I just brewed this extract IPA. I had 4.6 gal in the fermentor when I measured original gravity at 1.053 (@80 degrees), on the low end of the target range for 5 gallons (target 1.059, or 1.053-1.062). Is this a reasonable deviation from the recipe, considering it would be even lower if I topped it off?
It sounds like most low gravity readings are due to the top-off water not being mixed. I did not add any top off water, but I also did not mix the wort after pouring it in. I poured the ~2.5 gal. of wort through a strainer/funnel over the 2 gal. of water already in the fermentor. Is it still possible the heavy wort, despite being poured over the water, sunk to the bottom and thus gave me a low reading on the top?
So now I'm not sure if my beer is too strong or too weak. Is there a way to tell whether I should add the remaining water during bottling? For example, if my OG is low and my FG is high, maybe it would indicate my OG reading was wrong? But if my FG is also low, maybe I shouldn't add water.