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Old 02-08-2010, 08:15 PM   #1
bhagen
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Default Gravity and Alcohol content far lower than expected. Why?!?!

I’ve brewed about 20 batches lifetime, and never experienced this problem. I have a completed batch of Ale I brewed from a Rogue Dead Guy kit. I used the kit as packaged, and followed the directions. The beer itself came out very good, it’s clear and has decent head retention. It’s lighter on the hops that I usually like, but appropriate for the style.

*BUT* The original gravity was very low when fermentation started. The target for the kit is 1.067, but I started at 1.031 I was worried at the time, but this was the second time I brewed this kit, and the first batch had the correct original gravity so I dismissed it as a miscalabrated hydrometer, or wrong temperature, or poor mixing of additional water to the boiled wort. My batch size was 5 gal as usual, so no problem there.

The final gravity went down to 1.011 A little lower than the 1.017 target. But as I mentioned, the beer has a full mouthfeel, great clarity and all around I am happy with it. I drank 3 last night, but felt no effects from alcohol, just fullness.

So, any idea what happened? Is it possible that my kit was just short of extract, or could there be some defect with the extract not having the proper sugar level? Or did I not boil long enough?

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Old 02-08-2010, 08:26 PM   #2
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From Revvy:
If you are brewing extract your original gravity reading may NOT match what your recipe says it should be. If you have the correct final volume, don't worry. It is nearly impossible short of stirring for over 5 minutes, to really integrate the heavier wort with the top of water. It WILL HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY once fermentation begins. But don't sweat that initial reading. It happens all the time.

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Old 02-08-2010, 08:33 PM   #3
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the only explanation for that type of deviation in OG would be picking up the top layer of water.

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Old 02-08-2010, 10:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpro View Post
the only explanation for that type of deviation in OG would be picking up the top layer of water.
Or, that his kit had half the extract it was supposed to, or it was a kit and kilo, and he never added the sugar.

He's pretty far off on the FG too, so something like that is possible.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhagen View Post
I’ve brewed about 20 batches lifetime, and never experienced this problem.
Tell us more about the kit and procedure.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:25 PM   #6
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I don't think there's a way that the sugar level could have been off in the extract. I just don't think that happens. 1.011 isn't that far off from 1.017, either, and it sounds like a normal fermentation to me.

I would go with the fact that your water was not mixed in as well as you had thought, and your gravity reading was off because of the top off water.

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Old 02-08-2010, 11:31 PM   #7
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You said you thought maybe your hydrometer could have been miscalibrated. Have you checked it?

As others have said, forget what your measured OG was; if you followed the recipe right, then it's going to be what it's supposed to be.

But, I'd check the hydrometer and re-take the FG if the hydrometer is off.

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Old 02-09-2010, 12:32 PM   #8
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Or your kit came short-changed with 1/2 the bags of extract it was supposed to have. Do you have a list of ingredients, and can you verify that the recipe matched the ingredients put into the boil kettle, pound for pound?

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Old 02-09-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses. No one commented on the low alcohol. Also, no one commented about boil time; this was my only deviation from my normal procedure. I boiled for 45 minutes instead of 60

I checked the Hydrometer this morning. 1.0000 on Tap water, so that isn't my problem.

The Kit doesn't list the quantity of ingredients that are supposed to be included. I had dried malt extract, Crystal grains, Belgian Candy sugar, and hops. I used Wyeast Scottich Ale Yeast. I just ran some numbers through a brewing calcluator. 3# Extract, 1# grain, 1/2# Sugar, and Ale Yeast # 1728 gives me expected numbers very close to my actual numbers.

I think I was sent half the extract that the recipe should have. Lesson learned, weigh my ingredients and run a brewing calculation independently.

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Old 02-09-2010, 01:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhagen View Post
Thanks for all the responses. No one commented on the low alcohol. Also, no one commented about boil time; this was my only deviation from my normal procedure. I boiled for 45 minutes instead of 60

I checked the Hydrometer this morning. 1.0000 on Tap water, so that isn't my problem.

The Kit doesn't list the quantity of ingredients that are supposed to be included. I had dried malt extract, Crystal grains, Belgian Candy sugar, and hops. I used Wyeast Scottich Ale Yeast. I just ran some numbers through a brewing calcluator. 3# Extract, 1# grain, 1/2# Sugar, and Ale Yeast # 1728 gives me expected numbers very close to my actual numbers.

I think I was sent half the extract that the recipe should have. Lesson learned, weigh my ingredients and run a brewing calculation independently.
Never had dead guy, but that ingredient list looks pretty similar to a light ale kit I brewed. Assuming dead guy is not a light beer, it definitely sounds low on the extract.
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