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Old 06-02-2012, 11:58 PM   #1
maulgar
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Default Trouble hitting target SG.

Hey all.

I'm a beginner so not quite sure which part I'm not quite understanding, so I'll waffle a little about the whole thing. I've had a go at the extract kits and while all went fine, it was just an hour of sterilizing to tip 2 cans into a bucket. Quite boring and at the end, not really your beer. So I'm having a go at partial extract batches to try and come up with my own recipe, a beer I can really call mine. I'm making tiny 1gal batches to experiment until I hit the recipe I like, using extract as the main malt and steeping speciality grains (don't have the equipment or space for mashing while I'm just developing the recipe).

The idea at the moment is that I'm just playing with malt ratios to get a nice base I like (adding only bittering hops at the 60min boil mark) and once I've got the malt base I want, then playing with flavouring hops for a while. I've had my nose buried in John Palmers How To Brew, found it an amazing book, and the ppg system for malt gravity seems like a brilliantly simple way of designing recipes and knowing what you're gonna get. I decided to try for a simple Brown Ale as my base that I could then tweak, and the make up of that seems to be 90% base malt, then half pound caramel malt and half pound chocolate as far as I can figure (in its most basic form, for a 5gal batch).

Malt I'm using: --------GGP
Muntons Light (LME)---36 (according to a quick google)
Caramel malt grains----18 (when steeped, according to HtB book)
Chocolate malt grains--15 (when steeped, according to HtB)

Recipe I used (for a 1gal batch):
-------------------------Gravity Points
453g (1lb) LME-----------36
50g caramel--------------2
60g chocolate------------2

The most basic recipe to use a jumping off point, targeting for 40 gravity points. I steeped the grains for 30 mins, the added half the water and half the extract (as with the 5gal batches, only 3gal is used in the wort I thought a bit more than half the water for the smaller batch too, though this might've been a mistake as a LOT boiled off, leaving not much left as I wasn't working with much to begin with. Perhaps boiling a full gallon as the wort for a small batch? advice welcome) .. I boiled the extract/water/gain juice for an hour with the bittering hops, adding the rest of the extract for 5-10 mins. Then everything was as usual, cooled the wort quick as I could, into the bucket and topped up to 1gal. I took a gravity reading at this point, before pitching the yeast and got 1.034.

I was aiming for 1.040 as a good starting grav for a Southern Brown Ale, but the ppg for the LME was 36, so surely with 1lb of extract in a 1gal batch, I should have achieved a gravity of 1.036 without even adding the steeped grains. Well, obviously not, as I didn't. But now I rambled out my entire though process of the wort creation and recipe designing, I'd be grateful if someone would let me know which but I really didn't understand.

Wow, reading back, that's far too much for "Why isn't my OG high enough?". But would appreciate any advice/help

Maulgar

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Old 06-03-2012, 12:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by maulgar View Post
Hey all.

I'm a beginner so not quite sure which part I'm not quite understanding, so I'll waffle a little about the whole thing. I've had a go at the extract kits and while all went fine, it was just an hour of sterilizing to tip 2 cans into a bucket. Quite boring and at the end, not really your beer. So I'm having a go at partial extract batches to try and come up with my own recipe, a beer I can really call mine. I'm making tiny 1gal batches to experiment until I hit the recipe I like, using extract as the main malt and steeping speciality grains (don't have the equipment or space for mashing while I'm just developing the recipe).

The idea at the moment is that I'm just playing with malt ratios to get a nice base I like (adding only bittering hops at the 60min boil mark) and once I've got the malt base I want, then playing with flavouring hops for a while. I've had my nose buried in John Palmers How To Brew, found it an amazing book, and the ppg system for malt gravity seems like a brilliantly simple way of designing recipes and knowing what you're gonna get. I decided to try for a simple Brown Ale as my base that I could then tweak, and the make up of that seems to be 90% base malt, then half pound caramel malt and half pound chocolate as far as I can figure (in its most basic form, for a 5gal batch).

Malt I'm using: --------GGP
Muntons Light (LME)---36 (according to a quick google)
Caramel malt grains----18 (when steeped, according to HtB book)
Chocolate malt grains--15 (when steeped, according to HtB)

Recipe I used (for a 1gal batch):
-------------------------Gravity Points
453g (1lb) LME-----------36
50g caramel--------------2
60g chocolate------------2

The most basic recipe to use a jumping off point, targeting for 40 gravity points. I steeped the grains for 30 mins, the added half the water and half the extract (as with the 5gal batches, only 3gal is used in the wort I thought a bit more than half the water for the smaller batch too, though this might've been a mistake as a LOT boiled off, leaving not much left as I wasn't working with much to begin with. Perhaps boiling a full gallon as the wort for a small batch? advice welcome) .. I boiled the extract/water/gain juice for an hour with the bittering hops, adding the rest of the extract for 5-10 mins. Then everything was as usual, cooled the wort quick as I could, into the bucket and topped up to 1gal. I took a gravity reading at this point, before pitching the yeast and got 1.034.

I was aiming for 1.040 as a good starting grav for a Southern Brown Ale, but the ppg for the LME was 36, so surely with 1lb of extract in a 1gal batch, I should have achieved a gravity of 1.036 without even adding the steeped grains. Well, obviously not, as I didn't. But now I rambled out my entire though process of the wort creation and recipe designing, I'd be grateful if someone would let me know which but I really didn't understand.

Wow, reading back, that's far too much for "Why isn't my OG high enough?". But would appreciate any advice/help

Maulgar
good lord I'm too tired to understand all this. I think your answer is probably up there in bold ^^^
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:04 PM   #3
maulgar
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You see that's what I don't think I'm quite getting. I worked it out to be 1.040 for a 1 gallon batch. When you make a 5gal batch you only boil 3 in the wort and then top it up in the fermenter don't you? The recipe has 40 gravity points (using the ppg) and a lot of water boiled off in the wort but I wouldn't have thought the sugar would. But obviously there's something I'm still not understanding.

How much water do I want to be boiling with the wort for a 1gal batch, and what's the relation between the calculated gravity points and what it'll actually reach in the fermenter once you're done?

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Old 06-03-2012, 06:25 PM   #4
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You either were measuring a wort that was not mixed properly with the end water or are expecting precision in a small batch without precise measurements. One gallon is too small to expect the gravity to be perfect. There has to be an acceptable amount of error for the LME when it's packaged. There has to be an acceptable amount of error in your hydrometer. +/- 0.002 is pretty damn close. Did you get it all out of the package?

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Old 06-03-2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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I thought I mixed it all pretty thoroughly, but of course I'm not a practised hand at this sort of thing. There was definitely a full lb of LME added, the tin was a lot bigger so enough not to loose any to the sides. The LME and all the grains were measured to the gram, using a small digital scale and I was slightly generous with the additions, so a little over. I thought more likely there was some part of the recipe planning I was mistaken with, like how the ppg in the wort actually relates to the achieved OG. +/- 0.002 would not be enough to bother me, but - 0.006 is a bit much when I'm trying to design a recipe.

Also, just while I'm here, is brewers LME okay to eat? Cause it's kinda hard to resist :P

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