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Old 12-10-2007, 09:47 PM   #1
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Default staring gravity ?

The first brew ever is in the fermenter. The beer is a liberty cream ale from midwest brewing supplies. The question is that when I took a hydrometer reading it said 1.091 I was expecting something much lower like 1.040-5 based on what I have read. I couldnt find where they listed a probable starting gravity. I added a little brown sugar (1/4 cup) and some vanilla (1oz) to try and boost the gravity slightly and add some flavor. They shouldnt have done that much though should they? If there was some sediment in the wort that I was taking the reading from would that effect the reading? There was definitely a little bit of sediment suspended in it. Thanks for the help.

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Old 12-10-2007, 09:54 PM   #3
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If you don't mix well, it's entirely possible (and probable) that the wort will stratify - the higher gravity, boiled wort on bottom, the top-off water on top.

Fact is, it's physically impossible to NOT get the right gravity with an extract batch unless you add too much/too little top-off water or forget to add some of the extract. The little bit of brown sugar will have a small (almost negligible impact - and since brown sugar is just refined sugar plus a little mollasses, I wouldn't count on it having much of a flavor impact either).

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Old 12-11-2007, 12:22 AM   #4
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It was mixed pretty darn well, I thought maybe not. You dont think the brown sugar will make a difference? You could still smell it at the end of the boil, it was the vanilla that I didnt think would have an impact cause you couldnt smell it anymore.

Heres a pic!

first-batch-primary-1.jpg  
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Old 12-11-2007, 03:12 AM   #5
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my vote is it wasn't mixed well. you got a sample of the heavy part of the carboy, not a homogenous solution.
it can be REAL hard to get it all mixed. But the fermentation will take care of mixing it up.

if you can post the exact recipe, we can give you a good estimate of the OG.

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Old 12-11-2007, 01:14 PM   #6
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6 lb. Gold liquid malt extract, 8 oz. Carapils specialty grains, 2 oz. Cascade hops, Munton's 6 gm dry yeast

Thats whats in it. Steeped the grains til a rolling boil, added the malt and brown sugar, hops at 45 min left and 10 min left, vanilla at 10 min left

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Old 12-11-2007, 01:44 PM   #7
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Your og should be around 1.047 or so. I don't know how much 1/4 of brown sugar is in pounds, definitely not much so I guessed .25 pound.

I'm thinking that your sample was the heavier wort. No big deal, really, because the yeast know where to find the sugar!

Next time, though, don't bring your grains up to a boil before removing them. Steep them at 150-160 for 20 minutes or so, remove them, and then increase the heat to boiling.

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Old 12-11-2007, 02:09 PM   #8
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They were in that heat range for close to that time I got the temp up to around 150 then went inside and did some sanitizing then came back out and cranked the heat up. I just left them in the last few minutes til it boiled I didnt think that it would really matter. Will leaving them in the extra time have an effect?

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Old 12-11-2007, 02:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clemson55
They were in that heat range for close to that time I got the temp up to around 150 then went inside and did some sanitizing then came back out and cranked the heat up. I just left them in the last few minutes til it boiled I didnt think that it would really matter. Will leaving them in the extra time have an effect?
You don't want the grains to go over 170 because that can cause some tannin extraction. Don't worry about it this time. Just for next time, make sure you pull the grain bag out before 170 degrees.
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clemson55
They were in that heat range for close to that time I got the temp up to around 150 then went inside and did some sanitizing then came back out and cranked the heat up. I just left them in the last few minutes til it boiled I didnt think that it would really matter. Will leaving them in the extra time have an effect?
If you get grains above 170F you start extracting tannins from the husks, which typically produces astringency (mouth-puckering, like over-steeped tea) and probably some off flavor.

It's not the end of the world, especially with only half a pound of grain - may not even be noticeable - but it's a good habit to avoid steeping above 170, because it'll make a lot more of a difference if you do batches with more grain in the future, especially partial mash or even all-grain.

edit: Yooper beat me to it, oh well.
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