Home Brew Forums

Home Brew Forums (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum.php)
-   Beginners Beer Brewing Forum (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/)
-   -   Attention new brewers, yes your original gravity reading is wrong. Don't panic. (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/attention-new-brewers-yes-your-original-gravity-reading-wrong-dont-panic-289735/)

Revvy 12-27-2011 08:58 PM

Attention new brewers, yes your original gravity reading is wrong. Don't panic.
 
Hi, welcome.

You probably came here today because you just got your first kit, and you did what it said it all the books and all the forums, and you tried out your hydrometer for the very first time...and the reading makes no sense.

Yes it is important to get in the habit of using one, especially if you start brewing all grain. But when you start with extract brewing, like most of us did, the first reading can be a bit on the confusing side.

You didn't do anything wrong. In fact nothing's wrong at all.

We get this question 3-4 times every day, so you're not alone. And in reality, nothing's wrong.

It's a pretty common issue for ANYONE topping off with water in the fermenter (and that includes partial mashes, extract or all grain recipes) to have an error in reading the OG...In fact, it is actually nearly impossible to mix the wort and the top off water in a way to get an accurate OG reading...

Brewers get a low reading if they get more of the top off water than the wort, conversely they get a higher number if they grabbed more of the extract than the top off water in their sample.

RM-MN has a great analogy;

Quote:

Originally Posted by RM-MN (Post 3412618)
This phenomenon is easy to see if you have a glass measure cup, some dark honey, and water. Pour in half a cup of water into the glass container, then dribble in some honey. Notice the honey sinks right to the bottom? It's more dense because of the sugar it contains. Now use a toothpick to stir the water above the honey. This will simulate using a spoon in a 5 gallon container. Did you get the honey mixed in? Not likely. If you drop in some dry yeast, it will find the honey and begin eating and the activity of the yeast will mix the honey in just fine.

When I am doing an extract with grain recipe I make sure to stir for a minimum of 5 minutes (whipping up a froth to aerate as well) before I draw a grav sample and pitch my yeast....It really is an effort to integrate the wort with the top off water...This is a fairly common new brewer issue we get on here...unless you under or over topped off or the final volume for the kit was 5 gallons and you topped off to 5.5, then the issue, sorry to say, is "operator error"

More than likely your true OG is really what it's supposed to be. And it will mix itself fine during fermentation.

And just use the number it says in the instructions as the true OG, because it will be.

So the answer is, relax and do nothing.

Like 99% of everything else in brewing. Just relax, and everything will be fine.

:mug:

Taypo 12-27-2011 09:04 PM

Nice work, Revvy. Was tempted to post one titled "Hey, new folks. Welcome to HBT. Now go check out the stickies" but didnt want to scare folks

Ibanous 12-27-2011 09:09 PM

Hey thanks for heads up Revvy, I've brewed a few batches now but my most recent was a simple Hefe and I came up way over the target OG. I was making a conscious effort to measure all my liquid amounts at various points (partly since I just picked up BrewSmith and wanted to dial in my boil off numbers). So I was having trouble figuring out the discrepancy. Anyhow this could very well explain the issue the only other explanation was the bulk LME I bought was misweighed (I didn't weigh it I just assumed the LHBS had it right) any somehow they gave me almost a pound extra LME.

One thing I did differently this time which likely added to this effect is to top off as opposed to having my water already in the bucket and adding wort to that, which I had done on my first couple of batches. So I wasn't particularly worried just confused, but I think this explains it pretty well.

So lesson for the future stir more once I add wort.

RJS 12-27-2011 09:26 PM

Hey Revvy, i get lazy and just put the hydrometer in the bucket for OG and in the keg for FG. Anyone else do that?

RJS 12-27-2011 09:27 PM

I figured less chance for infection

Revvy 12-27-2011 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RJS (Post 3604802)
Hey Revvy, i get lazy and just put the hydrometer in the bucket for OG and in the keg for FG. Anyone else do that?

We're actually talking about the first gravity reading here before pitching yeast, it's one of the panic situations that brings a ton of new brewers here every day.

As to putting the hydrometer in the fermenter, if that works for you fine. But I would think that reading the meniscus is difficult enough in the test jar, and at least we can lift it up to eye level, looking down into a bucket seems like it would be difficult. Especially with krausen sticking to it.

Also, I tend to have 4-5 different things going at one time, like right now I have a Banana wine, a sweet potato mead, and honeycrisp hard cider, a red ale and a vienna lager going, each at various stages, I would need a bunch of hydrometers if I did what you did.

But like anything if it works for you, that's fine!

Revvy 12-27-2011 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ibanous (Post 3604767)
Hey thanks for heads up Revvy, I've brewed a few batches now but my most recent was a simple Hefe and I came up way over the target OG. I was making a conscious effort to measure all my liquid amounts at various points (partly since I just picked up BrewSmith and wanted to dial in my boil off numbers). So I was having trouble figuring out the discrepancy. Anyhow this could very well explain the issue the only other explanation was the bulk LME I bought was misweighed (I didn't weigh it I just assumed the LHBS had it right) any somehow they gave me almost a pound extra LME.

One thing I did differently this time which likely added to this effect is to top off as opposed to having my water already in the bucket and adding wort to that, which I had done on my first couple of batches. So I wasn't particularly worried just confused, but I think this explains it pretty well.

So lesson for the future stir more once I add wort.

One trick I've found is to stir the wort and water AND THEN use an oxygen stone/red bottle setup and oxygenate then take a reading. I find that the bubbling of it helps mix it further, it's probably the same with using and aquarium wand or some other oxygen supply method. Just stir and then oxygenate and then take a reading.

beergolf 12-27-2011 09:55 PM

Nice pro-active approach Revvy.......


Next you should do the. "my airlock is not bubbling". post

djevans3 12-27-2011 10:02 PM

Quick question, what is the potential outcome of me failing to top off to 5 gal and only had 4.5 gal in a 5 gal batch? My OG was low, due to poor mixing most likely, but when I took my reading after 7 days it was at like 1.020. The starting gravity was supposed to be 1.058 but i came up with 1.042.

passedpawn 12-27-2011 10:18 PM

Nice job Revvy. I expect to see a link to this... oh, 3 or 4 times a day :D I remember being fooled in the early days by unmixed runnings in my boil pot. I think everyone gets tricked by this.


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:33 PM.

Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.