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Stella Artois Clone - Mistakes?

Sorry for the long post in advance

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: w34/70
Yeast Starter: optional
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: pitch 2 packs or make starter
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.068
Final Gravity: 1.10
IBU: 25
Boiling Time (Minutes): 69
Color: 2
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 12 @ 52F
Additional Fermentation: Lager near 35F for 4-6 weeks
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 7 @ 52F


4.5 # Weyerman Pilsner 37PPG, 2L
4.5 # American 2 Row Lager 38PPG, 2L
2 # Flaked Rice ( optional )

Mashed at 147F for 90 minutes

1 oz Sterling Leaf 6.7% AA @ 60 minutes
1/2 oz Liberty Pellets @ 30 minutes
1/2 oz Liberty Pellets @ 10 minutes

Just got back into brewing with a friend. Decided to try and “do it up right”
We use a 16 gallon SS kettle, 2 10 gallon Igloos, transfer pumps, lager chamber made from a chest freezer with a Johnson controls temp controller, corny kegs with a plate filter and 10Lb Co2, SS 50’ wort chiller, refractometer, etc…

Now all that being said, we decided to go with this recipe right off the bat. Which was probably pretty stupid. An IPA would probably have made more sense trying to get back into the swing of things.

I plugged this recipe into Beersmith and scaled it up to 10 Gallons. But immediately it appeared the numbers are off after doing so.

IBUs show as: 30.2
OG shows as: 1.052
SRM: 3.5
Est ABV: 5.9%

My profile is set as: Mash - Single infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Carbonation - Keg
Fermentation - Three Stage

Thoughts on why and what to correct?

[size=200]Step By Step[/size]

Started off with 12 gallons of water filtered though a 6-stage reverse osmosis water filtration system.
Our water testing kit all showed virtually no particulates, chlorine, etc. Perfect right?
We then added one campden tablet into our strike water.

Crushed the Pilsner Malt though the Cereal Killer - one pass
Grain looked good, didn’t appear too fine

Steeped in the 10 Gallon Igloo at 148.00 for 75 minutes.
Drained and sparged with 168.00 water

Boiled the wort for 70 minutes - waited until the wort actually began boiling to begin marking time.

Added hops at 20 and 60 minutes plus a little extra at flame out. My friend likes his beer a little hoppy.

First big problem:

We used the 50’ stainless steel wort chiller attached to the garden hose, but we also put the 20’ of tubing into a 50 gallon ice bath for the return.

We didn’t disturb the kettle in any way. We let the chiller sit and sit and sit. No matter what we did, the wort would not get below 100 degrees according to the thermometer built into the kettle. At this point I attempted to take a reading with the refractometer. I drained a little off through the built in spigot. No matter how many samples I took and which way I leaned into the sun, etc. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the reading. I then drianed off some more and tried the Hydrometer which gave a reading of 1.024 Not good.

Finally, we decided to bring the kettle inside into our “beer lab” and give it a stir. Immediately the temperature dropped to 92-94. We waited for almost another hour with the lid on the kettle…still couldn’t get below 90. Finally out of desperation we dumped a bag of ice into the kettle and stirred some more.

Soon as I began stirring the temp dropped down to 86, 84, 80, etc.

Then we poured off and filtered through the fine mesh in line filter into two 6.5 gallon carboys. At this point we pitched the 5 liter starter I made on the stir plate. We used dry yeast, but I had read for a lager that the number of cells to start with needed to be in the 300-500 billion range to get a good start. So I stir plated the dry yeast. Man that yeast practically exploded in the Erlenmeyer. Smelled good though

Our lager chest was at around 58 degrees when the two carboys went in. No activity for the first three days. Raised the temp up to 68 and boom overnight, the bubble locks are just boiling.

Put the carboys into the lager chest and checked on them every few days for a week and a half until we noticed the airlock activity had slowed to a crawl.
Took a gravity reading in the hyrdometer again. 1.01

That seemed to be a problem as it looked like it had already burned through everything. So we waited another week and then took a taste sample. The color was absolutely beautiful. Crystal clear but didn’t really taste like beer, more like beer tea.

Sorry for the length I really just want to outline everything we did to the best of my recollection to see if someone might be able to help pinpoint all the areas where we screwed up.

Anywho…we transferred to two corny kegs and placed them back into the lager chest and began lowering the temp by 5 degrees every day until it his 38-40. Checked on the pressure in the kegs and they seemed to be building up pressure. We checked by using the pressure valve. After about another week and a half the pressure seems to have died off almost completely.

So here we are with this “beer” sitting in kegs in the lager freezer for about a month and a half. We plan on pulling them next week and cold filtering them through a plate filter into our other kegs and carbonating them.

We have no idea what we’re going to end up with.

Thoughts, suggestions, criticisms…??

Attached is a copy of our BeerSmith profile along with some poorly written notes.

For the first part, recipes will differ due to differences in systems, techniques, and the data you enter into beersmith. So, the recipe calls for an OG of 1.068 which seems awful high. The problem is their “efficiency” is not listed. If they are getting 80% efficiency and you are only getting 70% efficiency from the mash your OG will be different. As far as hops you need to make sure that you are using the same formula as the recipe, whether it be tinsenth or rager. It is also important that you change the AA% to match those of the hops you are actually using so you get the correct IBUs. For example, if the recipe calls for 1oz of cascade with 7%AA and your cascades are 8%AA you won’t need as much. The hops in the first recipe don’t match in either type or time.

As for the second part. You MUST stir your wort if using an IC. Since you didn’t you were only cooling the same wort which makes the efficiency of an IC really suffer. In addition since you didn’t stir the thermometer was only reading the same wort which is why your temps didn’t change. When you added the ice you watered the wort down significantly which is why it taste like beer tea.

Well, the good news is you’ve made a lot of common mistakes with this batch so there’s lots to learn here. Keep at it. Read the forum, ask questions, and you’ll get it nailed before long.

I guess my next question for this batch would be, should we even bother filtering and carbonating or just start over?

You dumped a bag of ice INTO to kettle with the wort?

Yes, we were running out of time that night and our volume was about a half a gallon under so the thought was… dump the ice in, bring the temp down, make up the volume and get the hell home.
With our setup (that the wives are already perturbed about the cost) it took quite a bit more time to bring everything up to temp and then back down to temp than we had allowed for.

All in all it probably took us 10 hours from start to finish including cleanup. Staying out till 11 at night brewing beer doesn’t go over too well with the S.O.

Next time we’ll start in the morning instead of playing golf and drinking beer till noon on brewday. :cheers:

I thought Stella was beer tea 8)

Why dump them at this point? They’re already kegged, I’d skip the filtering and go ahead and put the gas to them. If it doesn’t turn out that great you could try dry hopping in the keg for some flavor.

If I’m planning on brewing and golfing the same day I set up the night before, get up early, brew then go golfing.

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