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Low OG - Trying to understand why

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ShadyKnollBrewery

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New Brewer, I have now brewed my first two batches in the past 4 weeks. Batch One was a Northern Brewer Fresh Squished IPA, brewed with a Malt Extract Kit. In this brew, I know I errored and added all the Malt with the Grain (Baged) up front before the boil. This batch had an OG of 1.054, and was supposed to be 1.064. I blamed the low OG on the fact that I added all the extract prior to the boil. My FG was right on target @ 1.014, so I felt good about the fermentation process. Am I correct to have lost the OG points because of the introduction of the liquid Malt extract to early?

On Batch 2, I brewed using the Palmer method, on a "starter brew" of a Cincinnati Pale Ale from Palmers 4th addition book. I started with 3Gal in the brew pot for the wort and in a second pot I boiled 3 Gal, to cool and use for the carboy fill. During the boil (DME extract), about 50 minutes into the boil, I had less than 2 gallons of wort, so I added 2 more quarts, and returned the wort to a rolling boil and finished the last 10 minutes of the boil. When I combined the wort to the preboiled additional water, I had less than 5 gal (about 4 3/4) in my carboy. Checked the OG and it was at 1.039, vs an expected OG of 1.042.

Questions:
1. Is the lower OG in batch 2 because of the additional 2 quarts of water? If not, is 1.039 / 1.042 "in normal range" I am not sure what my expectations should be in hitting OG number.

2. As I boiled away over 1/3 of my wort - is this a sign the my rolling boil is to hot/vigorous, and therefore I need to slow the boil a bit?

Thanks - Have really enjoyed the brewing.
 

ncbrewer

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1. Is the lower OG in batch 2 because of the additional 2 quarts of water? If not, is 1.039 / 1.042 "in normal range" I am not sure what my expectations should be in hitting OG number.
Boiling away too much and needing to add more water won't change the gravity. 1.039 compared to 1.042 is pretty close. In reality, the gravity added by specialty malts is a bit of an estimate. I wouldn't worry about that difference too much. Also, If you added top-off water, it probably just wasn't mixed completely and the gravity of your sample could be a little low.

I'll second BrewnWKopperKat's suggestion to back off on the boil intensity. I like the video.
 
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ShadyKnollBrewery

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Thanks. I would put my boils more of a 4 than a 1 or 2. Next batch I will back down on the boil.
 

kartracer2

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@ShadyKnollBrewery Next time remember to steep your grains in just water before adding extract. The grains will absorb water and if you have extract in that water you lose a percentage of your fermentables in the wet grain. Granted it may not be a lot but no sense losing any of it. You want all those goodies in the wort, not in a soggy grain bag.
I agree with the idea of the wort not being mixed compleaty in the fermenter. I add 1 gal of water in to the fermenter, than add the cooled wort, then top off water to my 5 gallons. It seems to blend better that way for me. I use Fermonsters with the big mouth so I can stir in a kind of a calm back and forth, side to side motion rather than circular to get a good mixing.
With boxed kits, unless you forget something, (been there, done that once) your SG should be OK even if your test seems off a "little".
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 
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