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Old 02-06-2012, 08:51 PM   #1
Dstreetbrew
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Default High ABV root beer

O I have been going crazy with making root beer lately. I am only using real herbs, no extract... I am using an Ale yeast to ferments. I tests out the second batch I made today and compared the two. Out of curiosity I took out my hydrometer and tested each brew. Much to my surprise it read that both batches had 5% ABV with a gravity of 1.040. Not that I a. Complaining, but how can this be. I was expecting maybe 0.03% but not 5%

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Old 02-06-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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It's my understanding that you don't ferment root beer- well, not all the way. Your final gravity should be fairly close to your OG. All the yeast is doing is converting a small amount of the sugar into CO2. Once your sealed bottles are gassed up, they get cold crashed, or pasteurized to stop the yeast from fermenting the rest of the sugar. If you let it, the yeast will certainly convert all that sugar to alcohol in which case, you do not have a soft drink, you have hard root beer.

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Old 02-06-2012, 09:09 PM   #3
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You only mentioned one gravity reading. What are the two readings you came up with?

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Old 02-06-2012, 09:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haputanlas View Post
You only mentioned one gravity reading. What are the two readings you came up with?
Good point. I think I figured it out.

OP - You're using your hydrometer wrong (I think). If you're measuring your gravity and it is at 1.040, that is the specific gravity of the solution. It only represents dissolved solids in the water. The alcohol scale on the hydrometer is the POTENTIAL alcohol that a 1.040 sugar solution has IF it were fermented completely. You have to take an original reading (1.040) and a final reading after fermentation (i.e. 1.004) and then do some math to arrive at ACTUAL alcohol by volume.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheeshomatic View Post
Good point. I think I figured it out.

OP - You're using your hydrometer wrong (I think). If you're measuring your gravity and it is at 1.040, that is the specific gravity of the solution. It only represents dissolved solids in the water. The alcohol scale on the hydrometer is the POTENTIAL alcohol that a 1.040 sugar solution has IF it were fermented completely. You have to take an original reading (1.040) and a final reading after fermentation (i.e. 1.004) and then do some math to arrive at ACTUAL alcohol by volume.
You're probably correct. Good catch.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:57 PM   #6
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Correct, the initial reading is potential ABV. If you fermented all the sugar, you'd get 5%, but it wouldn't taste very good. Root beer really needs the sweetness to taste right.

I've made fermented root beer and then added more sugar to flavor (about as much as the original recipe calls for), kegged, chilled and carbonated. It worked well.

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:15 PM   #7
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I only let it ferment for 12 hours befor bottleing... Dose any one the formula used to come up the ABV I had it some place now I can't find it

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:17 PM   #8
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(OG-FG)*0.13

Gravities in points. Typically, a naturally carbonated soda will be around 0.2-0.3% ABV.

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