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Old 09-25-2011, 07:24 PM   #1
RedGuitar
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Default Trouble Reading OG

Last night I brewed a red ale that used 4 pounds Golden Promise, 4.125 pounds light DME, and about a pound of specialty grains. Should have given me an OG of 1.053. When I took my gravity reading, it was 1.083. Now, that would be pretty awesome if I have discovered how to extract more sugar than is actually in the grains, but I'm guessing I'm not that good. The only thing I can think of is that I took the wort from the bottom of the fermentation bucket (out of the spout) and all the extra stuff was on the bottom. Does this sound like a possible solution to this conundrum? How should I proceed with taking a sample for gravity readings in the future?

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Old 09-25-2011, 07:27 PM   #2
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You could stir gently before taking your reading. Or a reading from the spout and one from on to then average, but that won't be accurate either. I'd stir......

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Old 09-25-2011, 07:31 PM   #3
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I usually take a sample from the top of the fermentor. It has been boiling for an hour so I believe things are mixed up pretty well. What was the temp of the wort when you took the sample?

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Old 09-25-2011, 07:43 PM   #4
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We get this question 3-4 times every day, so you're not alone. And in reality, nothing's wrong.

It's a pretty common issue for ANYONE topping off with water in the fermenter (and that includes partial mashes, extract or all grain revcipes) to have an error in reading the OG...In fact, it is actually nearly impossible to mix the wort and the top off water in a way to get an accurate OG reading...

Brewers get a low reading if they get more of the top off water than the wort, conversely they get a higher number if they grabbed more of the extract than the top off water in their sample.

When I am doing an extract with grain recipe I make sure to stir for a minimum of 5 minutes (whipping up a froth to aerate as well) before I draw a grav sample and pitch my yeast....It really is an effort to integrate the wort with the top off water...This is a fairly common new brewer issue we get on here...unless you under or over topped off or the final volume for the kit was 5 gallons and you topped off to 5.5, then the issue, sorry to say, is "operator error"

More than likely your true OG is really what it's supposed to be. And it will mix itself fine during fermentation.

And just use the number it says in the instructions as the true OG, because it will be.

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Old 09-25-2011, 08:09 PM   #5
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Was this a partial boil? It's very common to get a off reading after pouring in the top off water. Stir it up. You'll need to aerate anyway so no worries about being gentle. Or possible the hydrometer is off? Does it read 1.000 in pure water?

Or maybe the most obvious solution is that you've stumbled on the ancient alchemy of the occult: the perpetual sugar machine. The evil spawn of the perpetual motion machine and the everlasting gobstopper, the perpetual sugar machine actually creates sugar from thin air. If this is the case, please invite me over for your next brew day. I have half a pound of spent grain that I'd like to turn into a DIPA.

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Old 09-26-2011, 12:55 PM   #6
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I mashed with 2 3/4 gallons of water, and sparged with the same amount, so I boiled roughly 5 gallons of wort, which boiled down to a little over 4 gallons after an hour. I did top it off to the 5 gallon mark after pouring it into the fermentation bucket, but had already aerated it before adding the top off water, so did not really mix the top off with the rest of the wort.

I think that my initial guess of pulling from the bottom and getting all the sediment and mess in my sample was right. So, next time I'll stir stir stir stir stir then pull a sample. And if I'm still getting an additional 30 points, I shall rent out my magical sugar-producing mash tun.

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Old 09-26-2011, 05:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
When I am doing an extract with grain recipe I make sure to stir for a minimum of 5 minutes (whipping up a froth to aerate as well) before I draw a grav sample and pitch my yeast....It really is an effort to integrate the wort with the top off water...This is a fairly common new brewer issue we get on here...unless you under or over topped off or the final volume for the kit was 5 gallons and you topped off to 5.5, then the issue, sorry to say, is "operator error"
I use the method Revvy states here. I used to get reading all over the place, since I started taking the reading after aeration, been getting more consistent and accurate readings.
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