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Old 04-14-2013, 08:25 PM   #11
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Honey contains water. Your SG estimation is off.
Please see the link to how SG is defined. By knowing the weight of the mixture (9 lbs) and the volume (1 gallon), I can calculate a density (9 lbs/gallon). Specific gravity is the ratio of that density to that of water (8 lbs/gallon). So the specific gravity is 1.125.
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:58 AM   #12
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Yes you can; that is the fundamental definition of specific gravity.

3 lbs of honey occupied one quart.
6 lbs of water were added yielding a total volume of 1 gallon.

I have 9 lbs of must (3 lbs of honey and 6 lbs of water) occupying the volume normally occupied by 8 lbs of water, so my OG must be (9 lbs/gal)/(8 lbs/gal) = 1.125. No guessing or assuming anything at all.
You are making a gross estimation: assuming that 3 lbs of honey exactly equals 1 quart, and that exactly 6 lbs of water (which is more of a constant than the honey is) is making up the remainder of the volume.

What must be understood is that some honey gives you 1.036 pppg, and if measured accurately would actually only weigh 2.9xx pounds per quart, whereas there may be some theoretical honey that actually yields 1.043 pppg and weighs 3.xxx lbs per quart of volume. These subtle but important differences between various honey varietals, or even various locations of collection for a single varietal can very easily account for a 10-15 point difference in OG.

I'm not disputing the scientific principle, you're just applying it much too literally, and with a faulty assumption (saying honey is 3 lbs per quart is is a "rule of thumb," not something that is exact or consistent from honey to honey, depending on the source, water content, etc.).

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I have some old ale yeast that I could boil and cool to add nutrients. If at all possible I'd like to do this without any chemical additions such as sulfites.
Adding killed yeast is a great way to add nutrients if you don't have Fermax, DAP or some other prepared nutrient. I can respect not wanting to add sulfites, etc. You may have to really cold crash things to reduce your yeast counts, and as previously suggested, still give things some time to be very sure fermentation isn't restarting before you package...

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So bottom line is that this OG isn't necessarily fatal, but I will have to pay attention to keeping a good environment for the yeast?
Yes! Since you're chugging along already, I'd start (cautiously) degassing a couple times a day to keep the dissolved CO2 down (prevents the pH from dropping as much).
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:32 AM   #13
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You are making a gross estimation: assuming that 3 lbs of honey exactly equals 1 quart, and that exactly 6 lbs of water (which is more of a constant than the honey is) is making up the remainder of the volume.
Let's kill this once and for all. I measured out 3 quarts of water and put it into a pot. I put in three pounds of honey and the total volume came to be 4 quarts or 1 gallon. No rule of thumb used or applied - I measured the volumes! OG = 1.125! It would take an entire additional quart of water to bring the gravity down 25 points.

You guys are going to drive me to not drink!

The ferment is off to the races. I give it a gentle swirl every now and again to keep the gases moving. I have the ale yeast on standby and will pitch the killed yeast when the ferment starts to slow down. I understand that this will be a long ferment and an even longer aging period. No worries with that.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:06 AM   #14
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I promise I'm not trying to be argumentative here -- You can explain yourself over and over the same way as many times as you want...you don't seem to be seeing the subtleties that others are trying to point out.

I can see you're not going to be convinced that math does not always equal real life, and that you cannot possibly measure things so accurately that you are achieving theoretical results in your home brewery, so I would simply challenge you to do this: acquire some honey from the same source, repeat your "experiment" and *actually take a gravity reading*...report back. While you're at it, get some other different honey and do the same thing...I guarantee you the readings will not be the same.

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Old 04-15-2013, 12:10 PM   #15
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To throw one more issue out: water isn't 8 lbs/gallon and this isn't even a great approximation. It is generally closer to 8.34, even using your calculations this gives you an OG of around 1.11 (9.255/8.34).

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Old 04-15-2013, 01:39 PM   #16
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OK, some more fuel on the fire - I measured the gravity today (with a hydrometer) after 4 days and the gravity was 1.100.

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Old 04-15-2013, 02:16 PM   #17
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Let's kill this once and for all. I measured out 3 quarts of water and put it into a pot. I put in three pounds of honey and the total volume came to be 4 quarts or 1 gallon. No rule of thumb used or applied - I measured the volumes! OG = 1.125! It would take an entire additional quart of water to bring the gravity down 25 points.
then how do you explain when I used 3.25lbs of honey and enough water to equal 1 gallon I measured using a hydrometer and my gravity was 1.118?
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:32 PM   #18
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then how do you explain when I used 3.25lbs of honey and enough water to equal 1 gallon I measured using a hydrometer and my gravity was 1.118?
Because your 3.25 lbs of honey had more water in it. Did you measure the volume of the honey?
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:40 PM   #19
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I did not measure volume of honey, but considering my gallon had more total honey added by weight, and less water by weight you would think that more honey would equal a higher gravity.
and you are using a rule of thumb, you are assuming all honeys have the exact same sugar content.

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Old 04-15-2013, 02:55 PM   #20
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I did not measure volume of honey, but considering my gallon had more total honey added by weight, and less water by weight you would think that more honey would equal a higher gravity.
Not if your honey was a higher percentage of water. You're assuming that the density of honey is a fixed value. It depends on the source. That is why I measured the volume.

Let me make a crazy example. Let's say I walk down to Shady Apiary and buy 3 lbs of "honey", but it is really just tinted water, and I am too excited to start mead making to notice the differences in taste and viscosity.

I pour this "honey" into a graduated pot and note that it occupies 1.5 quarts. I top off with 2.5 quarts to make an even gallon.

What would be the gravity of the mixture? It would be:

SG = Density of Mixture/Density of Water
SG = Mass of Mixture/Mass of Equivalent Volume of Water
SG = (3 lbs + 2.5*2 lbs)/(8 lbs)
SG = 1.000!

In theory this should be what you read on your hydrometer, but in reality you can't measure mass, volume, or gravity with complete perfection and so the two measurements of gravity will yield slightly different answers. That is the state of affairs when you try to measure anything.
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