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losman26

Whirlfloc- getting an accurate OG reading problem.

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It seems as though every recipe I do with a whrilfloc tab, my OG readings are way over. It seems as though the sugar tends to settle in one area of the carboy fast, either that or the recipe kit measurements I buy are way off. Today, I had a reading 30 pts higher, which is impossible. A few weeks ago, I was more than 10 pts higher. I never had this problem until using whirl-floc tabs. These tabs are amazing for producing a clear beer, but my readings seem to be way high 50% of the time.

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I tend to use Whirlfloc on most all of my beers (and I don't do wheats) and I have not noticed any issues with my OGs.

Although it may SEEM like a common denominator, I highly doubt its the Whrlfloc tabs.

I have been very close to to my OG estimates on most everything...within .001 to .003 on most all of them.

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One interesting thing, My FGs are noticeably .003 to .005 better. I tend to want to attribute that to great attenuating yeast...but who knows. Again, I'mma doubting its the Whirfloc.

==============

Wish I could help more...but I regularly use them (at least 13 of the last 15 batches) and I can attest that I don't see it affecting the OG sorry

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Are you topping off with water after your boil? I have noticed that it takes a long time to get the sugars integrated with the added water and will get wacky gravity readings until it integrates together.

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"drgnfli00" post=280841 said:

Are you topping off with water after your boil? I have noticed that it takes a long time to get the sugars integrated with the added water and will get wacky gravity readings until it integrates together.


Yes, I'm topping it off with about 2 gal of water. What would be a better way of taking gravity readings? Topping off with cold water while I'm chilling the wort (I use an ice bath), instead of waiting until it's totally chilled from the ice bath? I would do a full boil, and use a wort chiller, but my sink has one of those faucet sprayers. I'm not sure if I can use a wort chiller with that.

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I’ll be honest I usually don’t do gravity reading after top off if I am doing partial boils anymore. I just measure my boil gravity prior to flame out to make sure I am at least at or above what I need for my OG in case I need to add more DME if I get crappy efficiency. After the wort has cooled and in the fermenter prior to topping off I will take one more reading. This way I can accurately gauge the wort volume without the coldbreak. I then calculate with beersmiths dilution tool how much water to add to get my recipe OG and call it a day.

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"drgnfli00" post=280851 said:

I’ll be honest I usually don’t do gravity reading after top off if I am doing partial boils anymore. I just measure my boil gravity prior to flame out to make sure I am at least at or above what I need for my OG in case I need to add more DME if I get crappy efficiency. After the wort has cooled and in the fermenter prior to topping off I will take one more reading. This way I can accurately gauge the wort volume without the coldbreak. I then calculate with beersmiths dilution tool how much water to add to get my recipe OG and call it a day.


I have beersmith, and haven't used the dilution tool. I'm still doing extract brews also.

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I use it too but only half the recommended amount. I sometimes use Irish Moss instead.
I've not noticed any major gravity differences. I use Beersmith 2 and for the great majority of my beers, I'm almost exact or very close.

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I've also used the Whirlfloc tablets and have not had any significant surprises with readings. I generally take my readings after placing the cooled wort into the LBK, topping off with water and then giving the wort a good initial aeration stir, but before pitching the yeast.


Rick

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It seems as though all the hop residue and sugars go to the bottom immediately, even after shaking the hell out of the carboy. Maybe I just have to be slightly faster taking the reading. Today, I probably waited 2 minutes after adding water and shaking.

I thought that perhaps, Brewmasters warehouse sent me the incorrect amount of DME., but it would have to be a lot for the OG to be 30 pts over.

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Whirlfloc is a product that acts on proteins, not sugars (or hops). It aids in clearing beer because it helps the proteins in your beer that cause haze drop out of solution. I really don't think that's the culprit here.

My first guess would be that your volume readings are inaccurate. What are you using to measure the final volume of your wort? You might want to consider re-calibrating that.

From the sounds of your procedure, I would add that cold top-off water to the wort in the ice bath, all it will do is help you chill your wort faster - there's really no added benefit in waiting to top-off until you get to the fermenter. But add top-off, chill, then take your volume reading. I would then stir with a sanitized spoon to make sure everything is mixed real well, take my sample, then transfer to carboy.

Just my $0.02

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"VTGroff" post=280973 said:

Whirlfloc is a product that acts on proteins, not sugars (or hops). It aids in clearing beer because it helps the proteins in your beer that cause haze drop out of solution. I really don't think that's the culprit here.

My first guess would be that your volume readings are inaccurate. What are you using to measure the final volume of your wort? You might want to consider re-calibrating that.

From the sounds of your procedure, I would add that cold top-off water to the wort in the ice bath, all it will do is help you chill your wort faster - there's really no added benefit in waiting to top-off until you get to the fermenter. But add top-off, chill, then take your volume reading. I would then stir with a sanitized spoon to make sure everything is mixed real well, take my sample, then transfer to carboy.

Just my $0.02


I measured out 5 gallons in the carboy, simply by pouring 1 gal of water at a time and filling it 5 times to measure it at the 5 gal mark. I then marked the carboy with a sharpie. I'm guessing that it wasn't mixed well enough when I used the wine thief to grab the sample, because I can't imagine my measurements being off to the point where it's 30 pts higher.

Could steeping grains in a larger amount of water add more to the OG? For instance, I probably did 1/2 gal more of water during the steeping process.

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Steeping grains don’t add much fermentable sugars so regardless of water amount your steeping grains are not going to change your OG much, and certainly not 30pts.

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"drgnfli00" post=281096 said:

Steeping grains don’t add much fermentable sugars so regardless of water amount your steeping grains are not going to change your OG much, and certainly not 30pts.

Steeping grains don't add much km the way of fermentable sugars, but they do add unfermentable sugars, which will up the OG.

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"bpgreen" post=281099 said:

"drgnfli00" post=281096 said:

Steeping grains don’t add much fermentable sugars so regardless of water amount your steeping grains are not going to change your OG much, and certainly not 30pts.

Steeping grains don't add much km the way of fermentable sugars, but they do add unfermentable sugars, which will up the OG.


What if you increase the water amount for the grains that are steeped? What change would that have on the recipe's target OG? Would it have any at all?

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How much steeping grain did you use?

If you have beersmith/qbrew it will tell you how much it will add to OG.

As I said before it will add some, however unless you are using a few lbs of steeping grains for an LBK batch I don’t see how you could get 30pts extra from just the steeping grains.

A good link that describes what is going on with steeping grains...


http://beersmith.com/blog/2009/03/22/steeping-grains-for-extract-beer-brewing/

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"drgnfli00" post=281113 said:

How much steeping grain did you use?

If you have beersmith/qbrew it will tell you how much it will add to OG.

As I said before it will add some, however unless you are using a few lbs of steeping grains for an LBK batch I don’t see how you could get 30pts extra from just the steeping grains.

A good link that describes what is going on with steeping grains...


http://beersmith.com/blog/2009/03/22/steeping-grains-for-extract-beer-brewing/

I think you may be misunderstanding what he's seeing. He's comparing the OG the software predicts with the OG he actually gets. The software has the steeping grains in it, so they'd be included in the predicted OG.

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"losman26" post=281103 said:

"bpgreen" post=281099 said:

"drgnfli00" post=281096 said:

Steeping grains don’t add much fermentable sugars so regardless of water amount your steeping grains are not going to change your OG much, and certainly not 30pts.

Steeping grains don't add much km the way of fermentable sugars, but they do add unfermentable sugars, which will up the OG.


What if you increase the water amount for the grains that are steeped? What change would that have on the recipe's target OG? Would it have any at all?

I suppose you could rinse off a little more sugar using more water, but the chance would be minimal, if it's even noticeable.

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Well, BP
the software had an OG comparable to the recipe, which was from BYO. I did do a bigger boil than suggested, and also added more water to the steeped grains. Also, the whirlfloc tablet wasn't in the recipe, but I've been using those for everything. It seems that if I don't take my gravity reading seconds after shaking the carboy for 2 minutes, that it is way out of whack. This happened to me on a BM mix I did. The BM mix was about 20 pts higher, and the only thing I added was more hops, and the whirl-flloc tab. My water measurements were right on, possibly slightly higher.

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Well...I believe he is wondering why he is 30pts higher than what beersmith tells him it should be.

For the record I still stand by my original assertion...that the wort was not mixed well with the top off water which could have caused a higher reading if he grabbed a pocket of wort that wasn’t properly diluted.

As far as steeping grains. Yes it adds both fermentable and unfermentable sugars and in reality they do add quite a bit. The problem is that most people use small amounts of steeping grains in proportion to the extract/mashed grain bill which is why I said steeping grains will not add much to the OG.

So again I feel that a typical steeping grain quantity regardless of how much water was used to steep in them will not make much of a difference to the OG and I don’t see how it could add 30pts.

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I also need to clarify a bit to my prior post. The Whirlfloc tablet is not causing the sugar to somehow not mix correctly. As was stated before, the Whirlfloc works on proteins, not sugars.

Some of my first batches of extract partial boil recipes had way higher OG's than what I was supposed to get. Do a google search on high OG after top off and you will see I am not the only one. I expect this is complicated by the fact that I use O2 to aerate my wort rather than shaking it which caused the sugar to settle. I hindsight I noticed that I took samples with my beer thief fairly low in the fermenter bucket which is where the sugar would settle. And presto you get a higher OG than specified.

I could mix the wort better after top off, but as I posted above I just measure my wort after getting rid of the coldbreak and figure how much water I need to add to get to OG and I don’t worry about post top off OG. The yeast once it wakes up does a fine job of mixing up all of that sugar.

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I did grab the sample from the bottom, but shook the hell out of the carboy for at least two minutes. Another thing I can think of is that before, I used to use hop bags, but now just go commando. Once I started using the whirl-floc tab, I stopped using hop bags. Could it be that the sugars are sticking to the hop-matter? Also, this was supposed to be a pretty low gravity brew, right around 1.043. Now blow-off matter, fermentation was pretty vigorous for the first 10-12 hours, but mellowed out quite a bit. This makes me think that the OG was really around 1.043 and not 1.072.

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A good portion of the hop mater should have been left behind in the coldbreak. So I don’t see the little that remains contributing to settling sugar.

But Ill be honest I don’t claim to know the how much sugar is absorbed by hops or its ability to cling to sugar.

Honestly relax...I am sure your beer will be fine.

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For some reason, I have not been able to get a lot of the hop matter to settle in the pot. Am I stirring too much during the chilling process, with this whirl-floc tab? When it does settle, it's with a bunch of sugar at the bottom, so I end up dumping everything into the carboy, only leaving a small portion of hop matter in the pot. Another thing I forgot to mention, is that this recipe called for adding 3.5 lbs of LME at flameout (which I stirred like hell).

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"drgnfli00" post=281138 said:

Honestly relax...I am sure your beer will be fine.


It will turn out fine, I just prefer to know how the fermentation process went. Every new brew is a learning process. Usually, when I'm not rushed while brewing, there's minor mistakes made, but no question marks in the end.

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Thinking back on my recent gravity readings that have been off, I've come to the conclusion that the whirl-floc tab isn't the reason why, but that it's due to the late minute DME or LME additions. Sometimes I've added them with 10 minutes to go in the boil. This last brew had 1.5 lbs DME during the 60 min boil, and 3 LBS LME at flameout. I probably didn't stir enough at flamout, added one gallon of ice cold water to the wort 5 minutes after flameout, stirring it for maybe a minute or two. After the temp cooled, I added this to my carboy which had one gal of ice cold water. Then I topped off to the 5 gal point. I've been doing these late minute additions to keep the color how it's supposed to be.

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