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Old 05-25-2007, 12:06 AM   #1
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Default Not too confident about 2nd brew

I brewed my batch last night. I brewed Northern Brewer's double IPA, mini mash. The two separate sets of directions made it a bit confusing. I had a few things happen to make me worry.
First off, i didn't really like the fact that the directions said to make a "hop tea". To boil the hops separate from the wort, then add them later. I started with the recommended amount of water for the hop tea (2-3 quarts) By the end of the 60 minute boil, it practically turned into a paste! Maybe i should have boiled it very gently...? It was somewhat of a rigorous boil. I realize half way through that there wasn't going to be enough water, but didn't want to add anymore during the boil. The wort finished about 15 minutes sooner than the hop tea (poor planning). I think adding the hops right to the wort seems way easier. Is that a common practice (boiling hops separate)? I haven't really heard of it before.
Anyhow, i added the hop tea, cooled the wort, strained the wort, pitched the yeast (probably the most sucessful part of the whole brew!), and off she goes. One of the main questions i have about the whole batch is that my O.G. reading was about 1.065. The recipe calls for 1.090. way off!! What causes a lowered O.G.? Can a hydrometer be off? My last batch was much lower than the recipe called for also. Of course then the final would be off (lower) also. Not the case from the last batch. I'll wait to see what happens from this batch. My first brew was a Russian Imperial Stout. I think it came out spectacular. I said to myself last night "If this one comes out good it will be a miracle!" The good thing is that she's bubbling away behind me at 74 degrees! Might have to move it too a cooler location during the day tomarrow. This receipe calls for months 3 completion time. Looks like a long time in the secondary! Sorry for the lengthy thread,

Cheers!

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Old 05-25-2007, 12:47 AM   #2
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Not sure about the hop tea, although I've heard mention of it here before. Possible low OG readings could be that the wort from your brew kettle and your top off water weren't completely mixed. OGs also have to be adjusted for temperature. I wouldn't worry too much as long as you adequately sanitized. You more than likely will have a good brew. As far as for a long post, more detail=better answer. Such as extract or AG recipe, yeast variety, grains used, ingredient amounts, etc. I'd also like to know more about "hop tea" . Good luck with your 3 mo wait time, I've yet to age anything that long. RR

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Old 05-25-2007, 03:36 AM   #3
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There are two reasons I can imagine why a hop tea might make sense for a partial mash. First, it allows you to get the hop acids out while you're mashing (but that mashed extract need a good boil anyway so I'm not sure about this). Second, you get a lot better utilization in low gravity liquid. I'm not really fond of the idea. At most, I'd want to add my bittering hops to the wort collected from the mash and boil that. I would do a late addition on the extract though. Best of both worlds then.

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Old 05-25-2007, 11:21 AM   #4
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Yeah, i think if i were to use that kit again, i would definitely do things alittle different. I don't expect to get as much hop flavor as i would like. As for the topping off water, it was definitely mixed well. I dumped the wort back and forth from the fermenter to another bucket i have several times to aerate it. I just don't understand why i keep ending up with O.G.'s that are much lower than the recipe calls for. Oh well... not really my concern at this point in time. This is only my second brew. So, as long as it turns out tasty, that's all that matters to me! thanks

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Old 05-25-2007, 01:29 PM   #5
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Your original gravity is based on the sugars in solution and the volume of the wort. If you have less sugars or more volume then the gravity will be low. Is it possible you made a 6gal batch instead of a 5gal? Did you leave alot of the extract in the can? Did you leave some of the wort in the brew pot? Did you adjust for temp?

As for a hop tea. A high gravity partial boil is going to extract much less bitterness from the hops than if you do a full boil. A hop tea should result in better extraction. An alternative method would be to do a full boil and/or late extract addition. IPAs require alot of hops, double IPAs have a high gravity. Combining that with a partial boil results in a wort that is very high gravity and very low hop utilization.
Craig

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Old 05-25-2007, 09:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBBaron
Your original gravity is based on the sugars in solution and the volume of the wort. If you have less sugars or more volume then the gravity will be low. Is it possible you made a 6gal batch instead of a 5gal? Did you leave alot of the extract in the can? Did you leave some of the wort in the brew pot? Did you adjust for temp?

As for a hop tea. A high gravity partial boil is going to extract much less bitterness from the hops than if you do a full boil. A hop tea should result in better extraction. An alternative method would be to do a full boil and/or late extract addition. IPAs require alot of hops, double IPAs have a high gravity. Combining that with a partial boil results in a wort that is very high gravity and very low hop utilization.
Craig
Well, i boiled 1.5 gallons to start. Steeped 1lb of specialty grains. Added 12lbs of extract. Got 99% of the extract out of the containers. Bolied the hop tea separate for 60 minutes. At that point the hop tea boiled off almost all of the water. started cooling the wort, added the hop tea, and finishing hops. Cooled the wort to 70 degrees. Added the wort to 3 gallons of fresh water, and topped it off to make 5 gallons. poured the wort back and forth from the fermenter to a spare bucket about 5 times. Took my reading then, and came up around 1.065. The recipe calls for 1.090. My first batch was an imperial stout which called for 1.070-1.080 and i ended up at 1.065. Seems like thats the magic number for me, two batches in a row! What's a partial boil? What do you mean by very low hop utilization?
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:27 PM   #7
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Have you checked the calibration of your hydrometer? Check with water and see if it reads 1.000. It's not uncommon for them to be off - especially if they are handled roughly...

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Old 05-25-2007, 10:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got Trub?
Have you checked the calibration of your hydrometer? Check with water and see if it reads 1.000. It's not uncommon for them to be off - especially if they are handled roughly...
I just went and checked it with water. Just about right on. It's a hair lower than 1.000. So, that means my hydrometer readings are acurate. I don't know what to think. What other things can cause a lower O.G.? Not that 1.065 is all that low, but for a double IPA it sure is! I'll probably end up around 5.5 to 6.0% ABV, which is fine by me if the taste is good. I would like to figure out what the heck i am doing wrong though. I would like my recipes to come out acurately in future batches. Any suggestions? I believe my next batch is going to be a light flavored beer of some type for summer. Anybody have and good recipes that are very flavorfull, and fruity?

Mike
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Old 05-26-2007, 04:55 AM   #9
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Youre freakin' out! Your brew will be fine man. These all look like things you are worrying about needlessly.

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Old 05-26-2007, 06:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoochhandytardman
Youre freakin' out! Your brew will be fine man. These all look like things you are worrying about needlessly.
I am not really worried about the outcome. I am moreso just curious as to why i keep ending up with lower than expected original gravities. Also, i do have "how to brew" by John Plamer. I have read it completely. thanks
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