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Higher Than Anticipated OG (Like REALLY High!)

Newer to the homebrew game, have now brewed 5 batches since April. Brewed my first coffee stout 5 days ago, using an extract kit (2nd Crack Coffee Stout). This is a 5-gallon kit. Packaging said that the OG should be 1.064. After a little research I decided to try to kick up the OG a little bit to get a little higher ABV brew and some caramel flavor, so I added 1 packed cup of brown sugar to the wort about 20 minutes before the end of the 1-hour boil time, which amounted to just under 1/2 pound. Based on what I read on adding this sugar, I should have figured on about a 1.009 addition in gravity if I had added 1 pound (it’s 1.046 if it were in 1 gallon), but since it was 1/2 pound it should be half that (or about 1.005). So this batch should have started out somewhere around 1.071 OG. I measured OG with a hydrometer and to my amazement I was at 1.114 OG. This was after cooling down the wort to 100 degrees, pouring into sterilized bucket, adding enough tap water to get to 5 gallons (approx. 2.25 gallons of water added, used tub spigot). The 5-gallons of wort was pretty well mixed, and took a 250 ml sample (through the spigot on the bottom of the bucket) and took hydrometer sample at about 81 degrees. This couldn’t have been more than 1-2 minutes after filling to 5-gallons and carrying the bucket downstairs to my basement (meaning more sloshing / mixing, and didn’t sit long). I then filled my 6.5 gallon fermenter, added yeast when cooled down a bit more, and capped it off w/ airlock. I triple checked my OG reading…I’m sure it was at 1.114 OG. Adjusted for temperature it actually was about 1.115 OG. After emptying the sample and washing the tube out, I added tap water and did hydrometer test again at 81 degrees (to match my wort temp). Reading was 1.000 OG…which is what it should be for water. So I trust the hydrometer. Why would I get such a high OG reading? I do get every drop of extract malt syrup out of the plastic container (several times I add small amounts of hot water in container and shake it, then add to wort). For what it’s worth, I got a Moose Drool brown ale that read quite high and ended up at 7% (should have been about 5.8%), and I did NOTHING different than what recipe called for. Also got an IPA at 7.3%, which is right where it needs to be. Same hydrometer. With this stout, bubbling pretty much stopped yesterday, took sample last night and was at about 1.022 gravity, so this beer is currently at around 12%. I was worried that the yeast would stall out due to high OG, but that didn’t seem to cause a problem. Anyone have any thoughts on why the really high OG? Oh, and I drank all 250 ml of sample last night…it’s already quite good!

Somewhere… A measurement is to be at fault… Crazy to get THAT much higher gravity… The brown sugar looks suspicious… Try pack a cup again… Check it’s weight… Not volume… Seeing as weight can reveal more accurate means to track what’s being added… Still crazy… Someone give you double the LME?
Sneezles61

If the brown sugar were to significantly move it to 1.114 from the anticipated 1.064, there would need to be 5 pounds of sugar added. 1 pound is 46 points (1.046) in 1 gallon, so 1 pound is 9.2 points (.0092) in 5 gallons (46 divided by 5). I would have had to add slightly more than 5 pounds to my 5 gallon batch to take 1.064 to 1.114. There’s no way that 1 packed dry measuring cup weighed anywhere close to that. Per internet, a firmly packed cup of brown sugar weighs about 7-8 ounces, which matches what I had for weight. And as I said, I was going off weight vs. volume…just a coincidence that a cup weighed almost 1/2 pound, which is what I as trying to add. As for the kit contents, included 6 pounds of gold malt syrup and 2 pounds of Gold DME, which is what the recipe calls for also. I also thought that too but had already checked to confirm kit was correct.

How are you measuring your wort/water volume?

Other reason. You got a real high. Boil off rate. This increase the og as well. Still dont think adding the. Brown sugar. Will increase. Your og by so many points. Either. Not enough wort. When you took your og reading. Or your. Hydrometer. Or refractometer. Are not calibrated. But still let it ride. Untill ready. And enjoy your brew

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It simply comes down to pulling the sample from wort that was not mixed as well as you think it was. IMHO that is the logical conclusion.

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I think I agree with this, it’s really the only thing I can come up with that makes the most sense. I’ll be more diligent with the mixing next time to see if I’m still getting higher than expected results. Bottom line is that if the final product tastes good, I did my job!

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I don’t see how the boil off rate would affect it given that I added water after the boil to bring it up to a 5 gallon batch. The fermentables shouldn’t boil off, only the liquid.

I use a bucket that is marked off at increments. I actually tested the accuracy of my marks by filling with pre-know volumes of water (i.e. 4 cup liquid measuring cup) so that I know the marks are correct.

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Did you do a partial boil and top up with water prior to taking your gravity? If so you got a crazy reading due to stratification of your wort and you can just ignore your reading. If you use all the ingredients in a kit and get your water volume correct then you will hit almost exactly the predicted gravity.

I agree there’s no way you have that high of a gravity reading based on the ingredients you describe here.

Also, you ever have a 12% beer? You’ll know pretty quickly, about half pint in for me, when you’re drinking one.

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If it truly is that high an OG there is a good chance you will have difficulty getting it to ferment out to a normal FG of around 1.01x without a big starter and high gravity tolerant yeast. I would run with what the kit says to do and take your reading when it is done.

I’m jumping on the stratified wort bandwagon. I’ve had some of the same issues with wacky hydrometer readings that don’t make sense yet the finished product seems to be right on.

Incidentally, I make a beer that’s around 10% on purpose and can tell from the FG sample it’s a butt-kicker. If you were at 12%, like @dannyboy58 says, you’d know because the beer wouldn’t be balanced properly and the sample would be “hot”.

Enjoy!

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Do think for big beers. You. Need to. Add. Extra yeast. Last time. I did a high gravity. Beer. The storm the Bastille. Ale. I did created to starters. For this one. Pfff 12% after few. Me got a buss.

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