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Old 03-06-2011, 02:24 PM   #1
straylight77
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Default So I figured out why I'm not hitting my OG ...

This might turn into a rant so I apologize in advance.

I'm an extract brewer doing partial boils. I've been using the markings on my plastic bucket to add water to reach 5 gallons. However I've always come a little under what I expected for gravity. I've only done 3 brews so far so I just brushed it off as poor efficiency (from steeped grains) so something else related to inexperience.

I brewed last night and realized that the markings on the bucket are in IMPERIAL gallons. 5 imperial gallons = 6 US gallons (approx). After I plugged that into my calculator, all of my numbers all match up -- even for previous brews!



So now I'm thinking it's time to just go all metric. There's only one type of litre and gram. Plus, I won't have to convert from ounces to pounds (i.e. divide by 16 to get it into decimal notation) -- just move the decimal point to go from g to kg.

Goodbye gallons, ounces, lovibond, SG -- hello litres, grams, EBC, Plato!!

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Old 03-06-2011, 02:50 PM   #2
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...& the 23L mark on my Cooper's fermenter is 6.072 US gallons. I went to sciencemadesimple.com for some conversion formulas. Where did your fermenter come from that it's marked in imperial gallons?
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:16 PM   #3
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It is confusing isn't it? Took me a couple of brews to work out that you have to be veeery careful to work out where the recipe got posted from to decide which measurements the recipe used!

I've gone metric for that reason too. Pet theory is that the reason US craft brews are on the whole a bit stronger than UK cask ales is a similar mix up. What if US homebrewers and craft brewers back in the day took initial inspiration from English language UK recipes, adapted to US ingredients, working to US smaller pint sizes and bottle sizes, produced good strong beers that found appreciative audiences, set the trend we see today...?

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Old 03-06-2011, 03:25 PM   #4
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Perhaps so,but it seems they also use more grains to add complexity,color,etc. Over & above the fact that so many American craft brews are turning into hop bombs. I like a good balance for whatever the basic style is intended to be.
My pale ale,for instance used a pre-hoped Cooper's can(1.7kg),3 lbs of plain extra light Munton's DME (about 1.4kg) & a late hop addition of 15 mins. Dry hoping with another ounce of hops for 7 days.
OG was 1.044@28C. Corrected,it is 1.043. I thought well,it is supposed to be a light colored beer,but maybe closer to average gravity than I figured it might be? It started out a dark amber with blush of copper. Finishing out a light golden with blush of amber. So little time,so much to know...!
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:25 PM   #5
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Also, US or metric, those markings can be off by a s***load. Recommend taking the time to put your own markings on them.

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Old 03-06-2011, 03:42 PM   #6
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It also depends on weather the recipe your following is based on a 5 gallon or 6 gallon (23L) batch.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
Perhaps so,but it seems they also use more grains to add complexity,color,etc. ...!
That might fit the theory too. Maris Otter is sometimes seen almost as a speciality grain on here, bit more character it seems, so brewers use other darker grains in addition to easily available paler malts made to the specs of the big lager brewers to get a bit more character.

Adapting available ingredients... out of that you then have a new tradition of recipes that take more complex grain bills as read.

Of course, mere speculation and theorising
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:08 PM   #8
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Metric system for the win!!!

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:57 PM   #9
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"adapting available ingredients"is one way to look at what I've started doing. JW Dover brew supply (Black Box Brewing Co.)is just 10-15 mins up the highway from me,so I've been going there. They carry,among others,Cooper's,munton's,& Carlson. Canned pre-hoped,canned un-hoped,DME's in many color levels. Besides plain,hopped,barley,wheat,rye,etc.
So I'm like a kid in a candy store. All kinds of hops & yeast too. Not to mention all the mechanizations of our hobby. So I'm pretty free to look up ideas & make recipes for all extract to cover so many different styles,I'm gunna be busy for a while.
You could also have a look at the recipe list at byo.com. That one is interesting reading. Includes a long article from March/April 2005 about how to make extract beers well.
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
...& the 23L mark on my Cooper's fermenter is 6.072 US gallons. I went to sciencemadesimple.com for some conversion formulas. Where did your fermenter come from that it's marked in imperial gallons?
The pail came from a friend who inherited it from his dad. So I'm not sure where it came from. He also lent me a glass carboy that I took some time to mark myself. The one brew I did in that turned out closer to what I expected.

I should have known to double check for Imperial vs. US measurements though. Man, as a Canadian it's sometime confusing trying to measure stuff. As a commonwealth nation we have lots of British leftovers, a huge influence from the US, and then our "official" adoption of metric. We are, what I've heard called, "metrish".
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