We brewed our second Irish Red Ale Extract Kit (as per instructions), minus the U.S. Goldings hops ( 1st kit was too bitter for our taste) on Christmas Day and checked the Original Gravity @60 degrees before adding the yeast. Had to cool the test sample down in the fridge because the room temperature was above 72 degrees. The wort sample tested 1.120 on an calibrated Herculometer, which is way above the kit’s expected original gravity of 1.044. Is this normal, or did the omission of the second hops alter it in some way?
What you’re seeing here is wort stratification. When adding the top off water it can be very difficult to get the wort and water to mix. Thus, you get an inaccurate reading.
With extract kits, the OG is predetermined. So if you use all the extract and hit the correct volume, your OG will be as stated in the recipe.
Thanks for replying. I see where we made the mistake now. We tested the wort straight from the kettle before the additional water was added to the primary. The additional water would have diluted the wort and lowered the original gravity reading. So is there any real purpose in taking the original gravity reading with the extract kits then?
Yes you want to calculate the fg of your brew. Most extract kits only give you the og. Not the final fg. And you want to take few samples. To see if your brew and yeast are doing its thing. Me did step away from adding cold water. I do full 5.5 gal boils. And separte. Steeping. Or minimash. So my start boil. Will be 6gall and end up with. 5.5 gal. When i take a og reading more acurate
The of doesn’t matter much unless you want to know the abv. The FG is more important just so you know when fermentation is over
I would still take OG readings. One quart extra or shy will result in a different OG. You’ll want that to determine your ABV.
I would still take the readings. If for nothing else it’s a good habit to get into. There will come a day when you switch to all grain and gravity reading will become much more important.
I really appreciate all the replies and information from everyone. I’m new to homebrewing, which you can probably tell from my ignorant first post. I misread the instructions and took the original gravity reading straight from the cooled kettle before the addition of the 2.5 gallons that the recipe and instructions call for. I’m still laughing at my own ignorance, but, thankfully I have learned from it, and won’t repeat the same mistake again. I will also continue to take the extract kit OG (at the proper time and volume) because of the excellent advice from everyone here on this forum. My sons (both adults) and I hope to eventually progress to all grain brewing and have intentions of possibly opening our own craft brewery here in the mountains of Arkansas once our finances, knowledge and experience allow us to do so. Right now it’s only a pipe dream, but heck, dreams sometimes materialize into reality if all the pieces fall into place. Thanks for all the great replies and info, and hopefully my next post won’t be so ignorant.
Don’t worry about it… most of us had to learn and asked some pretty basic questions. My first appearance on this forum had me getting very testy asking about how long to run a starter, not even realizing I was snapping at Denny, a widely respected, published, well known homebrewing advocate. None of us mind answering beginners questions over and over again, and I think we all want new brewers to be successful and move the hobby forward. Here’s to that brewpub in the future!
But with out the og reading. You dont know the final. Fg. Am i wrong?
With extract you will get what the recipe predicts as long as you hit your volumes. But your right you can’t know exactly what your ABV will be but you can estimate it from your recipe
OG and FG are both just readings at a particular time. So you can know FG without OG. The ability to compute ABV is dependent on BOTH though.
The point being made was that the OG estimates for extract kits are pretty accurate, so as long as you have a FG you can still come pretty close on the ABV.
If you are using a refractometer you are correct you do need to know the OG to determine the FG.