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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Hydrometer readings
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:26 AM   #1
danbyes
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Default Hydrometer readings

So, I served up the first bottles of my first beer the other day. IT IS AWESOME!. Great color, great head, great taste, all despite the fact that my gravities were what I thought were lower than they should have been. I brewed a Flat Tyre (Fat Tire clone) kit that I got from the LBHS. The gravities were supposed to be OG: 1.054-58 and FG: 1.012-16, giving me an ABV of, if I'm not mistaken, 4.9-6%. I ended up with OG: 1.032 and FG: 1.010 for an ABV of 2.8. Whatever the ABV is, I don't really care, because it tastes great. BUT after drinking a few, I gotta say, it doesn't seem like 2.8. In Colorado our supermarkets are only allowed to sell 3.2 ABW, which, again if Im not mistaken, is like 4 ABV. 3.2 is for lack of a better word, weaker than my Flat Tyre. So my question is, what could I be doing wrong with the hydrometer reading. I have two hydrometers. One that was given to me, and one I purchased myself. I may have mixed up their sample tubes. I don't know if that has any affect on my readings. Either way, they are reading the same for each hydrometer in both tubes. My wort and beer samples are around 70 degrees during the readings and the adjustments were made accordingly...

Thanks
Dan

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Old 08-13-2009, 04:31 AM   #2
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The most common occurrence with extract beers is an incorrect starting hydrometer reading due to the weight difference between extract and top off water. If not mixed until your arm feels like it's going to fall off, the hydrometer reading is more water than wort.

It is pretty much impossible for your gravity to be off with a set amount of extract sugars. I suspect your beer is a little more lethal than you think.

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Old 08-13-2009, 04:40 AM   #3
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O.K., that makes sense. Here's what Im sure is an elementary question: What would you say is the best method for mixing in a carboy? Shaking it, or find/buy something that fits down the neck to stir it, and what about trying to avoid making bubbles? I was told to keep from making any bubbles any time to avoid bacteria.

BTW, Thanks for such a fast reply, this helps a bunch!

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Old 08-13-2009, 04:50 AM   #4
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what would you been mixing in a carboy???

if you are adding more anything during active fementation , the movement of the fermentation will do all the mixing you need.

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Old 08-13-2009, 04:51 AM   #5
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Shaking, pouring, or mixing (aeration) is needed for your yeast to reproduce. Shaking your bucket or carboy is the best way to aerate unless you have a stone and oxygen bottle.
Just remember that shaking and/or pouring BEFORE fermentation = good , shaking and/or pouring AFTER fermentation = bad .

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Old 08-13-2009, 04:52 AM   #6
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I take it he's mixing top off water into the wort, in the carboy.


By the way, be very, very careful with glass carboys as you're shaking them or otherwise moving them around. They can break unexpectedly and have caused some pretty bad injuries.

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Old 08-13-2009, 04:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
what would you been mixing in a carboy???
Rick, exactly, Mixing my wort + top-off water

Nurmey and Rick Ill keep all of that in mind. Unfortunately I already have the second batch underway, and may have made the same mistakes. BUT the third batch will be soon, VERY soon, and I will keep all of this in mind. One more question though. You mentioned an oxygen bottle. Can you elaborate as to how you use an O2 bottle to aerate? I get the stone (similar to a fish tank). Just an O2 bottle and some tubing dipped into the brew?
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Old 08-13-2009, 05:11 AM   #8
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It's not really a mistake if you end up with beer you like. If you are getting fermentation, your yeast is happy. Aeration is just one of those little tips that the instructions usually forget to tell you.

Aeration stones can be purchased at homebrew shops. They can be used with an aquarium pump and it works okay, just not great.
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I happen to have this one ^ but I want to get an adapter so I can hook it up to bottled oxygen. Right now I have to keep it running for 30 - 45 minutes but with a O2 bottle it only takes a few seconds. Somewhere (Equipment forum?) is the thread about the adapter needed to hook up a O2 bottle.

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:25 AM   #9
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Sweet Nurmey! I really appreciate all of the help.

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Old 08-13-2009, 03:46 PM   #10
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ANother technique to use to shake your carboy that will be much safer is to use a tennis ball. Place a tennis ball on the floor. Balance the carboy on top of it (upright of course) and "roll" the carboy around whilst balanced on the ball. You don't have to hold the heavy carboy up to shake it. It's much safer, easier, and gets the job done.

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