Originally Posted by apalke
Well, it sucks that you didn't get the gravity you expected, but 1.050 should still produce a good beer. If you're really concerned about the gravity you could add a bit more of the honey, but then you'd dry the beer out more. Depends on how you want the beer to turn out. It sounds like it will be fine as is.
You should try to diagnose your efficiency problem... I used to have problems here. For me getting my own grain mill and getting a perfect crush gave me the biggest gain. If you're doing partial mash and adding malt extract I would have thought that you'd get pretty close to your calculated gravity... which means if you're way off something might be out of whack with your mash and sparging technique.
Yeah, I'm bummed but live and learn. My process...
On my sparging technique, I slowly heated the mash to 170F after steeping for 60 minutes around 154F. Once to 170F, I moved the wort to the boiler then sparged 5 quarts of 170F water through the grains 16 oz at a time until empty then squeezed the mash to get anything left behind...which was very hot! lol... I then added enough water to get a little over 6 gallons in the boil kettle. Heated water, syrup, hops (intervals varied) and let it stay a little over 60 minutes. Cooled it down with a wort chiller to 100F. I didn't time it but it seemed like that didn't longer than 15-20 minutes.
Honestly, I'm starting to wonder if there is something wrong with my hydrometer. I've used it once before on another batch is it was a bit lower too. 5-10 gravity points lower than the predicted OG on the partial grain kit if I remember correctly... For my next beer, I might pickup another meter so I can compare readings.
Have you guys ever had a junk hydrometer?
Chances are, nothing is wrong with my hydrometer and there is something wrong with the process I conducted. I did hear that a lot of folks like to crush their grain twice for better efficiency. Maybe I'll have that done next time and increase the mash time along with keeping the boil temp a little higher. I had a very small boil over so that freaked me out on keeping the temp too high since that happened VERY quickly.