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OG WAYYYYY off

Was supposed to be 1.104 (per beersmith) and came out to 1.074… Way off. Now I know what can cause this, but really…that far off.

Could 1 extra gallon of water put it off by this much?

Yes, almost.

An extra gallon added to a 5 gallon, 1.104 recipe would yield 1.087.

An extra gallon added to a 4 gallon, 1.104 recipe would yield 1.083.

I’ve also heard that efficiency can decrease with a really thick mash.

Add sugar prior to fermentation

Efficiency suffers with high gravity beers. If you brew with your usual process without any adjustments, your efficiency will most likely fall into the 50s. If you care about efficiency and want to stay in the 70s or 80s for really big beers, then you need to take special actions including:

  1. Sparge a lot more and collect a higher volume, and plan to boil for a full 120 minutes.
  2. If batch sparging, do a double-sparge or three runnings, where each runnings is roughly 1/3 of the total pre-boil volume.
  3. Crush harder than you normally would.
  4. Ensure your mash and sparge pH is under control (shoot for 5.3).

That’s about it, in a nutshell.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]Efficiency suffers with high gravity beers. If you brew with your usual process without any adjustments, your efficiency will most likely fall into the 50s. If you care about efficiency and want to stay in the 70s or 80s for really big beers, then you need to take special actions including:

  1. Sparge a lot more and collect a higher volume, and plan to boil for a full 120 minutes.
  2. If batch sparging, do a double-sparge or three runnings, where each runnings is roughly 1/3 of the total pre-boil volume.
  3. Crush harder than you normally would.
  4. Ensure your mash and sparge pH is under control (shoot for 5.3).

That’s about it, in a nutshell.[/quote]
+1 The only thing I would add is to have a few pounds of malt extract around so you can make up the difference if needed. OK to add a little extract to get the gravity you want.

Got it…thanks!

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]Efficiency suffers with high gravity beers. If you brew with your usual process without any adjustments, your efficiency will most likely fall into the 50s. If you care about efficiency and want to stay in the 70s or 80s for really big beers, then you need to take special actions including:

  1. Sparge a lot more and collect a higher volume, and plan to boil for a full 120 minutes.
  2. If batch sparging, do a double-sparge or three runnings, where each runnings is roughly 1/3 of the total pre-boil volume.
  3. Crush harder than you normally would.
  4. Ensure your mash and sparge pH is under control (shoot for 5.3).

That’s about it, in a nutshell.[/quote]
I agree 110% Dave, even after all these years, I still agree with you…

Wow… where the heck have you been, Bo?! Good to see you’re still kickin’.

[quote=“DVMKurmes”][quote=“dmtaylo2”]Efficiency suffers with high gravity beers. If you brew with your usual process without any adjustments, your efficiency will most likely fall into the 50s. If you care about efficiency and want to stay in the 70s or 80s for really big beers, then you need to take special actions including:

  1. Sparge a lot more and collect a higher volume, and plan to boil for a full 120 minutes.
  2. If batch sparging, do a double-sparge or three runnings, where each runnings is roughly 1/3 of the total pre-boil volume.
  3. Crush harder than you normally would.
  4. Ensure your mash and sparge pH is under control (shoot for 5.3).

That’s about it, in a nutshell.[/quote]
+1 The only thing I would add is to have a few pounds of malt extract around so you can make up the difference if needed. OK to add a little extract to get the gravity you want.[/quote]

Thanks for the information folks. I am brewing an imperial stout next week and this will be my first beer that’s bigger than 1.085. My stout looks to be 1.106 OG. I will work-in the strategies above and have some DME around for the end of the boil.

Quick question - is this always a problem with big beers or is it very system dependent?

Thanks.

It is always a problem with big beers as far as I can tell. Reason is that more grain holds on to more wort and more sugars and just will not let go without extra sparging.

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