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My OG is never as "advertised"

I’m a newbie, and have brewed three batches so far:

American Rye - OG suppose to be 1.042 - mine: 1.020
Caribou Slobber - OG suppose to be 1.052 - mine: 1.042
Houblonmonstre Tripel IPA - OG suppose to be 1.082 - mine 1.070

The first one was so far off I did it like 2-3 times each the 2nd and 3rd time. Each time I spun the hydrometer to make sure the bubbles weren’t holding it up, then I took the reading right below the little bubbles at the top of the wort in the test jar.

Is this “normal” or am I doing something wrong?

Thanks,
Dave

All grain or extract? Did you temperature correct your readings?

Are they extract partial boils, topping off with water?

If so, your top off water is probably not thoroughly mixed.

All three were extracts, and I have no idea what you mean by “temperature correct” - so I’m guessing that very well could be it. Guess I have some “learning” to do - thanks much guys!

:cheers:

Because it’s so much lower would suggest that you might be adding too much top off water. That can make a big diff in getting a lower O.G. That was my first thought.

[quote=“Old Guy”]Because it’s so much lower would suggest that you might be adding too much top off water. That can make a big diff in getting a lower O.G. That was my first thought.[/quote

Even with the right amount, it’s VERY hard to get it mixed thoroughly enough to get an accurate reading. If the OP used all the ingredients and ended up with the correct volume, he HAD to get the correct OG, no matter what the reading.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“Old Guy”]Because it’s so much lower would suggest that you might be adding too much top off water. That can make a big diff in getting a lower O.G. That was my first thought.[/quote

Even with the right amount, it’s VERY hard to get it mixed thoroughly enough to get an accurate reading. If the OP used all the ingredients and ended up with the correct volume, he HAD to get the correct OG, no matter what the reading.[/quote][/quote]

That’s what I was thinking - if all of the ingredients in any recipe is equal to a certain gravity, then no matter what - it should always be that gravity. Maybe a ± .002 or something, but…

I do remember that I aerated the wort before I took the gravity, so it should have all been mixed good.

Unless of course you spilled or left a bunch of wort in the kettle.

[quote=“db297”]All three were extracts, and I have no idea what you mean by “temperature correct” - so I’m guessing that very well could be it. Guess I have some “learning” to do - thanks much guys!

:cheers: [/quote]

Specific gravity measurements are temperature dependent. Here is a link to some information:

http://www.davesdreaded.com/homebrew-calculator/

If you’re measuring gravity hot or warm, your readings will be WAY off, unless you know the magical correction factors for your particular temperature. I bet that’s the whole issue.

Another obvious cause could be your bucket’s volume measurements. Trusting the bucket can throw off your top-off volume. Mine were off by about a quart. Pour in a gallon of tap water and see if it hits the bucket’s 1 gallon mark. Then 2 gallons…

Also, I’ve heard the paper inside the hydrometer can slip. Distilled water should read 1.000 at your meter’s calibration temperature. Tap water should still be pretty close too, but distilled is really correct.

I finally figured out the issue - the markings on the container I was using do not mean what I thought they meant. I use a big pitcher that came with my Mr. Coffee iced tea maker. It has 1, 2 & 3 quart measurements on it - that’s how I fill everything. Well, found out those 1,2 & 3 quart markings are meant for something else - the 3 qt marking is actually one full gallon - so I was always putting extra water in. Mystery solved.

I literally put 16 cups of water in the pitcher and it came exactly to the 3 quart line.

Just brewed the Megalodon Imperial Red Ale and got exactly 1.090 - just what it’s suppose to be.

Cool.

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