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Adjusting gravity with extract, new equipment fail

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  • Adjusting gravity with extract, new equipment fail

    I recently brewed 500L (150 Gal for you 'Mericans) of hoppy American wheat on some new equipment, and my efficiency was about half of what I anticipated. As a result I hit 1.028 and was aiming for 1.042. I'd like to save this beer, and was considering a malt extract addition (for the sake of beer) to bring the gravity up to where it should be. With a 500L batch and that gravity delta, I'm adding nearly 40 lbs of DME (with a minimal amount of water)

    The batch has been fermenting for a week, I've hit my FG (I'll take another sample to see if it's still dropping) but I'm thinking it's now or never to add some wort to bring the ABV up. I'm hoping this will not only increase the ABV, but also help to balance out the hops as it's very bitter and hopped for a 1.042 beer, not a 1.028.

    What are everyone's thoughts?


  • #2
    Sorry, I wish I had an answer but I have never done that. Why not try it? sounds like the beer isnt servable as it is now. I would ask your DME salesperson. I would NOT add any O2 for obvious reasons. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Let us know the results
    Mike Eme


    • #3
      If you have the tank space, it might be a better idea to brew another, stronger, batch. Let that ferment out and then blend the two beers to get closer to what you're aiming for. This will also allow you to adjust the hopping rate to get it closer to where you wanted it to be. I would be wary of adding DME to a beer that has already reached terminal gravity as I doubt the yeast will be up to the task and you may have attenuation issues.



      • #4
        Agree with MikeS on this one, years ago i did this on homebrew scale and it ended up not attenuating low enough an was super sweet. Do another batch, higher gravity and blend, or dump this one.


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice, I'm just about to go on vacation, so now would be the ideal time to brew a second batch, and I can blend them when I get back. The first batch turned out quite bitter as well, because of a delay getting from the whirlpool to the chiller. I should be able to under-hop the second beer and come out with something in the middle. Sigh, growing pains


          • #6
            I'm interested in hearing a follow-up on what happened with this. I am wondering if you had efficiency issues with your higher gravity version for blending as well. Were you able to identify what went wrong with the first batch?


            • #7
              I never ended up blending to save the batch, instead we let it condition and packaged it as a low ABV but refreshingly bitter light wheat beer. The end result was quite enjoyable, although a bit unbalanced towards the bitterness.

              I did identify the issues: primarily (and because it was my first batch on this equipment) my efficiency was far lower than I'd anticipated, which lead to the low OG. The high bitterness came from an aggressive late-addition in the recipe, but our HX takes nearly 2.5 hours to knock out, thus isomerizing my high AA late additions.

              I've since adjusted my recipe to account for the low efficiency, and started recirculating through the HX back into the kettle to bring the kettle temps down faster an allowing better control of late additions. Low efficiency is manageable, but 2.5 hours to knock out is ridiculous and really inhibits my ability to add late hops. I've brought up the issue of our HX to the brewery managers but they seem convinced that it's capable of doing the job even though I've demonstrated on a number of occasions that other breweries in the area have HXers that are 10-20 times the size of the one we have.

              Work with what you've got I guess.