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Old 10-01-2010, 11:09 PM   #1
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Default Beginning gravity - extracts?

Is there any particular reason to take a original/beginning gravity reading of an extract beer? Even the specialty grains are easily calculable based on the amount used.

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Old 10-02-2010, 02:33 AM   #2
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Yes, there is. It is a starting point for you to calculate your potential alcohol amount as well as a check to see how close you get to the projected original gravity. If you are sure of your reading and your instrument but you are low, you can always add more extract to bring it up to where it should be. If you don't take a reading, you'll never have a clue as to how much extract to add if you are low. These are only 2 reasons; I bet there are more that I can't think of off the top of my head.

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Old 10-02-2010, 03:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avidhomebrewer View Post
Yes, there is. It is a starting point for you to calculate your potential alcohol amount as well as a check to see how close you get to the projected original gravity. If you are sure of your reading and your instrument but you are low, you can always add more extract to bring it up to where it should be. If you don't take a reading, you'll never have a clue as to how much extract to add if you are low. These are only 2 reasons; I bet there are more that I can't think of off the top of my head.
I agree, and will add to this. In general the gravity reading for an extract kit are not necessary, but one day you are going to want to try something where the reading really do matter (I am currently making a chocolate-raspberry port where each step takes place once you reach a very specific gravity). When you do try something where the gravity matters you will be very glad you already have experience with taking gravity readings (well, technically you won't give it a second thought if you already have experience, but if it's your first time it could very well add unnecessary stress, and more importantly you increase the risk of making a mistake if you have never tried this before).

So in answer to your question, in my experience taking gravity readings for an extract kit is not necessary, but it's worth doing at least once or twice because one day you are going to try something where the readings matter.
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Old 10-02-2010, 04:03 AM   #4
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I don't believe there is a real reason. There is a certain amount of sugars in the kits and if you add the right amount of water, the kit tell you what the gravity. I'm not saying you shouldn't take the reading but you already know what it is.

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Old 10-02-2010, 04:08 AM   #5
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i eyeball everything on extract. if the wort amount, temp, and ferm time are about right, i don't bother

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Old 10-02-2010, 12:05 PM   #6
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I would say it's only necessary if you want to practice for future mashes. Or, I suppose, if you were doing a full boil and were concerned about boil off. If you are topping off to X gallons, no need.

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Old 10-02-2010, 01:45 PM   #7
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Cool, I do take final gravity readings so I will have the practice for when I go all grain (or even partial grain for that matter). I've only used it once but the Thief worked like a champ for taking the sample. Star San however nearly made i impossible to read the hydrometer.

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Old 10-02-2010, 02:08 PM   #8
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It's good to get into the habit for when you are doing partial mashes and all grain, where you sometimes take multiple pre and post boil readings during a brewing session. If you don't get into the habit NOW, more than likely you'll run into trouble later because your not in the habit of it in your process.

So many new brewers are so freaked out about something so simple, that even if they think there is something wrong with their beer, they will go to all manner of complex "solutions" without even determining that there is even anything really wrong.

Look at all the "stuck fermentation" threads, 99% of them they don't even know what there beer is really doing, they're going by airlock activity...they need to be told to take one....and some of these folks are brewing AG.

But they never got in the habit, and they never got their hydrometer "cherry" popped, so it's not in their trouble shooting repretoir. So I think it's to get in the habit from the get go.

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Old 10-02-2010, 02:33 PM   #9
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Have you ever forgotten to add a can of extract, or pound of sugar, or just added the wrong amounts? If you do forget a major ingredient like that it helps you notice your error at a time when it is easy to fix.

I am kind of hipocritical because I only sometimes use my hydrometer...especially with extract batches. In fact I never took a pre-boil or starting gravity reading on my last all grain batch haha

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Old 10-02-2010, 03:29 PM   #10
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Well I can definitely see how it would be good to develop the habit of taking beginning gravity readings. People, being people, often find it hard to break either good or bad habits. The process is becoming much more familiar now even after only two batches so adding a hydrometer reading on brew day is no big deal (especially since using the Thief to take samples is so easy).

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