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Old 09-21-2013, 10:48 PM   #1
Hellfire_Ales
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Default Missed my OG big time

Im relatively new to all grain, less than 10 batches or so. I stopped brewing for a couple of years and just got back into it a year ago. Ive done 4 batches since then and all buy one of those the OG reading has been really low. I just brewed a pumpkin ale today, with 12.5 lbs of Briess pale malt, .5 lbs of crystal 60, and .5 lbs carapils 20. My og before i pitched only got to 1.040. I was hoping for a bigger number than that. What did i do wrong? Can i add anything before i pitch to help bring up the final ABV? I need help!

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Old 09-21-2013, 11:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Hellfire_Ales
Im relatively new to all grain, less than 10 batches or so. I stopped brewing for a couple of years and just got back into it a year ago. Ive done 4 batches since then and all buy one of those the OG reading has been really low. I just brewed a pumpkin ale today, with 12.5 lbs of Briess pale malt, .5 lbs of crystal 60, and .5 lbs carapils 20. My og before i pitched only got to 1.040. I was hoping for a bigger number than that. What did i do wrong? Can i add anything before i pitch to help bring up the final ABV? I need help!
Did you correct your reading for temperature? Was the temp below 100 at sample? Is your hydrometer calibrated/refractometer?

1 pound of DME will add .009 gravity points to a 5 gallon batch. You can also boil longer, you'll get less beer at a higher gravity.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:17 PM   #3
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My reading was taken after my wort chiller, at about 78 f. My hydrometer is new so it should be pretty accurate. The longer boil makes sense, i didnt boil off as much as i normally do, i still have over 6.5 gallons AFTER my boil.

I have not pitched yeast yet, i just have the carboy sitting with the air lock on. Would it be worth it to reboil it again tomorrow or is that a really bad idea?

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Old 09-21-2013, 11:28 PM   #4
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Sounds like you had miscalculation with your water volumes (unless you don't do 5 gallon batches). You won't hurt anything by boiling off more water. You could always toss in some rice syrup solids too. They don't affect the flavor much at all and will raise your gravity some.

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Old 09-21-2013, 11:33 PM   #5
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I was guessing water volume too. http://www.brew365.com/mash_sparge_water_calculator.php
its never let me down.

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Old 09-22-2013, 12:37 AM   #6
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I just did the exact same thing. My first all grain. I mashed with WAY to much water and hit a 1.040 Pre boil. 1.079 target I wasnt able to sparge much my burner is inadequate as well After an hour only 1.050. Target was 1.059. I don't think I'll hit my fg of 1.008 I barely lost a gallon during the hour boil.

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Old 09-22-2013, 01:06 AM   #7
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Yup, a gallon and a half of extra wort will totally throw off your gravity . You need to re-evaluate your volumes and losses and get a handle on your boil off rate to hit your volumes correctly.

Also, don't assume your thermometer or hydrometer are accurate just because they're new

The hydrometer should read 1.000 in distilled water at 60 and test your thermometer at boiling and in a glass of ice water to verify its low and high end readings.

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Old 09-22-2013, 01:12 AM   #8
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You probably don't wanna re-boil; you'll boil off all your flavor and aroma hops. However, if you haven't pitched, you wanna do that, like, yesterday; homebrewers never achieve 100% perfect sterilization, so, something is eating that wort, you're gonna wanna get that yeast in there and out-competing it before it gets established.

Presuming you didn't spill a couple of gallons somewhere, it sounds like you're only getting ~40% efficiency into the kettle based on that grain bill end ending up with 6.5 gallons at 1.040. With that much sugar left in the grain, I'd look at a couple aspects of your mashing process:

- Are you hitting and maintaining your mash temperature? Have you recently calibrated your thermometer, so you know you're hitting the temps it says you are?

- Are you mashing for long enough? Give it an hour, and stir vigorously for a minute or two a couple times.

- Are you sparging? What kind of gravity readings are you getting for your first runnings and sparges?

If you really, really don't want a session beer, you can add sugar and/or extract. Probably too late to get to your LHBS tonight, but, it won't hurt to pitch tonight and add more fermentables tomorrow.

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Old 09-22-2013, 02:52 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the great responses. I think my problem was too much water. I base everything on a 5 gallon batch, and i finished with 6.5. I think i used far too much water in my mash. I was having trouble hitting my temp and just used too much.

So i know what i did wrong, now i have to fix it. My homebrew store isnt open tomorrow so i cant get extract. I still gave not pitched and its been about 4 hours since i finished brewing. I want to get the yeast in asap, but im really not looking forward to drinking a 2.5% beer. I wad thinking of adding some brown sugar since its a pumpkin ale. Any other fermentables i can try that will help me out?

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Old 09-22-2013, 03:13 AM   #10
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Brown sugar or turbinado could be good. I wouldn't go over a pound tho which will get you to around 1.046. 1.040 would be closer to 4% alcohol by the way; how'd you figure 2.5? Also, if you boiled down to 5 gallons you'd of hit 1.052. I'd advise using a few extra pounds of base malt on your next brew. At least until you get back into the swing of things plan on lower efficiency. It's way easier to deal with higher than expected efficiency than lower.

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