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Old 09-14-2008, 12:17 AM   #1
jcole
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Default OG off on custom recipe...what to do?

I just got through brewing the wort for the following experimental recipe: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/839281-post8.html

I checked the OG on the wort. Its about 1.030 instead of the expected 1.042. Not sure what went wrong.

I'm ready to pitch the yeast. Is there anything that can be done at this point, or should I just go with it and see how the final product comes out?

Thanks,
John

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Old 09-14-2008, 04:17 AM   #2
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I gotta say I am kinda stumped. If you got 20 percent efficiency on the mashing of the grains that would account for it. That seems unlikely unless you only steeped. By any chance did you forget to add the DME or sugar? What temp was your hydro sample at when you took the reading. Are you sure your thermometer and hydrometer are properly calibrated. Also, I have found on only a few occasions if I get too much break material in my hydro sample it has dramatically effected my reading. Just spitballing trying to figure out what this could be. You could boil up another lb of DME I suppose and add it. You could just pitch. You will still have beer when all is said and done.

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Old 09-14-2008, 04:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by devaspawn View Post
I gotta say I am kinda stumped. If you got 20 percent efficiency on the mashing of the grains that would account for it. That seems unlikely unless you only steeped. By any chance did you forget to add the DME or sugar? What temp was your hydro sample at when you took the reading. Are you sure your thermometer and hydrometer are properly calibrated. Also, I have found on only a few occasions if I get too much break material in my hydro sample it has dramatically effected my reading. Just spitballing trying to figure out what this could be. You could boil up another lb of DME I suppose and add it. You could just pitch. You will still have beer when all is said and done.

Thanks devaspawn. The sugar definitely went in there. I didn't take the temp of the wort at the time of the hydro sample, but it should have cooled to around 80-85 degrees at that time.

I'm not sure my thermometer and hydrometer are properly calibrated. I tried calibrating my thermometer last weekend, but I'm not sure it stuck. I think its time for another one.

I didn't realize that one could calibrate a hydrometer. How does that work? I wouldn't be surprised if it was off though, my readings on my first couple of batches all seem to be a bit lower than expected.

I went ahead and pitched the yeast. I didn't want to complicate things any more... and figured it would be a good learning case that would help me get closer to my target next time.

...and like you say, the beer will probably be very drinkable.
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Old 09-14-2008, 04:39 AM   #4
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Actually very simple to calibrate a hydrometer assuming you have a properly calibrated thermometer. Chill some water to whatever temp your hydrometer is SUPPOSED to be calibrated to. It should say on the piece of paper that's actually in the hydrometer near the bottom or in the instructions that came with it. Stick your hydro in the water. If the hydrometer is properly calibrated it should read 1.000. If for instance it's at .998 you will know in the future that you will need to ADD 2 to any other temp adjustments you make when taking a hydro reading of your wort. If, for instance, it reads 1.002 then you will know to SUBTRACT .002 in all future readings of wort. When taking a reading don't forget to take surface tension into account. I always find that it adds about a point to my reading.

I am sure it will be great beer!

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Old 09-14-2008, 01:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devaspawn View Post
Actually very simple to calibrate a hydrometer assuming you have a properly calibrated thermometer. Chill some water to whatever temp your hydrometer is SUPPOSED to be calibrated to. It should say on the piece of paper that's actually in the hydrometer near the bottom or in the instructions that came with it. Stick your hydro in the water. If the hydrometer is properly calibrated it should read 1.000. If for instance it's at .998 you will know in the future that you will need to ADD 2 to any other temp adjustments you make when taking a hydro reading of your wort. If, for instance, it reads 1.002 then you will know to SUBTRACT .002 in all future readings of wort. When taking a reading don't forget to take surface tension into account. I always find that it adds about a point to my reading.

I am sure it will be great beer!

Remember to always calibrate a hydrometer with distilled water. Only pure water will be 1.000. Minerals and other crap in the water will throw off the reading. For the price of a jug of distilled water, its worth it to be that exact.

To calibrate your thermometer, just do half crushed ice and half water in a measuring cup at least 2.5" deep. Wait 5 minutes for the ice to chill the water to proper temperature. Place your instant read thermometer in the ice water and turn the nut on the underside of the dial until it reads 32 F or 0 C.
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:17 PM   #6
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BTW - Here is the process that I followed. Its a slight different than the one from BeerSmith, but I am more familiar with it as I have used it with my other recipes from my LHBS:

- Brought 2.5 gallons of water to 160 degrees and turned off heat.
- Soaked grains in hot water and tried to maintain 155 degrees for 45 min. (had some trouble keeping it at 155, temp seemed to range between 150 and 170. Time to get a better thermometer).
- After soaking, dunked the grain bag in and out and then ran 1.75 quarts of 170 degree water over grain bag in strainer.
- Brought wort to a boil, then removed from heat.
- Added the malt extract and brought back to a boil.
- Added bittering hops, turbinado sugar, and boiled for 60 min., following the hops addition schedule mentioned in the recipe.
- Cooled wort to approx. 80 degrees and added filtered water to bring to 5 total gallons of wort.
- Took OG reading.

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Old 09-14-2008, 03:18 PM   #7
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Thanks also for the calibration tips. I'm going to pick up some distilled water and see what I get with my hydrometer.

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