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Old 03-10-2013, 09:09 PM   #1
proxl
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Default Original gravity low

Hi all --

For my second-ever brew, I decided to try to make "Elementary Penguin Maibock" recipe from "Joy of Homebrewing."

The recipe says it should have an OG upward of 1.7. However, when I made mine (and I followed the recipe pretty closely), MY OG was only 1.4!!

The only things I did differently from the recipe were to sub a combo of MtHood and Cascade hops for Strisselspalt in the flavor stage (my brew store was out), and I did a 10-minute pre-boil of the sweet wort, skimming out the foam and protein balls (as recommended by the brew-gurus at the brew store).

I am not sure whether RDWHAHB applies here...

I pitched and the little buggers are now happily chowing down (24 hrs later) so I got that going for me, but still. What did I do wrong, and what will it do to my result (lower the alcohol content, I'm sure)?

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Old 03-10-2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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2 things could explain this.

1. You measured your gravity of your wort at a high temperature which gives you a low gravity reading.

2. Your water you added to get 5 gallons in your fermentation vessel didn't mix fully and your gravity sample was watered down.

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Old 03-11-2013, 03:17 AM   #3
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You'll be fine. With extract, sugars can't dissapear.

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
You'll be fine. With extract, sugars can't dissapear.
+1....Extract is grain that has already been mashed, then reduced down to the syrupy extract, so it already has a set gravity.

If you put all of the extract in the boil and topped off to the receipe's correct total volume (usually 5.0 gallons) without spilling any wort during the process, your gravity is correct.

It is very common for newbies to get inaccurate gravity readings when they don't completely mix up their top off water after cooldown. Remember that gravity is a measurement of DENSITY compared to water. A 1.07 reading simply means that the solution is 7% more dense than water, and in the case of wort we know that the extra 7% is practically all sugars. Obviously, if you don't 100% mix the top off water with the wort, then you'll have some parts that are more water than wort and vice-versa, leading to inaccurate readings.

So, just remember next time, when you add top off water, to stir/whip/shake the crap out of the solution before you take your OG reading. Not only will this ensure a consistant mix, but it will also oxygenate the wort, which is essential for yeast health.

Good luck!
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
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Read my thread entitled-"Attention new brewers, yes your original gravity reading is wrong. Don't panic"?

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:21 PM   #6
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I was looking for this thread Revvy. See the other thread about ABV v. Attenuation.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proxl View Post
I am not sure whether RDWHAHB applies here...
RDWHAHB ALWAYS applies when you're talking about something that's already been done. Can't undo it, so might as well relax.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:33 AM   #8
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All -- this is all great and useful stuff, thanks! But now --- I have a NEW disaster. When I first pitched, I kept the primary in the house at ~68 degrees as advised by my friendly brew shop, and as I mentioned above, 24 hours later, I got good bubbles going on.

so then, I moved the fermenter out to the garage for a more lager-y 52 degrees, and my fermentation has stopped. I took another reading, and it was 1.043 at 52 degrees (corrects to 1.042, according to the little paper) which is actually higher than when I started, meaning I probably was better off when I started than I first read. At this point, because I haven't been able to get to the brew supply store, it's been stopped for about 48 hours.

BUT -- I still don't know what I should do now -- Warm it up til it starts again? Repitch? Shake it up? Some combination of all three?

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