Oktoberfest!Oktoberfest!

Yes, it’s that time of year already. I christened my 5.5 gallon batch with a 1.8L starter of German Lager yeast, WPL830, yesterday at 5:00pm.

IngredientAmount
Munich Malt5 lb
Pilsner Malt5 lb
Vienna Malt3 lb
Hallertauer1.5 ounce (60)
Hallertauer.5 ounce (20)
WLP830 (German Lager)1.8 Litre

Everything went very smoothly. I treated my water with salts to boost the water profile (tsp epsom salt, tsp calcium chloride, ph stabilizer).  Mashed at 156 for 50 minutes. Got 2.8 gallons on the first run at 16 brix @ 140 degrees for a 1.078. Sort of confirmed by a hydrometer reading of 1.054 @ 140 degrees = 1.070 approximately. Second run at 1.25 gallons with 10.5 brix @ 142 degrees for 1.043, hydrometer 1.030 @ 142 for 1.046. Third run at 1.5 gallons at 6.5 brix @ 148 degrees for 1.020. And a fourth run of 1.3 gallons which was nearly water and I only used about a quart.  The pre-boil gravity was 1.056. I boiled for one hour. Cooled the wort to 63 degrees (which is the temperature of my basement where the starter had been sitting) and pitched. OG was at 1.050 which I’ll discuss in a minute. Hooked up to my handy-dandy Johnson control unit/heater set up and threw the fermenter in the refrigerator at 53 degrees. Now I’ll just wait for nature to take it’s course.

Per the above, I continue to have issues, for some inexplicable reason, with my gravities at OG time. I cannot understand how a wort with a pre-boil gravity of 1.056 can boil for one hour and come out at 1.050. That seems impossible. Water should evaporate and sugar should not. I confirmed with the refractometer which showed even lower. This is a source of endless confusion for me. I can understand if one over-collects on the sparge and then has too much water in the kettle, but I measured the pre-boil gravity… Regardless, I may have to take another tack and do some calculations on pre-boil gravity, evaporation rates, and so on to see if I can estimate the OG. But the fact that the tools reported something else is highly upsetting. In the end, I guess, it’s all about what the beer tastes like. But still.

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