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So, I'm brewing an all-grain batch of the Rogue Chocolate Stout Clone based on this recipe (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/homebrew-recipe/rogue-chocolate-stout-clone/). I divided the recipe by 5 to get proper amounts for a smaller, 1 Gal batch, as this is my second brew, and I figure there's less to throw out if it's bad.

My OG reading was 1.022, which way undershot the expected OG of 1.069. For the first three days, it was going like gangbusters, lots of airlock activity and happy yeast, at a nice warm temperature of around 21 C. Today, it just stopped, even though the recipe suggests leaving it in primary for a week. I took a quick read, and the gravity dropped to 1.011 with a temp of 20 C.

Not sure if I need to pitch more yeast, or if that's all I'm going to get, given the smaller quantity of wort and fermentable sugars to work with. It still needs to go through secondary with chocolate extract added. A quick tasting points to the fact that it's a bit watery, and the color is much lighter than I'd expect, but otherwise, it fits for what you'd expect an uncarbonated stout to taste like (malty, roasty).

What am I doing wrong? Should I go ahead and transfer to secondary now, add more yeast, or do something else?

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If your OG was only 1.022, you must have done something wrong during crushing or mashing, it is way too far. You can test the conversion at the end of the mash using the iode test. This will give you an indication if the conversion was a success.

Did you follow instructions regarding mashing?

  • To brew the Rogue Chocolate Stout clone homebrew recipe, mash at 150°F (65°C) for 60 minutes.
  • Sparge at 175°F (79°C) to collect 6.5 gallons (24.6 L) of pre-boiled wort.
  • Boil for 90 minutes. Cool to 60°F (16°C) and pitch yeast.

Did you check the temperature throughout the mash? When adding the grain to the water you will lose around 2°C depending on the grain temperature, you need to take that into account when heating your water. Also, make sure to have sufficient water and to mix the water from time to time to get an even temperature in the mash tun.

The problem was either, mash temperature, mash time, crushing and freshness of grain, inadequate sparging.

Did you boil uncovered? Maybe there was not enough evaporation during the boil, which would lower the OG as well.

Considering your OG of 1.022, your FG is likely reached at 1.011, since the recipe mention an estimated FG of 1.017. Unless you add sugar, the fermentation is probably done. You can continue the process and finish with a 2% beer or try to improve it with DME or LME as you prefer.

One option is to repeat the experience and if it works better, mix the two batches together (or not).

  • Temperature might have been the culprit. It was challenging to get a consistent temp on the beer. I started with a pot on the stove, but had to transfer it to my larger boiler, which has zero temperature control -- it's either boiling, or off. I think more water may have boiled off than I realized. I think I might finish with the 2%, consider it a failed experiment, and try again. – Carey Nov 20 at 19:29
  • Using a cooler is probably the best way to hold a consistent temperature. For a small one gallon batch, any cooler will do. After 90 minutes, the temperature drop is only about 2°C ... – Philippe Nov 21 at 13:55

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