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Old 11-05-2009, 12:39 PM   #1
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Default Missed my OG by quite a bit ... need help ASAP !!!

Two nights ago I brewed this pale ale recipe, partial mash. My OG should have been around 1.060, but ended up at 1.030. I'm guessing that either my temps got to high early in the mash and killed the amalayse, or the other thing is that this is my first use of whole leaf hops and I think I lost quite a bit of wort in the hops, so that when I mixed the wort with the clean water, I had less wort than was needed (don't have equipment to do a full boil).

I suspect the mash temps may have gotten too high, I had trouble stabalizing the mash temp at first and think I may have killed my mash. My yeast is fermenting along, but nothing near as vigorous as what I usually see by day two with 1056.

So, I was wondering, if I take a pound or even half pound of DME, boil it down in as little water as possible and then cool it and dump it in the fermenting beer, will that help boost my OG closer up to where it needs to be? As it stands now I'm gonna end up with a beer that has like 2.5% ABV!!

Here is the grain/hops/yeast bill :

Amount Item Type % or IBU
5.00 lb Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 54.95 %
3.00 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 32.97 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 10.99 %
0.10 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 1.10 %
0.80 oz Galena [13.00 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 25.7 IBU
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (10 min) Hops 4.5 IBU
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (5 min) Hops 2.5 IBU
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (Flame Out) (10 min Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
2.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops -
1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale

Per beersmith's recomendation I tried to mash at 154 for 45 minutes .... but I think I hit in the 160s for few minutes tyring to get things right, the thermometer would read different temps depending on where I stuck it in the mash pot.

I did a 90 minute boil, not sure if that matters .... this started off as a clone of flying dog classic pale ale and thats what they do, 90 minutes ...

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Old 11-05-2009, 12:42 PM   #2
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I suspect that your gravity reading is off. With 5 pounds of DME, in a 5 gallon batch, the OG has to be at least 1.046 even if you got NOTHING out of the grain. (And I'm sure you got at least some fermentables out of the grain!) Sure, the whole hops soak up a little wort, but not really that much. What size boil did you do, and how much wort did you end up with?

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Old 11-05-2009, 12:52 PM   #3
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You topped off, didnt you... I know you did.

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Old 11-05-2009, 12:57 PM   #4
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What size boil did you do, and how much wort did you end up with?
I have a 4 gallon stock pot that I use to mash and to boil, I ended up with about 2.5 gallons of wort after evaporation from the 90 minute boil.

I drop my sanitized hydrometer right in the carboy and leave it there for my OG reading ... so not sure how my reading could be off .... although I did drop it in when I had only about 2 gallons of clean water in the bottom and it did clink against the bottom of the carboy when I dropped it in (I don't know why I didn't wait until I had 5.5g to drop it in .... very dumb). It did not shatter or crack though, the hydrometer is sitting against the side of the carboy and I've inspected with a flash light and there doesn't seem to be any damage to it.

I suppose first thing is that I could drop in another sanitized hydrometer just to verify.

And you know what, I think I only put in 4lbs, not 5lbs of DME .. in fact I'm sure of it ... which would put me at 1.032 if you take out the grains .... so I must have killed the grain mash with high temps ..

So, back to my idea, can I just boild down another pound or two of DME and add it in ?
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:02 PM   #5
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I have a 4 gallon stock pot that I use to mash and to boil, I ended up with about 2.5 gallons of wort after evaporation from the 90 minute boil.

I drop my sanitized hydrometer right in the carboy and leave it there for my OG reading ... so not sure how my reading could be off .... although I did drop it in when I had only about 2 gallons of clean water in the bottom and it did clink against the bottom of the carboy when I dropped it in (I don't know why I didn't wait until I had 5.5g to drop it in .... very dumb).

I suppose first thing is that I could drop in another sanitized hydrometer just to verify.

And you know what, I think I only put in 4lbs, not 5lbs of DME .. in fact I'm sure of it ... which would put me at 1.032 .... so I must have killed the grain mash with high temps ..

So, back to my idea, can I just boild down another pound or two of DME and add it in ?
You could always add more DME if you want. I don't agree that you "killed the grain", though! Your temperatures were a bit high, but not THAT high. Even with a pound less of DME, you should be in the 1.050s.

I just think you didn't mix up the wort/top off water enough to get a good hydrometer reading. The wort was thick, and the top off water doesn't easily mix into it. I've never dropped a hydrometer into a carboy (sounds like it could be a disaster!) because I mix up the wort to aerate well, then pull out a sample with a sanitized turkey baster and put it in the test jar that way. Wort and water don't easily mix, and I'm betting that you got a sample with more water at the top, while the heavier wort sunk to the bottom.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:02 PM   #6
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You topped off, you did a partial boil, then added water to reach 5.5 gallons.

You didnt mix it well. You could shake the heck outta that thing for 20 minutes and still get a wacky reading.

I would not recommend placing the hydrometer in the carboy... how are you going to get it out to take measurements as the beer ferments? Now you have no way of checking gravity... DOH!

Bottom line, you had a concentrated wort, added clean water to top off and sugars settle to the bottom. You need to SHAKE that thing like mad, for honestly, 10 minutes to get a reasonably homogenous sugar distribution.

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Old 11-05-2009, 01:10 PM   #7
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Actually I add 2 gallons to the carboy first, then add the wort, then top it off ... I've only been brewing for a year, but this method has resulted in very vigorous fermentation with 1056 within a day or two without any other "mixing" techniques, so I guess thats why I'm confused .. this has never been an issue before.

Also, the wort all looks homegenous right now ... there does not appear to be any strattification or layers.

So, I guess first thing I'll do it to shake it up when I get home and see if that gets the OG up, and I'll take a sample outside the carboy :-)

If that doesn't work, then I'm gonna add the DME after I melt it down in a small amount of water. Thanks for the help guys ...

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Old 11-05-2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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Having it mixed well or not, wont make a lick of difference with the ferment. Yeast find the sugars and ferment as normal.

Also, just because the color is homogenous, doesnt mean that the sugars are.

If it is actively fermenting when you get home, which I assume it will be, I would not shake it and aerate it. Id leave it alone.

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Old 11-05-2009, 01:16 PM   #9
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Actually I add 2 gallons to the carboy first, then add the wort, then top it off ... I've only been brewing for a year, but this method has resulted in very vigorous fermentation with 1056 within a day or two without any other "mixing" techniques, so I guess thats why I'm confused .. this has never been an issue before.

Also, the wort all looks homegenous right now ... there does not appear to be any strattification or layers.

So, I guess first thing I'll do it to shake it up when I get home and see if that gets the OG up, and I'll take a sample outside the carboy :-)

If that doesn't work, then I'm gonna add the DME after I melt it down in a small amount of water. Thanks for the help guys ...
The vigorousness (is that a word ?) of the fermentation doesn't indicate the OG at all- in fact, some "bigger" beers take longer to get going. I have two beers I made yesterday sitting next to me. One started airlock activity last night, and the other is just sitting there. The "quiet" one had an OG of 1.054 and the other had an OG of 1.055. Temperature, wort composition, yeast strain, size of the starter, etc, all play a part in lag times.

You don't really have to worry about mixing up the wort- the yeast will do a fine job of that!- but if you want an accurate OG reading, wort that isn't thoroughly mixed will give you wacky readings.

By the time you get home tonight, fermentation might already have started. So you still might get a "funny" OG! I'd just leave it alone at this point. But if you feel strongly that you want to add DME, you certainly can.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:30 PM   #10
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I think I'll run the LHBS and get a wine thief and take a sample and a reading with one of my other hydrometers. Fermentation has started, and had started within hours, it is bubbling along nicely, I'm just used to seeing so much crud on the top of the carboy at this point and having it all running through the blowoff tube -- that is what isn't happening, and thats why I'm conncerned.

Of course, this is my first ferment in a 6.5G carboy, I've used 5G carboys so far, and they always blew crud (what is the term for that crap on the top -- I forget?) out the blowoff tube ... so maybe the extra wort surface area and head space in the 6.5G carboy have something to do with the fermentation not appearing to be as "vigorous" :-)

Again, thanks for the education here ... I'm gonna take a sample and then decide whether to add any DME ....

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