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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > low ABV again - what am I doing wrong?
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:56 PM   #1
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Default low ABV again - what am I doing wrong?

I just started my 2nd batch. I took the OG at 1034 and the kit says it will be done when FG is at approx 1010. Based on my OG, I estimate that the beer will be about 3%. For my first beer that I made a few weeks ago, its OG was 1032 and also ended at about the same FG and thus was 3%.

So what am I doing wrong. I'd using the canned beer kits with the hops and extract already mixed. With these, you just add the extract into 3L hot water and stir, add 1.2kg dextrose and stir, and then fill primary to 23L total with additional water. At that point you stir again and take OG - after that I just add yeast and cover it up.

So why is my OG so low - should I add more sugar????

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Old 01-24-2009, 05:09 PM   #2
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Don't add more sugar! You are not doing anything wrong.

The reason your readings are so low is that it is very hard to get the liquid malt mixed thoroughly with the water (particularly with a canned kit). When you are taking your reading, you are pulling mostly top off water which makes your reading inaccurate. It is almost impossible to get a gravity different that what the recipe states with an extract kit. The yeast will find the sugars in your brew so mixing isn't really a problem except for driving your crazy.

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Old 01-24-2009, 05:19 PM   #3
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I agree with the above comments.

Be sure to stir your primary good before adding yeast. You may also want to wait a few minutes and stir again before taking your reading.

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Old 01-24-2009, 05:49 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for the quick reply. I guess the OG can be off, though I'm filling the hydrometer from the spout at the bottom of the primary - so it really isn't being pulled from the top where more water may be present extract - actually since I'm pulling from the bottom I should be getting more extract than water in the hydrometer so I would expect higher OG and not lower?

Also, I did add a little more dextrose to my 2nd kit (approx a total of 1.4kg vs 1.1kg in my first). I also add about 150g of honey hearing that honey makes more abv - but even with the added honey and added dextrose, I still got a low OG so I was confused.

The beer was only started yesterday. I'll take a OG today since it has now had time to settle and start fermentation - perhaps todays reading will be a more accurate OG?

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Old 01-24-2009, 05:54 PM   #5
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While that may be true you have to remember that water is also layered by temperature.

Stirring it several times with a wait period in between can only help homogenize the overall temp.

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Old 01-24-2009, 05:56 PM   #6
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In extract batches where I have to add top off water, I stir vigorously stir for a minimum of 5 minutes before I take a reading and pitch my yeast. That insures I get a pretty good mixing of wort and water as well as adding pletny of O2 to it.

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Old 02-03-2009, 05:10 AM   #7
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Ok, my 2nd batch has been fermeting now for about 9 days so I thought I'd check the FG - it is only at 1020 and as I stated above it only started at 1034??? I also did not notice that much head on the top of the primary (almost like the yeast wasn't doing much). Should I be concerned?

Remember, this was a 9 year old beer kit. I did obviously use new yeast (I used Nottingham brewing yeast). Perhaps did I use the wrong type of yeast? Also note that I did had a little honey to the kit which I think does slow down the fermentation. Oh, and I did taste the sample out of the hydrometer - it really tasted pritty good.

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Old 02-03-2009, 05:14 AM   #8
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Alright dude. Part of the problem at least for this one. Using a 9yr old brew kit.

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Old 02-03-2009, 06:56 AM   #9
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Yah, but I've read some posts about well expired kits, and most replies said they will be fine if new yeast is used. And still, my first batch that only had 1032 OG was a new kit.

So, I'm not sure the age of this kit is the issue. Should I just continue to wait - I know 9 days is not that much but should I not have gotten a bigger change from 1034 to 1020? Or should I just quite and bump it?

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Old 02-03-2009, 07:00 AM   #10
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9 years old. Ewww! Yecch! Ugh! I wouldn't use 4 month old extract.

Second. Your reading was wrong. Your Og was not 1.034 since you added sugars which would add up automatically to about 1.048-1.051.

OTOH, with 9 year old extract who knows what will happen when it ferments. It might end up at 1.020.

Let it go for another 1.5-2 weeks, then measure again before bottling. Just don't use these batches as true measures of what homebrewing can deliver.

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