Ok, posted this at the end of a thread but deleted it from there and made a new thread. Slightly edited because I did a ton more research since I posted it.
I'm brewing the Festa Brew West Coast IPA (first home brew ever). I've just had it in the primary fermenter for about 4 days now and it's been fermenting really nicely. The instructions said to leave it in the primary for 3-5 days or until the surface foam collapses, then rack into a carboy. Well, the foam got really sludgy and heavy looking and shrunk a bit and looked like it fell into itself - so I took that as a sign that it was ready to rack into the carboy. But, I also took an SG reading and it was at 1.006 to 1.008, which doesn't sound right at all. Does that seem right to you guys? Maybe I'm reading it wrong (the level of the liquid was 3-4 tick marks below the 1.00 mark). What's it going to mean if the SG is at that level?
I now know that a lot of people will say I didnt leave it in the primary for nearly long enough, and that a secondary isnt even necessary. Maybe next time!
But, back to the main issue, I dont think that would be the cause of the low gravity reading though, would it? It seems there was somehow an excess of yeast/fermentation (possibly some sort of contamination although there are no other signs of it). I didnt take an original gravity reading (just trusted the range given in the kit itself, and how could that be far off?). The only thing I can think of is that it might have been too warm when it was fermenting and the yeast went crazy and ate up all the sugar, although it took almost a day for any substantial bubbling to appear so that doesnt seem likely.
1. Any ideas as to the cause of the low reading?
2. If the wort did in fact start at the higher OG range indicated for this kit, what does my low almost-final gravity reading mean? And, if anything is going to change at this stage, it will just get lower, correct?
3. Do you think its at all likely that the wort was somehow messed up when we bought the kit and that it would have had a lower OG reading to start with than expected? Is this a known issue with kits?
4. What effect does a low FG have on the resulting beer? Whether or not it started out at a high OG?
Man thats a lot of questions
any ideas about this are much appreciated!