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Old 01-27-2011, 04:54 AM   #1
thomrenault
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Default Why is my final ABV so low?

Hello everyone,

I am getting ready to bottle my second batch. It's been in the primary for about 4 weeks now, and the initial gravity was 1.028. I used four pounds of liquid malt (pre-hopped) extract, two pounds of crystal malt steeped in hot but not boiling water for 60 minutes (I didn't sparge though, as I didn't know what that was at the time), I also added 2.2 lbs of cooper's 'brew enhancer 1' which is a mix of dextrose and maltodextrin, I also added 1 cup of honey to the batch and hops. After I removed the grains, I added the extract and other fermentable sugars/hops/and boiled for 1 hour. The beer has finished out at 1.01, which according to the formulas I found here http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f164/cal...ng-abv-179382/ is about 2.35 abv. The beer tastes great, but I can't believe that it has such a low alcohol content. Did I just mess up with my initial gravity reading?

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Old 01-27-2011, 04:59 AM   #2
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What temp was the wort when you took the gravity reading? Most hydrometers are calibrated for 60 deg F.

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Old 01-27-2011, 05:03 AM   #3
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Your OG sounds off. Running the numbers for a 5 gallon batch in brewsmith, I'd put your OG closer to 1.055ish. Assuming a 1.010 FG, that puts your alcohol percentage at around 5.5%ish.

Improper gravity readings can come from reading at the wrong temperature (the hotter the liquid the lower the apparent gravity) or by topping off the batch and not mixing. Also it would be too low if you topped off with too much water.

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Old 01-27-2011, 05:12 AM   #4
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The temperature was around 70 when I took the reading. I was cleaning the kitchen while topping off, and I probably topped it off too much, the final amount of water was 25-24 L.

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Old 01-27-2011, 05:13 AM   #5
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Well if your OG was really 1.028, well that's the problem. Most beers start with an OG of 1.040 or higher. Are you sure you got your OG right? If not, it's impossible to tell the ABV.

What size batch was this? If it's a 5 gallon batch, then the LME alone would have given you 1.027 OG. You should have had an OG of 1.060 for a 5 gal batch I think.

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Old 01-27-2011, 05:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomrenault View Post
The temperature was around 70 when I took the reading. I was cleaning the kitchen while topping off, and I probably topped it off too much, the final amount of water was 25-24 L.
Even at 24 Liters, it should have been 1.052 OG. Did you use a refractometer or a hydrometer?
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:21 AM   #7
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If you did everything right, I'd say compare it to BMC to see how fast it gets you drunk. If it's roughly the same, then you are in the right ballpark ABV.

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Old 01-27-2011, 05:30 AM   #8
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I used a hydrometer, but took two readings. One an hour after pitching, and one the next day. Anyways, I'm not too worried about it, either it's a very session friendly beer, or I tell everyone it's very 'sessionable', and have a bit more fun when I serve it to friends.

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