I've been brewing all-grain for a little over a year now, all recipe kits from Northern Brewer, and been consistently disappointed with my OG readings when compared to their target OG's. I just brewed their Denny's Wry Smile Rye IPA
, which is supposed to be OG=1.078 with 16 lbs of grains.
I brewed this once previously, last year, and came up with OG=1.060. But it was a really good beer so I wanted to try it again. The first time I did a simple single infusion mash, so this time I thought it might help my efficiency to do a two-step with a protein rest. I also thought I might have under-sparged the first time, since I was concerned about collecting too much wort for the boil. This time I decided to stick to my Papazian formulae (1 qt water per pound grain for the mash and 2 qts/pound for sparge), and just boil as long as it took to get down to 6 gallons of wort.
So for all this extra thought, time and work, my gravity came out even lower
this time, at 1.050. Just racked this into a carboy last weekend, and it's still a great-tasting beer, but it's bugging me that I can't get close to target gravity. Even for lower-gravity beers I seem to come up consistently short by 0.010 or more.
Reading this thread, I got to wondering about how the grains are crushed, since I don't have a mill and order all my grain crushed. Has anyone else had similar results with Northern Brewer kits (pre-crushed)? Or conversely, had no issues with them, I need get my own house in order?