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Old 02-18-2013, 08:06 PM   #1
reno316
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Default Missing my OG numbers

Hi, all. The n00b here, another question.

I brew using commercial kits using the sttep-in-a-bag-and-add-LME method, and for the past four batches (two Pale Ales, one Red Ale, one Porter) I seem to be missing my predicted OG numbers.

For example, the last batch (the Red Ale) from Brewer's Best kit says that the OG should be 1.048-1.052, but I came in at 1.026 or so.

I have checked my hydrometer: I poured a measure of water into the tube, let it sit at room temperature for several hours (wife.gov is adamant about keeping the house at 69 degrees, which is pretty close to the 68 degrees at which the hydrometer is calibrated) and I got a reading right at 1.000.... so I'm pretty confident the hydrometer is correct.

My method, in case that's the source:

I have a 16 quart stock pot where I'll heat 2.5 gallons of water, steep my grains (usually 150-165 degrees F), remove the grain bag and let drip, add the LME, boil and add hops to schedule, chill in a large Igloo cooler filled with ice water until temps are around 90, siphon to my carboy, add cool water to make 5 gallons (I measured 5 gallons and drew a line on the carboy so I know where to stop) and use a sanitized turkey baster to draw wort to take a gravity reading.

What am I doing wrong? Final gravity readings are usually pretty close to the predicted numbers on the kit (Red Ale predicted: 1.011-1.015, and I had 1.010), but with an OG of 1.020, I'm getting beer that's pretty weak.

Muchas gracias for any input or help all y'all can offer.

JRB

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Old 02-18-2013, 08:21 PM   #2
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Have you tried taking a gravity before adding your top off water?

Do you thoroughly mix the wort with the top off water? I imagine that when taking a sample of an unmixed wort you could potentially be pulling mostly water which would cause low gravity readings.

I don't see how you could really be getting these low readings from kit beers as there is little to no room for error in the gravity department. The sugar is there.

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Old 02-18-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrshotshot View Post
Have you tried taking a gravity before adding your top off water?

Do you thoroughly mix the wort with the top off water? I imagine that when taking a sample of an unmixed wort you could potentially be pulling mostly water which would cause low gravity readings.

I don't see how you could really be getting these low readings from kit beers as there is little to no room for error in the gravity department. The sugar is there.
I have not taken a reading before adding water, no.

I do give the carboy a good whirl to mix up the wort and water before taking a reading. And I have a hose that connects to my faucet that I use to fill the carboy... I'd think that would mix it sufficiently, but perhaps not.

Maybe I should use a spoon to mix it up instead? Maybe let it set for an hour or two before a reading?
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:32 PM   #4
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How much LME was called for in these recipes?

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Old 02-18-2013, 08:33 PM   #5
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It is nearly impossible to be off on your OG with extract kits as long as you put all of the ingredients in.....most likely cause is error in measurement. Most likely cause is that you are not mixing it up thoroughly when you top it off so that the lighter gravity liquid is on top the kettle where you are drawing your sample from. Make sure you stir with big spoon and from down under before taking sample.

This has happened to us all....happened to me on my first all grain batch.....panicked....until I figured out what was "wrong"

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Old 02-18-2013, 08:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reno316 View Post

I have not taken a reading before adding water, no.

I do give the carboy a good whirl to mix up the wort and water before taking a reading. And I have a hose that connects to my faucet that I use to fill the carboy... I'd think that would mix it sufficiently, but perhaps not.

Maybe I should use a spoon to mix it up instead? Maybe let it set for an hour or two before a reading?
It's just weird because with DME and LME there's no starch to sugar conversion so the sugar is there. Does the kit say how many lbs of LME there is?
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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I brew mostly extract and partial mash kits. I no longer take an OG because the kits are more or less no fail. I see two areas where your OG may not be the same as the kit was designed for. Your OG is low because the wort is not 100% mixed into solution in the fermentor and your hydrometer sample came from an area which was mostly top off water. Another possibility is when you siphoned from the BK you left the heavy hop and break layer and some wort in the kettle. The wort loss could account for a few missing OG points. The wort loss + the hydrometer sample from less than fully mixed solution could equal the total of the lower than expected OG.

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Old 02-18-2013, 08:41 PM   #8
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We get this question 10 times a day...

Please read my thread entitled-"Attention new brewers, yes your original gravity reading is wrong. Don't panic"

It will tell you what's more than likely going on.

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Old 02-19-2013, 11:04 AM   #9
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Thanks, all, for the replies. I'll make sure to mix well before sampling, and I'll also to remember to RDWHAHB.

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Old 02-19-2013, 11:27 AM   #10
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It wouldn't make very much difference in your measurement but are you sure your hydrometer is calibrated at 68 degrees? Much more common is calibration at 60.

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