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-   -   Couple of beginner questions (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/couple-beginner-questions-377966/)

cromwell60 01-02-2013 10:52 AM

Couple of beginner questions
Hi- I brewed my first batch last year using the Cooper's real ale kit. I was really impressed with the resulting beer after a couple of months in the bottles- really tasty! I am trying the real ale kit again now so here's my 2 questions-
1. When I brewed the first batch the SG before adding the yeast was 1.032 (wort at 21 degrees). However, this time the SG was only 1.018 (wort at 23 degrees). Why is this and how will it affect the resulting beer?
2. How can I up the alcohol content? The first batch, whilst good beer, was only 3.4%.
Also- if anyone could point me in the direction of some good beginner articles, that would be great.
Thanks very much.

GrogNerd 01-02-2013 11:02 AM


WoodlandBrew 01-02-2013 11:39 AM

If the original gravity is only 1.018 then the beer will taste very watered down and will probably finish less than 2%ABV.

If you didn't boil the wort and the LME was not well mixed there could be some stratification leading to an erroneously low reading. If you could provide the recipe it would help.

ludomonster 01-02-2013 12:45 PM

You can boost the alcohol by adding fermentable sugars. With that said, I don't recommend it. If you want to brew a stronger beer, you should buy a kit or make a recipe for a style that falls within the range you want. Just adding sugar, honey or other adjuncts will make your beer dry; it will have a thinner mouthfeel than the ordinary recipe. If the recipe doesn't have a lot of malt, you could notice a hot alcohol taste. If you don't have good temperature control, you could end up with a lot of off-flavors.

cromwell60 01-02-2013 01:00 PM

Thanks for the replies. The Coopers Real Ale kit is a pre-prepared wort. I think I added 2 litres of boiling water to the wort but didn't mix it until I'd topped up the barrel to 20 litres. Is that where I went wrong? Should I have mixed the wort with the boiling water before adding more water?
2% beer or less is kinda pointless!

cromwell60 01-02-2013 01:03 PM

The last batch had a lot more action going on too- lots of foaming with foam coming out the airlock etc- this batch, there doesn't seem as much going on.

cromwell60 01-02-2013 01:04 PM

Should I try an SG reading now? It was started on 30th December.

WoodlandBrew 01-02-2013 01:12 PM

It is likely that it was just not mixed well. You can safely assume that the Original Gravity is very close to what was listed with the kit. Because most of the sugar is sitting in a layer in the bottom of the fermentor it's going to take more time to finish, but it will finish just fine. Give it an extra week.

Whippy 01-02-2013 01:25 PM

It really sounds to me as if an error were made while taking your gravity reading.

I do not see how your starting gravity could be that far off unless 1) you did not include all of your extract 2) you added too much top-up water or 3) you had a bad hydrometer reading, which could have come from taking the reading before stirring the wort.

I would guess that the beer will be fine, but I never had this problem so cannot say for sure. I hope for your sake that it works out! I'd give it a week or so and then check how it is going.

jetsfan4ever80 01-02-2013 01:38 PM

The most likely scenario is that you just happened to take a more watered down portion for your hydrometer reading. I rarely get accurate reads with my extract brews and yet they always come out just fine. It's difficult getting accurate reads with extract kits. I'm very sure everything will be fine.

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