Spike Brewing Giveaway - New v3 Kettle

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > sugar gnomes stealing from my wort
Thread Tools
Old 10-15-2008, 01:02 PM   #1
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 53
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default sugar gnomes stealing from my wort

I've been experiencing this weird phenomenon lately where my gravity readings before and after boil don't jive.

Example: Brewed a pale ale this weekend

10# 2-row, 12 oz Crystal 60, 8 oz Carapils

My goal was for 7.10 gallons pre-boil, boil down to 6 gallons, transfer 5.5 to carboy.

60 minute mash @ 153. I mashed with 3.4 gallons of water. I used Five Star 5.2, a fairly good crush (.24mm gap on the barley crusher) and I am using a 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler as a mash tun and a stainless braid.

(Batch) Sparged with 5.6 gallons of water. Collected a little over 7 gallons. Stirred up the wort and checked the gravity twice - 1.030 @ 133 degrees, which calculates to 1.044. Great. 75% efficiency there (was targetting 1.041)

60 minute boil. Post boil volume was around 5.3 gallons. Whirlpooled and racked slightly more than 5 gallons to my fermenter. Measured gravity was 1.046 @ 79 degrees, which equates to 1.048.

Huh? How'd that happen? Boiled off almost 2 whole gallons... and only gained 4 gravity points?

This has happened probably 3 out of the last 4 batches I have done recently.

Theories I have:

1) The pre-boil gravity reading is waaaaay off via the temp correction formulas. Really? How else would I go about doing it, other than buying a refractometer, which I thought has to be temp-corrected too? Also - that would mean indicate efficiency is waaaay crappy, and I don't know what else I could do (sparging with lots of 170dF water, using the 5.2 ph buffer stuff, doing a fine crush) to correct that.

2) Sugar really is evaporating during the boil, or there are little gnomes and/or fairies stealing it while I am not looking.

3) [Far-fetched] I am usually using whole leaf hops.. Maybe they are really absorbing a ton more than I expect. This weekend's brew had 3.5 oz of flowers in the kettle.

Any other ideas/explanations would be, umm, much appreciated.

kmudrick is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2008, 01:21 PM   #2
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
conpewter's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: East Dundee, Illinois
Posts: 5,069
Liked 49 Times on 44 Posts
Likes Given: 16


I would go with #1 as I've heard that the temperature correction is not useful when far off of the calibrated temp. I'd take your preboil sample and set it in some icewater for a minute and then take your temp and reading closer to 60 degrees

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." - V

Primary: Nothin
Secondary: Shady Lord RIS, Water to Barleywine, Pumpkin wine, burnt mead
Kegged: Crappy infected mild
Bottles: Apfelwein, 999 Barleywine, Oatmeal Stout, Robust Porter, Robust smoked porter, Simcoe Smash
conpewter is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2008, 10:13 AM   #3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
EvilTOJ's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Portland, OR, Oregon
Posts: 6,426
Liked 49 Times on 34 Posts
Likes Given: 3


So sugar gnomes are more likely than wort getting soaked up by your hops? mmmhmm.... He's probably laughing and dancing on his little feeties as well.

I would also suggest cooling the samples down to get a better measurement.
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
EvilTOJ is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2008, 12:26 PM   #4
Senior Member
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
ajf's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Long Island
Posts: 4,646
Liked 104 Times on 98 Posts
Likes Given: 39


1 is absolutely true. Temperature compensation at that high a temperature is not reliable, but you can always cool the sample before taking the reading, and then put it back in the kettle (if you want) for the boil.
3 is also true. Whole leaf hops absorb a lot of wort. See http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/whol...63/#post278082
Other possibilities are:
4 You are ignoring all the losses associated with transferring to primary (dead space in kettle, trub, wort left in chiller etc.)
5 Your volume measurements may not be completely accurate
6 You did not stir the wort sufficiently before taking the pre boil gravity. In this case you would get an unnaturally high gravity if you took the sample from the bottom of the kettle, or a low gravity if you took it from the top.

ajf is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2008, 12:55 PM   #5
Ale's What Cures You!
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Yooper's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
Posts: 67,702
Liked 6982 Times on 4950 Posts
Likes Given: 1973


I'm going with the inaccurate hydrometer reading at high temperature. I found that even with the temperature correction tables, my readings were terribly inaccurate. I even added some water to my wort once based on the preboil gravity, and of course it was wrong and my OG was very low when finished.

I put a little pitcher of ice water on the counter, and stick my hydrometer jar in that and wait for it to cool to under 90 degrees before taking the reading. Try it- take a reading at 200 degrees and then cool the sample and take another. I bet they are totally different, even after temperature correction.

Broken Leg Brewery
Giving beer a leg to stand on since 2006

Follow me on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorena.t.evans
But I'm pretty boring so don't expect much!
Yooper is offline
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Stealing yeast. opreska General Techniques 8 03-01-2006 09:41 AM

Forum Jump