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General Category => Extract/Partial Mash Brewing => Topic started by: classic on January 21, 2011, 05:07:18 pm

Title: Overshot my OG
Post by: classic on January 21, 2011, 05:07:18 pm
I was attempting to brew the Dunkelweizen from BCS.  I was doing a partial boil extract brew with some specialty grains.  The target OG was 1.056 for 5.5 gallons, after I topped off to over 5.5 gallons my gravity was still about 1.061. I listened to the podcast on the Jamil Show about Dunkelweizens to get a little bit more info.  Jamil mentioned that the Munich LME he called for was ideally 100% Munich malt.  I could only get the Briess version which is 50% base malt 50% Munich malt.  I decided to get 2 ounces of Munich malt and steep it with my specialty grains for some more flavor.  I'm wondering if the unconverted starches somehow were responsible for raising my OG higher than what I anticipated.  I know the Munich malt is a kilned malt that is usually supposed to be mashed, but I thought it could also be steeped as well.  Here's the recipe I used:

6.125 pounds Briess Wheat LME
2 pounds Briess Munich LME
6 ounces Crystal 45L
5 ounces Special B (240L)
2 ounces Carafa Special II
2 ounces Munich Malt
.85 ounces Hallertau pellet hops, 4.7% AA (60 minute)
1 vial WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast, made into 1.5 quart starter

The grains were steeped in 1.5 gallons water at 165 deg f for 30 minutes in a grain sac and then allowed to drain.  I did notice the grain mill at the LHBS was set a little bit on the fine side, but it seemed pretty good.  Also, I did it late-extract style, so I after the grains steeped I added 3 pounds 2.5 ounces wheat LME and 1 pound Munich LME and topped up to 3 gallons to bring the boil gravity to around 1.048 and added the rest at knockout before I chilled and strained it.  Do you guys have any idea what could have bumped up the OG so much?  I put all the ingredients into beercalculus and it should have been at 1.056 at 5.5 gallons. 
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: Hokerer on January 21, 2011, 06:12:53 pm
Most likely you've got a measurement error.  How sure are you that your actual total volume is 5.5 gallons?  Is your hydrometer accurate? (quick check is that it should read 1.000 in distilled water).  Is your wort evenly mixed?
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: livefreebrewfree on January 21, 2011, 06:22:22 pm
As far as I know. Munich malts can't be steeped, and must be mashed for conversion. So you probably wouldn't have gotten anything from that. Was your hydrometer reading adjusted for temperature?
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: classic on January 21, 2011, 06:51:01 pm
Yup, the hydrometer checks out with distilled water at 60 degrees F.  Wort was about 60 degrees when I read so did not apply a correction, and I shook the carboy every time I added water before taking a reading.  Of course, I pitched the yeast anyway and I'm sure it will be OK, but it's frustrating to be so over my target OG.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: Hokerer on January 21, 2011, 06:58:31 pm
Yup, the hydrometer checks out with distilled water at 60 degrees F.  Wort was about 60 degrees when I read so did not apply a correction, and I shook the carboy every time I added water before taking a reading.  Of course, I pitched the yeast anyway and I'm sure it will be OK, but it's frustrating to be so over my target OG.

Hmmmm, ok, how 'bout that extract amount.  6.125 pounds seems like an odd number.  Doesn't that stuff come in 6.6 pound containers?  An extra half-pound could add several points.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: classic on January 21, 2011, 07:26:05 pm
The LHBS sells Briess Wheat LME in bulk, so I just buy what I need. I should add that I have been using this same process for the 4 previous brews and I always came in really close to my target OGs and volumes.  Think it was a bad call steeping that extra Munich malt?
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: Hokerer on January 21, 2011, 07:40:24 pm
No way 2 ounces of Munich could have that kind of effect.  Even if the Munich were "steepable" and even if you were to get 100% extraction from it, that would only account for like .00081 in 5.5 gallons so your predicted 1.056 would be 1.05681.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: classic on January 21, 2011, 08:04:33 pm
Hmm, and there's no way that an excess amount of grain husks/material would influence the hydrometer readings?  I'm sure of my quantities of added LME and the volume of wort cuz I've marked them on my carboy.  Maybe there was just some gunk on the hydrometer or something, although I cleaned it and spun it, made sure it was not stuck to the side of the flask, etc.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: denny on January 21, 2011, 08:06:22 pm
I shook the carboy every time I added water before taking a reading.

That usually doesn't mix it adequately....voice of experience speaking here!
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: classic on January 21, 2011, 08:10:28 pm
Is physically mixing in the carboy with a racking cane the best way? (besides going to full boil)
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: denny on January 21, 2011, 09:34:49 pm
I'm not sure how effective that would be.  A MixStir would be your best bet, and you'd get aeration at the same time.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: tygo on January 22, 2011, 01:23:06 pm
I'm not sure how effective that would be.  A MixStir would be your best bet, and you'd get aeration at the same time.

A MixStir would be less effort and better better on the back but if you can pick up the carboy and shake the hell out of it that works too.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: denny on January 22, 2011, 04:43:59 pm
Personally, that's something I'd never do.  Far too dangerous.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: a10t2 on January 22, 2011, 05:18:19 pm
I did a partial boil last week and even after ten minutes of stirring and ten minutes of aerating with a pump and stone, still couldn't get an accurate gravity reading from the surface. A MixStir would probably help, but I'm beginning to think it just can't be done.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: classic on January 22, 2011, 06:20:59 pm
I did use a wine thief, so I guess that might provide a better cross section of the wort than stealing a cup off the top, in theory anyway.  Oh well, fermentation is going strong at 62 degrees so I'll see how it turns out.  Will report back with FG.   Thanks guys!
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: denny on January 22, 2011, 06:35:53 pm
A wine thief means that you got a sample from lower down where the wort settled.  That makes sense given your high reading.  If it would have been from the top you likely would have been too low.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: kgs on January 26, 2011, 07:20:00 pm
One other thought: weigh your ingredients when you get them home. I started doing that after one batch seemed about a pound off. You can always adjust quantity based on what the weight of ingredients are. I think it's just a case of the LHBS being a little casual depending on who is working there, since the weight is likely to be a little off in either direction, whether it's hops, grains, or DME.

As noted in an earlier post, I also watch the LHBS folks like a hawk, but I still weigh when I get home. My hops were actually well over the 1-ounce measure per packet last time.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: classic on February 08, 2011, 05:10:33 pm
So I bottled the dunkelweizen 5 days ago after 2 weeks in the primary.  Got steady FG readings at 1.020 over the course of 3 days, so I figured it wouldn't drop any more.  I took the FG readings both with a wine thief and with skimming off the top, difference was  maybe 1-2 gravity points.  I warmed it up to 70 towards the end of fermentation to try to dry it out a little more but no luck.  Oh well! It tasted really good anyway and I can't wait to drink it.  Surprisingly, it didn't have as much residual sweetness as I was expecting from the reading, not cloying in any way.  I primed it with sugar to get to about 3.5 volumes to try to reduce the perception of body a little more.  Have brewed a few other batches since then and have not run in to any problems overshooting the OG so I guess I'll just continue to brew as I have been, although I did get an aeration kit recently so maybe that will help with FG's.
Title: Re: Overshot my OG
Post by: classic on March 07, 2011, 09:23:17 pm
I've been drinking this beer for a while and it has tasted really good. It actually recently took second in local competition with 35 points, so I guess RDWHAHB was good advice as usual.