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View Full Version : O.G. came out a lot lower than expected



CoolSage
10-09-2013, 01:12 AM
So I've made a smaller "experimental batch" which I plan on racking off into two one-gallon jugs, vanilla cherry melomel in one, and raspberry vanilla in the other (got ahold of some vanilla beans I've been itching to use). Therefore, I started a 2-gallon traditional batch consisting of:

6.5 lbs Orange Blossom Honey
1.5-ish gallons filtered tap water
Rehydrated EC-1118
~2gr each DAP and Wyeast energizer (planning on doing staggered nutrient additions)

No-heat method, and I aerated with a lees stirrer drill bit VERY thoroughly.

Here's where I'm confused: when I took an OG reading it came out to 1.060, although the GotMead calculator says this guy should be around 1.117, meaning it's a little weaker than I was going for... Is there something I could be doing wrong with either the hydrometer or the calculator?

joemirando
10-09-2013, 01:31 AM
Here's where I'm confused: when I took an OG reading it came out to 1.060, although the GotMead calculator says this guy should be around 1.117, meaning it's a little weaker than I was going for... Is there something I could be doing wrong with either the hydrometer or the calculator?

It is... a puzzlement.
That's not just "a little weaker". That's just a little more than half of what it should be if you indeed used 6.5 lbs of honey and made a 2 gallon batch. I was going to ask if your tap water temp could have been high, but it would have to be REALLY high.

I would check the SG again ASAP. Examine the hydrometer to make sure its undamaged.

The calculator may not be perfect, but its damned good. I dont think its the culprit in this case. Go back over everything. I'll bet it turns out to be something simple. WHAT, I don't know.


Joe

kudapucat
10-09-2013, 01:46 AM
Here's where I'm confused: when I took an OG reading it came out to 1.060, although the GotMead calculator says this guy should be around 1.117, meaning it's a little weaker than I was going for... Is there something I could be doing wrong with either the hydrometer or the calculator?

Perhaps.
The hydrometer measures accurately at a specific temperature.
so you'll want to make sure your must is around 20-25C (of check the packaging on the hydrometer when measuring)
Although your discrepancy seems to exceed that which temperature could be at fault.

Perhaps your hydrometer is dodgy, broken, or otherwise incapacitated.

Measure a glass of tap water, it should be pretty close to 1.000 if not, your hydrometer is no more than pretty scrap glass.

My gut feel says 3kg added to 6 litres of water (quick mental conversion) should give 1.100-1.140

Perhaps your honey was dodgy watered down crap?

after you've confirmed your hydrometer is good, measure out 50 grams of honey, add it to 100ml of water and measure it's gravity
it should equal 1.130 or thereabouts
add 100ml of water and it should now measure 1.080 or there abouts.

If these tests measure as expected, then you made a mistake measuring your honey, perhaps 4 lbs not 6lbs or 2 gal not 1.5 or maybe both.
Let us know how your hydrometer performs.

kudapucat
10-09-2013, 01:48 AM
100ml = 3.4floz
50g = 1.75oz

good luck

CoolSage
10-09-2013, 01:54 AM
I've just taken another hydrometer reading and it is now at 1.110... still not 1.117, but I'll take it over the last reading (I think the batch is slightly over 2 gallons anyway, then there's temp, etc.). I have two theories:

One, I aerated the crap out of it, maybe so much so that it was actually affecting hydrometer readings. I'll beless trigger happy on the drill in the future...

Two, I gave it a gentle stir right before getting the last reading of 1.110. Perhaps somehow the honey had settled at the bottom of the fermenter, and the samples I was getting off the surface with the thief were not representative of the actual mixture.

Either way it seems fine now, though I'm leaning towards theory one...

CoolSage
10-09-2013, 02:00 AM
...or at the very least, I should probably wait for the must to settle a bit after "powered aeration" before taking an OG. I'm betting that's what did it.

Edit: Also thanks for the swift replies!

fatbloke
10-09-2013, 03:56 AM
As soon as I read your start post.......

I just presumed erroneous measurements.......

As 67 points difference is, as Joe pointed out, a vast gap....

Whereas your most recent difference of 7 points is much more likely....

anir dendroica
10-09-2013, 02:22 PM
I'm going to assume that only about half of the honey was dissolved when you took the first reading. Honey dissolves slowly, especially if you are being hardcore about the no heat thing. I usually dissolve honey in 120-130F liquid when making mead, as I am skeptical that flavor is negatively affected at that temperature. Even dissolving at 120, I sometimes find that my first hydrometer reading comes in low due to undissolved honey.

Chevette Girl
10-12-2013, 11:25 AM
Two, I gave it a gentle stir right before getting the last reading of 1.110. Perhaps somehow the honey had settled at the bottom of the fermenter, and the samples I was getting off the surface with the thief were not representative of the actual mixture.

Aeration shouldn't affect a gravity reading like that. Sometimes carbon dioxide from fermentation does because the solution is oversaturated withcarbon dioxide and it's looking for any way out but it's really hard to get TOO much air into your must, I think as long as you can clear off the foam away from your hydrometer, aeration shouldn't give you false readings.

I'm siding with Anir here, undissolved honey was going to be my first suggestion. No matter how hard I whip it, I always drag a spoon across the bottom an hour later to make sure it doesn't come up with honey still on it, and sometimes it does... I find slow stirring actually does eventually dissolve the stuff... I'm thinking maybe your aeration equipment may not have reached all the way to the bottom of your bucket or carboy, and sometimes with that kind of quick, cyclonic stirring action you end up with a tower of honey in the centre that might sink back down into a puddle on the bottom once the torture device has been removed.