Original gravity is consistently higher than anticipated

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by ForeverBrewing, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. ForeverBrewing

    ForeverBrewing New Member

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    Hi all,

    First post, although I'm a long time user of the site. To be honest, its my very first time posting onto any sort of forum, so apologies if its in the wrong place or anything!!!

    I've been having a somewhat minor problem for a while now and its giving me a major headache trying to work out what the problem is, hoping for opinions.
    All my Original Gravity readings are way off going into fermentor. For example, expected OG of 1.057, real OG of 1.070! This isn't a one off, and has been happening consistently for ages.
    Now i appreciate that its not the end of the world and diluting the wort will result in more beer of the desired strength, but its driving me mad trying to work out why its happening!
    All ingredients are measured, my equipment has been calibrated, all measurements are temperature corrected and most importantly all wort has been thoroughly mixed. In fact, as i'm doing full boils mixing is a total non-issue.
    As i'm using dried extract and steeping grains it's not a question of efficiency as the steeping grains add so little to the gravity.
    I was thinking maybe is the dried extract stronger in terms of gravity ppg than both the recipe calculator and indeed the suppliers website suggest? It's a long shot, but possible?

    I'm quite happy to listen to any suggestions, i reckon i've thought of everything my teeny mind can comprehend, and if I have to read "maybe you didn't mix it thoroughly enough" from any more internet searches I'll go blind.

    Cheers,

    Kev
     
  2. coolitfast

    coolitfast New Member

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    How much more wort do you end up with? Does your hop utilization seem OK? Maybe to much evaporation during boil?
     
  3. ForeverBrewing

    ForeverBrewing New Member

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    Utilisation is good, boiloff is around 4 liters for 60 minute boil inside, 3.5L outside. Usually start boil around the 21/22 liter mark, so end up around 17 liter-ish (Had a small boiler, recently upgraded)

    I see where you are coming from, but...

    if I were to dilute the wort to the pitch level it is still way over predicted gravity (I have done this a few times and scratched my head looking blankly...) and I need to dilute further to get to the aimed for gravity. I think once I was aiming for 21L and ended up with over 25L.

    Thank you for thinking about my silly non-problem though, much appreciated!
     
  4. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    This may be simpler than you think... ;)
    The recipe editor here has the "brewhouse efficiency" field. I am not sure what the default calculation is based on, but it is definitely worth tweeking if you are getting consistently "off" OGs.
    I always adjust mine to match my actual OG. This is actually a good way to pick up on changes in efficiency due to changes elsewhere in my process. (e.g. h2o-2-malt ratio change = efficiency change, or mash-temp change = efficiency change, etc, etc)
    PS, fwiw, I have a very simple all-grain setup and brew very simply (e.g. single rest + 1x batch sparge) and have an efficiency somewhere between 65 and 70%, depending on recipe / procedure.
     
  5. ForeverBrewing

    ForeverBrewing New Member

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    Thank you sbaclimber, but unfortunately the efficiency option doesn't make an awful lot of difference for extract brewing as the amount of speciality grains that are steeped is negligible compared to the amount of gravity points coming from the extract. Plus of course the grains are merely steeped rather than mashed.
    As for your later point, I have recently invested in the gear to step up to all grain so hopefully this issue will be relegated to history!
     
  6. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kevin,
    First of all, sugar in wort doesn't evaporate or go away. If you put in 1 pound of sugar into a gallon of water you'll get 46 gravity points or 1.046. If you put it into 5 gallons, you'll get 1.009. 46/5= 9ish.
    That being said, the extracts have a calculated amount sugar in them and will give you a fairly precise gravity based on the volume of water the're diluted into.
    The steeping grains, as you stated will add points but are mainly unfermentable and will add to a higher OG/FG in your beer.
    I'd start by checking your hydrometer. Be fairly accurate with your volumes and temperatures when taking your readings.
    Also, if you post a recipe, I'm sure someone here will look at it and be able to see whats going on.
    Good Luck and keep Brewing!
    Brian
     
  7. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Ah, very true. Didn't click that you were extract brewing...
    All-grain is definitely way more fun (and work)! :D
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    Just a tip, don't change your brewing to match a recipe, Chang the recipe to match your brewing, you might want to raise your efficiency and alter the base dme to get the results to match
     
  9. ForeverBrewing

    ForeverBrewing New Member

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    Firstly, sorry for the tardy reply, been working way too much and brewing way too little.

    Brian; hydrometer, thermometer(s) and volume measurements are all calibrated accurately unfortunately, so i don't think that it'll be that. I hear what you are saying about the unfermentables from the steeping grains, but would the recipe builder not take that into account? I had used quite a large amount of steeping grains for a couple of brews, perhaps it is having an adverse (ish) effect on the gravity readings. But then wouldn't it also effect the final gravity? This nearly always turns out exactly as the recipe builder predicts (within 1 or 2 points, not the 15-20 swing that the OG has!).

    Ozark; I'm not changing my brewing process, merely wondering why it is happening! And raising the efficiency makes next to no difference unfortunately, and i'd love to alter the amount of DME that i'm using to better gain the target OG but I have no idea why it is so much higher than predicted so cannot accurately adjust the amounts! Frustrating, but not really life or death I know!

    Any who, thanks a lot for both of your input, it's always nice when 2 forum stalwarts try to help a n00b like me!

    Much appreciated,

    Kev
     
  10. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Post a recipe and we can look at it.
    Your last post stated you used "quite a large amount of steeping grains". This could certainly be a contributing factor.
    Brian
     
  11. ForeverBrewing

    ForeverBrewing New Member

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    Cheers mentor,

    not sure if this is going to be right, but ive copied a couple of recipes for your perusal here...

    HOME BREW RECIPE:
    Title: Kentish IPA

    Brew Method: Extract
    Style Name: English IPA
    Boil Time: 60 min
    Batch Size: 21 liters (fermentor volume)
    Boil Size: 27 liters
    Boil Gravity: 1.014
    Efficiency: 50% (steeping grains only)

    STATS:
    Original Gravity: 1.051
    Final Gravity: 1.012
    ABV (standard): 5.17%
    IBU (tinseth): 59.81
    SRM (morey): 8.32

    FERMENTABLES:
    850 g - Dry Malt Extract - Light (25.4%)
    2000 g - Dry Malt Extract - Light - (late addition) (59.7%)

    STEEPING GRAINS:
    150 g - United Kingdom - Crystal 30L (4.5%)
    100 g - United Kingdom - Crystal 140L (3%)
    250 g - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (7.5%)

    HOPS:
    28 g - East Kent Goldings, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 5.7, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 24.27
    28 g - East Kent Goldings, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 5.7, Use: Boil for 30 min, IBU: 18.65
    28 g - East Kent Goldings, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 5.7, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 12.04
    28 g - East Kent Goldings, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 5.7, Use: Boil for 5 min, IBU: 4.84
    30 g - East Kent Goldings, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 5.7, Use: Dry Hop for 14 days

    OTHER INGREDIENTS:
    5 g - Irish Moss, Time: 15 min, Type: Fining, Use: Boil

    YEAST:
    Danstar - Nottingham Ale Yeast
    Starter: No
    Form: Dry
    Attenuation (avg): 77%
    Flocculation: High
    Optimum Temp: 13.89 - 21.11 C
    Fermentation Temp: 19 C


    This recipe has been published online at:
    http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/r ... entish-ipa

    Generated by Brewer's Friend - http://www.brewersfriend.com/
    Date: 2015-05-09 08:59 UTC
    Recipe Last Updated: 2015-04-10 10:55 UTC




    HOME BREW RECIPE:
    Title: Green Bullet IPA

    Brew Method: Extract
    Style Name: American IPA
    Boil Time: 30 min
    Batch Size: 21 liters (fermentor volume)
    Boil Size: 10 liters
    Boil Gravity: 1.042
    Efficiency: 50% (steeping grains only)

    STATS:
    Original Gravity: 1.057
    Final Gravity: 1.011
    ABV (standard): 6.01%
    IBU (tinseth): 62.41
    SRM (morey): 7.68

    FERMENTABLES:
    800 g - Dry Malt Extract - Light (21.2%)
    2.2 kg - Dry Malt Extract - Light - (late addition) (58.2%)

    STEEPING GRAINS:
    480 g - United Kingdom - Clear Choice (12.7%)
    200 g - United Kingdom - Crystal 60L (5.3%)
    100 g - United Kingdom - Caragold (2.6%)

    HOPS:
    30 g - Green Bullet, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12, Use: Boil for 30 min, IBU: 32.76
    30 g - Green Bullet, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 21.15
    30 g - Green Bullet, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12, Use: Boil for 5 min, IBU: 8.5

    OTHER INGREDIENTS:
    5 g - Irish Moss, Time: 15 min, Type: Fining, Use: Boil

    YEAST:
    Fermentis / Safale - American Ale Yeast US-05
    Starter: No
    Form: Dry
    Attenuation (avg): 81%
    Flocculation: Medium
    Optimum Temp: 12.22 - 25 C
    Fermentation Temp: 19 C

    NOTES:
    Neales Yard West Coast Yeast - supposed to be US-05 in disguise.


    The rest of my recipes are on my brewing report thing complete with my brewing notes; they should be public I think...!
     
  12. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    OK, I quickly looked at the Kentish beer.
    Are you getting an OG higher than 1.051?
    This would be in the fermenting bucket, at 21 liters, after being vigorously shaken and at 60° (15.55C).
     

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