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Very low starting gravity

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Ben Carlson

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I am brewing my first batch of beer, using the Brewer’s Best American Amber recipe. According to this recipe, the Starting Gravity should be at 1.042-1.045 and the finishing should be around 1.021. My Starting Gravity is at 1.021. While boiling the ingredients, it did boil over once and almost did a few other times. After those events, it appeared the hops were left on the side. I did my best to scrape those hops back into solution. My question is what did I do wrong? And what, if any, effect will this low starting gravity have on the beer? Am I screwed?
 

rightwingnut

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You're not screwed. What's the batch size? How much malt, how much water? I imagine, if anything, it'll be lower in alcohol content. Someone with more knowledge will respond...I am a new brewer.
 
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Ben Carlson

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It is a five gallon batch, I used the 2 1/2 lbs dry malt and the 1/4 gallon of liquid malt that came with the kit
 

Dude

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Ben Carlson said:
I am brewing my first batch of beer, using the Brewer’s Best American Amber recipe. According to this recipe, the Starting Gravity should be at 1.042-1.045 and the finishing should be around 1.021. My Starting Gravity is at 1.021. While boiling the ingredients, it did boil over once and almost did a few other times. After those events, it appeared the hops were left on the side. I did my best to scrape those hops back into solution. My question is what did I do wrong? And what, if any, effect will this low starting gravity have on the beer? Am I screwed?

What temperature was the wort when you did the hydrometer reading?
If it wasn't 60 degrees (which the hydrometer scale is based on) you'll have to correct it. You should have gotten a chart with your hydrometer.
That might be part of your problem. Just a guess.....
 

seven77

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I'm just a noobie but I'm thinking a few things. First of all, a finishing gravity of 1.021 sounds too high. Secondly, I'm willing to bet you took your hydrometer reading while the wort was way too hot, so it read really low. I wouldn't worry about it. If it's f***** up, it's f***** up.. there's nothing you can do but brew another batch! ;) In the meantime, just let this one finish out and see how it tastes!
 

D-brewmeister

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Ben Carlson said:
It is a five gallon batch, I used the 2 1/2 lbs dry malt and the 1/4 gallon of liquid malt that came with the kit
For a five gallon batch, 2 3/4 pounds of malt sounds kind of thin. Did the recipe call for adding a few pounds of sugar (not really a good idea, as cane sugar in any quantity can cause some nasty cidery flavors in the beer) Most batches that I have brewed are at least in the 6-7 pound range as far as malt extract is concerned. And as Seven says, you should probably expect expect your final gravity to get down at least to 1.014 or lower. So you might end up with a ligher bodied beer, so what? It will probably still taste good, and it will certainly be drinkable, so relax, have a homebrew, and plan your next recipe.
 

Brewman

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hmmm 2 1/2 pounds does sound lite........ I would think that would prob only yeild around 3% abv.

as for the carboy its better to use the 5 gallon for the secondary but it probably won't bother anything...... open a beer and relax :D
 

rightwingnut

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No, no, guys, he said he used 2 1/2 pounds plus 1/4 GALLON. I'm guessing a quarter gallon is, what, 2 or 3 pounds? Making his total malt 4 1/2-5 1/2 pounds.
 

D-brewmeister

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rightwingnut said:
No, no, guys, he said he used 2 1/2 pounds plus 1/4 GALLON. I'm guessing a quarter gallon is, what, 2 or 3 pounds? Making his total malt 4 1/2-5 1/2 pounds.
Yea, you're right, my mistake. 5 or so pounds of malt should be plenty for a brew. You may have lost some malt in the boilover, but probably not enough to make a big difference. And as anyone on this forum would agree, brewing is a never ending learning process, things rarely go exactly as planned, but they usualy work out just fine. Don't worry about it Ben, enjoy the fact that you have made your first batch of fresh homebrewed beer, and start planning your next brew! :D Cheers!
 

Janx

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If he lost malt in the boilover, then he also lost water. A boilover shouldn't reduce the gravity at all...just the volume.

And your loss of hops will only affect flavor, not gravity. I imagine you just took the reading when the wort was too hot.

Ya see all the problems hydrometers create? ;)
 

homebrewer_99

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It's not the hydrometers fault people can't read it correctly!

Janx, is right that the boilover won't affect gravity, but the amount of sugar you lost in the boil over, in conjunction with whatever you topped off the batch to (say 5 gals) will. :(

Make sure you follow the directions for reading the hydrometer and the offsets for temperature if you want a proper reading. :D
 

Janx

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Oh yeah...I forgot he's probably not doing a full wort boil. Been so long...

I find my hydrometer gives the best reading if I leave it on the shelf at my local HBS. :D
 
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