Low Hydrometer Reading: What did I do wrong?

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oldhat

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Hey there...so I'm a bit worried right now...

I did my first "from scratch" recipe and it was an all-grain American Ale.

Anyways, the original gravity was supposed to come up at about 1.078 and mine came out, well...about 1.010 (at least I think that's what the reading said. It's the red line on my hydrometer that just says 10).

Is it possible that the heavy parts of the beer sunk to the bottom or...?

I've just made a crappy beer, haven't I?
 

jigidyjim

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Uhoh... it sounds like you didn't convert any of your starches to sugars.

How did you do your mash?
 

jigidyjim

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Also - are you sure you are reading the right line on the hydrometer? are you reading a line for sugar content or ABV% potential, perhaps?
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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what the instructions said. Steeped the grains for 60mins.
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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And yeah, I think I'm reading it correctly.
 

seabass07

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That should probably be 155F. That would be the problem.
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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Oh, crap! Typo! Sorry, it was 155.

But...there was a problem.

Turns out my boiler...couldn't handle the 12.5lbs of grains. So I had to seperate them and boil them in different pots, with my prime one being nearly overflowed. Would that have been a problem?
 

Tall_Yotie

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Are you sure you didn't read the "Potential ABV" side? 1.078 that ferments straight down to 1.000 will give 10.4% ABV.

An OG of 1.010 is impossibly low, unless you didn't crush your grain, and even then you should be higher.

I doubt the small pot size would be a factor, as it is temperature and time that matters.
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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Um..crushing the grain? I thought I just had to put them in the water.

And I'm reading the only part of the hydrometer that starts with 1.000. The OG went right to the red line where a 10 is.
 

Frank99

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Assuming this isn't a joke post, check your hydrometer for a crack/leak. This is exactly what happened to me on my first batch. Everything was fine, but the hydro sunk to the bottom of the tube. The crack was so slight it was difficult to detect, but I knew something was terribly wrong...
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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people...joke about this?

And I just checked my hydrometer, as that sounds really possible, but it doesn't look like there's any cracks.

Could adding too much water to the wort in the fermenter do it?
 

Tall_Yotie

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To water it down that much, even at a 50% (poor) efficiency, you would have to add 10+ gallons of water on top of the wort to get it to 1.010; I suspect it is process.

The grain was not crushed? When you had the grain, it should not be full kernels, but crushed. The insides of the grain should be exposed, etc.

So you had the grain but it wasn't crushed? Where did you get the grain from?


EDIT: Check the hydrometer, make sure in water it reads 1.000 and nothing else.
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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Ah. That might be the thing. No, the grains weren't crushed. I got them from a homebrew store which is the only one in my city and, frustratingly, the person who runs it doesn't know a thing about homebrewing.

Checked the hydrometer. Water reads at 1.000
 

jigidyjim

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oldhat said:
Could adding too much water to the wort in the fermenter do it?
If the water was just floating on the wort and not mixed at all, and you pulled your sample from the top of the fermenter, that would explain it too...

Did you taste the wort? Did it taste super sweet?
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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jigidyjim, no, it tasted pretty bitter to be honest. Which I owe a lot to the hops.
 

Tall_Yotie

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If the grain was whole and not crushed, then the starch you were attempting to get to with the water was well protected.

Seems you may just have to start over. Sorry to say.

Am I to correctly assume you have done over brews (extract) successfully before hitting up the all grain? Just double checking.

If you have to dump it, see if the LHBS folks might give you a cut on the grain price. No harm asking. Or, if the LHBS is difficult to use then look for a place you can order online from.
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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Yeah...that's what I was afraid of. I'll dump it in the morning.

I've had success with kits before, but I suppose I was jumping the gun a bit with this. Though it seemed pretty simple.

I'll ask, but I doubt it. As it is, they're the only game in town and every time I go there I never see another single customer, so I think they need the money.

Thanks. Help was really appreciated.
 

Tall_Yotie

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If you have had luck with the kits there, then stick with them. Just make sure to get your grain crushed.

Always sucks having to dump a batch, I have had to do that twice.

Best of luck on the next brew!
 
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oldhat

oldhat

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NordeastBrewer: Nope. This place is actually kind of sad.

And now...something odd has been happening.

I was awoken this morning by a lot of activity going on in my fermenter. The airlock is going crazy. Hell, it's still going crazy. So perhaps...I do have the sugars? Which leads to either my hydrometer being broken or I got my OG sample with more water at the top than wort.
 
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Who knows. I'd let it ferment and see what you end up with before dumping. It'd suck to dump good beer because of a broken hydro or operator error. See what happens.
And that sucks about your lhbs. Are there others in your area? Also, I'm not positive, but I think some of the big guys down here, Midwest, NB, ahs, have shipping to Canada. (correct me if I'm wrong). And they'll ship you cracked/crushed grains if you specify that you need them. Good luck.
 

Tall_Yotie

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Let it go if it is fermenting. If it is going crazy then there is a decent amount of sugar for the yeast to eat.

Have you used this hydrometer before and gotten numbers that are correct for an OG reading?
 

PIGMAN

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NordeastBrewer: Nope. This place is actually kind of sad.

And now...something odd has been happening.

I was awoken this morning by a lot of activity going on in my fermenter. The airlock is going crazy. Hell, it's still going crazy. So perhaps...I do have the sugars? Which leads to either my hydrometer being broken or I got my OG sample with more water at the top than wort.
Now you can't dump it, you have to ride it out. Put it in the corner for awhile and forget about it. Brew a new batch in the meantime.:tank:
 
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