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Old 04-09-2011, 05:52 PM   #1
cieje
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Default FG is lower than expected

I recently brewed my 3rd batch ever. I bought an Austin Homebrew extract kit for their 20th. It's the English Pale Ale.

The brew went perfect as far as I could tell, trying to fully sanitize everything etc. The OG was what the instructions said it should be, 1.051

Since I live in FL, and the room I was putting my ferming brew in swings temp a little, I put the ferm tub into a larger tub of regular tap water + some starsan (keep out any infection) filled about 1/2 - 2/3 of the way up on the side. There's no shirt or anything on it; I didn't make a swamp cooler. The water temp seemed to hold steady about 66-71 deg F at various times of the day. Ambient temp in the room can be anywhere from 70 to 88 over the last 2 weeks. The instructions said about 68deg.

For the first few days it bubbled the airlock as expected. I didn't smell any foul odors or anything unexpected. It stopped after a week or so, and I figured it was almost done with fermentation.

Today will be 2 weeks since ferm. I took a test sample for the first time. The gravity is 1.011... the instructions say it should be 1.014. Also, I tasted the sample; I don't think it tastes bad, but I was expected a lot more hop flavoring seeing as the recipe used 3 different bags of hops during the boil and it's an EPA. I'm worried the temp has been too low because I kept the tub in water; maybe the yeast went dormant a little.

tl;dr: OG 1.051 FG 1.011 (should be 1.014) - is an EPA but sample doesn't taste hoppy

Thoughts?

-cj

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Old 04-09-2011, 05:55 PM   #2
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1.011 is a fine FG. A target FG is at best a guestimate anyway. Ingredients, yeast strain, etc, all play a part. The projected FG at 1.014 is only a difference of .003! That's really nothing.

As far as the flavor, temperature plays a HUGE role. Do you know the temperature of the actual fermenting beer? I have a stick-on thermometer that I use so I can see at a glance what the beer temperature is during fermentation. I usually fill my water baths up to near the level of the beer to help keep the temperature from fluctuating, and then I can add a frozen water bottle to it if it gets too high.

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Old 04-09-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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Well, if your FG is lower then expected, the yeast didn't stall. I can guarantee that. I am not sure how dark you kept the room where it ferments, but it needs to be shielded from light. Without getting into a lot of technical crap, light hurts hops. The hops flavor is destroyed by light. That's why green bottles will make a beer skunky (over time). Always shield carboys from light somehow. I either use an old shirt, or I wrap a towel around it. I am not saying that's what happened, but you might want to consider shielding carboys from light.

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Old 04-09-2011, 06:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
1.011 is a fine FG. A target FG is at best a guestimate anyway. Ingredients, yeast strain, etc, all play a part. The projected FG at 1.014 is only a difference of .003! That's really nothing.

As far as the flavor, temperature plays a HUGE role. Do you know the temperature of the actual fermenting beer? I have a stick-on thermometer that I use so I can see at a glance what the beer temperature is during fermentation. I usually fill my water baths up to near the level of the beer to help keep the temperature from fluctuating, and then I can add a frozen water bottle to it if it gets too high.
I had a floating glass thermometer in the tub surround the ferm bucket. I assumed the outside liquid and the inside liquid would be with 1-2 deg of eachother as they would seek equilibrium.

it currently reads about 69deg F. It's probably about 73-76F ambient temp in the room now

NOTE: don't leave a glass thermometer sitting in star-san water for an extended period of time... it ate the tip of the glass off.
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Old 04-10-2011, 02:02 AM   #5
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so if I don't think it's hoppy enough at this point ... Should I try dry hopping?

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Old 04-10-2011, 02:30 AM   #6
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Dry hopping won't add bitterness but it'll give an impression of hopiness through a strong aroma.

The other thing to consider is that the flavor will change when you keg or bottle. It'll carbonate up and change the feel. That may influence your perception of the bitterness.

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