Lower OG than anticipated

dave althouse

Trial Member
Aug 18, 2013
Reaction score
OK, 4th batch in primary and I still consider myself in the early novice stage of the whole brewing ability. My brew is a dunkelweizen, using the "Brewers Friend" brew steps the OG for this style was to be 1.080, however it ends up at 1.050. My question then is if I shoot for an OG of 1.080 and it's lower or even higher than the estimate, what changes the final number? How important is it the be right on, or do you just deal with the outcome and enjoy. What I understand is those numbers only indicate what the final alcohol % is, right?


dave a
That is a pretty large difference. If you were between 1.079 and 1.081 I wouldn't worry. OG/FG indicate the alcohol level, but things like body and flavor are also be impacted. A 1.080 beer is a big beer, and a 1.050 beer is more average. They would turn out totally different. It is important to be able to hit your numbers consistently. That should not be hard to do after a few brews.

The two biggest factors are efficiency and overall batch size.

Is this an All Grain batch? What is the efficiency set to? Did you hit your target volume?

To a lesser extent measurements of weights, volumes, and gravity reading play into this, so that could also be part of the issue. For example, hydrometers readings need to be temperature corrected.

Make sure to study up on our definitions of efficiency (there are actually 4 types):

Let us know some details and we'll help you out!
This was a extract with steeping grains. The efficiency 75%. I think I need to research this more.
Steeping grain efficiency should only be 35% or less. However, that would still not account for such a huge difference.

Did you mix up dry malt extract (DME) and liquid malt extract (LME)? By weight, LME has a lower sugar contribution than DME.

I would talk to the folks at your local home brew store (LHBS) and get a pre-made kit from them for your next batch just so you are sure to be on target. Designing your own recipes is the next step after getting the process down pat.
I kept being off on mine, and like Larry said it was because my efficiency had defaulted to like 65% when in reality it was about 33% for myself.

While I was trying to find what I had messed up on, I ran across a post that said in extract it is really hard to miss OG by large variables, and typically it is because it was not mixed enough and you ended up measuring more water versus an even mixture of wort and water.
OK more information. I did calculations with the tools available on this site. Did an OG calculation with 7.5# of DME and .5# honey and the calculator came up with 1.071og, also using the formula of DME =45 points of gravity (LME for the honey) I came up with the 1.071 og figure. Played around a bit with the steeping grains changing efficiency from 75% To 35% with minimal change. I guess my final boil was about 2.25g as I added 2.75g to top off to 5 gallon. My wort was right at 60 degrees when i check specific gravity and it was 1.050. Still wonder where the .020 difference is.
DME is closer to 42ppg, and so is honey.

At 8 pounds in a 5 gallon batch I get 1.067:
8 pounds * 42 ppg * 5 gallons = 67.2 = OG of 1.0672

If you got 1.050 after topping off then somewhere a weight measurement was too low (5.5 pounds instead of 7.5 pounds), or a volume measurement was too high (you really have 6 gallons of wort instead of 5).
Ok lots of thoughts, I appreciate it.
Here is the quick run down of my recipe
I used 37ppg for the honey
steeping grains
9oz crystal 40l
8.5oz Munich 60l
2.2oz chocolate
11oz melanoidin
1oz hallertau 60min
.5oz hallertau dry hop
wyeast 3333
2 gallons water for my boil
So based on inputting this into the recipe generator I come up with an OG of 1.069 while less than what you expect, it is still way off from what your actual was. Keep in mind, my equipment profile will be slightly different than yours so that will factor in to the OG a little bit.

I think either Larry is accurate that the weight of something was off, or the wort was not mixed enough and it threw off the measurement.

I recommend ferment and drink this one. And then do it again, and see what your results are. :lol: Worst case, you end up with LOTS of beer.

Title: forumtest

Brew Method: Extract
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 2 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.174
Efficiency: 33% (steeping grains only)

Original Gravity: 1.069
Final Gravity: 1.019
ABV (standard): 6.66%
IBU (tinseth): 4.88
SRM (morey): 15.36

7.25 lb - Dry Malt Extract - Light (75%)
0.5 lb - Honey (5.2%)

9 oz - American - Caramel / Crystal 40L (5.8%)
8.5 oz - American - Munich - 60L (5.5%)
2.2 oz - American - Chocolate (1.4%)
11 oz - German - Melanoidin (7.1%)

1 oz - Domestic Hallertau, Type: Pellet, AA: 3.9, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 4.88

Wyeast - German Wheat 3333
Starter: No
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 73%
Flocculation: High
Optimum Temp: 63 - 75 F
Fermentation Temp: 68 F

Generated by Brewer's Friend - http://www.brewersfriend.com/
Date: 2013-09-17 23:22 UTC
Recipe Last Updated: 2013-09-17 23:22 UTC
Yep and possibly recalibrate your volume lines on your fermentor. Maybe that 5 gallon is really a 6 gallon container??