Originally Posted by panicbuttonguy
So I brewed 6 batches of APA's this week and have some questions.
My SG is really low on some of them. They all used mostly the same amount of base and the same type and brands of malt. The first one I brewed I came up short on vol going into fermenter. Maybe like 4.25 total. That SG read 1.060. I increased the sparge volume to compensate for my boil off and came up with the right volume into the fermenter (5g) but the SG was like 1.040. I also had a stuck sparge on 2 of the ones that were lower.
Is there a correlation btwn sparging more and getting lower gravity?
What kind of effect is this going to have on the final product besides lower ABV?
What can I do to increase my efficiency?
Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advanced.
It appears to me that you are lacking consistency in the way you brewed each beer. This makes it pretty difficult to determine what could be done if things aren't being done exactly the same way each time.
Of course adding water either sparging or just adding to the final amount would have a great effect on the SG. Effect on other things like aroma and flavor could be noticeable, but not necessarily bad.
To be sure, you need to establish a consistent mashing and sparging routine.
(I assume also that you are using all-grain method. So, here is what I would do. )
Make sure that you measure all ingredients carefully.
Mash in the correct amount and as you draw off the mash into the boil kettle, take a reading. Then measure that efficiency based on the amount of grains you use. Beer calculators can give you a pretty good idea of where you need to be. You should be quite high SG on the mash-in. Then, sparge and add that to the boil until you approach the desired SG.
I also advise that your calculate mash and sparge get to about 6.5 gallons if you are using a full 60 minute boil. That way, you should have enough to compensate for boil off. Also, you want to be above 5 gallons to compensate for solids in the wort.
There are also some water chemistry that can assist you in gaining some additional points. There is a very good article about Ph here: http://www.tcbrewmasters.org/articles/6.PDF
Using BeerSmith or other tools can help you approach your desired SG. If you fall short on your mash-in, then you can increase the efficiency by either adding time or adding DME at the end. Many times I have added a little DME to adjust for a lacking SG.
By keeping very good notes and consistency, you eventually can hit the desired SG with ease. You will be able to compensate for stuck sparges and unexpected readings.