The iLike Beer Theme Song:

The iLike Beer Theme Song: "Drink Beer." Yes, this is an original song, exhaustingly derived by this author.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hopeeyedidntfuckitup Ale Investigation Into How I Effed it Up

Hopeeyedidntfuckitup Ale Investigation Into How I Effed it Up

The title explains it all; I was expecting the brew to come out around 7.9% ABV, at which point I would be getting close to the ball park of being able to bottle age this batch.  However, with a measured output of 5.1% I came up quite short.  I figured the best way to go about this was to assume complete fermentation, and look at my specialty grain conversion.  I never knew what my conversion efficiency was, so I figured I would investigate this.  As it turns out, I was about as efficient as a class A amplifier.

Using Palmer’s book I was able to reference what an ideal, and 85% efficiency conversion would have outputted for the grains I steeped.  I used these numbers to compare my measured output to, learning how good my conversion was.  Keep in mind, I used liquid malt extract as part of the recipe, and this should be considered 100% efficient.  I then worked backwards, using my measured original gravity, I subtracted the portion which the LME contributed, and then got how much my steeped specialty grains contributed.  From here I was able to divide this by the theoretical maximum and get a pretty good estimation of my efficiency.  I threw this into Excel to make it easier for the future batches.

Conclusions:  My conversion was about as good as Miller Lite is when compared to Burton Baton.  I will leave it to your imagination to guess what that means.  The next step is to figure out what I did poorly.  The first look brings me to this:  pH.  As a general rule of thumb, one wants a ratio greater than 1.0 of lbs of grain per gallons of extraction water.  I was under this, which could cause bad conversion.  Additionally, to avoid excess tannins I only steeped the grains for 30 minutes.  So on the next go round I will add 40% more grain, and I will steep it for about 60 minutes.  This should bring the efficiency up to better than tube amp status, and provide more grains to make my goal of around 9-11%.