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Old 02-06-2013, 02:10 AM   #1
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Default Low OG advice

I just finished my 2nd AG batch. I know what happened with my first batch as I had way too much strike water and overshot my pre boil volume by a gallon or so and screwed up my gravity pretty badly. Today I had just the right amount of strike, my mash temp was spot on within 3 degrees for an hour, I ended up using less sparge than I thought and full boiled for an hour. My gravity is still low by about 10 points. I brewed the 2 Hearted Clone at 150F using two different thermometers for accuracy. The only thing I forgot was my last vorlauf while batch sparging, but that was it. Pre boil was about 7 gallons, ended up with 5.5 gals in my carboy...... Everything seemed fine according to the recipe.

What else do I need to do or what am I missing here? I noticed some grains were not completely crushed and a couple whole grains here and there. That could be an issue. I'm just bummed out because everything went so well the whole day only to not hit my OG at all.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:14 AM   #2
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Not to worry, you'll still make beer. The grain crush has a big impact on efficiency. Are you crushing your own grain or do you get it crushed at the shop? Either way, don't stress, have fun!

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:23 AM   #3
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What has worked for me is to take a gravity reading after collecting the wort... from there I know what my gravity will be after the boil and I can make whatever adjustments I choose to... or not... My efficiency improved dramatically after I began crushing my own grain... In observing numerous new brewers, almost everyone of them did not stir the mash enough at first...

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:39 AM   #4
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A finer crush and stirring more has worked well for me. Once your efficiency is dialed in and consistent, then design your recipe accordingly. Adding a bit more grain might be slightly more expensive, but you will hit your OG. When you say your are low on your OG, is that based off a specific recipe? If the brewer of that recipe has an efficiency of 80% and your efficiency is 70% (which is not bad), then you will be low on your OG. A slightly lower efficiency will yield a higher quality extraction, just plan for it in your recipe design by adding more grain.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdkopp0153 View Post
A finer crush and stirring more has worked well for me. Once your efficiency is dialed in and consistent, then design your recipe accordingly. Adding a bit more grain might be slightly more expensive, but you will hit your OG. When you say your are low on your OG, is that based off a specific recipe? If the brewer of that recipe has an efficiency of 80% and your efficiency is 70% (which is not bad), then you will be low on your OG. A slightly lower efficiency will yield a higher quality extraction, just plan for it in your recipe design by adding more grain.
I was using a 2 Hearted Clone recipe from the board here and it called for 1.055-1.064 and I ended up with about 1.045 which is going to yield a very weak beer. I can't think of anything else except poor grain crushing from the LHBS. I noticed quite a few whole grains. I may just step the bill up a couple pounds or make sure they are crushed properly. Oh well, it will make beer. Just frustrating.....
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:14 AM   #6
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Congrats - you've made beer for grain. Where you go from here really depends on your priorities and personality.

If you just want to drink good beer, there i no need to change anything. Just note your efficiency and plug that into some software for your next batch. It might cost you an extra buck or 2 per 5 gallons, but that is literally pennies per pint.

If you enjoy the process and science of the hobby, you can start trouble shooting to find the source of the low efficiency. If you've got your temps and volumes down, the next place to look is your conversion efficiency. eg are you converting all the starch to sugar. If not, a finer crush will definitely improve that. Once you confirm that you are getting neat 100% conversion, you can start looking for any places you are losing sugar. eg not stirring enough to get the sugar in solution. Dead space in your manifold etc. You'll need to take measurements at pretty much every stage of the process and do some calculations to see where the losses are occurring.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:34 AM   #7
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I just want to make the best possible beer I can with what resources I have for now and I should be getting better conversion. I will figure it out. Thanks for the responses guys.

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Old 02-06-2013, 04:20 PM   #8
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If you see whole grains, then you definitely have a problem with the crush. Next time you are there you might mention it to them. It is most likely the adjustment has gotten off, and they don't realize.

I cannot imaging they would purposefully provide their customers with a bad crush. I'm sure they would be thankful for pointing it out. I know I would if it were my store.

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Old 02-06-2013, 06:07 PM   #9
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Until you figure out your efficiency issue, get a refractometer and have some DME on hand so you can make adjustments pre boil. There are calculators and apps that will tell you how much water to add pre boil based on a higher than expected Pre OG or how much DME to add based on a low pre boil OG. Even when you dial in your brew house, brew day odors not always go smooth. That saved me a hand full of times and you will keep you IBU's in check.

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Old 02-06-2013, 06:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Until you figure out your efficiency issue, get a refractometer and have some DME on hand so you can make adjustments pre boil.
Follow this advice in the future. DME has saved me many times.
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