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A Homebrewing Club Serving Boise, Nampa, and the Treasure Valley of Idaho.
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Author Topic: Why was my starting gravity so high?  (Read 7322 times)
mgidaho
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« on: January 15, 2011, 05:05:26 PM »

So I am still fairly new at using a hydrometer and I tested my latest batch of pale ale right before pitching the yeast and my OG was way higher than it should have been. I am curious if there was something I screwed up when making my beer or is there something that I am doing wrong when making my beer? Here is the recipe:
OG=1.052 FG=1.013
2.5lbs of light DME
3.3lbs of liquid malt extract (late addition)
1lb Munich malt
14oz two-row
4 oz 60L crystal
1oz centennial hops 60 min
.75 cascade hops 15min
.75 cascade hops 5 min
1tsp Irish moss
Wyeast American Ale

Steep grains @ 150F for 30 min with 3.3 quarts, rinsed grains with 1.5 quarts water @ 170F. Added enough water to make 3 gallons added DME boiled then added liquid malt and hops at required times and then added enough water at the end to equal 5 gallons.

Right after I moved all of the wort into my carboy but before I pitched the yeast I checked my OG and it read 1.070!! Undecided What is the deal with that? Could my OG really be that high with as little malt I had in my wort? Could have all the ingredients still in suspension thrown off my sample reading making it more buoyant? I checked my hydrometer and it read only a point or two off while sitting in water (1.002). Any help with what I may have done wrong or something I need to try or change would be greatly appreciated. My beer has been fermenting for about 24 hours now and seems to be bubbling along just fine.

Thanks guys, Mike
 Grin
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rob
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2011, 05:09:38 PM »

When you add water post boil, it's tough to make sure everything is mixed.
Maybe it wasn't mixed up well and you took the sample from the thicker part?
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mgidaho
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2011, 05:25:16 PM »

When you add water post boil, it's tough to make sure everything is mixed.
Maybe it wasn't mixed up well and you took the sample from the thicker part?

Thats a good point. I was kinda wondering that myself. My beer theif dipps all the way down to the bottom of my carboy to get a sample. So that could be very true. I have been thinking about switching my beer theif to the kind where you dip it down inside the beer and have to cover the top with your thumb to hold suction.
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RAWKON
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2011, 06:55:21 PM »

are you sure you didn't pour too much extract?

does it really bother you that your gravity is a little high? all that means is your beer will have a little extra kick Grin
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2011, 08:45:48 AM »

When you add water post boil, it's tough to make sure everything is mixed.
Maybe it wasn't mixed up well and you took the sample from the thicker part?

Thats a good point. I was kinda wondering that myself. My beer theif dipps all the way down to the bottom of my carboy to get a sample. So that could be very true. I have been thinking about switching my beer theif to the kind where you dip it down inside the beer and have to cover the top with your thumb to hold suction.

I've done the same thing in reverse. I had just added water and checked the gravity and thought I somehow poured most of the extract down the sink when I went from kettle to fermenter. Turned out I was just measuring the water on top. If you have any way to backtrack and figure out exactly how much water and extract you added, and steeping grains, you will know your starting gravity without needing the hydrometer reading.

When brewing with extracts a hydrometer is most useful in determining when your beer is done and with trouble shooting during fermentation. It is fun though to twirl the hydrometer and see where you're starting at.
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Mike
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2011, 10:55:20 AM »

What was the temp of the wort when you checked it? Did you compensate for that? I really don't know and I am not qualified to answer that.
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mgidaho
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2011, 03:55:52 PM »

Thanks for all the help guys. When I made my beer I know I put in the correct amount of malt extract and I did compensate for the difference in temperature. I am not terribly worried about my OG starting out so high I am just wondering if it will have any effect on the yeast since I only use a Wyeast smack pack and no starter. I've always been told that if I am going to have an OG high than 1.060 than I need to make a starter.

Next time I make a beer and I go to test the OG should I mix up the carboy really well before testing it?

Anyways I am going to keep a close eye on it and see where my beers goes. Smiley

Thanks, Mike
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rob
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2011, 04:19:33 PM »

I'd give the carboy several good shakes with a circular motion once you cover the top with sanitized aluminum foil. Then take your sample.
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RAWKON
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2011, 04:41:23 PM »

my OG starting out so high I am just wondering if it will have any effect on the yeast since I only use a Wyeast smack pack and no starter. I've always been told that if I am going to have an OG high than 1.060 than I need to make a starter.


I use starters on all of my beers no mater what the OG is projected, you don't have to, but Its a little extra measure of caution if something goes wrong you know you have more than enough yeast cells to do the job. My beers improved ten-fold when i started paying more attention to my yeast cultures. Plus if you buy DME in bulk (Niko has it for 22 bucks in 6 lb bags) its only a small cost compared to what is gained in return.
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