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High OG

My buddy and I brewed NB’s kit for Lakefront Fixed Gear this evening. The target OG per the recipe was 1.066, but we somehow ended up at 1.074. We had heard from multiple sources that to increase isomerization of hops in the boil to hold back some of the malt extract until later in the boil. The recipe calls for 96 oz (9.15 lbs) of extract, and we held back about 10 ounces of extract until 10 minutes left in the boil. I’m suspicious this caused our high OG and will cause a high FG, which is not our goal with this beer. Fixed Gear should be a full hop beer, with a malty, but not sweet flavor. (If you’ve had Fixed Gear you know what I mean.)

One thing I had noticed in our first few batches (this is only our fourth batch ever) is that our OG was quite low, so our ABV has been around 3 or 3.5%. In order to aid in the fermentation, and hopefully prevent from producing too sweet of beer, we added 1/2 tsp of Wyeast nutrients to this batch. I’m hoping this kicks the yeast into gear and starts them at eating away at the high OG. I’m cool with a high ABV, but not really keen on the sweetness.

Any thoughts on the freaky high OG would be appreciated.

Cheers!

Are you accounting for temperature? With extract batches, if your volume is correct, it’s virtually impossible to miss the expected original gravity. I suspect with your brews, that the wort was not mixed thoroughly enough which cause a false reading. Fermentation will mix the beer up, and it’s not an issue. The kit’s anticipated OG will be correct if you have the correct volume. Sweetness is usually a Final gravity issue (higher FG=sweeter), and extract brews usually finish higher FG than all grain. You can use some sugar to lower the FG resulting in a dryer, less sweet beer, although i do not brew extract, so the amount of sugar i do not know.

edit: my beersmith says 9.15 lbs of extract will get you 1.080 in a 5 gallons batch and 1.067 for a 6 gallon batch

After reading the kit and instructions, it definitely says it is for a 5 gallons batch. This is curious considering it conflicts with my beersmith information. Sorry, but i think you’ll have to wait for some other forum members to chime in on the subject. Maybe the kit is incorrect?

I guess I should have been clearer. This was a sort of mini-mash kit, which included “specialty grains”, that being .75 lb Briess Caramel 60L and .5 lb Belgian Special B, along with the 9.15 lbs of NB Gold malt extract syrup. Temp shouldn’t really be much of an issue; we were at 64 F. As far as mixing goes, once the water hit 170 F we pulled the grains and boiled for 60 minutes, stirring incessantly; we added that last 10 oz of extract 10 minutes before we cut the boil, and again stirred incessantly. Hopefully the yeast nutrients will kick them into gear to cut this OG down.

I would hope the kit is correct! I purchased it from the NB store here in Milwaukee. The kit included exactly what was on the instructions. We followed the instructions save for the exceptions I mentioned. Oh well. I guess we’ll find out what results in 6 weeks.

Still, i think the OG should have been higher with 9.15lb for 5 gallons. Did you do a full boil (that would eliminate a mixing issue, and the chance at a false reading)? Original gravity is the gravity before the yeast are introduced, and the original gravity never changes, but the beer’s gravity will lower from the OG. Yeast nutrient wont change the Original gravity. The beer will indeed lower in gravity, lower it from the OG. If that makes since, it’s kinda hard to explain…

I also do hope the kit is correct and i am incorrect. I think we’ll have to wait for another forum member to help us out on this one

I understand how OG and FG work. We did a full boil for most of the extract. We held back about 10 oz until 10 minutes left in the boil. But we mixed that well and didn’t have any issues with unmixed extract when we poured it into the brew bucket. In regards to the yeast and the nutrients, I’m hoping that all processes the sugars sufficiently to bring the gravity down to about 1.015 or 1.017.

Indeed. originally i thought you topped off with water (like many extract brewers), sometimes the water and the wort don’t mix completely, but you convinced me that is NOT your issue. adding extract later in the boil should not affect OG. Still i think your OG should have been higher, not lower, in 5 gallons… either way, higher OG will definitely increase the ABV. You might want to consider emailing Northern Brewer about the kit and its specifications. i’m also curious what other forum members might say. sorry i couldnt be much help

:cheers:

my bad, i typed in dry extract on my beersmith, and you used the syrup. syrup extract should give you 1.066 for 5 gallons. not sure why you have too high OG, are you sure you ended with a full 5 gallons? other than that, i dont see how your OG could be that high. have you calibrated your hydrometer? If you ended with 4.5 gallons, 9.15lbs of extract syrup will give you 1.073

sorry for the confusion… :oops:

I’d guess you have less than 5 gallons. If you didn’t top off, your hydrometer is calibrated, and you didn’t add additional extract (you’d have to add about an extra pound!) that leaves only volume as the culprit for high OG. You can add extra boiled/cooled water to get up to 5 gallons or you can leave it and have a stronger beer.

:cheers:

I double checked it. We’re at 5 gallons and still got 1.074. Maybe I’ll have to go read through the instructions and my notes again to maybe think of something else we did differently.

I’m not too concerned one way or the other. We’ll still have good beer in the end. I’d just like to be able to get my numbers to work out if I’m doing things correctly.

[quote=“mvsawyer”]I’d guess you have less than 5 gallons. If you didn’t top off, your hydrometer is calibrated, and you didn’t add additional extract (you’d have to add about an extra pound!) that leaves only volume as the culprit for high OG. You can add extra boiled/cooled water to get up to 5 gallons or you can leave it and have a stronger beer.

:cheers: [/quote]

+1. like i said before, with extract, it is impossible to miss your OG if you hit the correct volume. how do you know you have 5 gallons? maybe your bucket is slightly inaccurate

It’s a bucket produced specifically for brewing beer with measurements on the side. Once again, I’d be surprise if NB carried a bucket withan an inaccurate volume scale on it.

yes, but its impossible to get 1.074 from 9.15 liquid extract for 5 gallons. There is definitely something there that we are missing. Theres really not much it could be, it HAS to be one of four things: Incorrect volume, a incorrect hydrometer reading, possibly yet highly unlikely a NB mistake, or an addition of a lb of extract.

goodluck, im sure it’le still be good, nothing wrong with a little move abv. :cheers:

Full boil for most of the extract? So you did not use any top off water? Apologies if you alrady know this, but full boil means that you don’t top off your fermenters with water after the boil…meaning that you start with 6-6.5 gallons or so pre-boil and let that boil down to your desired 5 gallons.

Some of those have been known to be off. when it’s empty, measure it yourself so you know for sure. As has been said, if you use all the extract and end up with the intended volume, your OG pretty much has to be what they say.

Ok, I guess I used the wrong terminology then. I boiled for the complete period that the instructions called for, that being 2.5 gallons at 60 minutes. We added most of the extract at 60 minutes, but held back about 10 ounces until 10 minutes to allow for better hop isomerization. Then after cooling to 80F we added cold water to the fermenter to complete the 5 gal. volume.

The kit included 1.25 lbs of “specialty grains”, that being .75 of Carmel 60L and Belgian Special B. I assume NB would have included this in their recipe to come to the target OG, but who knows.

[quote=“Tim H.”]

Ok, I guess I used the wrong terminology then. I boiled for the complete period that the instructions called for, that being 2.5 gallons at 60 minutes. We added most of the extract at 60 minutes, but held back about 10 ounces until 10 minutes to allow for better hop isomerization. Then after cooling to 80F we added cold water to the fermenter to complete the 5 gal. volume.

The kit included 1.25 lbs of “specialty grains”, that being .75 of Carmel 60L and Belgian Special B. I assume NB would have included this in their recipe to come to the target OG, but who knows.[/quote]

the late addition of extract wont affect the OG, it would be the same no matter when you added it, and the grains wont affect your OG enough to notice… what happened is when you took your hydrometer reading, the water you added, and the wort you boiled, were not mixed 100% (and there is nothing wrong with that). This means that you took your hydro reading in a more concentrated wort because the water you added wasn’t mixed entirely. which resulted in a false reading. fermentation will mix them 100% and your real og was 1.066… you hit your target OG. northern brewer cant predict how well your top off water and wort are mixed. but they can tell you exactly what OG you will get, given the amount of extract and volume of water (there are mathematic equations that calculate this, and there is NO wiggle room). lots of extract brewers don’t take OG readings for this reason.

Ok, I guess I used the wrong terminology then. I boiled for the complete period that the instructions called for, that being 2.5 gallons at 60 minutes. We added most of the extract at 60 minutes, but held back about 10 ounces until 10 minutes to allow for better hop isomerization. Then after cooling to 80F we added cold water to the fermenter to complete the 5 gal. volume.

The kit included 1.25 lbs of “specialty grains”, that being .75 of Carmel 60L and Belgian Special B. I assume NB would have included this in their recipe to come to the target OG, but who knows.[/quote]

Not trying to be a terminology nazi or anything…but like S.Scoggin said, you probably just didn’t get your wort mixed properly, not a thing wrong with that. Your OG was probably right on then since your volume was correct, and the beer should turn out great. :cheers:

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