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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > OG much lower then expected
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default OG much lower then expected

I bought a red ale kit from my LHBS, which was a partial mash. I steeped about 3-4 l s of grains for about 45 min at 155, then brought to a boil and added my 6lbs of extract. The estimated OG was 1.060-1.064, but mine read 1.050 at 70 degrees. What's to become of this beer? A very low ABV?

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:10 PM   #2
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Was this a partial boil where you had to top off with water in the primary? It's likely just a false low value. It's really hard to get a true OG when it's not a full boil regardless of how much you stirred. If you followed the recipe, now worries.

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:12 PM   #3
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If you post the recipe it'll be easier to diagnose what happened.

Also:
Did you do a partial boil with top off water?
What was the final volume of wort in the fermenter?


Assuming you did actually miss your OG by that much then yeah the beer will be lower ABV than before. I'm not gonna say very low. It'll still probably be between 4.5% and 5% which is right in the middle of the style of Irish Red.

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:12 PM   #4
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With partial mash,you get base grains as well as crystal,carapils,& the like. They must be mashed in no more than 1-1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain for 1 hour between 150-160F. How much water did you mash in?
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:15 PM   #5
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Your steep sounds a little too short, and your grains might not have been crushed (or crushed properly). The next time you get some grains from your LHBS, ask them to do a double grind on them.

I steep specialty grains for 70 minutes @ 155f in three gallons of water before the boil. Be sure to do plenty of swishing, swirling and dunking to get plenty of water contact with the grains and extract all of the sugars you can. Constantly monitor the temperature and do your best to keep the wort at 155f the whole 70 minutes.

I bet if you take those steps, you'll see a dramatic increase in efficiency.

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:17 PM   #6
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I agree with SledgeH. Even stirring the hades out a cooled wort with added water will liklely give you a false low. If you were to wait 8 hours or so, I bet your OG will be right in the neighborhood your recipe lays out.

I worried all the time about this when I partial mashed. My OG came in low all the time. When I finally went full boil, the were gone.

If you used 6 lbs of DME in a 5 gallon wort. Your OG would be 1.052ish. Don't worry you did what you needed to and you will still have beer.

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:24 PM   #7
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First of all,I found out the hard way that those muslin grain bags aren't that great for biab. You can only poke at the bag rather than being able to stir it. So I'm gunna get a big paint strainer bag(s) for the next partial mash I do. That way,I can stir it to avoid the dough like lumps I got last time that lowered my OG a lil bit. Goota keep those grains evely wetted to get good efficiency.
Then it's a matter of the right amount of water to grain & maintaining a good mash temp for the style being brewed.
After the wort chill,I strain the wort & top off water into the fermenter. I pour through the strainer in a circular motion. It comes out the bottom of the large fine mesh strainer like rain,giving better aeration. Then I use my plastic paddle to stir roughly for 5 minutes straight. This gives me accurate OG readings.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:36 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. Ok, so I went about this brew like I have with my other full extract brews, with the exception of the 45 min steep at 155. I did a full boil, actually steeped the grains in about 6 1/2 gallons of water. I read in a few places that its best to do full boils with more water to compensate for loss during the boil?

But, what I think I am understanding from you guys is that I should have used much less water while steeping? Also, I had the grains in a muslin sack, and did not stir them during the steep. At the end, when I removed them, I dunked them up and down a good 20 times to extract out as much as possible. Dang, I hope I did t blow this one. I was excited with this one since I had a few other brews under my belt.

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
With partial mash,you get base grains as well as crystal,carapils,& the like. They must be mashed in no more than 1-1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain for 1 hour between 150-160F. How much water did you mash in?
No more than 1-1.5 qt/lb? I think the BIAB community will take issue with that. They mash with the full water volume regularly. 1-1.5 qt/lb is the standard range but thinner mashes certainly work fine.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arborman View Post
Thanks for the replies. Ok, so I went about this brew like I have with my other full extract brews, with the exception of the 45 min steep at 155. I did a full boil, actually steeped the grains in about 6 1/2 gallons of water. I read in a few places that its best to do full boils with more water to compensate for loss during the boil?

But, what I think I am understanding from you guys is that I should have used much less water while steeping? Also, I had the grains in a muslin sack, and did not stir them during the steep. At the end, when I removed them, I dunked them up and down a good 20 times to extract out as much as possible. Dang, I hope I did t blow this one. I was excited with this one since I had a few other brews under my belt.
Usually you'd mash with less water yes. And then add more water after the mash to get up to your full volume and start boiling.

You're actually mashing at this point not just steeping anymore. There would have been some base grain in your grain bill and that grain has starch that needs to be converted to sugar. Hence the mash. In normal steeping scenarios the grain you're steeping has already had its starch converted to sugar and so you're really just trying to rinse the sugar away and extract whatever color the grain is going to give you.

Was it DME or LME that you added?
What was the final volume into the fermenter?
What was the grain bill of the grain that you mashed in the muslin bag?
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