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Thread: Coming in low on starting gravity

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Livingston, MT, USA
    Posts
    1

    Coming in low on starting gravity

    Greetings everyone!

    I'm operating on a 15bbl 2 vessel Premier direct-fire system and out of nowhere our brews started coming in .5 degree Plato low. (i.e. should be 12 and coming in 11.4).
    It's been consistent across the last few batches regardless of style and I cannot figure out why.
    I've exhausted the obvious solutions like forgetting a bag of grain or something but any ideas would be helpful!
    Perhaps a change in our water or a lot of grain?

    Any thoughts are helpful!

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    201
    Quote Originally Posted by brewbenjamin View Post
    Greetings everyone!

    I'm operating on a 15bbl 2 vessel Premier direct-fire system and out of nowhere our brews started coming in .5 degree Plato low. (i.e. should be 12 and coming in 11.4).
    It's been consistent across the last few batches regardless of style and I cannot figure out why.
    I've exhausted the obvious solutions like forgetting a bag of grain or something but any ideas would be helpful!
    Perhaps a change in our water or a lot of grain?

    Any thoughts are helpful!

    Cheers
    Pre-milled grain or you mill it yourself? Maybe something went through the mill and messed with the gap. If you or another local brewery have the right sieves to test the crush you may find its not ideal - although its hard to say unless you had a baseline reading from when you got the gravity you were expecting. Maybe tighten the gap slightly and see if it nudges you in the right direction.

    Also - maybe you are getting a weaker boil? Or is your pre-boil gravity low as well?

    Maybe mash PH/temp is off without you knowing and you are getting less extraction. I know our mash temp probe got screwy for a bit and we had a similar issue.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    108
    I had a similar problem with a 10bbl Premier system a few years ago. It turned out it was the mill going out of adjustment.

    It was counterintuitive in that the issue was that the mill gap had *closed* and I was getting lower gravities due to channeling. Does your system have that Hungarian mill? (I forget the brand, but it is the one that was supplied with our Premier system...) I found that the screw-down locking system for the mill gap was slipping. This made our crush too fine, and I got channeling in the grain bed that led to lower OGs.

    Get a set of shakers (you only really need the coarsest one) and read this article:

    <http://www.craftbrewersconference.com/wp-content/uploads/ImprovingBrewhouseEfficiency-Havig.pdf>

    I found that I had to use Vice Grips on the mill to hold the adjustment once I dialed it in.

    Good luck- Mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    384
    I had a similar issue with my old 15bbl Premier, which had the Hungarian mill, however it was not the mill gap. I had tightened it well because I had been warned about possible slippage before.

    My problem was traced to a change in kernel size from the malt supplier. Apparently it had been a bad season for barley the harvest prior and they were blending lots of barley to compensate for a drastic change. When I asked about it, they immediately told me that's what was going on, but it would have been nice if they had given a heads up. I tightened the mill gap for a few months and then went back to the original setting later. That was the difference. I often give malt analysis a cursory glance, but didn't notice any significant changes before the low gravities began. So check your malt analysis, FWIW.

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