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Old 12-19-2010, 07:01 PM   #1
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So about a week ago I decided I was going to try to brew beer.

I went into the local home-brew retailer and told him what I had decided, he advised me on what I would most likely need (my mom tried wine about 15 years ago so we have a lot of supplies on hand) and then I went back in and bought the stuff i would still need.

The guy at the store seemed to really know what he was talking about and I followed his instructions to the T (which were basically the same as the in-can instructions.) But then when I went to take an Original Gravity, the hydrometer indicated 1.06 ish, I thought, "how odd, but its at the right temperature so I suppose I will add the yeast and let it go"

I went back in today (1 day later) and checked the SG again, after sterilizing all my equipment thoroughly and I got 1.061 on the hydrometer (which corresponds to the mark for 6.8% abv !!!) and 16.5 C as the temp. The beer appears healthy, lots of foam pretty cloudy but the numbers seem off.

I know the temp is a dash low so one of my questions is should I try to warm it up, and if so would I be wise to move it to a warmer room or could I perhaps put a blanket and hot water bottle with it? or will it probably be OK at that temp?

And that S.G seems really high, so another question is, is that a normal reading? what should I be expecting at this stage in the game?

BTW: it was kit beer, muntons pale ale.

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Old 12-19-2010, 07:04 PM   #2
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So about a week ago I decided I was going to try to brew beer.

I went into the local home-brew retailer and told him what I had decided, he advised me on what I would most likely need (my mom tried wine about 15 years ago so we have a lot of supplies on hand) and then I went back in and bought the stuff i would still need.

The guy at the store seemed to really know what he was talking about and I followed his instructions to the T (which were basically the same as the in-can instructions.) But then when I went to take an Original Gravity, the hydrometer indicated 1.06 ish, I thought, "how odd, but its at the right temperature so I suppose I will add the yeast and let it go"

I went back in today (1 day later) and checked the SG again, after sterilizing all my equipment thoroughly and I got 1.061 on the hydrometer (which corresponds to the mark for 6.8% abv !!!) and 16.5 C as the temp. The beer appears healthy, lots of foam pretty cloudy but the numbers seem off.

I know the temp is a dash low so one of my questions is should I try to warm it up, and if so would I be wise to move it to a warmer room or could I perhaps put a blanket and hot water bottle with it? or will it probably be OK at that temp?

And that S.G seems really high, so another question is, is that a normal reading? what should I be expecting at this stage in the game?

BTW: it was kit beer, muntons pale ale.
You can't really miss the OG on a kit beer, unless you didn't add enough water. Was it a 6 gallon or 5 gallon batch?

What's the temperature now? If it's 62-68, that's perfect!
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:21 PM   #3
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You can't really miss the OG on a kit beer, unless you didn't add enough water. Was it a 6 gallon or 5 gallon batch?

What's the temperature now? If it's 62-68, that's perfect!
I just checked and it is at 61.5 Fahrenheit and it is also a 6 gallon batch (if I have converted 23 L correctly)

1 other question I have (sorry to be a pain in the neck) is that the man at the store said a big glass fermenter is not really necessary and to just use a plastic bucket. When I said that I had that but not a lid he said just use tinfoil. that seems suspicious but it is what I have done. So should I perhaps transfer it to my glass carboy? The instructions on the kit were vague at best as to what kind of fermenter to use they really just said, "boil water, add canned goop, place in fermenter with corn sugar and top water up to 6 gallons for 5-6 days, bottle"
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:36 PM   #4
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1.060 isn't that high for a homebrew. In fact it's pretty normal. And as Yooper said, its pretty much impossible to miss SG on a kit beer. You could get a high/low reading if you didn't really incorporate the wort and water after top off.

I'd probably move it to your carboy. The beer has a layer of co2 over it now that helps keep the bad stuff out, but tinfoil isn't really a good second line of defense.

You added corn sugar to the fermenter? Was it a small packet, about 4-5 ounces? If so, that's for carbing the beer when you bottle it.

Ignore the 5-6 days and bottle. Let that stuff sit at least two weeks. three if you can stand it. Then carb it with corn sugar and bottle.

Welcome to the addiction.

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Old 12-19-2010, 07:38 PM   #5
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I just checked and it is at 61.5 Fahrenheit and it is also a 6 gallon batch (if I have converted 23 L correctly)

1 other question I have (sorry to be a pain in the neck) is that the man at the store said a big glass fermenter is not really necessary and to just use a plastic bucket. When I said that I had that but not a lid he said just use tinfoil. that seems suspicious but it is what I have done. So should I perhaps transfer it to my glass carboy? The instructions on the kit were vague at best as to what kind of fermenter to use they really just said, "boil water, add canned goop, place in fermenter with corn sugar and top water up to 6 gallons for 5-6 days, bottle"
Well, most of use use a lid of some sort and usually an airlock. BUT you don't have to. Bottling at 6 days is too early though. What I would do is leave it in the fermenter where it is until day 6, then move it to the carboy by siphoning without splashing, and using a bung and an airlock.

Many of us don't use a carboy at all, and just leave the beer in the primary for 2-3 weeks. Not having a lid would make me nervous after a week or two, though. It's probably fine, but after the vigorous fermentation is over and there isn't more co2 being produced, I would be uncomfortable without using an airlock at that point.

Over all, it sounds like you followed the instructions and did fine. I'm not a fan of those "add corn sugar" kits, but it's a good way to start.

Here's some good reading for next time!: http://howtobrew.com/intro.html
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:43 PM   #6
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1.060 isn't that high for a homebrew. In fact it's pretty normal. And as Yooper said, its pretty much impossible to miss SG on a kit beer. You could get a high/low reading if you didn't really incorporate the wort and water after top off.

I'd probably move it to your carboy. The beer has a layer of co2 over it now that helps keep the bad stuff out, but tinfoil isn't really a good second line of defense.

You added corn sugar to the fermenter? Was it a small packet, about 4-5 ounces? If so, that's for carbing the beer when you bottle it.

Ignore the 5-6 days and bottle. Let that stuff sit at least two weeks. three if you can stand it. Then carb it with corn sugar and bottle.

Welcome to the addiction.
Hey thanks

No, with the kit I bought 1.2 kg of corn sugar (sorry for all my metric, that's the only measurements I have up here in canadia) the corn sugar I added was apparently (or so I am told by the shop guy) for the yeast to eat and turn into ethanol. and I saved about 5 oz for carbonation. But on taking your advice (and since it fits my suspicions and I am bored) I think I will move it to the carboy, and just to be clear, I put vodka or sterilant in the part of the airlock that gets liquid right? do you have a preference or any suggestions on the best thing to use?
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:53 PM   #7
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I use starsan. others use vodka. you'll be fine with either.

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Old 12-19-2010, 08:01 PM   #8
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I use starsan. others use vodka. you'll be fine with either.
Thanks so much again, of all the addictions to take up on an impulse decision, this is by far the funnest.
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:31 PM   #9
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Like stated above you cant really mess up the OG reading on an extract kit if you used the correct amount of water and followed the directions. However two possible answers to your initial question may be:

1- Improper Hydrometer reading; or
2- This happened to me on my first batch. Unless really agitated in the primary, you probably got a wort sample from the top layer of wort, which will have a lower SG unless really agitated after transfer from brew pot. Remember the hydrometer takes a reading referenced to water being 1.000. So your wort is slightly heavier and will layer towards the bottom and give you a false low. When you took another reading the next day, fermentation action had already mixed up the solution and hence the higher reading.

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

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