Originally Posted by tjs0329
So my questions...
The first batch that is bottled was also on the low end on OG and FG. All three batches we have done a 5 gal boil. Are we boiling off water that is making our FG low? We ended up only bottling 4.5 gal on the first batch. The other two are right below 5 gal after primary. I'm guessing that when we rack for bottling we will be in the 4.5-4.75 gal range. Are there any other things we do during the initial brew that effect gravity?
How much additional fermentation can we expect during secondary? All three batches might as well be considered our "first" as we did them within two weeks of each other, so don't really have much to go on. I know to take readings to be sure, but we're really trying to have the Holiday ale ready for Christmas week (10 days primary, 4 days secondary, 3 weeks in the bottle). The Nut Brown can wait, so that might be our aging experiment batch.
We were thinking of adding oak or hickory chips soaked in bourbon to the Nut Brown. Thoughts?
I'd relax and have a home brew, but none are ready yet.
Losing water during the boil would serve to concentrate the wort, thereby increasing your OG. Do both kits contain grains for steeping? This may be your problem area. You are definitely getting all the gravity points from the extract you are using (I'm assuming you are using extract), so if you aren't steeping the grains long enough, or rinsing them after steeping, you may be losing some sugars there. As for the FG, I tend to think it's better to be on the low end of the range.
Depending on when you rack to the secondary (i.e., how much visible fermentation is still occurring), you may or may not see any additional fermentation. I've found that most beers don't need to be transferred to the secondary. You can leave them in the primary for up to a month and get the same results. Especially with the short time you are looking at leaving the beers in the secondary, you'd be better off just leaving them in the primary in the future.
Considering that you've had them in the fermenters for 14 days AND are on the low end of the FG range, they should be done.
As for the oak chips, I'll leave that to someone else as I have little experience in that realm.