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Old 12-17-2009, 12:48 AM   #1
anteup02
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Default Hydrometer reading / FG question

A couple weeks ago a brewed a Brewers Best Holiday Ale. I have a few questions about my hydrometer readings.

First off, according to the instructions with the kit the OG was supposed to be 1.068 - 1.072. When I took my reading mine was only about 1.064. Now I was thinking of a couple of possible reasons for this, and wanted to ask everyone on here if these would make sense. I lost just a little bit of my wort to a boil over. I assume this would cause the OG to be slightly lower. Second, I had 2 cans of LME to add. I wonder if you dont get every last drop of that out of the cans if that would also lower my OG? Do these seem like logical reasons why my OG would be off?

According to the instructions, my beer is supposed to be at 7 - 8 % ABV. According to my most recent readings mine is only at 5.7%. My final gravity reading is at 1.02. I measured it on day 6 (1.025), day 8 (1.02) and day 10 (1.02). I was wondering if my final gravity reading could be off due to the way I measured it. I am using a bucket with a spigot as my primary, and I just took samples from the spigot into my flask. I was wondering since the spigot is at the bottom would my samples have a higher OG reading than they should due to all the particles that were settled towards the bottom that got in my sample? My sample is very milky looking as well, I am getting a little worried due to the discrepencies in the gravity readings and the milky look. Anyone have any advice??

Thanks a lot for any info on what I have done wrong, I love this place, read it every day and ALWAYS learn something new!

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Old 12-17-2009, 07:01 AM   #2
minnowcaptain
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As long as the FG is dropping every day or two you're in good shape. Beers over 1.060 typically take longer to reach FG than smaller beers. Besides what you have already assumed, temperature also plays a role in accurate gravity readings. For example, my hydrometer is calibrated to read 1.000 in distilled water at 60F. Your hydrometer should indicate the temperature at which you get an accurate reading. Yeast, trub and pellet hop particles in your sample can throw off your sample as well.

If you would like to be certain that you are getting all the LME from your cans, dip them in your kettle and use the warm wort to rinse the container of any remaining extract.

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Old 12-17-2009, 12:28 PM   #3
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If you used extract and then mixed it with water, your og is probably closer to 1068. Even with a boil over, unless it was absolutely massive, you should be right up there.

When you take your gravity readings are you degassing the beer? If there are co2 bubbles it can throw off your readings as well. When I take a sample, I shake up the tube and let it sit on a window sill to get it closer to 60F then take the measurement.

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Old 12-17-2009, 12:48 PM   #4
HomerJR
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Just an observation, but it seems that whenever someone reports fermentation stopping at 1.020, they're making an extract beer. There has been discussion here theorizing that certain extract manufacturers are "cursed" with the 1.020 FG problem, or that there is something almost inherent about extract that restricts the amount of fermentables that are contained therein.

Me, I don't know. All I know is, I often had the same problem when I was doing extract brews, and now I don't. But then, I was racking to secondary after 7 days, bottling in another 7, drinking in another 14. Maybe the key, as Revvy says, is to be patient, not to rush things, to let things take their course naturally, and above all, respect the yeast. They'll get it done.

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Old 12-17-2009, 01:18 PM   #5
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Ah. Thanks for the advice about getting all the LME out minnowcaptain. Good point about the hydrometer as well, I did forget to adjust my FG reading for temperature (my reading was at 70 degrees F), so I guess this would make my final reading roughly 1.021.

That is interesting Homer, that you have noticed this a lot with extract beers. I have been at the same reading for about 5 days now, so I assume fermentation is done, and will probably bottle very soon. Hopefully it turns out alright, just won't be quite as strong as it is supposed to be I guess! Thanks everyone for the advice and info!

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Old 12-17-2009, 01:28 PM   #6
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Maybe its because I am new or maybe its because I just don't care but I try not to worry about every little scientific detail. I rarely even take an OG reading just because it seems to me like it is more of a pain in the ass, I am not selling my beer for commercial. I just let the yeast do there job and every beer I have had has ended up turning out fine. I guess what I am trying to say is that in brewing you have what you have, it is what it is. If you want to get scientific thats good I wish I was however try not to let it ruin the experience of brewing you will be fine.

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Old 12-17-2009, 01:31 PM   #7
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My brewers best holiday ale kit I started 3 weeks ago had a OG of 1.075 after 7 days it was at 1.020. After another 7 days....still at 1.020.

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