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Old 05-01-2012, 04:48 PM   #1
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Default HIT OG but low WORT volume?

Brewed a Centennial Blonde Ale last night.. I was shooting for and OG of 1.040.
Hit it on the mark, was very excited.. did exactly what the recipe called for. However.. I was short on wort volume.. and only about 4 gallons ended up in the fermenter. Is this and error on the brewing process..? Or a problem with the Recipe. It seems to me there was not enough grain for right target starting gravity. This is the Recipe.. Also has a large raspberry addition that I added for a slight twist ..

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Old 05-01-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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IME if you want 5 gallons to go to the fermenter you had better calculate for a 6 gallon batch. If you are doing something that will result in a ton of break material and or hops such as a high grav brew or a big IPA I will even go 6.5 gallons to account for loss at the bottom of boil kettle. My thought has always been that it is better to hit the gravity than to hit the volume...many automatically top off their batch to five gallons without thought of watering it down so its good you took a reading, saw you hit your gravity and let it be at four gallons.

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Old 05-01-2012, 04:55 PM   #3
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You probably have different equipment than the recipe writer. This could lead to more wort left in the mash tun / more loss to trub / more loss to chiller / different boil off rate.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:21 PM   #4
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I really love brewing, and I think it's because I try to keep the big picture clearly in mind. My personal goal is to brew the best beer I can... so I focus on hitting my gravities, on healthy fermentation, and on sanitation, especially in transfers & packaging. If it turns out that I end up with less beer than anticipated but the above keys are met, I'm happy. Another four beers more or less isn't worth getting fussed about, IMO.

That being said, I agree with the kettle/fermenter trub loss points above. That's why I generally do 6gal batches now!
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:46 PM   #5
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I am going to assume that you haven't brewed many all-grain batches. It will take you a few batches to get a good idea of the efficiencies you will get with your setup. Everybody's efficiency is different. Once you have that dialed in, you will be able to take a recipe and adjust amounts for the efficiencies that you are getting. This is much more simple with some sort of brewing software, either web-based or downloaded. In the meantime, I would rather have 4 gallons of beer that is as I intended than 5 gallons of beer that isn't quite what I was shooting for.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:01 PM   #6
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I use Beersmith, which gives me a good starting point for how much water I'll need. Various environmental conditions usually change my boiloff, and hop amounts/types might skew trub absorption.

When lautering, I also check the gravity periodically. I agree with Piratwolf in that I'd rather get the beer I want, even if it's only 4 gallons. To help with this, I only sparge until gravity nears 1.010, at which point the grain is done. This has yet to be a problem, i.e. I hit my desired water volume before that point is reached.

Also of note, I normally shoot for my ABV to be a tad higher than I may need/care about - 6.5%, for example. ABV being obviously linked to OG, so if I decide I want an extra half gallon of beer, I'll do a quick calculation with Brewzor, and decide if I can dump a half gallon of water in. Normally I'm OK with it.

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