Originally Posted by Brewsmith
Are you sure you ended up with 5 gallons? How are you measuring the volume in your fermenter? My other thought is how is the DME packaged? Is it generic and packaged by the LHBS or a name brand? Are they ripping you off and putting less in the bag?
Yes, five gallons. I use a little guage on the side of the fermenter. After having the problem with the first batch, I checked this to make sure it is accurate. The marking is a little bit off, but no more than a few cups.
Interesting note on the DME, though. It's generic, and I haven't double-checked the weight on it. I'm pretty sure the LHBS owner is on the level (really cool, helpful guy), but that's definitely something to investigate.
On the water/wort mix question, I'm pretty sure that it's mixed well when I take a sample, because I really slosh it around to aerate the wort. Perhaps next time, I'll use my siphon to get a sample from the middle, rather than from the top with a measuring cup . . .
Thanks to you and everyone else for your suggestions! In the meantime, I'll stop worrying about it, relax, and have a homebrew.