Homebrew 101

Posted by Nate in Homebrewing.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 at 8:06 pm

Laurel recently asked:

This may sound like a dumb question, but what does 1.047 OG mean???

Well, I’m glad you asked. OG, as everyone knows, is short for Original Gangsta. 1.047 OG means that a beer has an Original Gangsta rating of 47, which is sort of around Vanilla Ice — not that strong. Make sense? Good.

Ok, really, here’s the deal: OG in this context means Original Gravity, with "gravity" being the density of a liquid – in this case unfermented beer, or "wort". John Palmer defines it thus in his homebrew glossary:

Gravity – Like density, gravity describes the concentration of malt sugar in the wort. The specific gravity of water is 1.000 at 59F. Typical beer worts range from 1.035 – 1.055 before fermentation (Original Gravity).

So maybe 1.047 isn’t so bad (it’s not), but all the really kickin’ beers come in at 1.060 or more, with some strong ones hitting over 1.100! But that’s a lot of grain for a five gallon batch – my current system I think will max out at about 1.080… (Time for more gear!!) Anyway, by measuring the OG and the FG (Final Gravity), it’s easy to compute how much sugar has turned into alcohol, and how strong a beer you’ve brewed. High OG beers are commonly referred to as "big beers", and lower OG beers as "small".

For all of you considering getting into homebrew, realize there are many levels of the hobby – the simplest is really just that: simple. Here’s a basic equipment list, and a crash course in extract brewing. More fun cannot be had!

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One Response to “Homebrew 101”

  1. Rick Says:

    A little OG gangsta rap –

    They say my OG isn’t high enuf,
    But I can take, ’cause I’m tuf stuf,
    I don’t brew beer, but I drink a few,
    I’m talkin’ ’bout OG, not mountain dew,
    This is serious stuf, we’re talkin’ grav-i-ty,
    One point one sounds good to me,
    I like my beer kickin’ (it’s a phrase I learned),
    From that son of mine, who now has turned,
    Into a mad scientist, I’m ‘fraid to say,
    But if he has good OG, then what the hey,
    Let him work his magic and chem-i-stry,
    As long as he cranks up the old OG.