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gravity issues

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by dethTr0ll, Jan 31, 2013.

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  1. dethTr0ll

    dethTr0ll Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2010 Delaware

    okay so I've done 3 extract batches so far and each batch I've been off on my gravity and I'm not really too sure why. I'm follow the directions come with my extract kits and my gravity is still off. Any suggestions would be nice I'm beginning to get a little discouraged.
  2. OddNotion

    OddNotion Devotee (478) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    How far off? Are you measuring the gravity at the correct temperature? Are you talking starting or finishing gravity?
  3. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2009 Virginia

    How much are you off by? Is your gravity reading too low? Do you happen to do concentrated boils and top off with water? If so, it could just be a case of not mixing the wort thoroughly enough before taking a reading.

    As long as your water volumes are correct, your gravity readings should be fairly predictable in extract batches.
  4. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    How far are you off?

    Don't be discouraged. I have no idea why the gravities are off, but it's not an issue for you right now. Look more towards simple process items. Like how to brew with tons of hops and not clog up transfers, controlling fermentation temps, aeration, etc.
  5. good_gracious

    good_gracious Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2012 Maryland

    Inaccurate wort volume is my bet too. If you get that right and are using all extract, the numbers should be dead on.
  6. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    good_gracious is correct.
    If this is from a kit then you almost HAVE to have the correct gravity as long as you have the 5 gallons in your primary when you measured. My gravity was off just a tiny bit which I took to be not having the right temperature when I measured OR the wort not mixed well enough.
    I don't know what the temp was supposed to be (60?) but I assumed it was warmer. As long as your beer is close to the same temp when you measure final gravity then the comparison works.
  7. dethTr0ll

    dethTr0ll Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2010 Delaware

    okay so what I'm looking at then is the temperature variation and water level?
  8. good_gracious

    good_gracious Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2012 Maryland

    Did you measure the gravity after cooling it or when it was still hot/warm?
  9. MLucky

    MLucky Aspirant (286) Jul 31, 2010 California

    Those are the most likely sources of the variation.

    Temperature: When you take a reading, you have to take the wort temperature and adjust accordingl, or it's going to be inaccurate. Like it says here.

    Water level: If you use the correct amount of extract in the correct amount of water, it's going to produce the correct gravity. Since we know you used the extract from a kit, and you used all of as directed, then the other variable is water. How much did you wind up with at the end of your boil? If less than the planned amount, your gravity will high, if more than you planned, it will be low.
  10. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    OP: more details = good. The more you specify, the better the forum's answers will be. I get great answers to my questions, but then I'm kinda long winded at times... :rolling_eyes:
  11. dethTr0ll

    dethTr0ll Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2010 Delaware

    I know when I take my gravity reading It issupposed to be at 60 degrees Fahrenheit so I always make sure it's about 60 degrees. I have no accurate way to measure water at the moment so im kinda guesstimating at my water volume I'm going to guess that is my issue with my gravity then.
  12. OddNotion

    OddNotion Devotee (478) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Easiest way to figure that out is to fill your carboy/bucket with 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, and 6.5 gallons of water and make some markings on the carboy/bucket where those fill levels are so you know around how much is going in there. Another method is to fill your brew pot with the same amounts of water and take a dowel and mark those fill levels on there when you dip it in the water. Then use it to get an estimate as to where your volume is after your cool your wort down.
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    OP, I am assuming that you are doing a partial boil and then ‘topping off’ with water.

    Could you please describe your process of adding the water to the wort? I highly suspect that you are not getting an adequate mixing of the water and wort; this could lead to the Original Gravity reading being significantly off.

    The variance due to temperature will be a small difference.

  14. dethTr0ll

    dethTr0ll Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2010 Delaware

    I think I'm gonna go do the dowel rod thing now so I have it for my brew day on Sunday.
  15. dethTr0ll

    dethTr0ll Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2010 Delaware

    so what I've been doing is using 5 gallon bottles of water as my tap water is well water and its it's not good to drink. I've been using half the bottle to get my wort made and do my boil and then adding the other half to the wort when I put it in the carboy that's generally I've been going about things.
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    So, if I am understanding you properly you are using 5 gallons of bottled water in your beer making process. You are using about 2.5 gallons for your concentrated boil and the other 2.5 gallons as ‘top off’ water.

    You then pour your concentrated wort into a carboy and afterwards you pour the 2.5 gallons of top off water.

    Do you perform any mechanical mixing afterwards as an aeration technique? Do you have another method of aeration (e.g., an oxygen bottle with an aeration stone)? It is important that you aerate (oxygenate) the wort prior to pitching the yeast.

    So, if you mechanically shake your carboy you are achieving two things: proper mixing of the wort and top off water (so you can obtain an accurate OG reading) and aeration (oxygenation) for the yeast.

    Another consideration is that during your concentrated boil you will experience some boil off. I have no way of knowing what your boil rate is for your setup but hopefully at the end of the concentrated boil you have 2.5 gallons of concentrated wort. If you don’t have 2.5 gallons then you total amount of wort will not be 5 gallons and that could lead to an OG reading being ‘off’.

    OddNotion likes this.
  17. od_sf

    od_sf Aspirant (265) Nov 2, 2010 California

    OP, you still haven't mentioned if your readings are high or low compared to the anticipated gravity in the recipe, and by how much. That info would be helpful.
  18. kjyost

    kjyost Meyvn (1,175) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    When you boil half of the 5 gallons you are going to boil some off, reducing your final volume to less than 5 gallons...
  19. dethTr0ll

    dethTr0ll Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2010 Delaware

    Ph yeah sorry. The readings have always been higher.
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