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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Brewing Forum --> Brewing Discussion --> Post-Mortem on bad brewday/batch

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Joliet, IL
14 Posts

So, I recently had a bad brew day and so far the resulting beer is not fairing well.  I just thought I would write up a quick post-mortem on it partly to vent and partly as a sanity check.

My efficiency for this batch was the worst I've had in 5 batches at 66%, since I swapped out my false bottom for a kettle screen in my mash tun.  I'm attributing this to my crush.  I normally set my mill for a .043 gap and had been getting consistent 75%-78% efficiency into the kettle.  However, this batch had 40% wheat malt, 35% two-row, 20% Munich, and 3% Crystal.  I'm thinking that the gap setting was too wide to get a good crush on the wheat.  Some quick searches around the Interwebs seems to suggest that wheat needs a tighter gap.

Next up, I have a couple of things going on with my yeast.  For this batch, I choose a Conan strain specifically Omega Labs OYL-052.  As with all my previous brews lately, I made an overbuilt starter and saved some of the yeast and pitched a pretty healthy amount to the main batch.  I noted that this yeast seemed to floc fast (less than 24 hours) especially since this strain is known to be cloudy.  This seems to be a characteristic of the Omega Labs strain as others have noticed it as well.  Since I had the flask and stir plate already set up I decided to run a forced fermentation test.  The test finished around 1.008 while the main batch is at 1.012.  I'm not worried as this batch is still young at only 4 days old.  What I am concerned with however, is that it tasted sour/tart.  I noted this taste in the forced ferment test as well and at the time I attributed that flavor to the stir plate and oxygen.  But now I'm not too sure.  My gut says some kind of infection but my brain says it's too soon for an infection to cause these flavors.

Which leads me to water.  I used RO treated with brewing salts for the first time in a while with this batch.  I had used RO water previously but stopped because of laziness.  Who wants to go to the store to get RO water?  I used EZ Water Calculator to preform the calculations for my brewing salt additions as I'm not comfortable with Brun'N Water.  Below is the profile and additions I used in this batch.  Another reason I stopped using RO water is the latic acid addition as previously when I used RO/w latic acid I got feedback that the batches were sour or tart.  Is some kind of acid recommended for RO water in basic pale ale, ipa, or wheat type recipes or can I/should I skip it in my next batch?

Water 100% RO 12 Liter (3 gallon) mash/12 liter (3 gallon) sparge
Gypsum 1.2g to both mash and sparge water
Calc. Chloride 2.2g to both mash and sparge water
Epsom Salt 1.0g to both mash and sparge water
Latic Acid 2 ml to mash

Ca 71
Magnesium 8
Sodium 0
Chloride 87
Sulfate 87

Thanks for reading my vent.

Posted 34 days ago.

Charter Member
Saint Paul, MN
18 Posts

You know, I've never had a need to add magnesium to any of my mashes. The malt should provide sufficient magnesium on its own. Having too high of a concentration of it will lead to astringent flavors. Could you be perceiving that tartness as astringency possibly?

Since you used RO water, that LA addition seems a little high for 3 gallons in the mash. I don't even use that much with my 12 gallon mashes to correct for pH. This could also be a contributor to the tartness.

Posted 34 days ago.

Joliet, IL
14 Posts

Thanks for the reply.  No, I wouldn't describe it as astringent definitely, sour/tart.  Wow, looks like I'm using way too much latic acid.  I think I'm going to leave it out next batch and see if that flavor goes away.  I have a PH meter but it's a cheapy version and I don't trust it as I haven't calibrated it since I got it over 18 months ago.

Also, I think I'll leave the epsom salt out as well.

Posted 34 days ago.

Houston, Tx
161 Posts

Don't feel too bad, that was actually my mistake when I first used Lactic Acid.. on the Bru'n water spreadsheet it said 0.35mL for a 5 gallon batch, which I took to mean 3.5 mL.. needless to say, it was a little too much.. went to a medical supply store and bought a bunch of 1cc syringes after that..

Posted 34 days ago.

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