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Old 05-13-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
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Default Expected OG 1.070-74, actual OG 1.056. Extract Kit

I bought the Hop Head Double IPA kit from Midwest back in February. Not long after it arrived, I moved to a different state in March for a new job. I finally got my stuff unpacked, and had the time to start brewing again. I followed the directions in the kit (1.5 lbs of grain and 9.3 lbs of LME) and after the wort cooled down to about 75 degrees I took a reading. I was sadly surprised of the low OG. I'm guessing that the LME was old, and somehow affected the hydrometer reading?

So, I'd like to know what could have caused this?

Also: I pitched the yeast last night (made a 1L starter with a 108 day old Wyeast pack that came with the kit), and I'm now thinking that I should add some honey to help boost the ABV and dry out the beer a little more. So is it safe to add honey at this point (within 24 hours of pitching yeast), and if so, how much honey should I add? 1 pounds, 2 pounds?

Thanks!

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:09 PM   #2
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As long as you added all the fermentables from the kit, you should be fine. Did you do a partial boil and top off in the fermentor? If so, I'm guessing you didn't fully mix the added water with the wort. (did you aerate the wort in the fermentor? Usually rocking the bucket back and forth for a few minutes will be sufficient) Also, did you take a reading of 75 degree water to help with calibration of your hydrometer?

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 63belair
As long as you added all the fermentables from the kit, you should be fine. Did you do a partial boil and top off in the fermentor? If so, I'm guessing you didn't fully mix the added water with the wort. (did you aerate the wort in the fermentor? Usually rocking the bucket back and forth for a few minutes will be sufficient) Also, did you take a reading of 75 degree water to help with calibration of your hydrometer?
This. If you topped off its almost impossible to mix the wort thoroughly. It's either you did a top off, or your volume is high. Those are the only choices. Extract kits do not vary from the gravity call out.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:18 PM   #4
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Read my thread entitled-"Attention new brewers, yes your original gravity reading is wrong. Don't panic"!

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Old 05-14-2013, 12:58 PM   #5
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I started the boil with 6 gallons, and ended up with 5.25 gallons at the end. When the wort was under 80 F, i transferred to my fermentation bucket. I topped off with .25 gallons sanitized water, leaving me 5.5 gallons in my bucket. I let it cool in a swamp cooler that had icy water. I took the bucket out of the swamp cooler after letting it sit for 30 minutes, and shook the **** out of it for 10 minute to aerate it. Then I read the temp and took a hydrometer reading.

The kit came with two jugs of LME (one 6 pound and one 3.3 pound) I added all the LME at the beginning of the boil (all of it).

I've learned through all this that by adding .5 gallons to a 5 gallon recipe I'll decrease the expected OG by 10%.


Thanks for the responses!

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Old 05-14-2013, 01:06 PM   #6
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It's really easy to know your OG when you use extract. There is a set amount of sugars in there, and they don't go away. Sort of like if you use a cup of sugar to a gallon of water, and then add more water- the amount of sugar can't change, just the amount of liquid.

In a 5 gallon batch, you'd get 1.067 with 9.3 pounds of LME (give or take) and maybe a couple of points from the grain- so 1.070 would be about right.

By making a 5.5 gallon batch instead, the SG would drop to about 1.064 from 1.070. You couldn't get 1.056 unless you added more water, or didn't use all the LME in the kit, or left some wort in the kettle.

I have marks on my fermenter at each gallon marking the amount. The original ones on the bucket weren't correct, and that made me have some "false" OG readings at first.

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Old 05-14-2013, 01:09 PM   #7
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By my math a 9.3 LME at 37pppg should get you an og of 1.062 in 5.5 gallons of water (9.3*37/5.5) That doesn't include the 1.5lb of malt which at 20 pppg after mashing should have added 30 total or almost 6 points - for 1.067. Which is about .007 (or 10%) off from the 1.074.

It is safe to add honey if you'd like, it typically adds between 35 to 37 pppg. One lb should bring you up in OG about 7 points.

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Old 05-15-2013, 11:32 AM   #8
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Thanks guys!

I was really worried that the age of the extract was affecting the reading... but now I know it shouldn't, and age would only affect the fermentability of the LME.

This is my 6th extract batch, and the previous 5 batches Ive had no issues with the OG being so off. HOWEVER, I am using a different hydrometer (I broke the old one), and this hydrometer reads water in room temperature as 1.004 so I have to subtract 0.004 from all my readings.

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Old 05-15-2013, 12:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucasrj View Post
Thanks guys!

I was really worried that the age of the extract was affecting the reading... but now I know it shouldn't, and age would only affect the fermentability of the LME.

This is my 6th extract batch, and the previous 5 batches Ive had no issues with the OG being so off. HOWEVER, I am using a different hydrometer (I broke the old one), and this hydrometer reads water in room temperature as 1.004 so I have to subtract 0.004 from all my readings.
Age can also affect flavor. The beer can taste stale if the ingredients taste stale.

As for your hydrometer, if it is 1.004 in water, and you took that .004 out of your reading, I wonder if the hydrometer is linear in error. I'd test some more water, and perhaps get some de-ionized water if possible...

Also if you have a known water value, you can combine that with known sugar weights to get a calculated knonwn gravity and make another test. I think a 1.040 reading is a 100 grams of sugar combinded in a vessel with water to the one liter mark. This is not adding 100grams to 1 L which will have a total over 1L of water. What this actually gives you (100 grams in 1 L) is 10 Balling - which if you have a triple scale hyrometer is one of the other scales.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:20 PM   #10
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I'll try that thanks!


The wort is in day 4 of fermenting. I put about two pounds of honey in the bucket last night.

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