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hsmith80 10-10-2012 01:50 PM

ABV concern
I racked my White House Honey Porter to secondary on Sunday. I kept it at 68 degrees Fahrenheit in primary for two entire weeks as instructed. When I racked to secondary I took a hydrometer reading and it read as not even 5% ABV. This is my second brew. I first brewed Northern Brewer's Caribou Slobber and it came out at almost 4% ABV. That brew had its own problems though. I have a few questions. 1. There is an entire pound of honey in this brew. Could that have slowed fermentation possibly? Like settled at the bottom and sunk the yeast? The yeast at the bottom of primary was sort of bubbly looking but there had been no airlock activity in a week. 2. I forgot to measure gravity at the start of the brew, but using northern brewer's given o.g. For this brew and my hydrometer reading, I keep getting weird numbers. So I have been just reading the ABV reading on the hydrometer itself. Is that accurate?

mb82 10-10-2012 01:53 PM

Are your reading the ABV scale on your hygrometer? That scale really does not work well with brewing since we don't normally finish at 1.000. That is a scale for wine making. To find your ABV you need to know your Original Gravity and your Final Gravity then you can plug that into any one of a number of online websites and they will tell you what your ABV is.

hsmith80 10-10-2012 02:01 PM

Yeah I've been using that scale. Maybe I plugged it in wrong, but I tried an online one and it was weird. It said I had -299% ABV or something. Northern brewer gave me 1.054 as my o.g. I forgot to measure myself. But I finished at 1.25ish

unionrdr 10-10-2012 02:04 PM

An OG of 1.054 should finish well below 1.025. More like 1.012 or so. And read the scale that reads 10,20,30,40,etc. To get specific gravity.

hsmith80 10-10-2012 02:05 PM

Maybe I'm reading the wrong scale. I'm really new at this and 1.25 doesn't really make sense

hsmith80 10-10-2012 02:07 PM

I'll read it again when I get home. Because this is really bugging me. But assuming 1.025 is right, do you have any ideas of why it may be so low?

unionrdr 10-10-2012 02:08 PM

You read the scale with 1.000 being water at 66F. Then the numbers read as 1.010,1.020,1.030,etc. So I guessed you meant "1.025". Not low enough for a stable FG with an OG of 1.054. It should be lower,like 1.012 or so. The less sugar that's left in suspension,the lighter the gravity will get till the sugars are all gone.

hsmith80 10-10-2012 02:25 PM

So would it be advisable to double check my reading and if it is in fact 1.025, just wait a while and take another reading in a week or so? My only concern is that not a lot of the yeast or fermentables left since I racked to secondary already. Should this make a difference in the sugar thing you were talking about?

unionrdr 10-10-2012 03:01 PM

It would def reduce the amount of available yeast to finish the job. Never rack out of primary till FG is reached. then wait another 3-7 days for the yeast to clean things up & settle out clear.

hsmith80 10-10-2012 03:11 PM

Damn. Well that kinda sucks. But at least now I know! It's only my second batch so I'm hoping to get a lot better at this. Thanks for your help though. I just thought that since I saw no active fermentation (or at least I thought), I was safe to go ahead and put it on into secondary. One thing I was wondering that is kind of unrelated, is there really that much of a difference as far as taste and quality in leaving a brew in primary the whole month or so, as opposed to splitting it into primary and secondary?

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