Original Gravity Way Lower Than Anticipated

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Euphrates, Feb 16, 2021.

  1. Euphrates

    Euphrates New Member

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    Hello guys, I brewed mead before but this was my first attempt at brewing beer. After making a lot of research I made my own recipe based on a few others, and here is the recipe; https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/918381/buddha-bomber

    The thing is, when I measured the original gravity in the end, it came around to 1.030-1.032, which is way below what I anticipated by the recipe of 1.053. I am wondering what might be the problem, is it normal for a recipe to differ this much, can it be related to the wort not being mixed up properly or any other reasons I miscalculated? (Before you mention, I temperature corrected the hydrometer which at most increases OG by 0.002)

    Here are the steps I followed in case it helps;

    • Steeped the grains in 10 Liters (2.64 Gallons) of water in 70-72 degrees C (158-161 F) for an hour.
    • Rinsed the grain sack with 1 liter (33 oz) of 100 C (212 F) water.
    • Brought the wort up to a boil and added 1.5 Liters (50 oz) of light liquid malt and started boiling for an hour.
    • Added 14 grams (0.5 oz) of Target hops at the beginning of the boil and 28 grams (1 oz) of Brewer's Gold hops 45 minutes later.
    • Skimmed the thin layer forming on top of the boil.
    • After the boil, placed the pot in a cold bath to cool down.
    • Poured the contents into a carboy and added water to top it up to 18 Liters (4.75 Gallons).
    • Pitched the yeast at 28 C (82 F) (Don't worry, the yeast is fine).
    • Proceed to take a measurement and be baffled by the reading of 1.030-1.032.
    I would be glad if you can help me figure this out.
     
  2. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Your process looks fine to me. It would almost have to be not mixing the wort & water well enough.
     
  3. 4Bentley

    4Bentley Active Member

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    #3 4Bentley, Feb 17, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
    Was the grain crushed? Did you squeeze the bag after rinsing? Did you have expected volume of finished beer?
     
  4. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    #4 Bubba Wade, Feb 17, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
    I think something is off on your recipe or efficiency.

    To get a gravity of 1.053 for a 4.75 gallon batch, about 7 pounds of extract is required. I estimate that your 50 fluid ounces gives you about 4.5 pounds. 4.5 pounds of extract in a 4.75 gallon batch would yield an OG of around 1.033 which is pretty darn close to what you got.

    However, with the partial mash, you were also getting sugars from the steeping grains. Based on your recipe, you had about a 25% mash efficiency. I suspect too high of a mash temperature. The diastatic power of the pilsner should have been sufficient for conversion of itself and the other malts. If this malt was exposed to high water temperature (over 170 or so), the conversion enzymes may have been dentures, which would account for the lower yield.
     
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  5. Euphrates

    Euphrates New Member

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    Thanks everyone for all the replies. First of all, I cracked the grains myself (might've too finely crushed the pale wheat) and I haven't squeezed the bag, instead I just rinsed it and waited for it to stop dripping since the recipe I based this one on told me so. I expected the final recipe to be 18 liters.

    For steeping the grains, I checked the temperature every 10 minutes and it never went above 163 degrees for the entire hour. I was not mixing the mash during this phase thou, so perhaps the temperature towards the bottom was greater than the surface of the solution that I was measuring.

    I know that there are some laboratories that can analyze the exact ABV from a sample but I don't know if I should be bothered. Anything above 3-4% ABV should be fine, yet I enjoy making custom labels for my bottles which state the ABV. Right now I just don't know whether the measurement was wrong or my recipe which resulted in a low OG.
     
  6. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    I'm leaning to a measurement that was taken from a not properly mixed sample.
    Let it go, and see what beer you end uo with ;)
     
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  7. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    70C is quite high for a mash temperature as well just FYI. I mash just about everything between 64-66C.

    That wouldn't affect your extract but could impact the grains. I wouldn't stress to hard about this one though and on your next attempt make sure to give it a good stir before measuring.
     
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  8. Euphrates

    Euphrates New Member

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    Yeah, lets just hope I failed to mix it well because the carboy was quite heavy :D Currently the beer looks fine and bubbles from the air trap smell quite nice. I am gonna let it ferment for a total of 3 weeks then bottle it and perhaps sample a bit for taste. Planning to use 110.8 grams (~3.9 oz) of table sugar for priming to 2.4 volumes of carbon dioxide suggested by the calculator for Belgian Ales since I am trying to make a Belgian Saison. Hope the carbonation will be right since I am afraid of making a bottle bomb o_O Some calculators suggest 3.2 vol for Saison but I am open to suggestions.

    On my next beer, I will try to aim for 64-66C for the mash and see how it turns out, glad for the tip. It was hard to stir it after placing it in the carboy since the mouth of it is quite tiny, I tried to shake it up instead to mix, which was probably not the best method.
     
  9. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    You can always measure it before you put it in the carboy too. I use stainless steel buckets so access is quite easy.

    I have no useful opinion on bottling as I use kegs almost exclusively.
     
  10. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Best option for mixing and aerating inside a carboy is a stir-stick that you attach to a drill. The blades fold so you can get them through the carboy neck. When spinning, the centrifugal force spreads the blades out.
    upload_2021-2-17_12-28-27.png


    Also, I bottle all my beer and the only tip I have is to use the maximum fermentation temperature when the calculator asks for temperature of the beer. The reason for this is warm beer cannot keep as much CO2 in solution as cold beer. As the temperature drops after active fermentation, or you cold-crash prior to bottling, very little CO2 will go back into solution so, the warmer temperature will give a more accurate amount of sugar to add. Second tip would be to be patient. You will be disappointed if you try one after one week bottle conditioning. I almost always hold off until three weeks conditioning at approximately 70F (21C); four weeks if conditioning near 60F (15C).
     
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  11. Euphrates

    Euphrates New Member

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    Just a heads up on how everything is going. For some reason, my previous comment has been stuck in moderation for 10 days. It has been 20 days since the fermentation began and I am planning on bottling the brew tomorrow. Yesterday I degassed it a little within the carboy by swirling it around. Right now I feel like it has cleared pretty nicely, the only thing I am worried about is, as the air trap suggests pressure within the carboy is lower than outside pressure. Is this due to me degassing it in the carboy and perhaps carbon dioxide dissolving back into the liquid afterward? I just want to make sure it is ready for bottling before I accidentally make a bottle bomb or something :D


    WhatsApp Image 2021-02-27 at 14.18.46(1).jpeg WhatsApp Image 2021-02-27 at 14.18.46.jpeg
     
  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    We have a moderation? Huh.

    I personally wouldn't worry after 20 days. If you can take a sample reading do so and if it's weirdly high (>1.018) maybe stop and ask us but otherwise I have to imagine it's done.

    The "suck back" effect could even just be from the room cooling off. It doesn't look like much and I wouldn't stress to hard about it.
     
  13. Euphrates

    Euphrates New Member

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    Well moderation is probably because I am using a trial membership :D

    I think the suck back effect was due to me leaving the window open as you said since I noticed it went back to normal after that.

    Yesterday I transferred it to a bucket and the gravity was 1.010 which was the suggested final gravity of the recipe I generated so I degassed with a paddle, primed it to somewhere in between 2.3-2.4 vol's, and bottled. We tasted the remaining bit and it tastes quite good and unique. It feels like its' alcohol content is closer to 5.66% suggested by the recipe rather than 2.89% which I measured. I don't know if that small of a difference can be noticed thou.

    The only thing I am slightly worried about right now is, I am going to save some bottles to bring over to friends during summer, yet the room temperature is 20-25C (68-77F) degrees currently. It can go up to 40C (104F) during summer in our vacation place. Would that be enough to push carbon dioxide vol above 3.5 and cause the bottle to explode or would it be fine?

    Here is the message that is still stuck in moderation by the way;

    I have a plastic bucket that I don't want to use for fermentation, perhaps I'll transfer the mash to the bucket and mix it thoroughly with a paddle next time. For carbonation, I found out that for the 500ml European bottles, its max carbonation is 3.5 vol, then it starts getting dangerous, so I would rather use 2.4 just to leave a pretty safe headroom. I am going to bring them over to our vacation place in summer to enjoy with friends so I don't want them popping due to heat ;) This is the type of bottle I am going to use;
    Screenshot_2021-03-01 Original Gravity Way Lower Than Anticipated.png

    For those drill attached stir sticks, I have seen them in videos and they work great but unfortunately I couldn't find them in my country and didn't wanted to bother with import taxes, hence why I got the plastic stir paddle instead :) Maybe I'll invest in one in the future though since they are quite useful.

    I attached an aquarium thermometer to the carboy to see fermentation temperature and it started out with 22-24C and currently down to 18-20C even though it is kept under my desk. I will calculate the fermentation temperature as 25C just to be safe since the thermometer doesn't have 25C on it.

    I am planning on waiting at least 3 weeks for the priming to complete before opening one and tasting it. Most of them will sit for 3-4 months since I am saving them for summer.

    This was my first post on this forum and all of you guys have been super helpful. Thanks again for all the tips and insight! :D
     
  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    You're not likely to run into a "to warm" problem. The bigger risk is throwing to much sugar in.

    I don't bottle much cause I hate it, but I would say take one after a week, and try it. Then after 2 weeks, then after 3 weeks. At which point that's about it.

    If you're not confident of the bottles, find a rubbermaid tote to put over them and worst case you bottle bomb the tote. I wouldn't worry to much though.
     
  15. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Warmer temperature shouldn't cause further fermentation, but may encourage quicker fermentation. Think of it this way, you have added food to your dogs bowl (priming sugar for the yeast to eat), rest assured that the dog (yeast) will eat every bit of food (priming sugar) you put in the bowl. As long as you added the correct amount of priming sugar, your dog should not explode!
     
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  16. Euphrates

    Euphrates New Member

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    Well the bottles are brand new so there should be no problem there :D Also I am aware that there won't be any more carbon dioxide in the bottle after the fermentation is complete, it is just that I was vary of the expansion of the gas currently within the bottle. Yet I suppose since all of the beer manufacturer's don't have to account for the temperature of the area where they are going to sell the beer, it should be fine.

    Right now I placed all of them in an empty unused room so even if they go off, they won't hurt anyone. Also I'll bubble wrap them when transporting over the journey just to keep them safe and from popping.
     
  17. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I'd say after a couple weeks try one and see how carbonated it is. Do it in a sink, cause if it gushes you'll make a mess.

    If it doesn't gush I would not worry about bottle bombs.
     
  18. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    That's a fairly large difference in ABV. How did you measure 2.89%? Drink three and you'll be able to feel the difference.
     
  19. Euphrates

    Euphrates New Member

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    Yup, I am planning on popping one after 3 weeks of priming, thanks for the sink tip!

    Well it was supposed to be 1.053 OG but when I measured it with a hydrometer, it was around 1.030-1.032. Nearly half a bottle (500ml) was left after bottling and after drinking that, it felt like the alcohol was definitely closer to the upper end of 5.66%.
     

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