Low OG ?? on my first All grain Brew

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cymruboy

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Well I should be happy that I made the jump from partial grain to all grain with my own homemade system. Everything worked fine except my starting OG was 1.050 when it should have been 1.085. I was very ambitious in attempting a 90 min Dogfish IPA clone recipe. I used 16Ibs of 2 row and 1.25Ibs of Thomas Fawcett.

My homebrew store said to mash this with 5 gallons of water at 150 degrees which I did for an hour. Then I used about 5 gallons of sparge water at 170 degrees which I trickled in as I collected the wort. Should I have collected the existing wort off first before adding the sparge water ? Could be one mistake I made. Also I collected 6.5 gals when the recipe is for 5.5Gals...Also I have read that I should have sparged for 2 hours. I think I did it in 20 mins. Any advice very welcomed on how I can improve going forward.

Thanks Dan :)
 

tehnick

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I've missed target OG a few times and have been slowly improving efficiency with each all grain batch. There's a few things that could contribute to it...

Generally with the mash, 1.25qt of water to each pound of grain is a popular ratio, so try using that ratio for the strike water to see what happens. I make it a habit to stir the mash a few times during extraction to loosen up the sugars. I haven't done much fly sparging as I haven't gotten the best results yet. When I sparge, I usually lauter the first runnings to get the wort as clear as possible and then I drain the mash run to the kettle. I add my sparge water afterwards to stop conversion and give it a healthy stir to thin up the sugars and release more of them into the wort. I then later the second runnings to clear the wort as much as possible and drain into the boil kettle until I've accumulated my boil volume. My sparges are usually 60-90 minutes long. It takes time to pull as much sugar as possible from the grains.

I always have extra pale DME handy in the event that I miss target OG because I usually have a yeast starter ready to pitch. My last batch was messed up because I had moved and lost my mash spoon in the process and thought I had it until I had started the mash. If you take your time on the sparge and have a good milling on the grain you should improve efficiency. I went from 68.2% to 74% in 3 batches once I started to go all grain. Once you get a process dialed in that works well, you can only go up from there.

Oh, I also use beersmith. It's a great tool. You can get the desktop version for around $23 or so, but there's a mobile version for tablets and smart phones that is pretty good. The mobile app is handy for throwing a last minute recipe together at your local supply shop. Has built in timers/alarms for the mash and boil too.
 

nmenninga

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Did you add water that was 150, or did you hold the temp in the mash tun at 150? The idea is to hold that temp for an hour, so you need to add hotter water, then stir it every 15 mins and add hot water as needed to stay near 150. For sparging, the most efficient method is fly sparging with about 1 inch of water over your grain bed.

I got improved efficiency with a finer grind of my grain. There is a fine line there with sticking sparge system, though.
 

MattGuk

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Just out of curiosity, are u in uk?
Are u sure you are not getting US and UK gallons mixed up? The measurment between the 2 is quite big and will play a big part in OG, if you are brewing a recipe for 5 gallons, you will need to make sure that it states If it metric or not.
If you make a brew with ingredients for 5 US gallons but brew up 5 UK gallons your OG will be much lower as 5 UK gallons are equal yo 6 US gallons.

A litre is a litre, but a gallon is NOT always a gallon.

Hope this helps
 

TheSquid

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I've found that my biggest jump in efficiency was a finer crush. Luckily my LHBS has two mills. Also, someone correct me if I'm wrong, you may want to make sure you are taking a temperature reading on your hydrometer test sample and using a temp conversion calculator. Unless you are chilling the sample, the reading may be significantly lower at higher temperatures.
 

MattGuk

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I've found that my biggest jump in efficiency was a finer crush. Luckily my LHBS has two mills. Also, someone correct me if I'm wrong, you may want to make sure you are taking a temperature reading on your hydrometer test sample and using a temp conversion calculator. Unless you are chilling the sample, the reading may be significantly lower at higher temperatures.
+1
You definatly need to make sure your hydro sample is temp corrected.
1.028 @ 145f is actually corrected at a reading of 1.042.
 

MattGuk

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Also, u said u collected 6.5 gallons was the before or after the boil?
Maybe try a 90 minute mash?
 
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