Low starting specific gravity, what went wrong?

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Low starting specific gravity, what went wrong?

Postby Black_Raven » Tue Jun 19, 2001 7:20 am

My wife and I (new to brewing) were using a kit we purchased to make a porter. It had 1 pound of Chocolate Malt, 1 3.3 pound can of hopped malt extract and 2 pounds of dark DME. I added 1 pound of flaked oats (trying to make an oatmeal porter) and our starting specific gravity was 1.024 (at 70F) which is much lower than we expected. Any ideas to what could have gone wrong? Could it be the introduction of the oats? Could it be that it was not a true rolling boil, but more of a simmering boil? Am I on the wrong track?
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volume?

Postby xbrewer » Tue Jun 19, 2001 10:32 pm

What woas the volume of your wort? For a 5 gallon batch, the ingredients you listed should have, as you expected, resulted in a much higher original gravity. Unfortunately, if the information you provide is correct and it was indeed a 5 gallon batch, I can see no clue as to what went wrong. Have you checked your hydrometer to make sure it's accurate? Are you reading the right scale? The oats and the lack of vigor in your boil should not have this effect on the gravity. I wish I could be more helpful, but It seems there is a key peice of information missing here.
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Volume, oats?

Postby jeff » Wed Jun 20, 2001 2:46 am

My guess is that the wort is diluted with too much water. I say that because 5-1/3 pounds of malt extract should produce a higher gravity by itself if indeed you are brewing 5 gallons; and you really can
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Response to volume...

Postby Black_Raven » Wed Jun 20, 2001 6:44 am

The volume of the wort boil was three gallons, and we topped off to five gallons in the primary fermentor. We just finished a Nut Brown Ale, and the starting specific gravity of that was 1.048, so the hydrometer is working and I seem to be reading it okay. We have since tasted and bottled the Porter (it tasted good by the way) so I'm wondering if it's possible to figure the final alcohol content of the Porter without knowing the beginning specific gravity reading. This would tell me that I just screwed up the first reading somehow (although I took it three times since I didn't believe it). Thanks for trying to help me with this, maybe I'm just stuck with drinking a 2% alcohol Porter, which means I can drink more of them at one sitting which isn't so bad.
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Response to Volume, Oats.

Postby Black_Raven » Wed Jun 20, 2001 6:50 am

Thanks for the information. Our wort boil was three gallons, and we topped off to five gallons in the primary fermentor so the problem isn't the volume. I did mash the oats (as well as the chocolate malt) before the wort boil so that wasn't a problem either. We just did a Nut Brown Ale and the beginning specific gravity of that was 1.048 so the hydrometer is working fine. I didn't use the tube for the reading with the Porter, but I did for the Brown, so maybe I just screwed up the reading somehow (not the first time I ever screwed up). We bottled (and taste tested) the Porter and I have to admit I'm pleased with it and I guess that's the important thing. Thanks for taking the time to help me sort this out, I really appreciate it...
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O.G. Measurement

Postby mugwump » Fri Jun 22, 2001 7:31 am

...sounds like you may have done what I once did - after topping off a batch of extract brew in the fermentor, I didn't properly stir in the water to get a uniform mix, I simply drew a sample off the top without thinking about it, set it aside and closed up ther fermentor. I was more than a little puzzled when I read the OG to be around 1.021.
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Good Answer

Postby dartedplus » Fri Jun 22, 2001 12:11 pm

I think you might be right. I did that once before, but I just figured I did something wrong, so I didnt worry about it too muchh. Just so long as the finished product tastes good. So RELAX....
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I think that's it.

Postby Black_Raven » Sat Jun 23, 2001 5:18 am

You're right, I didn't stir it up until just before I was ready to pitch the yeast, and I'd already drawn my sample at that point. You people are great, thanks for all the help. Now I can relax, ahhhhhh.......
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