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Old 02-20-2011, 03:24 AM   #1
rkzink
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Default Consistently low alcohol content

So I just bottled my third batch of beer (all three batches were Brewer's Best kits). I have been consistently getting alcohol contents that are on the low end of the range listed on the kit (and sometimes lower). My OG and FG readings have been within their ranges (and I've made sure to stir appropriately and make temperature corrections).

So I realize that if you're on the low end of the spectrum for the OG and the high end for the FG, then you're going to end up with a low alcohol content. My question is, what am I doing to consistently have this happen? Or what can I do to fix this? I don't want to have to add ingredients to my kits to "make it right," but would rather fix my brewing process (since this has consistently happened over three different kits/recipes).

Questions? Suggestions?

Thanks!
Rebecca

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Old 02-20-2011, 03:33 AM   #2
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what were the recipes? gravity readings? brewing processes? fermentation processes?

there are multiple different factors that can affect gravity. Without knowing the specifics of your process, we can only make a wild guess.

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Old 02-20-2011, 03:33 AM   #3
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Boil longer/more rolling boil

Use less water.

Stir before you take readings

Solved

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Old 02-20-2011, 03:34 AM   #4
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What types of beers were these? I'm assuming a dry yeast that came with the kit too?

But by the way, dropping a pound or so of corn sugar (dextrose) into your boil will bump up the ABV too.

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Old 02-20-2011, 03:36 AM   #5
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If you're in the recommended range, it's not THAT much of a difference. The recommended ranges are that wide.

Don't go dumping sugar or anything in it just to get more alcohol. Good beer is more important than alcohol. If alcohol is more important than taste, then go buy some Steel Reserve or something.

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:00 AM   #6
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Ditto ChshreCat, If you want more Al Cohol than change you could switch up recipes too, and keep an eye on those temps.

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:19 AM   #7
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How far on the high end of the spectrum are you getting on the F.G. ? Post your measurements and we can give you some better advice.

Like Cheshire said though, I wouldn't be concerned with the lower alcohol. However if your beer is under-attenuating and ending up sweet... and that's what you want to fix it's a different story.

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Old 02-20-2011, 12:53 PM   #8
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As mentioned, use less water/longer, more vigorous boil. Part of homebrewing is learning your specific brewing conditions. It's possible, for example, that you don't experience as much boil off as the kit assumes. Add, say, a half gallon less than you've been adding or boil for an extra 15-30 minutes. This will increase your OG. However, if you're using extract, I'd recommend just adding a little less water, instead of boiling longer.

For decreasing FG, make a starter. Under attenuated beer is almost always caused by too little yeast. Also, make sure you are aerating properly. Good aeration and the correct amount of yeast will ensure a proper FG.

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Old 02-20-2011, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkzink View Post
So I just bottled my third batch of beer (all three batches were Brewer's Best kits). I have been consistently getting alcohol contents that are on the low end of the range listed on the kit (and sometimes lower). My OG and FG readings have been within their ranges (and I've made sure to stir appropriately and make temperature corrections).
Thanks!
Rebecca
How are you getting the alcohol reading? The percent alcohol depends on the difference between OG and FG. Specifically, ABV=131*(OG-FG). I hope you're not reading the alcohol percent straight off the hydrometer when your beer is done.
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:21 PM   #10
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Ok, for example. The last batch I did was the Scottish Ale from Brewer's Best. I followed the directions for brewing (I even set a timer so that I know I am steeping/boiling for the proper length of time).

The OG that I came up with was 1.035 and the kit specified that the OG should be 1.034 to 1.038.

The FG that I had was 1.014, and the kit specified that it should be 1.010 to 1.014.

The kit said the final alcohol content should be between 3.25% and 3.5%. My calculations put it at 2.75%.

I don't mind having a beer with low alcohol content, but I just wish it was more in the range of what the recipe says. I get that if you're on the low end of the OG and the high end of the FG, then you won't get the expected alcohol content, but since this keeps happening, I want to know what I can do to bump the content up slightly.

I like the suggestions of boiling longer/adding less water. Would I increase the boiling time after adding LME/DME then?

Thanks!

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