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Old 01-15-2012, 12:21 AM   #1
roxy35
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Default Help reading Hydrometer!

Hello everyone,

I brewed my first beer 6 days ago and have learned a lot about the process, however I want to make sure I am reading my hydrometer correctly.

Just now I pulled the top off to take a reading since my instructions say my Hefeweizen should ferment from 5-10 days. Sooo, I sanitized everything very carefully, took my sample, dropped my hydrometer in the sample, and looked at my readings.

Below are pictures, but TO ME it looks like I have a gravity reading of 1.2 and an alcohol content of roughly 2.5%. Now, I'm not really sure where to go from here. My instructions do not indicate a final gravity rating, however it does say it should be 5.5% ABV. I'm reading this as "my gravity is high, which means there is more sugar that needs to ferment, which explains why the ABV is so low right now." Is this correct, or did I mess up somewhere?


I did taste the sample afterwards. Yum, it was good. It did a taste a little sweet though...

Thanks!


EDIT: I also wanted to add that this has been fermenting between 62-65 for the past 6 days, maybe up near 66-67 during the intense fermentation process after I pitched.

img_20120114_201047.jpg   img_20120114_201008.jpg  
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:29 AM   #2
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You're at 1.020, not 1.2 and it's most likely not done yet. What temperature is the beer at? FYI, most hydrometer measurements need to be adjusted down or up to their calibration temp.

I would try warming the beer up to closer to 68-70 and see if it starts fermenting again.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:31 AM   #3
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Your reading is 1.020. The alcohol readings/ticks mean very little. It represents potential alcohol of an original gravity reading, not a final reading.

The easiest way to find your alcohol by volume is find the difference between your original gravity and final gravity. Multiply by 129. Or... Search for an online calculator. Other methods, if you did not get an OG, include weighing a known volume of your beer. I'm sure someone around here has the formula.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:32 AM   #4
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Yeah, still has a way to go ... Give it at least 14 days ... As for reading the hydrometer, you'll notice the liquid "curls" up on to the glass ... Read at the top of that "curl". A typical final gravity is 1.010 +/- 0.005.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:32 AM   #5
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Yes your hydrometer seems to show 1.020. No, you did not make 2.5% beer. The hydrometer reading that shows alcohol percentage shows what the potential alcohol left in the beer. You can't ferment this out with your ale yeast because it contains sugar that the yeast can't break down. Your beer is likely to be about 5% alcohol. If you had the original hydrometer reading (original gravity or OG) you can calculate the amount of alcohol produced.

Dang, I need to take a speed typing course.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:34 AM   #6
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The 1.000 is 1.000
The 10, 20, 30 ... is 1.010, 1.020, 1.030 etc so your current gravity is about 1.020
Ignore the alcohol % scale. It doesn't mean anything. If you want to know the alcohol % (bu volume) use the formula (OG - FG) * 131. It isn't completely accurate, but it's pretty close.

Hope this helps,

-a.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudsmcgee View Post
You're at 1.020, not 1.2 and it's most likely not done yet. What temperature is the beer at? FYI, most hydrometer measurements need to be adjusted down or up to their calibration temp.

I would try warming the beer up to closer to 68-70 and see if it starts fermenting again.
What he said. Does it look like the yeast are still active, or have they settled to the bottom? I would gently swirl the yeast back into suspension and move the fermenter to a warmer location and see if fermentation kicks back in.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:41 AM   #8
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It does look like there is still a little bit of yeast still active (specks on material floating). Are you saying to stir up everything from the bottom again? I know it will re-settle, but I want to be sure.

I'm having trouble getting the temperature to raise. I have had trouble for a few days bc I wanted it around 65, but it settled in at 62-63. Would it be safe to set on or near a heat vent in our home? I'm thinking ON the vent might get it too hot but only NEAR it would not distribute it evenly.

I don't have a heating pad but do have a ceramic heater that I will using once my Ranco arrives to control in a freezer.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:44 AM   #9
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You might want to gently spin the hydrometer too since when it lays on the side of the tube like that it can affect the reading quite a bit.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:46 AM   #10
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You can put it near a heat vent and it will be fine. It takes a lot of heat to warm up 5 gals of beer.

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