SG reading vs Top-off volume?

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Wireman, Mar 7, 2020.

  1. Wireman

    Wireman New Member

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    Have been brewing about a year and still learning. Hope this is not a too-common question (or maybe I did not look long enough in prior threads). I brewed an ale for first time here per recipe found in Brewer's Friend. Came to top-off with water after the boil and the cool-down before pitching yeast and going into Primary Fermentation. Recipe would have called for 1.5 gallons of added water. At 1 gallon of added water I checked the SG and found I was already there at the target 1.052. So, I stopped adding water, and never got to the volume also called for in the recipe.

    Which trumps which: SG or volume of top-off water into the wort? Would more added water at that stage wreck the SG reading? Or did I just lose out on an extra half-gallon of final product?

    I suppose I will learn more as I go and see how this new recipe comes out, but is there a "RIGHT ANSWER" in general for this sort of thing to guide me in the future?
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    It's brewer's choice when it comes to volume vs gravity. If you're doing all-grain, it's common to miss your gravity by a little. Keep some LME or DME on hand to boost gravity if it's important to you. Otherwise, just make adjustments to your efficiency setting for the next run.
     
  3. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Anytime you add water to top off volume, gravity readings become problematic. It is very difficult to thoroughly mix the new water into the existing wort without statification. So you will have layers of a little more water or a little more wort which will affect SG. What I do when I need to top off is to take a gravity reading of the wort (before adding water), then use a dilution calculator and calculate how much water I need to add to reach the target OG or if volume is more important, then calculate what my OG will be at my desired volume. I usually use the BF calculator: https://www.brewersfriend.com/dilution-and-boiloff-gravity-calculator/
     
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