Why is my final gravity always too high?

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sucram1989

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My beer always turns out good, and it usually seems pretty strong, but for some reason I can't seem to get my final gravity below 1.03.

For example, my latest brew was an American wheat. I mashed for 15min at 175F then dropped to 155F for 75min. After boil, my OG was 1.055. Let ferment at 70F for 12 days. At this point my final gravity was 1.033 when the recipe I'm following says it should be 1.009.

This happens every time I brew. Please help me here, what could be causing this problem.


P.S. - I am mostly self-taught, so I might be missing something stupid and obvious.


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BigFloyd

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Your mash is to hot.
I'd say WAY to hot. Mashing at 175*F for 15 minutes is very likely the problem.

Next time, try mashing only in the 152-153*F range to whole hour to get a much higher percentage of fermentable sugars. At the end of the hour, raise it up to 168-170* for a "mash-out".
 

cjgenever

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Where did you get 175 from (not being a hole, actually asking here :)? Even when sparging, the grain shouldn't go over 170f.

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sucram1989

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I probably got confused somewhere along the way, like I said I'm pretty much self taught. Just recently stumbled upon this site. Thanks for the advice. It's hard to find good information on mashing and sparging. I'll make another batch and try a lower mash temperature 153F.


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sucram1989

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As for the 175, i read some information about the mash-out and I must have interpreted it wrong. I thought it came at the beginning of the mash.


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Tinga

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the most likely culprit in this situation is the high mash temp. other variables that affect a high FG can include not enough oxygen, pitching too little yeast, pitching low viability yeast, too low a fermentation temperature or too many specialty grains in the grain bill.
 

CB_in_Tokyo

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Whenever I see an FG reading in the 1.03 range I have to ask, are you using a refractometer or a hydrometer? A refractometer's reading needs to be corrected for FG due to alcohol content. It can be wildly off and for an OG like you have stated a reading of 1.033 on a refractometer would likely correct to around 1.015.
 

kh54s10

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Depending on the style even 153 might be too high. The higher the temperature the more unfermentables there will be in the wort. You will then end up with a higher FG.

I suggest you read "How to Brew" It is online (older edition) or at a bookstore (newer edition with corrections and updates).

Researching is needed so that you will not do the same thing (mistakes) every time. Brewing is not so simple that you can do the same thing for every recipe.
 
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sucram1989

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I use both a hydrometer and a refractometer just to make sure my readings are correct. And my refractometer is calibrated correctly. They both pull the same reading


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CB_in_Tokyo

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I use both a hydrometer and a refractometer just to make sure my readings are correct. And my refractometer is calibrated correctly. They both pull the same reading


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You can't calibrate a refractometer for FG. You need to run the number through a calculator. I guess you must be doing that if your hydro and refractometer are giving the same reading. If not something strange is going on.
 
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sucram1989

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I calibrated it to 1.000 with distillers water


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sucram1989

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Distilled*


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scottballz

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It is Definitely your mash temp. I guarantee you don't have to look any further. 175 is way to high!
 

CB_in_Tokyo

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For OG that works fine, but for FG, with a refractometer, the alcohol in the wort/beer skews the reading. When you take your refractometer reading for FG you need to run it through a calculator like this

http://www.northernbrewer.com/refractometer-calculator/

or

http://www.brewersfriend.com/refractometer-calculator/

I don't see how the hydrometer and refractometer can be showing the same 1.033 final gravity reading if they were showing the same OG. The higher your OG the more alcohol is made, the larger the skew, so you always need to use a calculator for FG with a refractometer.
 
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sucram1989

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My hydrometer read closer to 1.035 but they are always very close to each other.


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sucram1989

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Would you say that using the hydrometer is the better choice?


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tootal

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Would you say that using the hydrometer is the better choice?


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Yes.

Remember, a hydrometer is accurate at one temperature, either 60 or the newer ones are 68 F. There are charts that show the change at different temperatures so if you can't raise or lower the temps easily then use a chart to figure your actual gravity. Higher temps will give a thinner reading.
 

BigFloyd

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I probably got confused somewhere along the way, like I said I'm pretty much self taught. Just recently stumbled upon this site. Thanks for the advice. It's hard to find good information on mashing and sparging. I'll make another batch and try a lower mash temperature 153F.


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No worries. You're now on the right track.

The key here is to ask questions well in advance of taking action if at all possible.:D
 
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Get yourself a copy of Palmer's book. It's a good resource and will give you lots of info on mashing & sparging.


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