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Old 08-21-2012, 02:36 AM   #1
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Default 2nd Fermentation too early or wrong OG reading

Ok, so after reading i'm still unsure what my issue is. I gave my hand at my third brew and tried for a really hoppy IPA. I used 8oz of crystal malt and 9lb's of dried malt extract. I used an American Ale yeast and made sure the temp was below 80 before I pitched the yeast. After 8 days and an extremely vigorous bubble in the airlock for the first four I decided to move the brew to the secondary to dry hop (bubbling in the airlock had stopped). My OG was 1.052 and my FG was 1.02. Thats telling me that the beer is 4.84%. I must have done something wrong and I'm not sure what it was. Any insight would be appreciated.

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Old 08-21-2012, 05:29 AM   #2
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How old was the yeast? Specifically which strain did you use? Did you make a starter? What temperature did you carry out fermentation at?

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Old 08-21-2012, 07:17 AM   #3
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Your primary fermentation wasn't finished yet. When you moved it to secondary you took it off of the yeast cake. You didn't let the beer finish out. Give it some time and see if it drops.

Edit: Never go by airlock activity, always use a hydrometer.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:00 PM   #4
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I'm not sure what yeast it was all I know was that it was an American Ale yeast that was in a packet, it was not the Wyeast with the smack pack that I have used before. The man at the homebrew store told me just to dump it on top of the cooled wort. I fermented at 72%. I will let it dry hop for a week and then check with the hydrometer again it was just something I have not come across yet and I was really hoping for around 10% on this IPA, so when I saw 4.84% I almost cried haha.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:09 PM   #5
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For the love of the sweet baby Jesus, you need to check your gravity BEFORE racking to the secondary if you don't want a stuck fermentation.

Please use the hydrometer you have, don't just guess based on bubbles.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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I doubt your OG was 1.052 with 9lbs of DME if this is a 5 gallon batch. Do you use top off water in the fermenter? If so it probably wasn't mixed very well. It's very hard to get it all mixed. When using extract, unless something goes horribly wrong you can pretty much calculate the OG based on your final volume.

9lbs of DME should have gotten you to ~1.080, and is estimated (according to the tool, and it's not necessarily a good estimate since many factors affect this) to finish around 1.020. This gives you an ABV of 7.8% or so. Honestly 1.02 isn't really that unbelievable of a finishing gravity for an extract batch with crystal. Crystal is mostly unfermentable and extract in general isn't as fermentable as All Grain wort.

If the gravity doesnt change during the dry hop then it's finished. Bottle/Keg and enjoy.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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I also suspect that your original gravity reading is incorrect with 9 lbs of extract you should have been closer to 1.076 at 75% attenuation you would be at 1.018. And estimated 7.7% ABV. Did you calculate the stats of the recipe in brewing software (like the free online recipe creator at hopville.com)? This is all for a 5 gallon batch. My guess is that you added top off water and it wasn't mixed thoroughly and gave you a false low reading on your og.

My guess is that you actually have about a 7.5% beer.

(calculated based on 5.5 gallons in the kettle to get 5 to the fermenter)

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:43 PM   #8
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I was really hoping that my OG was incorrect, I had originally crossed out 1.082 so I'm really not sure why though. Wouldn't that be 1.082-1.020=.062x131=8.122%?

I boiled and finished with about 3 gallons and added 2 gallons of cold water, I aerated vigorously before I took my OG reading. The tube that I use my hydrometer in (original tube it came with) has a crack on the bottom so I don't know if this could affect the reading with a slow leak or not.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:51 PM   #9
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You also have to watch out for temperature when you take gravity readings. Your hydrometer is calibrated for a specific temp (usually 60 degrees I think). So if the wort is at 80 degrees that'll throw off your reading. You can account for temperature if its not too far off though. There are online tools for that.

And yes. If you original gravity was 1.082 and final gravity is 1.020 then you have an ~8.1% beer

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Old 08-21-2012, 04:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info everyone, as this was only my 3rd batch I'm still learning about all of this and will be much more careful next time. Thanks for that link to hopville.com, I used it and it looks like a good indicator for what my OG should be and I will use that in conjunction with my hydrometer. I'm set to bottle next Sunday so I'll know for sure in a couple weeks if it came out good or not. Thanks again.

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