Author Topic: Overshot OG - dilute?  (Read 935 times)

Offline Joe Sr.

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Overshot OG - dilute?
« on: May 11, 2011, 02:50:54 PM »
Brewed an old ale over the weekend and WAY overshot my OG.  This was a partial boil, which I topped up in the carboy.

Target OG was 1.09 or so.  I measured at well over 1.1, approaching 1.2.  1.2 seems impossible, but the wort was like syrup.

Anyway, it's fermenting like mad right now but I'm not sure I really want a beer that will turn out as strong as this one is likely to be, or that finishes as high as this one likely will.  Some years ago, I would probably have pitched a champagne yeast to finish it off and had a monster beer, but that's not my intent these days.

So, I'm thinking of doing one of the following things and am interested in advice/experiences/etc. if anyone has done something similar.

1) Split the batch to two kegs and dilute with water (I'm thinking perhaps a gallon per keg).
2) Split the batch to two separate carboys, brew a very weak 2 gallon batch, split this between the carboys and pitch some additional yeast.

I'm also thinking of dry hopping or adding oak chips to one of the splits just to get some variety.

I've never diluted before, so I'm not quite sure what to expect.  I've read other threads here as well as an old BYO article by Chris Colby, so I know it should work but I'd like to hear from others who may have done similar.

Thanks!
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Overshot OG - dilute?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 03:49:00 PM »
Are you sure you measured right?  When did you measure the OG and volume, and what did you use?  Since you topped it up with water it is possible it was not stirred well and that can throw your reading off, although that usually tends to read low, not high.  Approaching 1.200 is suspect for anyone not named bonjour. ;)

What were the recipe and procedures?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Overshot OG - dilute?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 04:29:47 PM »
Never sure of anything, but the hydrometer was floating just under 1.2

I've had what seemed like erroneous high readings before so I try to be pretty careful.

I add about a gallon of water to the carboy, add the wort, top up, stir, aerate, stir and take a sample with a wine thief.

The wort was REALLY viscous, so perhaps it didn't mix well.

Recipe was roughly:

3 ls pils
1 lb victory
1 lb carapils
mashed for 60 minutes at 150.
10 lbs Breiss Pils DME
2 lbs sugar
Hops were all Centennial.  2 oz for 60, 2 oz for 20, 1 oz at flameout.

Depending on where it finishes and how it tastes will help me judge how off the reading may have been.  I get higher readings off my hydrometer than I would expect from any of the on-line recipe calculators I've used to check.  But, the same hydrometer gave me what seemed to be spot on readings for the cider I made last fall.

Next batch I'll likely test with two separate hydrometers.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Overshot OG - dilute?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 04:42:23 PM »
Your target gravity was 1.090, and you used 10 lbs of DME among other things?  10 lbs of DME gets you damn near to 1.090 by itself, was this larger than a 5-gallon batch?  I get ~1.133 for that recipe, assuming 75% efficiency.  But remember, DME and sugar are 100% efficient.

It still shouldn't be up at 1.200 though, I don't care what your efficiency was.  It probably is a mixing problem.

You can add boiled cooled water or a weak batch to dilute it.  It's up to you, either of the methods will work.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline a10t2

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Re: Overshot OG - dilute?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 05:21:42 PM »
Are you sure you're reading your hydrometer correctly? The typical triple-scale ones that home brewers use don't go past about 1.140.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Overshot OG - dilute?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2011, 06:57:48 PM »
Ah.  Not reading it quite correctly.  Good point. 

But I'm less concerned about the actual OG than I am about being significantly higher than I wanted to be...  I'll just see where it winds up and go from there.

As to the recipe, I was adapting an all grain recipe for Third Coast Old Ale, which called for 24 lbs of 2-row, and two lbs of specialty grains.  Taking out 3 lbs of 2-row and the specialty grains (the amount I used for the partial mash) leaves 21 lbs of grain.  I did a rough conversion of 2/3 per lb., which would give 14 lb. DME.  I wanted it to be drier so I reduced the DME, threw in some sugar and called it a day.  Didn't do any calculations... Also failed to account for the fact that the recipe was a 5.5 gal, not 5, but there ya go.

No worries.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Overshot OG - dilute?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2011, 08:14:36 PM »
Well, in the end you'll have some beer even if it's not quite what you intended.  We've all been there.  :)  Let us know how it turns out.
Tom Schmidlin