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Old 01-30-2013, 02:38 AM   #1
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Default Lower ABV than expected - possible causes

hey all,

This was a red ale extract kit and my ABV turned out at around 3.5 but should have been around 5.1. I have some questions.

I believe I could have screwed up my OG reading because I forgot to factor temperature into the reading, but what other issues could affect this?

I read on another post that mash temp could affect this. So could steeping temps also affect this? --> "Higher mash temps produce more long chain sugars (which the yeast won't/can't eat) resulting in more body and lower ABV (higher FG)

And it will be three weeks on Sunday it was in the primary. Could this lower ABV be due to it still is fermenting?

Another, when checking gravity readings should I always have the same amount of brew in my hydrometer jar?

Lastly, Do you usually drink your sample after testing? I am, and it tastes good.

-Darren

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:45 AM   #2
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What was your mash temp?

What was the temp of your OG sample? There are online ABV calculators that will correct for temp like this one - http://www.rooftopbrew.net/abv.php
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:46 AM   #3
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I'm guessing your hydrometer readings are off. As long as you have enough wort/beer in your jar to float your hydrometer you are fine. I'm kind of confused on the mash temp question, if you are doing extract kits what exactly are you mashing? Are you just steeping grains?

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmac View Post
I'm kind of confused on the mash temp question, if you are doing extract kits what exactly are you mashing? Are you just steeping grains?

Sorry, I meant if higher mash temps can affect the ABV what effect would the steeping temps have on it?
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:52 AM   #5
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If it was an extract kit, your ABV is probably right around where it was supposed to be as long as you did not top off with too much water.

You need to know the OG and SG to calculate ABV. If you did not correct OG for temperature, I am not sure how you determined your ABV.

Mash temp can affect a lot of things, but unless you actually did an extract with partial mash you did not mash - steeping grains and boiling are not mashing.

Unless you had a stuck fermentation, by three weeks you should have reached terminal gravity and the fermentation should be complete. The fact that it is still in the fermentor at this point will not effect ABV.

The level in the hydrometer testing cylinder is not relevant - you just need enough liquid to make sure the hydrometer floats.

Yes, taste the sample.

Good luck.

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