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Old 12-29-2010, 04:36 AM   #1
Feb 2010
Posts: 203
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On Christmas day i brewed a 20 gallon batch of barleywine with intentions of aging it to drink next christmas. My target OG was 1.101 and target IBU's 101.4. Brew day went well my preboil gravity was 1.073, however, checking the wort gravity at post boil i got 1.063 with my refractometer (calibrated before and after the bizarre reading) as well as 2 hydrometers.
Some brew day notes:
23.00 lb 2-row
23.00 lb munich malt
5.00 lb 90*L malt
10.99 lb 80*L malt
1.25 lb Whit wheat malt
18.25 lb DME (never added due to high pre boil gravity)
5.5 oz chinook @ FWH
9 oz chinook @ 60 min from end
2.5 oz golding @ 30 min from end
2 oz Fuggles @ 30 min from end
4.5 oz golding @ 15 min from end
Wyeast 1056-American Ale- harvested and repitched
Mash notes:
(*all samples were cooled to 65* and taken with a calibrated refractometer)
@ 17 min into mash 1.060, 4.0 PH
@ 33 min into mash 1.068, 4.0 PH
@ 46 min into mash 1.072, 5.0 PH
@ 60 min into mash 1.073, 4.0 PH (pre boil gravity)

I didn't add the DME because the pre boil gravity was 1.073. Also i did boil off SOME water because my pre boil volume was 25 gallons and i pitched 20 gallons of wort. I recirculate through the entire boil and my lid stays cracked the entire boil, I'm thinking that some humidity from the surrounding air condensed on the lid and dripped into my kettle causing a lower gravity into the fermentor. I know its not possible for the gravity to rise during the boil. My fermentation is going strong with repitched yeast from a porter, I'm thinking of boiling up a healthy amount of DME mixed with buckwheat honey and some chinook hops cooling that and racking the barleywine on top of that and putting it back into fermentation, possibly repitching some more harvested yeast as well.
I checked the wort gravity before it hit my plate chiller (also cooled this sample and took multiple tests) to make sure that the plate chiller was not leaching water into the brew, it wasn't.

Reason: left out info

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:58 AM   #2
Jan 2010
Austin, TX
Posts: 2,975
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There has to be something wrong with your readings (Pre or post). What did you use for Pre-Boil readings? I don't see that in the post.

And, as a matter of fact your beer does increase in gravity while it is boiling. The water evaporates and leaves all of the sugar in place to create a more dense wort.

Something is really fishy.
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:07 AM   #3
Feb 2010
Posts: 203
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for all my pre-boil readings i used the reflectometer, i calibrate it before every brew day and cool all my samples to 65*, what gets me is that when i checked it against 2 hydrometers post boil i got the same reading on all three.

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Old 12-29-2010, 05:45 AM   #4
Dec 2008
Southeastern PA
Posts: 1,118
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I'm confused, you say that you check your readings before the chiller, but you cool your samples to 65 degrees?

At 70% efficiency, you should have gotten around 1.078 w/o the DME and just the grains. It would make more sense if your pre-boil reading w/ 25 gallons was 1.063. Is it possible you flipped the readings in your notes?

The only way I can see you getting the readings you report is if you're reading your wort while it is hot, and not correcting for temperature.

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Old 12-29-2010, 02:18 PM   #5
Feb 2010
Posts: 203
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by checking before the chiller i mean i took a hot sample in a shot glass and cooled it before it went through the plate chiller to rule out the plate chiller leaking water into the wort.

Reason: clairity

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