Feedback of brew day please (missed my OG numbers)

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by mrskittle, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. mrskittle

    mrskittle Member

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    #1 mrskittle, Feb 3, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
    Hey folks. I'm still very new to brewing having only brewed two extract batches so far. The first batch turned out pretty darn tasty and the second is just into the fermenter. The first brew day was a little stressful and there were plenty of little mistakes, but none bad enough to ruin anything. I spent a lot of time going over all of the missteps and figuring out what I need to do differently. I was feeling very comfortable on my second brew day and everything went smoothly as far as the process went. However, as the title indicates, I didn't hit my OG number of 1.054. I came in around 1.034 instead. I'll give a quick rundown of the brew and maybe someone can pick out where I went wrong.

    Here's a link to the recipe but I'll give a quick sketch here too. (Weird that it won't let me insert a link to the recipe) It's called "Sierra Nevada Clone w/ Centennial"

    5 lbs LME Pale
    2 lbs DME Extra light (late addition)
    1 lb American crystal 60L
    1 lb Pale Ale malt (got a lb by accident so I decided to throw it in)

    Cascade hops at 60, 30, 15, and zero minutes
    Centennial hops at 15, and zero minutes

    safale - 05 yeast

    I started by steeping the grains around 155 degrees for about 25 mins. I read recommendations to steep grains in about 2 qts per gallon but that wasn't enough to cover the grain in the bag so I ended up steeping in about 2 gallons of water (4 qts per lb of grain). After steeping I added another 2 gallons to get to about 4 gallons and then added the 5 lbs of LME. I started the boil at 4 gallons and ended around 3.5. I was expecting a little more loss to evaporation but so it goes. Right before I put the DME in with10 minutes to go, I took a sample and the specific gravity was around 1.056. This messed with me a little because it was right on for my target OG but I still needed to add DME and the extra water to get to 5.5 gallons. I added the 2 lbs of DME and hoped for the best with my final numbers. Sadly, after getting the wort chilled and into the carboy with enough water to get to 5 gallons my gravity was at 1.034. Luckily my extensive nerding out over the last month paid off and I recalled that adding some last-minute DME can bring your OG up. I boiled up a hair over .5 gallon of water and threw in the pound of DME that I had left over. I let it cool and added it to the carboy to bring my OG up the 1.054, finally.

    My main question is why I missed my OG the first time? I followed the recipe as it was put together here of BF. Any Ideas???
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My suggestion is you didn't stir the wort before taking your gravity reading or the DME hadn't fully dissolved. A pound of DME in 6 gallons of water (5.5 gal plus 0.5 gal) is good for about 7 gravity points difference (42 ppg/6 gal). You state you got 20 points out of it 1000*(1.054-1.034) and that's just not possible. My guess is you had 1.049 or there abouts before adding the extra pound of DME and half-gallon of water. You steeped pale ale malt at 155 degrees, meaning you did a mini-mash rather than a pure steep. Adding the additional water diluted this mini-mash to the point where the missing five points could easily have been the pale ale malt failing to convert due to over-dilution of the enzymes. The five point miss could just as easily be variability in the DME - it's not always exactly 42 ppg.

    Bottom line, you couldn't have missed initially by 20 points and made it up with a pound of DME. So the more likely scenario is you didn't measure all of the sugar in the wort.
     
  3. mrskittle

    mrskittle Member

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    The math you're doing about how much a pound could raise the gravity crossed my mind at the time. I didn't think it was enough to get me where I wanted but I needed to do what I could to raise it. The reading of 1.034 was definitely right because it was right after I dumped the wort into the fermenter. It was well mixed. Your supposition that the wort was not well mixed after adding the extra DME with a half gallon of water is the most likely explanation, but it does seem unlikely that I would have neglected stirring it well. So with this uncertainty, it's not likely that I'm going to know the ABV in the end huh?

    I still have questions about anticipating the OG based off the gravity reading I got before the late boil addition and the 2 or so gallons of water to top it off in the fermenter. I'm not quite sure how to put the question yet though...
     

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