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Old 02-07-2013, 01:07 PM   #1
prince49
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Default Low OG with DME

3rd brew overall, but first since moving to India ..

I did my first mini mash brew with dry yeast and DME last weekend .. Here's the recipe I used - Honey Wheat Ale

I think most of the process went through fine ... soak grains for 45 mins .. then added the DME slowly to make sure it didnt clump up .. hot break .. add hops .. cool down wort (this process took 35 minutes instead of 20 cause I underestimated the amount of ice in the house) ..

I filled my fermentation bucket and topped it off with water to make 5.5 gallons .. but lo and behold .. when I took the OG .. it came out to be 1.035 instead of an expected 1.049 ..

My previous two brews had slightly lower OG but not by this much .. should I be concerned? What steps in the process should I monitor more carefully to ensure that I get a better OG?

Also, I sprinkled the dry yeast on top of my wort, instead of re-hydrating it first. I hope this doesn't make much of a difference.

Also, I wasn't able to get the fermentation temperature down to the recommended 66F until about 24 hours. How much would this affect the yeast? I used the Danstar Munich German Wheat Dry Yeast.

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:33 PM   #2
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Why did you top it off to 5.5 gallons and not just 5 gallons, that is most likely your problem. I often get skewed OG readings even when my wort is topped off at the correct 5 gallons. Did you aerate the wort by shaking the primary back and forth for a few minutes prior to pitching? Much of the reason this is done is to incorporate the top off water evenly into the wort. If the top off water is not incorporated evenly you can often end up with skewed OG readings. Your yeast should be fine, it may take a couple days to really kick into high speed, and your warm temps in the fermenter should help with this process.

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
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I agree that the extra .5 gallon of top off water would've help lower the OG a bit. But not getting wort & top off water well mixed is likely the other culprit. & your fermenter temp going down over 24 hours would be ok as long as the yeast didn't go dormant from the drop. Mine have done that before.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:42 PM   #4
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Yes. The recipe provided on your link is for a 5 gallon batch and not a 5.5 gallon batch. As an aside, I would probably bump up your soak time on your grains from 45 minutes to 70 minutes. On my setup, I seem to get better efficiency this way. Make sure you do plenty of dunking and swirling of the specialty grains, too, if you're using a muslin grain bag to steep them in.

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Old 02-07-2013, 04:23 PM   #5
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Remember that gravity isn't some mystical calculation. It's simply the DENSITY of the wort compared to water....so a 1.05 OG is a solution that's 5% denser than water.

When you were supposed to make a 5.0 gallon batch at 1.049, and you added an extra 0.5 gallons of water, you made the density of that solution closer to the density of water...down to 1.035.

Nothing crazy going on, you just diluted your wort.

Finish it out, call it a "session ale," and learn for the next batch.

Good luck!

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Old 02-07-2013, 04:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiptasia View Post
Yes. The recipe provided on your link is for a 5 gallon batch and not a 5.5 gallon batch. As an aside, I would probably bump up your soak time on your grains from 45 minutes to 70 minutes. On my setup, I seem to get better efficiency this way. Make sure you do plenty of dunking and swirling of the specialty grains, too, if you're using a muslin grain bag to steep them in.
You don't get efficiency when steeping grains, efficiency is a measurement of conversion in a mash.. For steeping grains, 15-30 mins is just fine, 45 is probably overkill, 70 is not necessary unless you're mashing.

OP, you're low OG is common with partial boil batches. It's near impossible to completely mix the concentrated wort and top up water all the way, but no worries, they'll all mix and work it out during fermentation. Also, the extra half gallon would have lowered your OG just a bit as well. Again, no worries, the finished beer will be just fine.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:38 PM   #7
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Just use the expected OG, like NordeastBrewer77 said, it is very difficult to mix it well enough when doing a partial boil.

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Old 02-07-2013, 04:40 PM   #8
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a 25% shift in OG is not caused by a 10% addition of water. I mean 10% of 50=5. So about 5 points might be from having more water.

The mixing problem of topoff water is a good guess, as is perhaps poor efficency, but with only 2lb of malt grains, I doubt that was much of a factor. Example, if the recipe has 75% efficency and a 30point per pound gallon, you have 12 points of the 49 from that. If you then only got 50% (or 2/3'rds expected) you'd have only 8 points of the 49. 12 -8=4, not 14 (49-35)

Your biggest factor was a poor mix, followed by a possible extra 10% of water, and lastly efficency.

FWIW, I tipically go to the 5.5 gallon mark on my extract brews, and they are usually only a point or 2 off from the directions, so I personally doubt this, but as a possible factor, it seems more likely that efficency issues.

Since your OG is higher than the measure 1.035 because of a bad top off. I'd think at least 1.040 (assuming my 4 and 5 points above are a good guess). It might even bee 1.049. I once had a 1.070 reading on a 1.050 beer because of a poor mix - I draw off the bottom, not the top. Top off water will mix imperfectly and the lower readings will come off top and higher off the bottom.

The wort will mix through yeast agitation so no worries.

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Old 02-07-2013, 04:41 PM   #9
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So,was it the mini mash dry extract version? If it was the base grain,etc mixture should've beeb mashed for 1 hour at about 151-155F. Then sparged into BK,etc. Not getting the mash stirred to break up dough balls & get the grains evenly wetted can account for lower efficieancy,meaning lower OG.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:45 PM   #10
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The extra .5 gallons shouldn't have dropped the og by that much, if it was 49 at 5 gallons it would have diluted it to 44 at 5.5. What temp did you soak the base malt at? You might not have gotten any conversion out of that. Or like others have said your hydro sample was taken before you mixed the water completely into the wort.

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