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Old 08-30-2007, 02:28 PM   #1
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Default ABV readings with an improper hydrometer reading

For the first batch of extract beer I made two weeks ago, I'm positive I slipped up on the hydrometer reading. If I really did screw it up, is there any way for me to tell what the ABV is of the beer after it's finished fermenting?

Chris

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Old 08-30-2007, 02:56 PM   #2
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From everything I've been told, you should be able to go by what the estimated abv of the recipe was (as long as you bought it as a kit), as it's hard to screw it up with extract.

I've been doing my hydro readings wrong too; from chem class I remembered to read at the bottom of the meniscus, but you should be doing it at the top of it with a hydrometer, which explains why my readings were always .002 off

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Old 08-30-2007, 02:59 PM   #3
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Guess . . .

Seriously, there's no real accurate way to get what your beer's ABV % is if you don't have a correct OG, at least that I know if, albeit I am pretty new to this myself. You could could ball park it by using some brewing software and the suggested OG from the recipe and the reading that you get whenever you bottle the brew.

A little more info may help answer this question.

How do you think you screwed up?
Why do you think you screwed up?
Was it a kit?
What style?
What was the reading you got and what was the suggested reading, and their relationship to the style?
What and how much extract did you use?

That'll help narrow it down.

EDIT: Sigafoos, the Pottsville Porter you brewed, is that in reference to the Yuengling Porter, and could I get the recipe?
Cheers,

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Old 08-30-2007, 03:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyPABrewGuy
How do you think you screwed up?
Why do you think you screwed up?
Gut feeling. After putting everything into the fermenter (except the yeast), I put the hydrometer in. With a bit of foam on top and me not really understanding all that well how hydrometers are to be read, I'm just pretty sure I read it wrong.

Quote:
Was it a kit?
What style?
It was the Thomas Coopers Brewmaster Selection Irish Stout.

Quote:
What was the reading you got and what was the suggested reading, and their relationship to the style?
I scribbled down 1.10. I didn't see any suggested reading on the can, and I don't see anything of that nature in the little instruction booklet.

Quote:
What and how much extract did you use?
The whole can of 1.25 litres.

So I guess I might be down to taking a wild guess, eh? If so, that's fine. I didn't expect everything to go perfectly the first time out. I'll just have to make sure I learn to use the hydrometer properly for next time.

Chris
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Old 08-30-2007, 07:30 PM   #5
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Chris,

I don't know what to tell you. I couldn't find anything on the website about OG and FG readings. I would go by some style guidelines. As long as your total vol. was 5 gallons, I'm guessing that your OG wouldn't be as high has 1.100, cuz you're reaching some really high ABV levels.

Back to the hydrometer reading, though. Make sure you spin it when you put it into the wort/sample, and be sure to stir the heck out of it to homongenize it. I've had issues previously because the wort wasn't completely incorporated with the additional water. For instance, my Weizenbock, which was supposed to be around 8.2 and have an OG of 1.072ish read 1.049, and I KNOW that was wrong, because it tastes like alcohol and goodness, which I guess are the same. Also, use some 60 deg water to see if your hydro is correct. It should read 1.000 at that point.

Sorry if this is all reiteration of stuff that you already know, just trying to pass on some "live and learn" stuff so you don't have to.

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Old 08-30-2007, 07:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyPABrewGuy
Sorry if this is all reiteration of stuff that you already know, just trying to pass on some "live and learn" stuff so you don't have to.
No, no, I appreciate it. I'll just have to fiddle with the hydrometer a bit and actually learn how to read it properly.

The alternative is never actually knowing the ABV levels of my beers (probably not a good thing).

Chris
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:06 PM   #7
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No weight on the can? LME has a gravity around 1.450, so 1.25L would 1.8KG. Did you add the DME and dextrose? Either way, you can plug the numbers into http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator and get a good idea of what the OG should have been.

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Old 08-30-2007, 09:11 PM   #8
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This is an OG reading of 1.056.

hydrometer.jpg

At the end of the fermentation, the reading was 1.010.

That's a .046 point delta.

Multiplied by 131 (a universal formula), you get an ABV of 6.026%.

If that doesn't work, chug a pint on an empty stomach and see how the buzz-factor is.

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Old 08-30-2007, 10:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
If that doesn't work, chug a pint on an empty stomach and see how the buzz-factor is.
While all the math is probably more helpful, I like the idea of this process better.

My girlfriend, however, will hate me (and you for suggesting such a thing).

Thanks for your responses, everybody. I appreciate it. Lesson learned: Figure out how to use the hydrometer properly first.

Chris
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