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Old 03-30-2005, 04:19 PM   #1
Buddhabuddha
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Default LOW Original Gravities....

Ok, a newbie I am...
I have now started my second batch,, the first was an "oktoberfest ale" it was a Brewers Best kit... the OG was supposed to be 1.050 or something, and my measurement came out to be only 1.034.. ???? But regardless, the fermentation went well, and the FG was 1.010. The beer tastes great.. big hit.. hurray... SOOO any ideas why my OG was low...
The reason I am concerned is my second Batch... (it is in primary, and is a Pale Ale) ALSO had an OG of 1.034??? Firmentation is going well, but man the OG's are just makin me a little nuts!!

SO, for all the experts out there, any ideas?

Thanks!

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Old 03-30-2005, 04:28 PM   #2
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Did you take your hydrometer reading at the proper temperature or adjust the reading according to the temperature? Hydrometers are calibrated and only accurate at a certain temperature.

Did you add more water than the recipe called for?

Just a couple of initial thoughts...

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Old 03-30-2005, 04:52 PM   #3
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I had thought about that... I know the Hydrometer's are calibrated at 60 F. I think the Temp was about 75... So, you adjust by adding .002 then (or so) correct? And I filled the 5 gallon Carboy up to 3 inches from the top like the recipe says? It is all rather weird..? Wonder if I have a faulty Hyd.. ha.

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Bottles=A late "Oktoberfest"
Bottles= American Lite (gotta keep the wife happy)
Bottles= Hard Cider! (um yeah, got hammered while bottling these)
Bottles= couple of these, couple of those...

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Old 03-30-2005, 05:19 PM   #4
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Filling the carboy to within three inches of the top sounds like you added too much water to me. That would be well over 5 gallons. So it was filled up the neck? That seems like you'd definitely get bigtime blowoff.

I don't know or remember the hydrometer reading adjustment. I don't use one.

Another possibility is that your wort was stratified when you took a sample, and you pulled a more watery sample than is representative of the whole.

This is pretty much exactly why I don't think new brewers should bother with a hydrometer. With extract brewing, it's like making Kool-Aid...there's nothing you can do to increase or decrease your extraction like there is with all grain. I can see why hydrometers are useful to grain brewers to see how their mash efficiency is, but for extract, it just doesn't make sense. Enjoy your beer. Don't worry about the gravity readings. If you want it stronger, dump in more extract next time. Simple as that

In any event, I'd guess temperature adjustment was done incorrectly, the wort was overly watered down, or you pulled watery wort off the top. Or some combination.

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Old 03-30-2005, 05:32 PM   #5
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Really? (on the watered down part) I thought I had a 5 gallon carboy, are they actually bigger than 5 gallons, like 5.5 or something? (if so then I feel Dumb) The directions said fill them to 3 inches from the top, so I just assumed the Top was the "top" (opening).... hmm,, curious. (that would put the level to just at the bottom of the neck...)

As for the hydrometer, I only use it for the original and final... Just seemed strange to me that my OG came out low for my first two batches, and found it even Stranger that they were both EQUALLY low? I wonder if I am filling them tooo full?

well that would be a beginner move now wouldn't it?

thanks

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Primary= Dos Equis Style Lager
Primary= Chilean Merlot
Secondary= APE cider...(apple grape)
Bottles=A late "Oktoberfest"
Bottles= American Lite (gotta keep the wife happy)
Bottles= Hard Cider! (um yeah, got hammered while bottling these)
Bottles= couple of these, couple of those...

"Yeah, why don't I go eat some hay. I can make things out of clay, or lay by the bay, I just may. Whaddya say?."

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Old 03-30-2005, 05:56 PM   #6
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"5 gallon" carboys definitely hold more than 5 gallons. I *think* it's 5 gallons to the place where the vertical walls bend to form the neck, but I'm not positive. One of us could find out by taking a reliable measuring device and pouring 5 gallons in one. I need to do that with my demijohn, too, because on Sunday I put 15.5 gallons in a "14 gallon" demijohn

In any event, you don't want them filled higher than that bend or it will probably blow off.

Both OGs could be equally low if you watered the batches down at the same rate. Or if you took the reading at the same temperature (not 60 degrees). Someone needs to chime in here with how to adjust the reading for temp. Come on one of you hydrometer users!

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Old 03-30-2005, 06:03 PM   #7
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yeah, the blow off was extensive (i had a blow off tube in through the first few days) I have to clean and sanitize my second 5er anyways, i will just measure how much it holds... Given the consistency of how low the OG was, for both batches... the overfilling scenario seems to make the most sense....
and heck if the Hyd measurement adjustment was off then that would make sense too.

Eh, the first batch tasted great anyways... So I guess I don't have toooo much to complain about. now If i could just keep my family members out of my fridge..

Thanks for the help. This has been an interesting forum thus far..

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Primary= Dos Equis Style Lager
Primary= Chilean Merlot
Secondary= APE cider...(apple grape)
Bottles=A late "Oktoberfest"
Bottles= American Lite (gotta keep the wife happy)
Bottles= Hard Cider! (um yeah, got hammered while bottling these)
Bottles= couple of these, couple of those...

"Yeah, why don't I go eat some hay. I can make things out of clay, or lay by the bay, I just may. Whaddya say?."

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Old 03-30-2005, 06:07 PM   #8
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Hey if you do measure a carboy, post your results. I'm interested and I'm sure other lazy folks are too Cheers!

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Old 03-30-2005, 06:12 PM   #9
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Ha, i just did a quick calculation, and if 5 gallons should have been 1.050 then it would only take like .08 extra gallons of water at 1.000 to throw the OG down to 1.034.... SO, maybe there is my answer (then again I am a recruiter and math is NOT my strong suit)

Thanks for the Problem solving help!!!

Hoppy Brewing!

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Primary= Dos Equis Style Lager
Primary= Chilean Merlot
Secondary= APE cider...(apple grape)
Bottles=A late "Oktoberfest"
Bottles= American Lite (gotta keep the wife happy)
Bottles= Hard Cider! (um yeah, got hammered while bottling these)
Bottles= couple of these, couple of those...

"Yeah, why don't I go eat some hay. I can make things out of clay, or lay by the bay, I just may. Whaddya say?."

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Old 03-30-2005, 06:19 PM   #10
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If you have a hydrometer with a built in thermometer, it is pretty easy to do your adjustments, as long as you are sure that it has had time to come up to temp. with the sample. If you have a hyd. without a thermometer, it is a bit trickier to be sure you are reading the right temp, but it should be possible if you can fit both the hyd. and a thermometer in your testing jar. All hydrometers I have bought came with a chart indicating how much temprature correction is needed at various temp readings, although I don't know off hand the exact formula (I'm sure there is one, but it is probably too complicated to be worth it). Really the reading and adjusting of the Hydrometer is not the hard part, getting an accurately representative sample is much more critical, and difficult (depending on your brewing methods). Short of turning a carboy upside down and shaking it like mad, it is pretty hard to insure that there aren't layers of differing gravity wort, especially if cold water was added to bring up the volume. Liquids of different temps and different gravities naturaly stay separate untill they are stirred or can reach the same temp. at which point diffusion takes over. If the full volume of wort is boiled and cooled, you are much more sure to get an acurate reading anywhere in the carboy.

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