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Old 11-07-2007, 03:01 PM   #1
sprengel
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Default Great beer...but

I am still pretty new to the brewing game, my fifth batch just came out. The beer tastes, looks, and smells great but the alcohol content has ben consistently low. I imagine this has something to do pitching the yeast? Any ideas on what might be causing this?

The last two beers have been a Weiss beer and an Octoberfest, both made from kits. Alcohol content below 2%

Thanks for any advice

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Old 11-07-2007, 03:03 PM   #2
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What were the OG and FG readings on your hydrometer, you may have had an incomplete fermentation, or not have had a high starting gravity. These numbers are important in helping us determine what is wrong with the brew.

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Old 11-07-2007, 03:13 PM   #3
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I have a feeling you are reading your hydro wrong. Please let us know how you are comming up with your numbers.

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Old 11-07-2007, 03:18 PM   #4
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Sound slike maybe the readings are off - your beer shouldnt be 2% generally. Even with a bad fermentation - what are the ingredients you are using?

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Old 11-07-2007, 03:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunkensatyr
I have a feeling you are reading your hydro wrong. Please let us know how you are comming up with your numbers.
I agree. 2% ABV corresponds to only about a 0.015 difference between OG and FG.

A common mistake is reading the ABV scale on the hydrometer when measuring the beer after fermentation and thinking that that actually represents the ABV, when in fact it's the difference between the readings before and after fermentation that tells you.
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:31 PM   #6
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2%...and I thought I was a light-weight...

This is a beer with a starting gravity of 1.056. This reading is taken just before pitching your yeast.

hydrometer.jpg

As the beer ferments, the solution becomes thinner (as the alcohol increases) and this hydrometer will sink lower in the solution. At the end of the fermentation, the Final Gravity (FG) was 1.014.

Subtract 1.014 from 1.056 and multiply times 131 and that is the ABV of your beer.

As Funkenjäger said, it is not an absolute reading on your hydrometer, but the movement over time that you want to keep track of.

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Old 11-07-2007, 03:40 PM   #7
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Sounds like the OP may believe that his FG reading = abv.

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Old 11-07-2007, 03:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprengel
I am still pretty new to the brewing game, my fifth batch just came out. The beer tastes, looks, and smells great but the alcohol content has ben consistently low. I imagine this has something to do pitching the yeast? Any ideas on what might be causing this?

The last two beers have been a Weiss beer and an Octoberfest, both made from kits. Alcohol content below 2%

Thanks for any advice
Well, I'm with the other guys on this one. I don't believe that a kit would give you 2% alcohol. I mean, even homemade rootbeer has like .5% alcohol in it.

If your beer tastes like beer, it has fermented. An unfermented beer would taste syrupy sweet.

What was your og and fg, or your recipe?
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Old 11-12-2007, 03:53 PM   #9
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Sorry for the lack of response, I have been away. I think you are right about the whole reading the hydrometer incorrectly thing. After looking at the picture put up by the bier muncher I realized that I have been testing the beer in a far too narrow container. the plastic sleeve it was packed in, and this is clearly screwing up my readings. I know, rookie mistake! I have another Weiss beer to brew in a few days and I think this will help me to get better readings.

I thought I was feeling a little intoxicated.

Thanks for all the advice, its a big help.

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Old 11-12-2007, 04:06 PM   #10
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When i first started brewing, my hydro readings were all over the place. So when i look at my brew logs from that time period, i just discount the OG/FG. It's probably one of the most common mistakes a beginning home brewer can make.

As a recommendation, don't use the sample jar that came with the hydrometer. It's a pain in the ass. Go buy a Thief from your local HBS. It makes taking hydrometer readings a cinch. Below is a link for you to take a look.
http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...oducts_id=1227

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