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Crappy OG...very confused

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Graeme

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Hi Guy's, I'm Graeme, I'm new to the site. Here goes,

Ok so I brewed an IPA Saturday afternoon. It was nearly an identical recipe to my last brew other than different hops in the latter part of the boil. OG came out at 1046 which was a far cry from my last which was a good 1056. I used 3kg of DME and steeped 450g of grains, why would my gravity be so low?! I did a full boil, and although I know you'll call in to question my measurements, I can assure you that they were spot on. Could it perhaps be a problem with the hydrometer reading? I took the reading at about 24*C (75*F) when the wort was cooled, it had been stirred too, so temp shouldn't be an issue. I'm at a bit of a loss here, but more importantly I want to address it now to prevent it happening again in the future. Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks Guys!
Graeme
 

HughBrooks

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I had a similar problem with a partila mash recipe. What temp. did you steep your grain and for how long? I had a faulty thermometer that was reading high and my mash temp was 10 - 20 degrees(F) lower than it should have been. That resulted in not being able to extact all the sugars from the grain and a lower gravity than I wanted. I am pretty new to homebrewing so I just look at it like a learning experience.:mug:
 
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Graeme

Graeme

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Yeah, see I'm trying to go through everything in my head, to be honest, I am a little concerned about my thermometer, it doesn't seem of good quality, but again, my beer is fermenting quite vigorously as I type this so it couldn't be way off. I steeped my grains for 30 minutes between 60-65 C never fell below 60*C anyway so the sugars should have been extracted just fine, on top of that there was enough DME used. I'm new myself though Hugh, I'm not going to cry over the ABV once it tastes good, just want to know what it could be so I can avoid it again
 

Revvy

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You've done nothing wrong...it's a pretty common issue for ANYONE using extract and then topping off with water (and that includes partial mashes)...It is actually nearly impossible to mix the wort and the top off water in a way to get an accurate OG reading...

When I am doing an extract with grain recipe I make sure to stir for a minimum of 5 minutes (whipping up a froth to aerate as well) before I draw a grav sample and pitch my yeast....It really is an effort to integrate the wort with the top off water...This is a fairly common new brewer issue we get on here...

Don't sweat it..unless you under or over tipped off or the final volume for the kit was 5.5 as opposed to 5 gallons and you topped off to 5, that is more than likely the problem.

It doesn't mean anything...the wort and water will merge fine during fermentation.
 
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Graeme

Graeme

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Well the thing is I boiled the full 25L so it wasn't an issue with topping up

This stirring you mentioned might be the problem, while I did give a good stir before transfering to the fermenting vessel, It certainly wasn't more than a minute or two.

It will be pretty hard to pin down the ABV even when finished it would seem. I planned to dry hop this as well, but if it doesn't have the strength I desired might be a bit unbalanced with all the hops
 

Forbein11

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How are you measuring the sample? I had an issue using the hydro tube for measurement. The hydrometer was sticking to the sides as it was a tight fit. I couldn't get an accurate reading. I now have a sample beaker to test in.
 
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Graeme

Graeme

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I'm using a sample jar, it's narrow but certainly there is more than enough room for it to float in there. Do you guys think on foot of the fact I used 3kg of DME steeped my grains, that I should assume my hydrometer reading was off? I don't see how it could be a lower gravity to my last brew which was almost identacle?
 

HughBrooks

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Just check and double check with your thermometers (I will be using more than 1 from now on) and your hydrometer so everything is consistant. If you do that you should be ok. It is a great thing to make your own beer and if I mess up a few times no big deal I am still having a great time!:mug:
 

Big10Seaner

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It's almost impossible to not come up with your desired OG in an extract batch. You need to mix the wort with the top off water more thoroughly.
 

COLObrewer

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Did you calibrate the hydrometer? In distilled water (I think) it should be at zero.
 
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Graeme

Graeme

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Yeah I checked it again last night just to make sure. It's so baffling really!
 
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