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Old 12-04-2006, 03:59 PM   #1
pnutbutrsangwich
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Default Low Starting Gravity

I just did my first brew this weekend (a Fat Tire clone). Everything went beautifully until the end when I took my specific gravity and I got a corrected reading of 1.041. The kit said that I should get a reading of 1.050. Is this too far off from the suggested reading? Fermentation took a little while to start but its going gangbusters right now at about 20 bubbles a minute (went into primary at about 7:30PM on Saturday). TIA for any help.

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Old 12-04-2006, 04:25 PM   #2
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Post your recipe and techniques and we'll have a better shot at pinning it down. Low OG can usually be attributed to a handful of things:

1) Poor efficiency of an all-grain mash or partial mash
2) Added top off water to make the volume greater than what the recipe was intended for (for example: ended up with 5.5 gallons with fermentables intended for 5.0 gallons)
3) Did not adjust for temperature of sample
4) Inadequate mixing of wort in fermentor and lower density wort was sampled (with higher density wort toward bottom)

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Old 12-04-2006, 04:37 PM   #3
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I did the Austin Homebrew Shiop's recipe for the Fat Tire clone. I tried the mini-mash option that they offer which gives you about half of your grain bill in mashed grain and the other half in extract. There were I think 2lbs of Pale LME and 3 lbs of Extra Pale LME to go along with the mashed grains (I have the actual bill at home, but I can't recall right now). I steeped for 45 minutes at 155 degrees F and then added the LME. It took a long time to bring it back up to boiling once the LME was added, but then I boiled for an hour adding 3/4 oz of Northern Brewer hops at the beginning , 1/2 oz of Hersbrucker at 45 minutes and 1/4 oz of Willamete at 55 minutes. I added the mixture, which started out at 2.5 gallons, to 3.25 gallons of water. The recipe said I should end up with 5.25 gallons beer in the end. I didn't take the gravity with the yeast added so maybe that has something to do with it? I'll have the other details later on.

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Old 12-04-2006, 04:43 PM   #4
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Steeping is different to mashing. Steeping adds very little to the Gravity of the beer, just complexity and flavour. Mashing extracts the wort to increase the gravity.


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Old 12-04-2006, 06:21 PM   #5
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I've done that particular Fat Tire Clone twice, and my o.g. was 1.050 both times (but I did NOT correct for temperature, and the temp might have been 70 or 75 degrees when I took the s.g.) and both times they finished at 1.010.

I wonder if you just didn't mix it up thoroughly- it sounds like you followed the directions perfectly. I don't think a difference of .009 is too bad for your first p.m. You're a little low, but so what? You'll have an ABV of 4.061 % instead of 5.24 % (if you finish at 1.010 like I did). Lower alcohol to be sure, but certainly acceptable. And besides, it all about the TASTE anyway. I'm sure it'll taste good.

When you get home later, post exactly what you did (ingredients, temp, time), etc, and we'll be able to help you figure out exactly why you're a little low.

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Old 12-04-2006, 07:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenae
You're a little low, but so what? You'll have an ABV of 4.061 % instead of 5.24 % (if you finish at 1.010 like I did). Lower alcohol to be sure, but certainly acceptable. And besides, it all about the TASTE anyway. I'm sure it'll taste good.
Is suspect his beer will be just fine. But just to clarify, the reason hitting something close to the target OG is important is taste, much moreso than ABV, which doesn't really seem like something to worry much about.

The ratio of gravity to IBUs, though, is a very important measure of the balance of a beers flavor: i.e. is it bitter, malty, balanced, etc. So recipes are formulated to acieve a certain bitterness that balances the OG. Missing the OG by alot can alter the flavor balance of the beer.
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:22 PM   #7
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I just realized that I took the reading completely wrong. My OG was actually about 1.370 since I took the reading of just the concentrated wort! I suppose it would have helped to take the reading once the fresh water was added to the partial boil

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