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Old 01-18-2009, 12:23 AM   #1
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Default When do you take your OG reading?

Hey guys-

Just wondering when you all take your OG reading? I have been taking off after the boil and before pitching yeast, at about 75 degrees.... I am not supposed to take it before the boil am I?? Just wondering because I am only hitting 62 efficiency and I am trying to rule out any mistakes in hydrometer readings...

Thanks
Chris

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Old 01-18-2009, 12:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by bullrider4 View Post
Hey guys-

Just wondering when you all take your OG reading? I have been taking off after the boil and before pitching yeast, at about 75 degrees.... I am not supposed to take it before the boil am I?? Just wondering because I am only hitting 62 efficiency and I am trying to rule out any mistakes in hydrometer readings...

Thanks
Chris
I take mine right before pitching the yeast.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:25 AM   #3
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Same for me. Last thing I do right before pitching.

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Old 01-18-2009, 12:29 AM   #4
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I take a an OG reading right before I dump into the fermenter.

However, prior to boil I take a gravity reading to project what my OG will be at 5 gallons--to see if I hit my efficiency--I figure if I ever did need to add DME, that's the best time. I also take the reading mid boil (dipping a cup in to sample then allowing to cool for reading) to ensure I was right.

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Old 01-18-2009, 01:19 AM   #5
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Sounds like it's your process, then, not when you're checking your gravity. Why don't you post your recent recipe/process and see what you're doing wrong.

62% isn't terrible. Jamil creates his recipes based on 70%, and I don't think anybody will argue that he doesn't know what he's doing, so...sure, an eff. of 80% will save a bit of grain (and I usually go for 80, full disclosure), but it isn't the end of the world to only get up to the 70s.

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Old 01-18-2009, 01:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Moonshae View Post
Jamil creates his recipes based on 70%
Not only that, he claims that efficiency much higher than 70% extract more unwanted compounds. That 70% is the tipping point when wort quality begins to fall.
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:44 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info guys... Of course I am still bummed with my 62% efficiency, but my first two brews (at least the first two that I used beermsith) only came out at 51% efficiency.. I figured this was the result of some mistakes I made during the sparge.. (namely, only collecting about hald the first runnings before sparging with the full 4 gallons, or whatever it was). So this time, I vorlaufed and collected first runnings, leaving about 1/2 inch of mash water above the top of the grain bed, then I slowly trickled the sparge over the grain bed as I drained... Even though I got 64% which was better than the 51%, I am still convinved the probelm lays in my sparging methods.. Next time, I think I will drain the first runnings completely, then add all the sparge at once, stir, and collect 2nd runnings slower than normal (I will close my drain valve half-way) and try to give even more time for the sparge to do it's thing... Sound better?

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Old 01-18-2009, 11:49 PM   #8
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Yes, go ahead and try batch sparging. It's what many of us do, and it works great. But break that sparge water into half, and do two separate sparge runnings. That is, drain the MLT. Then add half of the sparge water, probably close to 178 or so, to get your grain bed to 168. Stir well, vorlauf, drain. Do it again, but this time with 170 degree water (since the grainbed is probably at 168 or so). Stir well, vorlauf drain.

70% is what I normally get when I buy crushed grain. If I crush my own (I have a new barley crusher, so I'm now crushing my own), my efficiency is higher.

Don't worry about higher/lower efficiency. Your goal should be consistency. If you get 65% every time, that's great! You can then buy the right amount of grain to get you to your desired OG. It's when you're 51% one time, 85% the next where you have some issues.

So, relax, work on improving your process, and you'll be fine.

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Old 01-19-2009, 12:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Yes, go ahead and try batch sparging. It's what many of us do, and it works great. But break that sparge water into half, and do two separate sparge runnings. That is, drain the MLT. Then add half of the sparge water, probably close to 178 or so, to get your grain bed to 168. Stir well, vorlauf, drain. Do it again, but this time with 170 degree water (since the grainbed is probably at 168 or so). Stir well, vorlauf drain.

70% is what I normally get when I buy crushed grain. If I crush my own (I have a new barley crusher, so I'm now crushing my own), my efficiency is higher.

Don't worry about higher/lower efficiency. Your goal should be consistency. If you get 65% every time, that's great! You can then buy the right amount of grain to get you to your desired OG. It's when you're 51% one time, 85% the next where you have some issues.

So, relax, work on improving your process, and you'll be fine.
Hey Yooper- Ok, here comes another dumb question..... I see this all the time.. If you cant get your efficiency constant, then you know how much grain to use to get you to your desired OG.. For whatever reason, I am not seeing this.. Lets say I was looking for an OG of 1.047 and I get 1.035, and I do this over and over and keep getting the same OG... so I am consistent at 65%, at least, but how does this help me to know how much grain I should buy to get the ACTUAL OG I want? I think I am missing a major part of the bigger picture.. Hell, I dont even know if my question makes sense...
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:10 AM   #10
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It makes perfect sense. Let's see if I can explain it with some sense (I drink, you know!)

Say, you consistently get 65%. Each time. You then formulate each recipe for 65% efficiency. It's super easy if you have some brewing software (I use Beersmith). Simply scale your recipe to get your desired OG and plug in your brewhouse efficiency.

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