Water Levels and Low OG - Home Brew Forums
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Water Levels and Low OG
Cool Brewing Giveaway - Supporting Membership Drive & Discount

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-18-2012, 06:07 AM   #1
DanseMacabre
Recipes 
 
Feb 2012
Harrisonburg, VA
Posts: 26


I've been an exclusive extract brewer for the last couple months, and I am consistently low on OG. I know, this has been a common lament, and I've tweaked some variables that have improved my OG some. I've calibrated my hydrometer, tried my best to dial in on my H20 volumes, and I enter all ingredients into Beersmith2. As many have pointed out, Beersmith is consistently calculating a lower OG than the Brewers Best Kits that I use. However, I'm still coming in under the estimated OG of Beersmith. My last two BB kits were:

Munich Helles, Est. OG: 1.041 Actual OG: 1.038
Summer Ale, Est. OG: 1.40 Actual OG: 1.038

I've also pieced together my own extract recipes using Beersmith2:

American Wheat Est. OG: 1.048 Actual OG: 1.042
Maple Pecan Porter: Est. OG: 1.062 Actual OG: 1.057
American Pale Ale: Est. OG: 1.056 Actual OG: 1.048*

The only thing I do differently from the instructions is that I always do a full boil. I also steep my specialty grains in the full volume of water (usually 6.75 gallons). I aim for 5 gallons in my corny keg after all evaporation, cooling shrinkage, trub loss, etc). Some of my OG numbers are pretty close, but I'm trying to get as exact as possible with my brewing system before I move to all grain.

Is it possible that steeping my specialty grain in a full volume is causing the lower OG?

If not, the only variable I can think to adjust is my volume, but I've been using Beersmith to calculate the volumes. Do most people hit their numbers with Beersmith's measured volumes?

Note* The american pale ale I brewed was on a new kettle. SO even more possibility that volume is the problem since it was the first time using this kettle. Although I did run a test run to measure evaporation rate.



 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2012, 06:09 AM   #2
DanseMacabre
Recipes 
 
Feb 2012
Harrisonburg, VA
Posts: 26

All the est. OG above are from Beersmith2 and not the kit instructions.



 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2012, 06:23 AM   #3
philrose
Recipes 
 
Jul 2008
Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,409
Liked 13 Times on 10 Posts


While its possible that the extracts you're buying are slightly lower gravity than the presets in your software, it's doubtful.

You're on he right track, most missed gravities on extract are a measuring error such as measuring when the wort is not well mixed. when measuring, are you getting a good homogeneous sample at the temperature for which your hydro is calibrated? Using your software's hydro correction formulas will also account for this. On that note, how confident are you in your thermometer? Makes a big difference sometimes.

Just a thought... Good luck with your beers!
__________________
In process-
Kegged-
Last bit of Sparkling Mead
Planning- Witbier

@philthebrewer

 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2012, 10:26 AM   #4
riss_rizzo
Recipes 
 
Apr 2012
Dallas, Texas
Posts: 21
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


Sounds like you are using a lot of water. Maybe just try to cut it back some? Your numbers are fairly close so you could really just relax and enjoy it.

Just one more thought though, what temp is wort when you measure og? Remember heat thins the viscosity of any liquid and most hydrometers are calibrated for 65F.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2012, 12:41 PM   #5
DanseMacabre
Recipes 
 
Feb 2012
Harrisonburg, VA
Posts: 26

definitely have a homogenous mixture since I'm doing full boils (no water top off). My thermometer is the highly touted thermapen, and I've calibrated my 60 Degree hydrometer with distilled water. I always chill my samples to 60 when taking a hydro reading.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2012, 05:51 AM   #6
riss_rizzo
Recipes 
 
Apr 2012
Dallas, Texas
Posts: 21
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


I've been thinking about this one while reviewing John Palmers book. The software you are using assumes a certain percentage of overall efficiency. I think what you should try for your next recipe is determine your max efficiency the divide that into what gravity you actually get and find your own percentage. Then keep that number in mind when you design future recipes. Hope that helps.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 11:21 PM   #7
riss_rizzo
Recipes 
 
Apr 2012
Dallas, Texas
Posts: 21
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


I didn't mean to chase you off. If I did? I can help with the numbers if you have a recipe. I just really think the best way to solve this is by adjusting your efficiency expectations.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 11:32 PM   #8
logan3825
Recipes 
 
Sep 2010
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 1,022
Liked 49 Times on 35 Posts


Quote:
The only thing I do differently from the instructions is that I always do a full boil. I also steep my specialty grains in the full volume of water (usually 6.75 gallons). I aim for 5 gallons in my corny keg after all evaporation, cooling shrinkage, trub loss, etc). Some of my OG numbers are pretty close, but I'm trying to get as exact as possible with my brewing system before I move to all grain.
I think that is your problem. You need to aim for 5 gallons in the fermenter to come out at the right OG. If I were you I would start at 5 gallons plus your boil-off. For example I would use 6 gallons since I boil off one gallon in an hour.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2012, 10:28 AM   #9
brtisbuck
Recipes 
 
Dec 2011
cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 271
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts


I personally would rather have to top of just a touch to hit my 5 gallon volume in the fermenter - this solves the too much water possibility. Also, I strain my wort into the fermenter. Its worth the time to me to get every last drop of sugary goodness.

That having been said, I've entered recipies into beersmith and came up with numbers other than what the recipe states. Might have to do with your settings. When I used to do a lot of kits (many from NB) rarely was my OG off from what the kit maker stated if my volume was correct. FG varied based on fermenting conditions.
__________________
In the botte: Wheat, American Pale Ale
In Primary #1: Light Hybrid #1
Primary #2: Light Hybrid #2
On Deck: IPA
In Design: California Common

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2012, 03:21 PM   #10
bdh
Recipes 
 
Feb 2012
Baltimore, MD
Posts: 171
Liked 19 Times on 9 Posts


If you've got a good bathroom scale, you can get a pretty decent estimate if your volumes are off. If you assume the density of water is 8.33 lbs/gal, then if you multiple that by the OG and have a scale accurate to with say 1lb you can estimate the volume to within ~0.1-0.15gals. If your OGs are off just due to volume, then for most of the OGs you listed above your volume would have to be off 0.2-0.5gals.



 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Like water Zider Extract Brewing 10 01-09-2012 04:27 AM
Levels of settlement East Extract Brewing 5 12-09-2011 04:41 PM
tap water vs spring water devaspawn Extract Brewing 23 06-15-2011 08:52 PM
tap water ruppe Extract Brewing 35 07-05-2008 04:56 PM
Not Enough Water rugerj Extract Brewing 8 07-10-2007 04:23 PM


Forum Jump