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Old 03-17-2011, 08:19 PM   #1
pod_021
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Default Gravity Reading

Hi guys, i took my first gravity test today after 6 days of fermenting. It's coming in at 1.003. The krausen has completely gone and to be honest the sample doesn't taste great, it tastes quite dry. My target is to get it to 1.008,i can't really see where i went wrong or if ageing the beer in the bottles will make a difference. Any words of wisdom?

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:22 PM   #2
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Calibrate hydrometer?

Would need to know recipe and temps to offer any kind of advice but I would start with the hydrometer.

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:30 PM   #3
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I'm brewing a "Honey Beer" at the moment. I used the Coopers Lager kit to begin with and followed the appropriate steps. The fermentation began at 20C and i left it there for 5 days before adding 340g of honey mixed with 1ltr of water. The honey was boiled at 80C for 60mins to kill off any unwanted nasties in the honey. I then added the honey to the fermenter and since then the temp has been bumped to 22C where it has stayed.

Today ( Day 6 ) i took a sample and it came in at 1.003. This is my first batch so i'm just cautious at every step.

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:35 PM   #4
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Refractometer or hydrometer?

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:37 PM   #5
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Sorry, Hydrometer... Taste wise, it's not great either

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:50 PM   #6
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Yeah I don't know much about using Honey except that it is very fermentable. 6 days is very young. I would leave it for another 2-3 weeks and see how it is then.

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:53 PM   #7
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Ok,thanks for your help brewer

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Old 03-17-2011, 09:01 PM   #8
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Haven't done a Cooper's lager kit, but I'd imagine that its not meant to be a very heavy beer to begin with, and since the honey should ferment all the way out, it could lead to a drier beer. That being said, 1.003 is still pretty low. Did you take an initial gravity measurement? How much malt extract was in the kit, and was there any other plain sugar or was it just the honey?

Assuming your hydrometer measurements are accurate, there's not a lot you can do at this point to bring the final gravity up. I've heard of people attempting to do so by steeping some crystal malt in some water, boiling quick to sterilize and adding the fermenter to provide some unfermentable sugars, but I've never heard how they came out.

More than likely, you've got two options now.
1. Let it sit on the yeast for another week or two, wait to make sure the gravity isn't dropping any more, then go ahead and bottle as normal. It might taste dry now, but a little co2 will increase the mouthfeel and might turn into a tasty beer.
2. A little more complicated, but there are certainly things you can add to beer if you are feeling up to it. One would be to dry hop with an ounce or so of hops. Probably way out of style for a lager, but who doesn't like hops? You could also backsweeten with a little bit of lactose or add some fruit (whole or extract) if you wanted to go that direction.

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Old 03-17-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
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Hi Erik, i added 500g of dextrose and 500g of spraymalt to begin with and added the honey at a later stage. I'm a complete NOOB at this, i've been watching a lot of "Craigtube" and he said that ideally you want your final gravity reading to be 1.008. Can i just ask you this.. my reading is at 1.003 at the moment which as i understand is closer to water ( 1.000 ) so when it reaches 1.008 does that mean that all the sugar has been consumed by the yeast?

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Old 03-17-2011, 09:37 PM   #10
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Assuming that the Cooper's kits are 5 gal (about 19L) then those fermentables would give you a gravity of about 1.024-25 (counting the honey addition). In that case, your attenuation right now would be about 87%, which seems high but with the amount of sugar/honey in the recipe it isn't crazy.

You're right that water would be 1.000, but alcohol is lighter than water (somewhere around 0.8 I think), so as you generate alcohol you not only get rid of sugars that add to gravity, but you also add alcohol which decreases gravity. Some beers (and even more so wines, ciders, etc.) can get well below 1.000, although normally beers are higher.

Your final gravity is going to depend on a couple of factors.
1. Ratio of fermentable to unfermentable sugars. Your honey and sugar are both almost completely fermentable, where your spray malt contains some unfermentable sugar. If you'd brewed the same beer with all spray malt and no sugar or honey, you'd windup with a higher final gravity.
2. Yeast amount/health/fermentation, and a whole bunch of other factors. Normally more yeast, healthier yeast, and higher fermentation temperatures will result in a lower final gravity. Of course, higher temps will also lead to nasty off-flavors, as will too much yeast. Because these are a little trickier, most recipes use the ratio of fermentable sugars to unfermentable sugars to adjust a predicted final gravity, but so long as you get in the ball park you are probably good.

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