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Old 06-15-2009, 04:22 PM   #1
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Default Wort Mixer

Hi everyone! I started homebrewing a few months ago and am now on my fourth batch with better results each time. The one issue I have been experiencing is a low OG compared to what the recipes I have been using say they should be (sometimes .010-.020 lower). I did some research and one of the more interesting ideas is that maybe I'm not getting a good enough mix in my carboy (been using mostly extracts, adding wort to cold water in carboy). I've shaken the heck out of them and get good aeration but still think I might not be doing enough. I've been looking around for ideas to get a better mix in the carboy and have seen suggestions for paint mixers attached to a drill among others. Problem is no paint mixer I've seen will fit in to the narrow carboy opening. I have seen "wort agitators" like this one Fizz-X Agitator Rod - Fermentation Trap but have no desire to drop almost $30 + shipping on what is essentially a metal pole with collapsible plastic clips on the end. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas regarding how to build one or an otherwise less expensive alternative? I've spent a ton on this hobby lately and want to keep the wife happy by being "economical" about it for a while

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Old 06-15-2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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I am not sure how much they are but I know the paint mixers would probably work. They just hook up to a drill. Check to see if Harbor Freight has any for cheap.

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Old 06-15-2009, 05:18 PM   #3
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Just to clarify: the mixing issue regarding extract OG is about measurements only. The idea is your gravity really is on target, but because you didn't mix it thoroughly, your measurement is is off. I wouldn't buy additional equipment to resolve this "problem."

If this is a recurring problem, maybe something else is going on. Are you leaving extract in the can or stuck to the bottom or your kettle? Are you going over 5 gallons?

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Old 06-15-2009, 06:31 PM   #4
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Also, consider the possibility that you're hydrometer is off. Check calibration. Or that you are reading it wrong. Make sure you are testing a proper temp. Hydrometers normally are calibrated at 60F, and if it's higher or lower, your reading will be off. You can find tables to compensate as long as you know what temp your wort really is.

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Old 06-15-2009, 06:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McGarnigle View Post
Just to clarify: the mixing issue regarding extract OG is about measurements only. The idea is your gravity really is on target, but because you didn't mix it thoroughly, your measurement is is off. I wouldn't buy additional equipment to resolve this "problem."

If this is a recurring problem, maybe something else is going on. Are you leaving extract in the can or stuck to the bottom or your kettle? Are you going over 5 gallons?
I'm quite the miser when it comes to getting every last drop of extract out of the canisters so I'm fairly sure it's not that. I stir the thing from the bottom up almost every minute during the boil and pay special attention to the bottom to avoid scorching...In other words, nothing is left behind. I also am keeping it right at 5 gallons.

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Also, consider the possibility that you're hydrometer is off. Check calibration. Or that you are reading it wrong. Make sure you are testing a proper temp. Hydrometers normally are calibrated at 60F, and if it's higher or lower, your reading will be off. You can find tables to compensate as long as you know what temp your wort really is.
As for claibration of the hydrometer, I read a post about that and did check it in 60 degree water. It's off slightly but not enough to explain the differences in readings I am getting. I am also making sure I adjust the reading for the wort's temperature...but you never know if I'm just doing the math wrong...I was an English major after all...

I did a good amount of research to see what could be causing the OG problem and the more intriguing idea I read was not mixing the cold water and wort enough...the difference in densities don't allow them to fully mix without a good bit of work, even when shaken for a good couple of minutes...hence the desire to find some mechanical device to help me along, or at least test that theory...

All that said, my FGs have been spot on and the two batches I have done so far have both come out very nicely (a pale ale and a wiessbier)...fermentation always starts within 24 hours and lasts at least a week...maybe the mix just isn't so important since the yeast will find the fermentables if they're there...an accurate reading would be nice to get that feeling of empirical accuracy but the beer tastes good so maybe a mixer isn't all that necessary and I'm just being anal about it...
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
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maybe a mixer isn't all that necessary and I'm just being anal about it...
No, there is nothing wrong with wanting an accurate reading on temps and gravity. If you are serious about making good beer, those are essential things to know. Unfortunately, I've given all the advice I can on this one.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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Why not try an electric mixer to dissolve the booster or brewing sugar, dry malt extract, then in boiling water the canned concentrated wort. But make sure to heat up the canned wort extract, to be sure it's liquified. I used a Coopers Fermenting kit & followed the directions. My first time using this system, I dissolved the brewing sugar, then mixed the dry malt & brewing extract, & no matter how fast I stirred, it ended up as a hugh clump of gook. Second time, used a Mr Beer, followed the directions, but was able to use my wife's Kitchen Aid Mixer, due to the lower volume, it worked like a charm, the beer turned out great. I am thinking about buying a cheap Black & Decker hand electric mixer for about $10 at Kmart to use with the Coopers system. Anyone have additional suggestion?

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Old 01-25-2012, 02:37 PM   #8
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Try adding as much water to wort as possible into the boiling kettle. Mix it up in that then add any additional water to the carboy to get up to the five gallon mark.

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Old 01-25-2012, 03:53 PM   #9
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if you are brewing extract your og will be right no matter what unless you are 1, topping off with to much water or 2, adding additional fermentables that are not included in the kit personally i would spent the money on a way to control fementation temps befor a mixer

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Old 01-25-2012, 03:56 PM   #10
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oh also another thought noone has mentiond if you use a mixer in your plastic fermentation vessel you risk scrathing it and making it prone to a infection

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