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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Seeking a lower FG. How?
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:43 PM   #1
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Default Seeking a lower FG. How?

Link away if I failed in my search duties, but I didn't find anything on point when I tried

Every batch that I've brewed up thus far has had a final gravity of around 1.018-1.020, fine for the recipes (it's what they called for) and all that, but when I play around in brew calculators, I am absolutely unable to concoct a recipe that says it'll come out any less than about 1.020. I've been itching to do a really dry something lately, and this is really bothering me. So far, I know how to raise FG! And I also know that adding überfermentables is one way to help lower it relative to OG, but I don't think that those are supposed to account for 30%+ of the total bill.

That said, I have read little comments and notions that extract brewing (to which I am currently limited) is simply not able to reach such low gravities, and that the key to them lies in mashing in a particular way, which extract brewers of course have no control over. Is that true? Or am I missing something else? If so, what? It seems that most guides and commentary on brewing just sort of gloss over how to come to a target FG, and just tell you how to measure it and then calculate ABV.

Anyway, cheers! Appreciate the help

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:02 PM   #2
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What kind of extract are you using? What yeast? Fermentation temps? Specialty grains? OG?

Using sugar and avoiding crystals helps, so does using extra light extracts. You can steep the extract at around 148-150 with a pond or two of 2 row and mash the extract a little more. Just shots in the dark though without more details on recipes.

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:06 PM   #3
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What kinds of starting gravities are you usually making, and what yeast? If you were to make a Belgian Blonde such as SWMBO Slayer I pretty much guarantee it would come out dry. Or make an iPA using wlp007 and 20% table sugar, 1.060 OG. Guaranteed it will drop down below 1.020.

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:15 PM   #4
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Agreed on the sugar additions. Dextrose and sucrose completely ferment and also somewhat enhance the fermentation of other, more complex, sugars that are causing your high FG.

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Old 09-22-2012, 12:02 AM   #5
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As mentioned, a lot of what occurs will depend on the actual extract used as thy have combinations of less fermentable grains in their manufacture. Using sugar can help drive the FG down but be careful how you add it. If you add too much at the wrong time the yeast may chew through them and have a more difficult time getting through the more complex sugars.

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Old 09-22-2012, 12:57 AM   #6
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Thanks all.

I'm familiar with the use of simple sugars in this manner. As for myself, every beer that I've brewed thus far has ended up within a couple points of 1.019, but original gravities have ranged from 1.053, I think, to 1.073. Rather nonspecific as to yeast, though this last time around I used 3098 Weihenstephan, went from 1.073 to 1.020, though in all fairness I also used 9.5 pounds of pale liquid extract.

But the real genesis of this question has come from long days at the office, hanging out on Hopville. It seems like, no matter what combination of ingredients or yeast that I use, I never see expected final gravities of less than about 1.018. So really, this is all theory for me right now; I'm just deathly curious! Maybe I'm just looking at bad algorithms? Most recently, I've been trying to make a ridiculously huge (OG 1.100 or better) Russian Imperial Stout on there for fun. Deschutes claims that The Abyss drops from target OG of 1.100 to target FG of 1.019 or so. The closest I can get to that, even with ridiculous grain bills, is about 1.025.

So, yeah. Just curious. Seems to me like I'm missing some piece of the puzzle, but maybe I just have it turned the wrong way right now?

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Old 09-22-2012, 01:14 AM   #7
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This is exactly why I got interested in all grain brewing. I know many people who claim they can make extract ferment dry, but that was never my experience. I would make a 1.090 IIPA, finish at 1.020. A 1.055 honey wheat, 1.020. It got frustrating after awhile.

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Old 09-22-2012, 04:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C38368 View Post
Link away if I failed in my search duties, but I didn't find anything on point when I tried

Every batch that I've brewed up thus far has had a final gravity of around 1.018-1.020, fine for the recipes (it's what they called for) and all that, but when I play around in brew calculators, I am absolutely unable to concoct a recipe that says it'll come out any less than about 1.020. I've been itching to do a really dry something lately, and this is really bothering me. So far, I know how to raise FG! And I also know that adding überfermentables is one way to help lower it relative to OG, but I don't think that those are supposed to account for 30%+ of the total bill.

That said, I have read little comments and notions that extract brewing (to which I am currently limited) is simply not able to reach such low gravities, and that the key to them lies in mashing in a particular way, which extract brewers of course have no control over. Is that true? Or am I missing something else? If so, what? It seems that most guides and commentary on brewing just sort of gloss over how to come to a target FG, and just tell you how to measure it and then calculate ABV.

Anyway, cheers! Appreciate the help
I'm just starting out brewing and have had some troubles reaching the goal FG so I was digging around seeing what I could do. If you are willing to give it a shot it seems alternative methods would do the job and get you an extremely dry beer. Apparently beano is quite good at this http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/unst...-beano-137060/ as well as amylase enzyme http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...roducts_id=447. From what I read the beano will take your FG down to extreme levels and the amylase is a less drastic enzyme but will help achieve your goal.

In any case, best of luck and report back any breakthroughs you find :-)

Cheers!
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:28 PM   #9
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What yeast are you using. It should be very possible to get an extract brew down to 1.012-1.014. You can even get much lower than that with certain yeasts. I had an extract saison get down to 1.004.

You might want to switch to DME, and buy it from someplace that turns over a lot of product so you know it isfresh.

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Old 09-26-2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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Can you please list the yeast you've tried? Recipes? Are you sure your LME is fresh? Do you control your ferm temps? Are you pitching enough yeast?

I've been through about 20 extract batches and had some finish as low as 1.006 (not quite as low as beergolf, NICE! btw.) I've bought all my supplies from Midwest at the store so I am fairly certain they have fresh ingredients due to high sales volume. The yeast can make a big difference too. S-05 and Nottingham are beasts and they have enough viable cells in one pack to power through all available sugars. French Saison yeast 3711 can do work too. Can you shed any light on my questions? A little bit more info (specific recipes you've tried, etc) would really be helpful to people trying to troubleshoot your conundrum.

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