First brew-gravity off

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by SabreSteve, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    Just did my first brew yesterday and it went pretty well. Only burnt myself once and only had a few minor kitchen mishaps. Transferred my wort to the fermenter and topped it off back to 5 gallons. I then took my hydrometer reading and the OG was 1.040. The only problem with that is the estimate for the recipe was 1.050. I can already hear some of you saying "well it's still beer" but wondering how I was so far off. The best I can think of is that I filled the pre-boil volume in my kettle to the 3.5 gallons but I did it a quart at a time. That basically meant I poured in 14 quarts. Naturally though I lost count and just made an assumption of where I was. So my volume may have been off a quart or even as much as half a gallon. This is my assumption of what went wrong but could a quart make for such a big difference in the OG?
     
  2. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    The french connection!
    One of the great lines of all time.

    Was this an extract recipe?
     
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  3. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    Yes sorry it was all extract, no steeping grains. Wanted to keep my first brew pretty basic
     
  4. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    Also yes on the French Connection! It's a shame Rico isn't in the HOF!
     
  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    The only volume that matters is the final volume when it's extract. You're way off in your volume somehow. It takes over a gallon to knock the gravity down from 1.05 to 1.04. Either you used considerably less extract than you think you did or you added more water than you were supposed to.
    If your final volume is actually correct, you started with enough extract for a 4 gallon batch.
     
  6. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    I don't see how the final volume could be more than a gallon off when the fermenter only holds 5 gallons.
    There was one other thing I was hoping it wasn't the issue...

    The LME was past the best by date. I didn't notice it till after I left the store. Didn't try to return it because they have a no return policy with Covid and working in retail myself I don't like to be a jerk about things if I can avoid it. I planned to just be more vigilant about that in the future but figured it'd be ok cause I know those dates are typically conservative and I didn't see how an extract could really go bad. I never dreamed that could make that big a difference if that is in fact the issue. I guess I should have gone back and raised a stink huh?
     
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  7. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    Or you're saying the post-boil volume was off, not the final volume in the fermenter?
    The pre-boil size was 3.5 gallons though and I added roughly 1.75 gallons in the fermenter so that seems like it should be right for 5 gallons
     
  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Basically with extract you are 100% efficiency for simplicity, so if you put in enough LME to get 1.050 at 5 gallons you should get that regardless of how long you boil. Sugar doesn't evaporate.

    So your amount of LME is off or your measurement of volume is off. Or a combination of both.

    I don't believe old LME will give you lower gravity, it just may not taste the same. It's still sugar.

    How many KG/Lbs of LME did you use?
     
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  9. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    6.6 pounds
     
  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    So a quick calculation does put that at 1.049 assuming everything is correct.
    upload_2020-7-23_9-50-52.png

    I'm guessing you bought 3 1kg bags of LME for 6.6lbs, if I had to hazard a guess I would say they were not filled properly. It's to late now to weigh them but it's entirely possible someone messed up filling the bags.

    Edit: Derp, LME is not DME. Did you fully rinse out the tins it came in or just pour till you got bored?
     
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  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    With regards to more important issues, I was looking at the upcoming NHL playoff schedule, and for the life of me I can't figure out who the Sabres are playing in the play in round. Did they not qualify for the playoffs? I mean, almost every team qualified, right?
    :D:D:D:D:eek::eek::eek::eek:
    Sorry, couldn't help myself.
    Do you live in the Buffalo area?
     
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  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    The season is over for the seven teams that did not make the qualifiers: the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings.

    Per NHL.com

    This is one way for Edmonton to make the playoffs.
     
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  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Here's a handy-dandy formula for determining if your hypothesis could be the truth: G1V1=G2V2 (where the ones and twos are subscripts). Basically it says that if you don't add any sugar, the ratio of gravity (in points) to volume is constant. And that pretty much tells me your hypothesis is not correct: It wouldn't matter (to sugar, anyway) how much water you put into the boil. You have x amount of sugar so the ratio of sugar to water will remain the same. Question 1: Did you cool the sample to room temperature before taking the hydrometer reading? If the wort were still hot, your hydrometer reading would be low. I'm going with JA's hypothesis, that there wasn't enough extract to start with. Could happen a number of different ways, an error in formulating the recipe, measurement error, using DME instead of LME in the calculations (which wouldn't be far off if you take the ratio of the gravity points) but the bottom line is there was too little sugar in the brew.

    That said, you've made beer (I had to go there) and instead of a table-strength, you'll get a session strength - extra goodness, you can drink more of it at a sitting!
     
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  14. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Tongue was firmly planted in cheek with my smart ass post. Don't tell SabreSteve, that I am LeafCraigerrr:rolleyes:
     
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  15. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough, you easterners confuse me.
     
  16. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    Two 3.3 canisters of briess LME.
    I rinsed them thoroughly with water from the kettle and while the older one was a bit stubborn I'm confident I got like 99% of it out. I can't believe that would cause that big of a discrepancy. Is it possible I screwed up taking my sample?
     
  17. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Most likely due to a couple things being a little off. Taking @Hawkbox's example, if you add 1/2 gallon to the batch and take away 0.6 pounds of LME you get 1.040 OG. Also, as mentioned hydrometers need to be calibrated and the samples adjusted for temperature.
     
  18. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    As Nosy said if you did the measurement while it was hot it would read wrong. It's odd but unlikely to be a major issue.
     
  19. Steve Ruch

    Steve Ruch Member

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    Was the extract THOROUGHLY mixed into the water? If not you can get way high or way low readings.
     
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  20. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If you're confident of your volume of extract and final volume of wort in the fermenter ( marked bucket? carboy? counting additions from a container of know quantity?) then the reading is likely off. All the sugars are there and you're just not accounting for them with an accurate measurement. If the wort was 120 degrees when you took your sample, it would account for the difference.
     
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