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Old 11-19-2012, 06:56 PM   #1
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Default OG reading is now .998, what is going on?!?!

Here's info at a glance:

Amber ale,
- 1 kg of liquid malt extract (if I'm correct, the yellow syrupy stuff used to replace dextrose)
- 1 kg of amber ale beer kit malt
- 1 packet of safale us-05
- a pack of hops (maybe 7-10 grams)
- Mixed and put into primary on Nov 9th
- OG 1.032

Now I have had issues with this beer from the start. Even though I have kept the batch at a very consistent 20oC/68oF, the fermentation has been very slow and extremely inactive. I did see bubbles but it never came close to the aggressive foaming and bubbling I'm used to. The things I know that could've done this were that I forgot to aerate the wort, i didn't rehydrate the yeast, and when I pitched the yeast the wort was at 27oC/80oF.

It's FINALLY starting to clear but the OG reading is ridiculous (.998). It doesn't smell bad though so I did do a taste test and the stuff doesn't even taste like beer, it tastes like some sort of cheap champagne...

I've NEVER had this problem before, and have no clue what to do with this beer... what could have caused this and what do I do now?

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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Would suggest checking your hydrometer. Float it in plain water and see if it reads a perfect 1.000. In other words, calibrate it. But you're right - that's a screwy reading. Might want to also consider the temp of your wort. There are temp correction tables around. I want to say that most hydrometers are set up for 65 deg F.

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:01 PM   #3
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How big of a batch is that? Your hydrometer is likely off, but the before and after measurements are still giving you an accurate ABV: 4.2

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:06 PM   #4
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If the gravity is really 0.998, it sounds like a problem - wild yeast or bacteria.

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:09 PM   #5
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This ^

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:21 PM   #6
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I don't like telling people this but I have to agree with ncbrewer and thughes. Sounds like wild yeast or bacteria to me. The hydrometer might be off but the statement that is a dead give away to me is "the stuff doesn't even taste like beer, it tastes like some sort of cheap champagne..." Saying that it is probably wild yeast or bacteria doesn't necessarily mean the brewer needs some work on their cleaning and sanitizing. I suppose it is possible, I don't know how likely, that the pack of yeast was well beyond expiration, terribly mishandled before it go to the brewer, or a combination of the too and it just wasn't nearly viable enough to beat out a colony of wild yeast or bacteria. Long slow fermentation that took forever to clear is another sign that sounds like wild yeast or bacteria.

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbrewer View Post
if the gravity is really 0.998, it sounds like a problem - wild yeast or bacteria.
+1
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsv1204 View Post
Would suggest checking your hydrometer. Float it in plain water and see if it reads a perfect 1.000. In other words, calibrate it. But you're right - that's a screwy reading. Might want to also consider the temp of your wort. There are temp correction tables around. I want to say that most hydrometers are set up for 65 deg F.
Just check out the hydrometer, I think you guys are right, I broke my last hydrometer by accident and bought another cheaper one... I just tested it in some tap water, i tested it in both warm and cold water and they're both giving readings well below 1.000, my last one was .994... so I guess its off by about .006, so I guess I'm actually at 1.002 then?

If so, what are some reasons for really lazy fermentation? Is it possible I'm not rinsing out my equipment well enough after sanitizing?
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rjschroed View Post
I don't like telling people this but I have to agree with ncbrewer and thughes. Sounds like wild yeast or bacteria to me. The hydrometer might be off but the statement that is a dead give away to me is "the stuff doesn't even taste like beer, it tastes like some sort of cheap champagne..." Saying that it is probably wild yeast or bacteria doesn't necessarily mean the brewer needs some work on their cleaning and sanitizing. I suppose it is possible, I don't know how likely, that the pack of yeast was well beyond expiration, terribly mishandled before it go to the brewer, or a combination of the too and it just wasn't nearly viable enough to beat out a colony of wild yeast or bacteria. Long slow fermentation that took forever to clear is another sign that sounds like wild yeast or bacteria.
i guess i'll have to be extremely thorough with my sanitizing next time I clean my equipment... the annoying part is that I usually let my stuff sit in 'chloroclean' for at least 30 minutes, so I'll just have to make sure its actually sanitizing better somehow
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:47 PM   #10
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But don't dump it just yet - let it ride and see if it becomes something good.

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