with your base malts and keep the speciality grains unchanged.

[quote=“chinaski”]

If I’m not mistaken, efficiency only affects the yield from the malts that require mashing. So if you are adjusting the grain bill, just do it with your base malts and keep the speciality grains unchanged.[/quote]

Efficiency may not be affected, but if you don’t adjust your specialty grains, your color profile will be off as well as any flavor, mouth feel, etc., expected from the specialty grains.

cheers.

[quote=“StormyBrew”]…if you don’t adjust your specialty grains, your color profile will be off…[/quote]SRM is independent of efficiency (strictly a function of Lovibond and weight of the component and the batch volume), so if you cut your grain bill across the board the beer will be lighter in color.

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