OG way low on Winter Ale

All Grain:
8 lbs pale malt
1.25 Medium English Crystal Malt
.25 lbs Chocolate Malt

4 AAUs Cascade hops
3 AAUs Mt. Hood Hops

After 90 min. Boil:
3 AAUs Kent Goldings Hops

This is my second all-grain batch I’ve made. I recorded an OG of 1034 while the recipe calls for 1070. I mistakingly drained some of it prior to boil after mashing/sparging. And added about a gallon of water. I didn’t think I’d lose about 1.5 gallons. Does anyone have a procedure to properly mash? The yeast was pitched yesterday. Should I add dry malt extract, or just leave it be?

Help me understand what you mean about “draining some of it prior to boil after mashing/sparging.” Where did you drain it?

There are 2 ways of sparging. Batch and fly. Fly sparge is when you slowly trickle water over your grains, keeping an inch or so of water above the grains, and slowly drain the wort to your BK. Batch is where you add half the sparge water, stir it, vorlauf, and drain it to BK. It’s quicker but may not be what is right for your system. Check out Dennybrew.com for more/better info as I fly sparge.

Couple questions…

  1. was this a kit? Did you buy the grains pre-crushed?
  2. were you sure the grains were crushed?
  3. how did you sparge?
  4. what sized batch?
  5. how did you figure a target OG of 1.070 (because my #s aren’t adding up)?
  6. are you using brewing software?

It is suggested that you read how to brew by John Palmer. There is an older version online that is free.

After transferring my beer to the BK I had 7 gallons. I was shooting for 5.25. After doing research, I found that the wort will evaporate at approximately 0.5 gal/30 mins. Which makes sense because it was a 90 minute boil and I started with 6 & ended up with 4.5 I added the sparge water 3 quarts at a time, while not transferring any of it until it was all in the mash tun (woops!). But, I did stir every 6 quarts or so. I did vorlauf a few times. When transferred to the BK the valve was wide open. The recipe called for 4 gallons of sparge at 168 deg. Next time I will try fly sparging. I use a 10 gallon water cooler as my mash tun.

Answers to your additional questions:

  1. This is a recipe in a book called Clone Brews. I crushed the grains at Northern Brewer.
  2. Yes, the grains were crushed.
  3. Please see top paragraph.
  4. 5.25 gallons
  5. The figure of 1.070 was given in the recipe provided in my Clone Brews book (Hampshire Special Ale). What figure did you end up with?
  6. No. Do you have any recommendations?

Thanks for all your help! I will check out the book you mentioned.

It is surprising that the grain bill is not that big, yet the recipe says it should be around 6.6%abv.

Hope that helps.