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O.G. Always Higher Than Expected

I have been home brewing for about a year, and have 8 extract batches under my belt. All the beers have come out well, but the O.G. is always significantly higher than what the recipe listed as the expectation. For instance, I just brewed a Scottish wee heavy with an expected O.G. of 1.064, but my hydrometer reading was right at 1.080. I follow the recipe to the letter, with one exception - I begin steeping the grains while the water is still cold and don’t remove it until the liquor reaches the prescribed temp and for the specified time. I make this exception because I was told it would improve the flavor of the beer. I can’t complain about the end product, but I’m wondering if the additional steeping time would affect the O.G. by 16 points. Can anyone give me some guidance?

Are you doing partial boils? Have you calibrated the hydrometer?

When I did extracts, I steeped the grains the same way you do. And no, that won’t effect the gravity… at least not much. There are a few possibilities here.

  1. You hydrometer isn’t correct. Check this by taking a reading of water at 60F. It should be right at 1.000 or very close.
  2. You’re not mixing your wort well and that’s throwing your readings off. Make sure you’re really shaking or mixing your wort after you top of with cool water.
  3. Are you taking a reading between 60-70F? There is a conversion if you are checking your wort at a higher temp, but that would throw your numbers off the other way.
  4. You’re not topping off your wort up to 5 gallons of total volume. Maybe you only have 4 gallons of wort and are taking a reading. That would give you a much higher gravity.

Sorry if these sound stupid, but sometimes the most obvious answer is the right answer.

dobe, I’ve done all those things. The wort temperature was 65* when I took the reading. I’m beginning to wonder if my local home brew dude puts more in his bags than he says, thinking that most people aren’t going to be super-anal and make sure every particle of grain and drop of extract makes it into the wort.

So is your local guy building these recipes and kits? Maybe that’s the issue.
When I use to make NB’s extract kits I always came within a point or 2 of there recipe. With extract, as long as you follow everything in terms of volume, temps, etc… you should be able to get very close to the recipe OG every time.

Yes, he builds the kits right in front of you. However, the bags of extract are pre-weighed and labeled, and I don’t know if he does that himself or if he gets them from True Brew.

Sound like that’s the issue. Either the recipe is wrong or the weighing is wrong. Next time you get a kit from this supplier, input the recipe in a brewing program. If you don’t have one just go to hopville.com. It’s free. Input the recipe and see what the program comes up with for an estimated OG. I bet it’s different.

And if you can, double check the weights of the grain and extract when you get home.

+1, post a recipe so someone can check his math.

Pike Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

Target O.G. 1.064
Bitterness: 27

Malt Extract (added after hop boil):

  • 8.8 lbs Briess Pilsen Light extract
  • .75 lb Briess Wheat Spray Extract

Grain Bag (steep for 15 mins @ 160*:

  • Briess Crystal 40
  • Weyerman light Munich (8 oz)
  • Weyerman Cara Munich I (5 oz)
  • Peat smoked malt (3 oz)

Hops:
Warrior 6.5 aau (30 mins)
Williamette (.3 oz) (15 mins)
Kent Goldings (.3 oz) (15 mins)

Yeast:
California Ale Yeast (Saf-Ale 05)

That’s 8 oz. of the Briess Crystal 40

Yeah, the recipes estimated OG is way off. The OG your getting is about right. Just the 8.8lbs of DME will get your gravity up to 1.075 and that’s without adding all the other ingredients.

You should let the guy know that his numbers are off.

Thank you! I can accept a few extra points could be caused by not blending the wort thoroughly and the possibility that the actual weights may be off. I’ll start weighing myself from now on, and using one of these online calculators.

I’m assuming that’s 8.8 lb LME since the other entry specifically says “spray extract”. In that case the expected OG is about 1.078 for 5 gal.

Well, then. The discrepancies are evaporating… I may have to have a talk with my home brew store guy!

It could just be that he’s planning on a 6 gal batch. That would work out.

Hey all:

Just joined the forum. Mostly spend my time at the Midwest forum (closer to home).

I wanted a Wee Heavy extract for my 15 brew since starting last April.

The instructions say OG should be 1.083 so you were actually low compared to the instructions.

My frustrations is that there are not FG estimates in the instructions. That should be a no brainer.

Cheers,

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