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First beer, OG lower than recipe, worry?

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GreenTerror

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I have made a couple batches of wine before and my friend bought me a Brewers Best Scottish Ale kit for a gift. So I went ahead and made it today per the instructions and found that my OG, corrected for temperature, is 1.029. The recipe states that the OG should be 1.034. Should I be concerned? Should I do something now to correct?

Thanks!
 

pabloj13

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I have made a couple batches of wine before and my friend bought me a Brewers Best Scottish Ale kit for a gift. So I went ahead and made it today per the instructions and found that my OG, corrected for temperature, is 1.029. The recipe states that the OG should be 1.034. Should I be concerned? Should I do something now to correct?

Thanks!
Was it extract? If you hit your volume, your OG was probably correct. Often people get lower OGs just based on incomplete mixing of the very dense wort and the topoff water.
 

cluckk

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Only thing you could do is add some form of sugar or some extra extract to it. Since I'm sure you're done with the boil by now, the only way to do this would be to boil the sugar or extract in more water to sanitize and then blend into the wort. I wouldn't bother though. The difference is only one of .656% ABV. With the target gravity you must have been shooting for a Scottish 60/- but this lower gravity is too low for that. However, you will still have a good, drinkable first beer. Better to take what you have here than risk really bombing your first batch. You can work on efficiency later.

I'm wonder, with a kit, if you missed a step or started with too much water, or didn't boil long enough. There are a few other things that might have happened but it comes down to having more water that your sugars are dissolved into than you were supposed to have. For example, if you now have six gallons of wort, boiling down another gallon (to 5 gallons), you would have hit your gravity. This comes through either boiling longer or boiling harder.
 

cluckk

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Was it extract? If you hit your volume, your OG was probably correct. Often people get lower OGs just based on incomplete mixing of the very dense wort and the topoff water.
This is another possibility.
 

Channel66

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My money is on layering of top off water and wort. If you followed the instructions and measured even close to properly don't worry about it your gravity is likely on. Next time aerate better (well result in a better mix as well)

I'd call it a Scottish 55 shilling.
 
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GreenTerror

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As of today the hydrometer reading is 1.009, which calculates to a 2.5% alcohol content beer. Definitely on the low side but oh well for a first try. Hopefully the next batch turns out better.

I think my problem was that my stove top and patience level were too low for the first try and I really didn't get the vigorous boil needed. I think if more brewing is in my future I'll need to look into a propane burner. Plus then I can do it in the garage and make the wife happier :)
 

pabloj13

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As of today the hydrometer reading is 1.009, which calculates to a 2.5% alcohol content beer. Definitely on the low side but oh well for a first try. Hopefully the next batch turns out better.

I think my problem was that my stove top and patience level were too low for the first try and I really didn't get the vigorous boil needed. I think if more brewing is in my future I'll need to look into a propane burner. Plus then I can do it in the garage and make the wife happier :)
I get 3.3% assuming your OG reading was wrong.
 
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GreenTerror

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Don't you think with dumping a couple gallons of water on top that would have thoroughly mixed it up for an accurate reading?
 

pabloj13

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Don't you think with dumping a couple gallons of water on top that would have thoroughly mixed it up for an accurate reading?
If you search on here you will find somewhere between 10 and eleventy billion threads where people had lower than predicted OG when topping off because of incomplete mixing. Wort is dense. Water is not as dense. Unless you mix the crap out of it it can read low. With an extract brew, if you hit your volumes and added everything, there's really no reason you would not have hit OG.
 

duboman

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You topped off and did not get a good mix so your reading of OG is off. With a given amount of extract and proper volume measurements it is almost impossible to not get the actual recipes OG.

Use the recipe's OG and recalculate your ABV:)
 

cluckk

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I think my problem was that my stove top and patience level were too low for the first try and I really didn't get the vigorous boil needed. I think if more brewing is in my future I'll need to look into a propane burner. Plus then I can do it in the garage and make the wife happier :)
While a vigorous boil is important I'm not sure this would cause this problem since you are boiling off water and then topping back off. If you start with five gallons at, say, 1.050 and boil it down to four gallons you would have about 1.0625. If you then top off back to five gallons you bring it back to 1.050. I guess it could be the amount you topped off with. For example, if you have the same 1.050, but four gallons and top it off to five gallons you'd drop to 1.040. If you had topped off with less water you'd have a higher gravity, but if you followed the instructions this is unlikely. I think the guys pointing to the mixing might be right. You have two liquids with different specific gravities (water and your wort) going into the same container. It takes time for them to blend fully. This is the science behind the "Black and Tan"--two liquids of differing specific gravities can be layered temporarily.
 
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GreenTerror

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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

In the name of science on my next batch I'm going to take a reading like I did last time and then give it a vigorous stirring to thoroughly mix it up and then take another reading. It'll be interesting to see how much difference that makes.
 
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