Starting Gravity

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Aug 25, 2007
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Morrisville, NC
Hey everyone,
I have been brewing for about 1 year, and seem to have trouble hitting my starting gravity. I brewed a Sierra Nevada Clone on saturday which called for a starting gravity of 1.058, mine ended up at 1.049. Does anyone know what is causing this? I have had several batches that I have come very close to the starting gravity, but several that have been way off. I really want to figure this out, it is driving me nuts!!!!!!
If you are doing an extract you are probably using too much water. The extract kits are usually stop on or OG.

If you are doing a PM or All grain you need to provide alot more information.
Extract, PM or AG?

If extract or PM, the most likely cause: the wort and top off water is not fully mixed when you take your reading.
The other thing that I find that happens with extract, especially if you are brewing with liquid, is that a lot of people don't actually get all of the extract out of the container the can or jug the liquid comes in.
If you topped up to exactly 5 gallons and used all the extract in the kit, it's impossible for it to be off (sugars just don't disappear- they're in there!) by more than a very little bit. Sometimes the manufacturer of the kit makes the og estimate but uses a different brand of extract which may vary ever so slightly. Still, the biggest cause of incorrect sg readings is that when you topped off with cool water, even if you stir like crazy, the heavier warmer wort sinks to the bottom and you don't get a completely accurate reading because it's more diluted at the top. It doesn't affect the fermentation at all, since the yeast easily can find that sugar to eat! If you used a wine theif and pulled the sample from the bottom, I bet it would have been a little high.

Either way, it's no worry. I'd go with the estimate, unless you used too much water or didn't use all the extract.
im pretty new to homebrewing so take this for what its worth. I had the same problem with a couple kits I had and I asked the lady at the LHBS and she said that I probably didn't stir it enough and that the sugars were more in the bottom of the carboy while i was taking the reading from the top with a turkey baster. I stirred it from bottom to top from then on and voila! Im within .002 usually.