Specific Gravity High

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Mesa512

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Hey guys,

Just so you know, I did do a search on this forum before posting. I typed in SG, OG, specific gravity...etc. I either got no results at all or so many posts that were not tailored towards my question. If I missed one I apologize. I don't mean to clog up the threads.

Anyway. Yesterday I did two batches. An apfelwein, and a hefeweizen. I checked on them both this morning and the apfelwein seems to be doing fine. However the hefeweizen is another story. I don't see any fermentation yet, but I am not worried for I read in John Palmer's book that bubbling is not the best indicator of fermentation. I know that each day I am going to take specific gravity readings. This is where my question comes in.

Yesterday I took a little aside to take a hydrometer before pitching my yeast into my carboy. The instructions with my kit said that my initial gravity should be 1.049-1.053. Yesterday I took a reading and got 1.130!!! Did I do anything wrong? Also I noticed that my hefeweizen is very dark in color. It looks more like a porter or stout right now. The kit said it should be fairly light in color. Can you guys please help me out? Thanks.
 

HOP-HEAD

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1. No need to take hydro readings every day. Once before pitching yeast, and then again after about a week when the airlock has stopped or is drastically slowing. Record that one, then check again a few days later... if its the same you can transfer to secondary. If you don't plan to transfer, you could leave longer before worrying about it. Any more often and you just risk introducing infection into your beer. While I realize that proper sanitation should eliminate that risk, it's just one more possible opportunity I prefer to avoid.

2. Yes, I'm going out on a limb, all be it a very large one, and stating that you messed up the hydro reading. If your recipe estimated 1.050, you'd have had to do something wrong with the reading, not with the brewing, to get even close to 1.130. You'd have had to "accidentally" add another 14 lbs or so of LME to make up that difference.

PS) Did you possibly burn or scorch the LME when you added it? Could explain the darker color....
 
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Mesa512

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A couple of comments...

I realize the hydrometer reading is way to high. I have already done a couple batches of beer before and took hydrometer readings no problem. Also on top of that I am currently in college and have worked with hydrometers in Chemistry Lab. So that is why I am very confused for the high reading.

Also I had my brother add the LME and DME while I was stirring to prevent scorching. The only think that worries me is after adding the LME, DME, and hops I would let it sit to boil and stir every once in a while. I was not constantly over the boil stirring the entire time.
 

HOP-HEAD

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The only think that worries me is after adding the LME, DME, and hops I would let it sit to boil and stir every once in a while. I was not constantly over the boil stirring the entire time.
How clean was the bottom of the pot when you were done?

I always add my LME after topping off my steeping water, then go to the burner for boiling. If you perfer to bring it to a boil first, or are adding late, always remove the pot from the burner or shut off the stove/burner before adding the LME. Otherwise it drops to the bottom and starts to scorch before you can mix it in.

I never constantly stir either... I stir when adding LME, DME, or hops, and then periodically there-after.
 
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Mesa512

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Oh I'm sorry there must have been some miscommunication the way I typed it. I removed it from the burner. My brother added the LME and DME and I was stirring, then after that I brought it to a boil. After I was done there were a little be of residue on the bottom of the pot. It wasn't completely dark though. I will admit there were a couple spots here and there.
 

Yooper

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It sounds fine.

I would say that when you took the SG, that the heavier wort and the water you added to top it off to 5 gallons wasn't mixed well, and you got a sample of the much heavier wort.

What was the recipe? I can double check the numbers from the fermentables if you want.
 

HOP-HEAD

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The 3 gallons was your top off water.... you just added it first, rather than "topping off" with it.

Did you take your hydro reading before or after adding the wort to this water?
 
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Mesa512

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HOP-HEAD I think you figured it out. I completely overlooked it. I took a reading from the wort before I added it into the water. Thanks so much for troubleshooting.
 

HOP-HEAD

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So if you had 2 gallons of wort and 3 gallons of water, your actual reading (approx) would have been closer to: 1.130 + 1.130 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 5.26 / 5 = > 1.052.... approx of course due to outside variables, the precise gravity of your tap water, and imperfect volume measurements.
 
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Mesa512

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thanks so much for your help. I truly appreciate it. Also thanks for the approximate calculation. Cheers:mug:
 
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