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Old 09-20-2012, 02:16 AM   #1
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Default Low Original Gravity

Before I even begin, I cannot tell you what a valuable resource these forums have been.

That said, I seem to have a low gravity issue.

So, for my second batch I attempted “No Sham Shamrock Irish Red Ale” from The Complete Joy of Homebrewing...

...or, at least, as close as I could get it from Homebrew Heaven (my local supply shop went under).

Here’s what I used:

5 lbs. Bulk Amber Malt Extract Syrup
1 lb Light Crystal Malt, 20 Lov.
1/2 lb Special Roast, 50 Lov.
1 oz Northern Brewer
1 oz Tettnanger
Safbrew Ale Yeast S-33 (11.5 gr pkg)

Target OG: 1.042 - 1.046
Actual OG: 1.022

Yipes.



These are the instructions I followed:

Add cracked crystal malt and cracked toasted malted barley to 1.5 gal of cold water and let steep at 150-160 deg F for 30 minutes; remove grains with a strainer and add LME and bitter hops and boil for 60 min; the aroma hops should be added during the final 1 minute of boiling. Cool and transfer to fermenter (which already had 2 gallons cold water waiting), adding enough water to make 5 gallons total. Pitch yeast when below 80 deg F (mine went in @ 78).

I was straining again as it went into the carboy and the mesh was very, very fine so it took an incredibly long time for it to drop in.



I realized I forgot to stir/mix after the top off went in, so I ended up doing that a day later. I checked the gravity then and it was still reading 1.022.

The sample here tasted a bit watery.

Since then there was a yeast floater (phantom mold) scare (threads here quickly calmed me).

Five days later (today) there is still no airlock activity, but the gravity dropped to 1.016 and the sample tasted pretty decent (less watery).



What in the world is going on? Where did I go wrong? Or, am I worried over little to nothing?

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:22 AM   #2
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i am new but all of the 5 gallon batches i have made so far, 3 of them, have used either 6.6 lbs LME or 6 lbs DME,

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:33 AM   #3
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It is very difficult to get extract wort and top off water to mix well so in all likelihood you got a sample that was heavy on the water side of the mix.

If you followed the recipe and ended up with the proper amount of wort the OG was probably OK.

Since it is already tasting better I would say that everything is good.

Are you sure that is 5 gallons? It looks less to me, but that would give a higher OG than the recipe called for.

Leave the beer alone for a total of 3-4 weeks then take gravity readings, if you are at final gravity bottle them, age for 3 weeks then try one. If it is not fully carbed wait a little longer.

Again, I see no problems here except maybe the volume of the beer.

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:34 AM   #4
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Could of been didn't allow enough time for things to mix fully and wound up with more water than wort in your sample maybe?
Alot of beers taste watery without carbonation but 1.022 is pretty low the 5lbs LME alone shouldve given you about 1.033

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10
It is very difficult to get extract wort and top off water to mix well so in all likelihood you got a sample that was heavy on the water side of the mix.

If you followed the recipe and ended up with the proper amount of wort the OG was probably OK.

Since it is already tasting better I would say that everything is good.

Are you sure that is 5 gallons? It looks less to me, but that would give a higher OG than the recipe called for.

Leave the beer alone for a total of 3-4 weeks then take gravity readings, if you are at final gravity bottle them, age for 3 weeks then try one. If it is not fully carbed wait a little longer.

Again, I see no problems here except maybe the volume of the beer.
Beat me to it lol. I guess I type too slow.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:48 AM   #6
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Thanks for the quick responses.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10 View Post
It is very difficult to get extract wort and top off water to mix well so in all likelihood you got a sample that was heavy on the water side of the mix.
Even after mixing/shaking and 5 days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10 View Post
Are you sure that is 5 gallons? It looks less to me, but that would give a higher OG than the recipe called for.
Yeah, it's five. I got the carboy from a friend and it's monstrous. I stopped marking it off after 6 gallons, which fit comfortably.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:52 AM   #7
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If the SG is lower now, it's because the beer has fermented!

If the OG was low, it was due to inadequate mixing, but when it's done the SG is pretty dependable as the fermentation process mixes up the beer just fine!

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Blue View Post
Thanks for the quick responses.





Even after mixing/shaking and 5 days?



Yeah, it's five. I got the carboy from a friend and it's monstrous. I stopped marking it off after 6 gallons, which fit comfortably.
Well after mixing and shaking for 5 days it appears that you measured 1.022. So at day one your OG was likely much higher. Maybe 1.042 -1.046.

The picture doesn't really show scale. That must be a huge carboy. Most of the ones pictured are 6.0 or 6.5 gallons. Which would have 5 gallons of wort near the shoulder.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:55 AM   #9
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So, if the expected FG is 1.010-1.014... wait until it plateaus after getting there and hope for the best?

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:56 AM   #10
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5lb syrup x 36ppg=180
1lb light crystal x 30ppg=30 (if mashed)
.5 special (50) x 29ppg=14.5 (if mashed)
total=224.5/5= 44.9 max OG
That is assuming 85% efficiency on the mash and it sounds like you steeped so go ahead and take 10ppg per lb off both those --> ~210 ttl/5= 42 max og
42 is your real max OG and this is assuming perfect brewhouse efficiency. Let just say your BFE is 80%, what i got on my 2nd brew, then you predicted OG moves to 33.6. No doubt you are still below this by a good margin and that can probably be attributed to some of the suggestions from the others on here... hard to mix in a carboy for sure! I did all this explanation not to just ramble but to show you some of the thought process in getting your recipe together... if you really wanted the 42 OG then you would definitely need more sugars (from malt or extract) going into the boil.

Ive had low OG multiple times, in the 70-80% range, so dont worry too much. I would try as hard as possible to get an accurate OG measurement before the yeast go to work, they may have already, just so you can calculate you brewhouse efficiency.

GOOD LUCK and im sure it will turn out fine... they always turn into beer that you can drink and it will probably be some good stuff!

Happy Brewing!

*Note obviously i read over where this beer has already sat for a few days... forget the rechecking the grav part!

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