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  1. #1

    Default OG way higher than expected

    So Iím still quite new to mead making having only started 4 other 1-2gal batches over about the last 6 weeks. Last night I started a 3 gal batch that I plan to split into 3 1gal batches, each with a different fruit added in secondary. Except for the one cyser, I used an OG calculator in a brewing app I downloaded on my phone. Each of them had an OG very close to what the calc said it should be, off by no more than .006. Last nightís batch was 3gals with 12lbs of honey. Calc says OG should be 1.146. This is my first batch since finding the calc on this site, and it basically agrees with a predicted 1.144. When I took a reading last night, it was a whopping 1.162! I had to guesstimate that 2 as my hydrometer markings stop at 1.16. How is it so much higher?

  2. Default

    I'm not an expert or anything, although I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night (j/k), but I would think the difference could be in part due to the sugar content of the honey you used is higher than what the calc uses to come up with that figure. I wouldn't think the difference would be that high, so there could be other factors too.

  3. #3

    Default

    Yeah, that sugar variation and imprecise water measurements are what I attributed the differences on the other batches to. And Iíve used a different honey in each batch, so I expect some minor variations from whatever it is those calculators use, but not this much.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    764

    Default

    How do you measure your honey? A 1.5lb difference would account for the discrepancy.

    You mentioned imprecise water measurements. A 1.2 quart mistake would also account for your error.

    Also, your hydrometer is probably calibrated at 60 F. A must temperature of 400F would account for the difference. Just goes to show that you really don't have to worry about correcting for temperature..... :-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,441

    Default

    Hi VetTanker and welcome.
    I would tend to assume that calculators are pretty accurate and reliable. My rule of thumb is that if the total volume of must is 1 US gallon then 1 lb of honey will increase the gravity by 35 points to 1.035 and 4 lbs (resulting in the same 1 US gallon) will increase the gravity by 4*.035 = 1.140. So three possible causes - You added more honey than 4 lbs, the total volume was less than 1 US gallon or you did not mix the honey and the water well, and the sample of must you took to measure the gravity was taken from an area where there was an atypical concentration of honey. If you know for certain the weight of the honey and the volume of must my money is on your mixing technique.

  6. #6

    Default

    I used two 5lb and one 2lb containers, filled them with water and shook to get all the residual stuff out. As for water, I just filled the 3gal carboy as much as I felt comfortable doing. As these things arenít marked with a line, idk how far above or below 3 actual gallons I am, but I did go through 2 whole 1gal jugs of water with minimal amounts not ending up inside the carboy. Iím having trouble attaching a pic I took or Iíd show how full it is. Room temp was maybe 65-67, Honey jugs were warmed in a pot on the stove to aid in pouring, but nothing crazy.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Hi VetTanker and welcome.
    I would tend to assume that calculators are pretty accurate and reliable. My rule of thumb is that if the total volume of must is 1 US gallon then 1 lb of honey will increase the gravity by 35 points to 1.035 and 4 lbs (resulting in the same 1 US gallon) will increase the gravity by 4*.035 = 1.140. So three possible causes - You added more honey than 4 lbs, the total volume was less than 1 US gallon or you did not mix the honey and the water well, and the sample of must you took to measure the gravity was taken from an area where there was an atypical concentration of honey. If you know for certain the weight of the honey and the volume of must my money is on your mixing technique.
    I am as certain as I can be on the honey weights and overall volume. As for mixing, I use one of those drill mounted stir thingamabobs, spent several minutes with it, and moved it around within the carboy. The honey, going off the color, looked to be evenly dispersed.

  8. #8

    Default

    So your methods are what is causing all the inconsistency. FYI. I never weigh or measure my honey and water. I just mix it until I hit the Gravity I want and make sure I'm making more than what I am going to long-term age.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    So your methods are what is causing all the inconsistency. FYI. I never weigh or measure my honey and water. I just mix it until I hit the Gravity I want and make sure I'm making more than what I am going to long-term age.
    Anything more specific than that? 5 batches in, my methods havenít changed yet in that respect, and this is only the first to be inconsistent.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,441

    Default

    Right , this may be the first batch that you are finding "inconsistent" but if your protocol is weak then consistency may be more of an accident than you imagine and inconsistency may be more likely the more batches you make (Think a coin toss: you might find that you get 10 heads one after the other but the more times you toss the coin, unless the coin is loaded, the number of tails should match the number of heads, so if you bet that the 11th toss will be heads you are likely to be wrong).

  11. #11

    Default

    Well so you said you don't know for sure how much you need to fill it to get to 3 gallons. So you're guessing. Unless I'm not understanding you.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    Well so you said you don't know for sure how much you need to fill it to get to 3 gallons. So you're guessing. Unless I'm not understanding you.
    My one calculator is telling me with 12lbs I need 1.98gal of water to get 3gal total. I know I was somewhere in that ballpark, but without a way to measure volume in the carboy, and without knowing if my 2 1gal water jugs were right at 1.000000 gallons, I donít know exactly how much is in there. I doubt the 3 gal mark is above where I stopped filling, and if it is, itís by a hair.

  13. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Think a coin toss: you might find that you get 10 heads one after the other but the more times you toss the coin, unless the coin is loaded, the number of tails should match the number of heads, so if you bet that the 11th toss will be heads you are likely to be wrong.
    That is not correct. The result of the 11th coin toss is completely independent of the previous 10 results, so you still have a 50-50 chance of guessing it right. Now, if you were to bet that flipping the coin 11 times will be heads 11 times in a row, you will most likely be wrong.

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