Gravity Problem or Faulty Hydrometer?

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Libertexian

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Just brewed my second beer tonight (AG). For my first beer last week my target gravity was 1.053, my OG was 1.052. Tonight my target was 1.057, and my OG came out at... 1.052 (again). The only thing i did different was the mash temp; the first beer i mashed at 154, and this one i mashed at 152. My Hydrometer came in a kit i bought second hand, i didnt realize the flimsy plastic base had a pin size hole in it, which makes me wonder about the hydrometer itself. Maybe im trying to explain and blame my problem away, but WHAT GIVES?! Is there a remote possibility my hydrometer is faulty? Should i just shoot for 154 in the future?
 

ReeseAllen

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No two brew sessions are alike, especially during your early experiences before you've got your equipment and technique totally dialed in. There are many, many variables involved, and as much as you think you brewed the same way both times, it's a certainty that you aren't controlling all of those variables perfectly yet.

It's unlikely anything is wrong with your hydrometer. Some days you're going to get 75% efficiency and some days you're going to get 65%. I'm still in the same boat as you, having done about ten AG brews done so far. Sometimes I hit the target OG perfectly, sometimes I overshoot a little bit, and sometimes I end up ten points under. All the beer has turned out good.

As your technique improves you will start to see more consistent results. In the meantime, don't fret the occasional missed OG.
 

Blender

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You can test your hydrometer in water. Most of them should be done @60 degrees and read 0.
 
OP
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Libertexian

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Upon running everything through my mind further, i forgot about another variable, maybe the biggest: I used tap water this time vice bottled for the first brew. Lesson learned.
 
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