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Old 10-23-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
Jun 2011
chesapeake, va
Posts: 80
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So I just returned from the desert last Sunday. I went to a beer making class on Saturday during the day and went home and brewed my first beer. I'm sure I made mistakes, but I'll wait to see what happens. Time heals all, right???

I do have a couple of questions though; The boil was 2.5 gallons and I added 2.5 gallons to make 5 total used (not sure how much boiled off). When I checked the gravity it was 1.036 but the spec sheet said it should be 1.057. Did I add too much water??? How would I fix that in future beers??? And how will that affect this beer???


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Old 10-23-2011, 01:14 PM   #2
Oct 2011
Heidelberg, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany
Posts: 47
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I'm also wondering about that, I boiled 3.5 and came up with 1.065 but it was suppose to be 1.078, does the size of the boil matter?

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Old 10-23-2011, 01:22 PM   #3
Dec 2009
Troy, Michigan
Posts: 110
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The more you boil off the higher the gravity will be, not lower. The only thing that I can think of is that some extract kits ask you to throw in some table sugar, which would increase you og.

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Old 10-23-2011, 01:27 PM   #4
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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What happens when you boil, say, 2.5 gallons and then top up with 3 gallons afterwards, is that it's very hard to get the water and thick wort to mix 100%. The heavier wort will tend to sink and not mix as well as you'd think. That's fine- as the yeast will mix it up just fine and have no problem finding the malt sugars! But the SG readings will be wonky. You can stir/aerate/agitate it more to get it to mix better, but it's not really that important if it's not mixed up 100% perfectly.

If you used all the ingredients in the kit, and you topped up to 5 gallons and not 6, you can easily assume that the OG is just what the kit said.
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:31 PM   #5
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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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 recipes) 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.

RM-MN has a great analogy;

Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
This phenomenon is easy to see if you have a glass measure cup, some dark honey, and water. Pour in half a cup of water into the glass container, then dribble in some honey. Notice the honey sinks right to the bottom? It's more dense because of the sugar it contains. Now use a toothpick to stir the water above the honey. This will simulate using a spoon in a 5 gallon container. Did you get the honey mixed in? Not likely. If you drop in some dry yeast, it will find the honey and begin eating and the activity of the yeast will mix the honey in just fine.
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.

So the answer is, relax and do nothing.
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Old 10-23-2011, 02:31 PM   #6
Jun 2011
chesapeake, va
Posts: 80
Liked 18 Times on 9 Posts

Thanks for the info and teaching point. Water not mixing with wort is new to me. I figured that I followed the directions and did not put in more than 5 gallons total so it should be good and you guys confirmed that. I would have RHAHB but since this is my first beer I don't have one to drink.

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