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Old 05-07-2013, 07:17 PM   #1
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Default Hydrometer with Sodamaking... 8% ABV?

So I'm fairly new to the fermentation side of sodamaking, and I've had some questions on how much alcohol is really created.

I bought a hydrometer to get the hang of things and used Andrew Schloss's honey fermented soda recipe which is basically 3 cups of honey in a gallon of water to start.

My OG was 1.086 at 70°F (Taken in the jug I mixed it in)
Fermented for about 48 hours, bottles were hard so into the fridge they went overnight.

Popped one open after overnight refrigeration, shook it up to decarbonate as best I could. It still had some bubbly taste, but there didn't seem to be bubbles clinging to the side of my tube or the hydrometer.

My FG came out to 1.025 at 45°F (taken in the tube)

Ummm... that can't be right. Even with temperature conversions I'm coming up with around 8%ABV

Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong?

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Old 05-07-2013, 07:56 PM   #2
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Well, the ABV if those readings are right is 8%.

(OG-FG) x 131 = approx ABV% is the correct formula.

I don't know how much honey 3 cups is (weighing items is far more accurate, so I weigh honey), but I'd guess that it'd be 2 pounds or so.

2 pounds of honey in a gallon of liquid would give you an OG of about 1.070 or so. If you had more sugar than that, of course it would be higher. I just wonder how well the batch was mixed.

It sounds like it fermented pretty fast, to get to 1.026 in 48 hours. That's not out of the realm of possibility, but it seems like you'd get bottle bombs and not just bottles that are "hard", though!

Something here just doesn't add up, and I'd blame an inaccurate SG reading in one or both readings.

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Old 05-07-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
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The more important question is how does it taste???

Actually, if it fermented down from 1.086 to 1.025 I can't see how it didn't explode.

I thought with soda you just add a small dose of yeast (like 1/4t per 2L of bakers yeast) for ~12 hours then tuck away in the fridge to slow/halt fermentation. Seems like 48 hours is too long and or too much yeast.

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Old 05-07-2013, 08:56 PM   #4
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Yooper, I'm guessing inaccurate SG readings as well. I just wish there was a way I could go back and double check. Therein lies the benefits of having some brewing software and accurate weight measurements handy. I'm going to be doing a lot of soda fermenting in the coming weeks for "research" purposes so I may have to make a habit of pulling off some of the original mixture before adding yeast to save refrigerated as a control. I'm going to check the FG reading again later today to be sure.

KegWrangler,
It tasted alright. Kind of like a honey champagne. I used about 1/8th tsp of champagne yeast, and it definitely had a bit of a yeasty smell to it that I've been pretty much tasting all day long after having drank one this morning.
I agree that it probably should have exploded if it had actually fermented that far.
It was definitely carbonated more than when I've bottled force carbonated soda from a keg, and I bottled the bulk of it in glass twist-off bottles (from Sprecher Root Beer), nothing exploded. I let it go 48 hours because I let it ferment in my basement which is still a little on the cooler side this time of year.

Thanks for the tips, I'll keep you posted on what I find.

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Old 05-08-2013, 12:37 PM   #5
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Sorry, false alarm.
I checked two more bottles and they came out at 1.084 which seems a lot more reasonable to me.

So, I think that somehow I was reading the balling scale. Saw the 2.something and then wrote it down as 1.026, which makes me feel like a real moron.

What's the lesson? Don't take hydrometer readings early in the morning before going to work.

Either that or I just didn't have it mixed very well in the bucket.

Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for the help though.

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