New Giveaway - Wort Monster Conical Fermeneter!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Cannot Hit Correct Original Gravity




Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-11-2013, 06:12 PM   #1
stewart194
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Posts: 190
Liked 5 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 23

Default Cannot Hit Correct Original Gravity

I started brewing in October, and my first 3 extract brews were less than stellar. Still completely drinkable but they had some off flavors. Thanks to everyone here I've modified my brewing process. I have brewed two batches already this year with those changes...full boil, late extract addition, fermentation temp control, etc, etc. I haven't been able to taste these beers yet, but I'm confident that they will be much better than my first few batches.

The problem is that since I started doing full boils, I haven't been able to hit my numbers and my OG is always lower than it should be. I've figured out that on my system, a 7.5 Gal Turkey Fryer, if I start out with 6 1/4 gallons I'm left with a perfect 5 gallons after a 60 minute boil. I've been trying to hit the correct OG by adding more and more Light Dry Malt Extract with each batch.

Is this the correct way to achieve this or is there a better way?

If this is the proper way to do this, my next batch is going to be an Oatmeal Stout...should I use Dark Dry Malt Extract instead of Light DME??

Thanks!



__________________
stewart194 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-11-2013, 08:08 PM   #2
Mowgli34
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
Default

I have been experiencing low OG with my last two partial mash batches. I have been brewing five gallon recipes an only recently had problems achieving appropriate OG numbers but I suspect that my issue is more related to burning/caramelization of liquid extract when I add it after mashing my grains. I think I'm adding the liquid extract too soon and is burning on the bottom of my brew kettle without dissolving into the wort. Can anyone confirm this? Either way I'm changing up my technique on my next batch.



__________________
Mowgli34 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-11-2013, 08:11 PM   #3
Mowgli34
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
Default

But in response to stewart194: are you sure you are scaling your recipes correctly if you are using five gallon recipes?

__________________
Mowgli34 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-11-2013, 08:18 PM   #4
WoodlandBrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Malden, MA
Posts: 1,670
Liked 115 Times on 112 Posts
Likes Given: 54

Default

If you have 5 gallons of wort going into the fermenter then your recipe should be for 5 gallons independent of what you start your boil with.

Are you using kits from the same supplier, or building your own recipes? It might help diagnose the problem if you can provide some recipes.

How much are you low by? How are you measuring volumes?

__________________

The 2nd edition is now available: Brewing Engineering
BLOG: Brewing Boiled Down Brewing science for those of us without a Ph.D

WoodlandBrew is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-12-2013, 12:04 AM   #5
stewart194
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Posts: 190
Liked 5 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 23

Default

Thanks for the responses! Everyone on HBT has been awesome! I am using 5 gallon extract kits from NB. I still don't understand this stuff that well yet, but it was my understanding that the only thing you have to adjust for when doing full boils vs partial boils is hops. I was told to scale back the hops by 30% for the hop additions that occur between 60 minutes and 30 minutes...after the 30 minute mark the other hop additions should be done according to the original recipe.

I also bought Beersmith 2 before doing full boils, but I just don't know how to use it correctly yet. But what I've been told about hops seems to be true in Beersmith. If I plug in the original recipe and click the option for full boils, the "hop meter" thing says that the IBU's will be way higher than the original recipe says they should be. If I scale them back the IBU's become closer to what the recipe says it should be.

But I don't think hops have anything to do with fermentables or missing my OG. When I did the Dead Ringer IPA kit the recipe says that my OG should be 1.064. I wanted to bump that up a bit, and after talking with some people on this forum I decided to add 10 oz of Turbinado sugar to get up to 1.071. I also added 4 or 5 oz of hops trying to create a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale of sorts. Beersmith said my OG should be 1.071, but instead it ended up being 1.062. This is totally fine, but if I had stuck to the original recipe and hadn't added that extra sugar I would guess that it would have been around 1.052 or something like that.

The other kit I brewed using the new brewing process was their Irish Red kit. It was one that I did originally and I just wasn't happy with it because of the off flavors. Keep in mind that I wasn't doing anything for fermentation control, I was using the dry yeast without a starter, etc, etc. I decided to try and redeem myself by brewing it again. Based on the low OG with the IPA, I decided to add 1.5 pounds Light DME to it. The original recipe said that the OG should be 1.044, Beersmith said it should be 1.057 with the extra DME added, but it ended up being 1.052. Closer obviously, but still several points off. Again, if I hadn't added 1.5 pounds of DME I bet it would have been much lower...maybe around 1.034 possibly.

If I need to add 2 extra pounds of DME to every recipe in order to get the proper OG I will definitely do that, but I'm just wondering if this is normal and if it is the proper way to obtain it. Honestly, I can see myself going all grain sooner than later, and if I'm going to fumble around and make rookie mistakes while learning my system...maybe I should just dive in. That way when I do finally figure out what the hell I'm doing I will at least be using the system I plan to use for several years!

But this has become sort of a challenge for me, and I'd love to "conquer" my extract brews and know that I can make good extract beers before moving to AG. I've been listening to BN podcasts every day for the last few months, but my brain still can't grasp efficiency and all of the other concepts they talk about yet! I had no idea there was so much to learn about brewing beer. But I'm having a lot of fun with this and will get there eventually.

Thanks again for the replies!

__________________
stewart194 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-12-2013, 02:09 AM   #6
brigbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 62
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Default

Since the kit has done the gravity math for you already, the most likely suspect would be your hydrometer. Have you checked the calibration on it? How long are you steeping your specialty grains?

__________________

Bottled: Stratford Ale (English Bitter), FestivAle (Holiday Ale), Dunkelweisen, Katherina (Jalapeno) Cream Ale

Primary: Little Jack Red (Irish Red)
On Deck: Black IPA, 60 Schilling

brigbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-12-2013, 09:24 AM   #7
WoodlandBrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Malden, MA
Posts: 1,670
Liked 115 Times on 112 Posts
Likes Given: 54

Default

Thanks for the detailed information Stewart. I'll have to think about this more, but a couple of things come to mind. Are you getting all of the extract out of the cans? It sticks to the sides pretty well if you don't wash ot out with hot water or wort. Also, along the same lines, the syrup can pour all the way through the water in the boil kettle and burn to the bottom if you don't stir while adding it. Also for late syrup additions make sure you stir well, and then stir some more to make sure the syrup has dissolved before taking a gravity reading.

__________________

The 2nd edition is now available: Brewing Engineering
BLOG: Brewing Boiled Down Brewing science for those of us without a Ph.D

WoodlandBrew is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-12-2013, 01:38 PM   #8
stewart194
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Posts: 190
Liked 5 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 23

Default

Quote:
Since the kit has done the gravity math for you already, the most likely suspect would be your hydrometer. Have you checked the calibration on it? How long are you steeping your specialty grains?
I think my hydrometer is fine. I did check it when I first bought it and it was calibrated correctly, but I will check it again just to be safe. I steep my specialty grains between 150 and 160 for 30 minutes. Could this be it? I've heard some people only steep for 20 minutes.

Quote:
But in response to stewart194: are you sure you are scaling your recipes correctly if you are using five gallon recipes?
No I don't think so. I'm not sure how to scale them I guess. After you mentioned this I found that Beersmith has a "Scale Recipe" button. When you select it, it does let you change your efficiency. The default is 72% so I changed it to 65%...but it didn't seem to do anything to my recipes.

Quote:
Are you getting all of the extract out of the cans? It sticks to the sides pretty well if you don't wash ot out with hot water or wort. Also, along the same lines, the syrup can pour all the way through the water in the boil kettle and burn to the bottom if you don't stir while adding it. Also for late syrup additions make sure you stir well, and then stir some more to make sure the syrup has dissolved before taking a gravity reading.
I'm pretty sure I'm doing this correctly. NB kits come in half gallon plastic milk jugs, so I submerge them in hot water in my sink to make it pour more quickly and to get all of it out of there. I always kill the heat and stir rapidly while doing this. Actually my brother brews with me, so one of us is pouring and the other is stirring, but we stir as quickly as we can so we don't scorch the extract on the bottom. I also use a 3 foot stainless steel paddle, and the paddle part is pretty wide. Definitely bigger than the steel spoon I used to use.

That is the funny part, when doing these same kits in the beginning doing partial boils, I hit the correct numbers every time. The only thing that has changed is doing full boils, and starting with 6 1/4 gallons so that I end up at 5 gallons. And even doing full boils now, my final gravity ends up being spot on. Or at least the IPA was...the Irish Red is still fermenting.

Again, if I have to add 2 pounds of DME to every recipe to achieve the correct OG, I'm willing to do that....I just don't think that is probably the correct way to go about it. I don't understand efficiency, but it appears that my system or something I'm doing is not that efficient! I've read that adding Light DME doesn't hurt it, but I can't help but think that doing this is changing the flavor of the beer somehow...maybe watering it down a little and making the flavors of the other ingredients not as pronounced as they should be? I don't know.

And the reason I brought up Dark DME for the Oatmeal Stout is just so that the color stays nice and dark. But maybe Dark DME would affect the flavor unlike Light DME?

One thing I thought of last night, is that during the first 3 partial boils I would just poor all of the wort into the carboy including all of the hop and grain trub at bottom. Now I'm a little more careful and try to leave most of it behind. I've read on here that some people add all of it and others don't, but that it doesn't seem to affect the beer either way. But could this be a factor in my OG readings? Either way, maybe I will make sure that I swirl everything into suspension that does end up in the carboy before taking a gravity sample.
__________________
stewart194 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-12-2013, 06:35 PM   #9
WyomingBrewer
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Worland, Wyoming
Posts: 418
Liked 34 Times on 29 Posts
Likes Given: 60

Default

I saw this posted on the Beginners Side... very good info and will answer your question.


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/attention-new-brewers-yes-your-original-gravity-reading-wrong-dont-panic-289735/

__________________
Big Horn Basin Brew Supply
728 Big Horn Ave
Worland, WY 82401
Brew What You Drink!
WyomingBrewer is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-13-2013, 01:43 PM   #10
stewart194
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Posts: 190
Liked 5 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 23

Default

Thanks WyomingBrewer! I read that thread and there are some things that apply to my situation, but I'm not doing partial boils and topping off with water. I'm also not "freaking out" or overly worried about not hitting my numbers. This is just something that I've noticed since going to full boils. If they were off by a little I wouldn't even worry about it, but if I want to brew a 7% IPA and I'm getting a 5% beer, that's a pretty big difference!

That being said, here are some interesting points...

1. Revvy is basically saying that with Extract brewing, your OG HAS to be correct if your volume is correct and you add all of the ingredients. Unlike All Grain, you aren't converting anything. This makes total sense to me. But I am adding all of the ingredients and am still getting low numbers. The very little amount of LME that is stuck inside the container just wouldn't make that much of a difference I wouldn't think. Not as much as I'm off by. And I'm even adding fermentables like DME and sugar.

2. Someone else in that thread said that they took a gravity reading, then they stirred the wort up really well and took another reading, and they were drastically different. Since I'm doing full boils and not topping off, I'm not sure that this applies to me, but I will definitely stir it really well before taking a reading next time.

I guess my main question right now is, does taking an OG sample from a carboy with the hop and grain trub included differ from taking one without? As I mentioned before, that is one difference between my two new batches. With my IPA I just dumped everything in the carboy, but with the Irish Red I decided to leave it behind.

I think the best thing for me to do at this point is just to brew a few more batches and see what happens. Keep taking notes and see if I can find any consistencies between the things I'm doing and the numbers I'm getting. I was also thinking about Mowgli34's comment last night about scaling the recipe. Recipes are just ratios...and if you have the recipe then you have the ratio for each ingredient. So even if I can't figure out how to do this in Beersmith, I could just bump up every single ingredient (except the hops) by 10% and see what happens...instead of only adding DME to achieve my numbers. Although this would mean that I would have to stop doing kits...which are really convenient for me right now because I don't have to store any extra grain.



__________________
stewart194 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Reaching pre-boil gravity but missing original gravity zachattack698 All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 7 11-28-2012 05:19 PM
any advice on getting a correct gravity solo103 General Beer Discussion 2 08-25-2011 03:53 PM
Correct gravity and fix beer! duffman2 General Techniques 2 06-09-2011 05:57 PM
beer just hit correct gravity? redliner Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 11 04-13-2011 09:18 PM
Why aren't my gravity readings correct? IrishBrew General Beer Discussion 1 09-06-2010 04:30 PM