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Old 01-21-2009, 10:00 PM   #1
norcal_nerd
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Jan 2009
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I'm brewing a Belgian strong pale ale, and right before pitching, I'm measuring 1.071, instead of the intended OG 1.082.

How did this happen if I followed the recipe exactly?

There were two odd things about the recipe.
1) After steeping my grains, the recipe specified that I should bring the bag out, place in strainer over kettle and pour 1qt per 2lbs of grain of 170f water. With 3 3/4 lbs of grain, I went with 2 qts of water I boiled separately and brought down to 170. Should I have used the water already in the kettle, and not added more?

2) Recipe requests primary to be filled to 5 1/4 gallons. Is this 1/4 gallon too many?

Trying to determine why my wort is diluted to 1.071.

FYI, it was a mini-mash La Chouffe clone from AHS.

I suppose this will just mean I will land with a lower ABV?

 
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:15 PM   #2
weem25
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Dec 2008
Chicago
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There are a lot of reasons your OG could be a little low. Couple things I have seen:

1. If you put your wort in first, and added water second it may not have mixed well. This causes the sugars to be at the bottom and the lighter water at the top. When you do a partial boil you want to make sure you mix well.
2. You could have over watered it. If you filled to the 5.25 mark you should have been fine. The 2 qts you used is a little high but wouldn't be the problem. You use 1 quart for every 2lbs. At 3.75, you are marginally heavy but it doesn't matter because you are adding less water on the tail end.
3. You could have been light on the amount of sugar that got put in. If you followed the recipe then I you should be ok. You can always put in more DME but only if you are sure your OG is low.
4. Forgot this one, did you compensate for the temperature? I wouldn't think that would for such a large difference but maybe some of it.

My thoughts are probably around #1.


 
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:30 PM   #3
norcal_nerd
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Jan 2009
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I agree with #1, although I aerated the heck out of the mix after adding in water. Super aerated, literally. Maybe there was too much air, and some bubbles were latched on to my hydrometer.

Probably going to be ok.

 
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:41 PM   #4
alpo
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Were you steeping specialty grains or actually doing a partial mash?

 
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:46 PM   #5
Vic_Sinclair
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Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norcal_nerd View Post
I agree with #1, although I aerated the heck out of the mix after adding in water. Super aerated, literally. Maybe there was too much air, and some bubbles were latched on to my hydrometer.
A trick I've heard is to spin the hydrometer while it's floating to get the bubbles off and then read it when it stops spinning.

 
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:58 PM   #6
norcal_nerd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpo View Post
Were you steeping specialty grains or actually doing a partial mash?
Partial mash.

 
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:01 PM   #7
bad coffee
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you might have not gotten the same amount of extraction as the directions. Did you crush your grains or did someone else?

Either way, relax. You've just made beer. It will be fine either way!

B
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:02 PM   #8
weem25
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Dec 2008
Chicago
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If you aerated well, then it shouldn't have been the problem. What was the temp of your wort when you took your hydrometer reading? If it was 100 or above that probably is the delta.

See the How to Brew - By John Palmer - Appendix A - Using Hydrometers on how to calculate the true OG with a different temp. Since it is in your fermenter already, I wouldn't worry too much about it now.

Since you aren't 100% positive on your OG, I would just make sure that you take the 3 day readings to make sure that you hit your FG. If after the 3 days, you hit the recipe's FG then it could have been the aeration, temp, or the bubbles throwing off your reading.

Regardless, your beer will be fine but you may not know the exact ABV. Seeing it was a strong belgium that might be a concern if you are planning on a session.

 
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:18 AM   #9
norcal_nerd
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Jan 2009
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I didn't crush grains, they came that way. I didn't weigh, them, though...I'm not too concerned.

Does anyone take gravity readings during the boil process of a partial mash? Like, would you test gravity before heading into the boil to make sure the grain steeping process was successful?

 
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