Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Low OG on Honey Kolsch

Brewed my 4th batch last night, Honey Kolsch (extract kit). Followed the recipe and instructions to a “T”, chilled my wort, placed my carboy in my cooler and filled with water and ice (standard beer cooler that immerses the lower half of my 6.5 gallon carboy). Aerated, and pitched yeast when wort was at 60-62 F. Immediately after pitching yeast, I realized I forgot to grab a sample to read my OG. Was able to insert my thief and not disturb the yeast. Pulled a sample and it read 1.030 (@ 60 F), which in my mind, is significantly lower than the 1.048 that the recipe suggests. I have calibrated my hydrometer and it is reading 1.000 in water at 60 F.

My questions are:

Any chance that since the lower half of my carboy was immersed and chilled to around 60 F, that the majority of the sugars in my wort had fallen to the lower, cooler half of my carboy and giving me a inaccurate reading of the batch as a whole?

Any suggestions on additives to bring my gravity up? Or should I just go with what I have?

I’m not terribly worried about the ABV. At the end of the day, I am looking for a nice crisp Kolsch that has great taste. If adding something to raise my gravity will compromise the taste, I would rather just have a good tasting low ABV beer. Any advice, insight, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Stratification can be an issue, but only if your top-up water and hot wort were not well mixed. If you mixed and aerated well, I’d be very surprised if all the heavy wort was on the bottom, because once it’s all mixed together, it’s mixed together and should not stratify significantly.

Sounds to me like a little bit of a bummer, as your gravity reading seems legit to me. If so, why not take a couple more pounds of extract, dissolve in a minimum amount of water (maybe 3 quarts, something like that), boil for 10 minutes, cool and pour that in to make up for the low gravity. Slight bummer, but easily fixable if I am right, and assuming you have a little space left in your fermenter for another 3-4 quarts of sweet wort.

Before you go and do all that, why don’t you give your carboy a good shake, and then take another gravity reading to see if it’s still low? Unless fermentation has already begun, in which case you would expect the gravity to fall very fast. But if there are no active signs of fermentation yet, you can quick take a reading before it starts going strong and find out approximately where you really are.

Thanks for the reply Dave! If indeed my OG is correct, any ideas on why it is off that much?

I don’t know how it could have happened. You used the wrong amount of ingredients or water somehow? Either you, or the kit-maker (if it was a kit) measured something wrong along the way. It happens once in a while.

I got an extract kit some time back that was missing 2# of extract, so it can and does happen once in a while. Now if I’m doing a kit, I make sure everything is there before I start. It’s an easy thing to miss.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com