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Old 01-31-2013, 01:07 AM   #4551
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Thanks to all of you guys for chiming in. I'm not concerned with ABV. I was curious if specific beers have a target gravity. Its now my understanding that the gravity is how the yeast activity is measured?. I've did the 3 weeks wait time without any real understanding of gravity readings to be safe. Plenty more researching to do for sure.
There's a general rule of thumb that people go by to guess at the FG from an OG. Basically, you divide the decimal part of the OG by 4 to get the predicted FG.

So if you start with 1.040, you predict that you'll end up with 1.010 (40/4=10).

There are a lot of variables that can affect that (ingredients used, mash temperature for all grain or partial mash, how well the yeast used attenuates, etc).

If you start with 1.040 and end with 1.020, there's a high likelihood that you've got a stuck fermentation and you should try to get it to ferment a bit more. If you start with 1.040 and end with 1.012 or 1.008, you're probably fine.

I recently had a couple of batches go from around 1.065 all the way down to 1.008 or 1.009, much lower than predicted. Depending on circumstances, that could be cause for concern (perhaps I had an infection from some bacteria or wild yeast that were eating sugars that ale yeast can't digest). But I had used a yeast that has always attenuated well for me and these were partial mashes where I mashed a little cooler than I normally would, so there was more fermentable sugar. So I knew I was in good shape. I had a beer that will be a little thinner, a little higher in alcohol and a little hoppier than what I had in mind when I was putting it together, but it should still be a good beer.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:25 AM   #4552
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Default The idea of the gravity readings

A relatively simple way of looking at it is...........In a hydrometer the scale will float lower in distilled water than it does in the heavier (sugars present) wort. The scale is setup to correlate to how high or low it floats in the liquid. As the yeast eats the sugars during fermentation it turns the 'heavier' wort into lighter liquid including alcohol. And the reading reflects this change. A refractometer reads the amount of light that comes through the liquid being tested. More light will go through distilled water (reading near 1.000 or 0 Brix) than it will if Sugars are present, (higher reading). The instrument converts these amounts of lights into higher and lower readings depending on the amount of light that gets through. As fermention takes place sugars are eaten and turned into among other things alcohol and thus allowing more light through lowering the reading on the instrument.
When the yeast has eaten most of the sugar that it is going to eat the reading stabilizes and no longer drops much and at this point most of the alcohol that is going to be made has been made.

The above contains a lot of generalizations and I am aware of that. But it is a rather simple look at what actually happens if you step back away from all the minute chemical and other data of what is taking place. Should be fairly easy to understand for a beginner.


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Originally Posted by EHV View Post
Thanks to all of you guys for chiming in. I'm not concerned with ABV. I was curious if specific beers have a target gravity. Its now my understanding that the gravity is how the yeast activity is measured?. I've did the 3 weeks wait time without any real understanding of gravity readings to be safe. Plenty more researching to do for sure.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:58 AM   #4553
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So my first batch of Mr. Beer American light has been done a while they've been bottled a few weeks and I've been putting some in the fridge and popping them open every 2 Days I noticed a kind of sweet off taste and was wondering if I didn't leave enough room in the bottle to carb or if it's normally sweet. They are carbed well but like I said sweet. Anyone experience this or know why it might be?
I had the same issue. First one was flat so I knew it wasn't carbed yet. So I left them another 2 weeks conditioning. It then was better but still had the sweet taste. Great head, but just a little off taste yet. I only fermented for the 7 days in the mr beer directions (have now learned to let it go at least two, and purchased a hydrometer) so I'm not sure if that is the reason or if it is just a sweeter beer. I have been able to drink most of them, but can't wait for the next batch!

I read hard water COULD give a little off taste, new batch I used half filtered water. Not sure if it will matter but can't hurt.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:08 AM   #4554
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Is accuracy an issue with hydrometers vs. refractometers? I am familiar with both the tools from years in Saltwater aquariums, however, never really related a refractometer to brewing beer. Refractometers are the go to device to measure salinity in aquaria. Likewise, hydrometers are notoriously inaccurate in measuring salinity, but, I don't see that there would be a overly large margin for error in a device designed to float.
bpgreen I am adding that short formula to the list of general things to watch for in the "Book of Knowledge", I am taking notes in. vnzjunk easy to understand breakdown. Thanks

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Old 01-31-2013, 03:24 AM   #4555
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Default Blend that too young beer sample left over

Here is a little trick that I use when I run short on my supply of homebrew beer and just gotta have the flavor instead of a beer flavored water from the grocery store. You know it is too early to open a bottle, you pretty much know it isn't gonna taste like you want it too and how it most likely will taste in a few more weeks of conditioning........but you just gotta
Or if you want to sample one just to check but what to do with the balance of the bottle? I often blend the not ready for prime time homebrew with some beer flavored water from the store. 50/50 or whatever blend.......experiment to find what works. What you will usually find is that the resulting blend tastes better than the not ready homebrew......although you do carry pretty much its full alcohol content which probably is higher than the water/beer or beer/water and much much better than the beer flavored water
You could also blend it with a ready to drink homebrew but we are assuming you are short on this supply......but if just want to sample and you have plenty ready to drink, blend it with some of that......even better than the beer/water.

I have done this many a time and mixed with some pretty poor water/beer and the resulting blend always has me suprised and saying.......'hey this is pretty good stuff'......not as good as it will become but not bad at all.

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I had the same issue. First one was flat so I knew it wasn't carbed yet. So I left them another 2 weeks conditioning. It then was better but still had the sweet taste. Great head, but just a little off taste yet. I only fermented for the 7 days in the mr beer directions (have now learned to let it go at least two, and purchased a hydrometer) so I'm not sure if that is the reason or if it is just a sweeter beer. I have been able to drink most of them, but can't wait for the next batch!

I read hard water COULD give a little off taste, new batch I used half filtered water. Not sure if it will matter but can't hurt.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:41 AM   #4556
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Default Ah.......the water issue

The water issue can be as complicated as a chem lab or as simple as use it and see. I flunked chemistry in high school....don't ask... and have very little desire to get knee deep in chemistry now. But I will dabble enough in its too hopefully be able to understand a bit about my beer brewing and how to brew a bit better tasting beer and avoid some pitfalls. That said from what I have read and personally experienced hard water can be a good thing when it comes to beer brewing. Especially for darker beers. My water is very hard. I buy my coffee water at the water refill machine at the grocery store for making coffee and drinking water. Mine is terrible for coffee. I had a supply of very 'clean' well water that wasn't anywhere as hard as mine (made good coffee without any oil slick on top but lost access to that supply and was faced with doing something different. After reading that local natural water supplies gives many big brewery beer some of its particular character and also that hard water can make good beer especially darker beer I gave it a try. No chemical analysis, no chemical additions to the water to balance it......just rite out of the ground from my well and out of the tap into my brewpot. The first batch using it was great and I have been using it ever since. I like my beer on the darker side so this works out just great for me. If I was brewing a bunch of lighter body/color beer I might have some concerns. In fact when warmer weather rolls around a batch of a light ale is on the things to do list just for that reason.

A couple of things that I have picked up along the way is to avoid chlorinated water that one would get from most municipal water systems. Also if you buy water you do not want the micro filtered water you get out of the machines or distilled water. They filter out most of the minerals that you actually want in your beer. If you are going to use bottled water use spring water or other non distilled water.

I might have been lucky but just thought I would pass it along for what it is worth.

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Originally Posted by skidoo2003 View Post
I had the same issue. First one was flat so I knew it wasn't carbed yet. So I left them another 2 weeks conditioning. It then was better but still had the sweet taste. Great head, but just a little off taste yet. I only fermented for the 7 days in the mr beer directions (have now learned to let it go at least two, and purchased a hydrometer) so I'm not sure if that is the reason or if it is just a sweeter beer. I have been able to drink most of them, but can't wait for the next batch!

I read hard water COULD give a little off taste, new batch I used half filtered water. Not sure if it will matter but can't hurt.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:10 PM   #4557
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A couple of things that I have picked up along the way is to avoid chlorinated water that one would get from most municipal water systems.
Chlorinated tap water can be used if you get rid of the chlorine. From Palmer's "How to Brew": "If the water smells bad, many odors (including chlorine) can be removed by boiling. Some city water supplies use a chemical called chloramine instead of chlorine to kill bacteria. Chloramine cannot be removed by boiling and will give a medicinal taste to beer. Chloramine can be removed by running the water through an activated-charcoal filter, or by adding a campden tablet (potassium metabisulfite). Charcoal filters are a good way to remove most odors and bad tastes due to dissolved gases and organic substances."

Campden tablets are really easy to use, and I've beed happy with the results.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:37 PM   #4558
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It will probably be okay to have one of those on Saturday, but it might be a bit "green" still. If you can wait, give them more time. With bottles, I tend to warm condition (room temp) for a couple of months and cold condition (fridge) for a couple of weeks. Of course, that's easier to do when you've got a few hundred bottles in the pipeline. When you've just got a few, it's a lot harder to wait.
Told you wrong. I fermented for 3 weeks.
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:59 PM   #4559
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Tried my first beer (Classic American Light) after following the 2-2-2. I was disgusted. There is a very strong bread or yeast flavor in the beer. I tried to like it but it was undrinkable. Had to pour it down the drain. I'm not sure what I did wrong, followed instructions precisely. Anyone else have a strong yeast taste problem?

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:27 PM   #4560
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When you poured, were you careful to leave the yeast/trub in the bottom of the bottle?

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