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Old 11-02-2011, 12:10 AM   #1
zarathustra19
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Default Low gravity problem

I just put a batch of coconut porter into the fermenter a few minutes ago, and when I took my initial reading, the gravity showed 1.046ish (my hydrometer is not the best). Anyway, according to Beer Smith, I should be showing 1.053, I've included the recipe below. As I'm trying to get this to porter status and not brown ale, I'd like to see a higher gravity. I'm wondering if there are any adjuncts I can add after the fact to boost the gravity, like a molasses solution or something. I'd like to see the abv reach about 5 rather than 4.3, which is the projection if all goes according to plan from here on out.

Recipe:

6lb Muntons Golden Light DME
.5lb chocolate malt
.5lb caramel 60
.75 oz Brewer's gold
.75 oz Kent Golding

Did a boil of 3 gallons and topped up with 2.5 gallons (to account for boil loss).

Thanks for any help,
Zach

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Old 11-02-2011, 01:23 AM   #2
Gfei
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This is pretty common, you topped up with water and it's really difficult to get everything well mixed.

You just pulled diluted wort from the top of the fermenter. Your gravity should be fine.

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Old 11-02-2011, 01:55 AM   #3
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Did you aerate before checking the gravity? What was the wort temp? Regardless, if it is 1.046, add sugar, molasses or whatever you want into Beersmith until you reach 1.053. Assuming you don't do over 1lb (which you won't) you will be fine. Molasses sounds nice or maybe turbinado sugar, whatever, go for it!

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Old 11-02-2011, 02:00 AM   #4
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Your O.G isn't THAT far off but I know how it feels not to hit the expected O.G the recipe calls for. As a rule of thumb I always add an extra cup of DME to my boil figuring that'll compensate for the LME left stuck to the side of the containers. I constantly hit my O.G and maybe go a little over. Since I'm doing a full boil (5.75 gallons in a converted keg) I usually don't have to add any water to the primary to make 5 gallons. With that said, if I do have to add a little water, a little water goes a long way in bringing the O.G down. Try adding a gallon of water at a time so you don't under shoot you expected O.G.

Steve

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Old 11-02-2011, 02:48 AM   #5
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smontgo1 hit on what probably caused you to come up short... not emptying the LME containers. His technique is a good one. Another alternative is to add a bit of hot water to the containers, shake it up and add it to the boil. That will get the excess LME off, the water will get sanitized and you'll clean the containers. I would hit the O.G. every time.

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Old 11-02-2011, 04:55 AM   #6
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What scoundrel said. That is what I do. I've got a small hot plate that I have a pan of water on heating up and ready when it comes time to add the LME. Once it's mostly empty I had the near boiling water to the container, close the lid and shake it and pour that into the BK. I've not missed my OG by much more than a few points.

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Old 11-02-2011, 12:36 PM   #7
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I'm pretty sure he doesn't need to do anything. He used dme then topped off with water in the fermenter. It's mostly expected top get a gravity reading that's too low in that case because the wort isn't mixed completely.

It's really hard to miss your target using dme...

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Old 11-02-2011, 01:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gfei View Post
I'm pretty sure he doesn't need to do anything. He used dme then topped off with water in the fermenter. It's mostly expected top get a gravity reading that's too low in that case because the wort isn't mixed completely.

It's really hard to miss your target using dme...

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I know of two ways to miss your gravity with DME/LME. One, not fully emptying your containers, like mentioned above and two, straining the hop and break material through a mesh bag. If you don't squeeze out the excess it will throw your gravity off.

I don't think I understand what you mean by not mixed. My process for partial boil's is to:

Boil DME/LME for 60 min
add the wort to the fermenter
add water to 5 gallons
pitch yeast
mix to induce oxygen
sanitize my thief
take a reading.

I would think it would be well mixed at that point and the reading would be accurate. Am I the only one who does (did) partial boils like this? Am I missing something?

Gfei, I'm sorry if I sound like a jerk. I'm not trying to, I've just never heard that before, so I want to understand.
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #9
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It's common, how are you mixing? If your shaking the fermenter to aerate that won't mix it as well as you think.

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Old 11-02-2011, 02:01 PM   #10
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Did you use DME or LME? If you used DME I wouldn't worry about it. You just didn't mix it well enough. It is almost impossible to mix it completely if you top off with water. I would recommend doing nothing. Let it ferment and see how it turns out.

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