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Old 06-08-2009, 10:25 PM   #1
RyanNC
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Default A Duh Moment, Need help fixing it.

Been a long time lurker but never felt I really had anything to contribute from my limited experience. Hit a problem that Iím not sure how to fix and finally registered. Thanks to the regular posters that make this forum what it is!

I made a batch of extra light blonde ale this past week and forgot to take in to account the unfermentable sugars and the alcohol is way lower than I was shooting for. The beer has already cleared very nicely and has just been racked to the secondary at the 5 day point. The beer is at 1.015 down from 1.040 which according to my calculations puts the alcohol content at about 3.1%, I was shooting for about 4.5% finished.

My question is it worth adding sugar to boost the alcohol hopefully offsetting some of the residual sweetness, I guessing it would take about 3 days to refinish then a few more to clear up again and Iím worried about getting it bottled without getting off flavors. (I donít have a place to ferment in the dark and the carboy gets mild light during the day) Or would I be better off bumping the alcohol content by fortifying it or just leave it as is and see how it comes out. What would you do?


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Old 06-08-2009, 10:30 PM   #2
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I'm thinking you're not done fermenting and you racked to secondary a tad early. Give it another week and see if it drops a few points. I would add sugar at this point since you've moved the beer off the majority of the yeast already.


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Old 06-08-2009, 10:31 PM   #3
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I would just let it be... you might find that you like it just the way it is
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:43 PM   #4
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I'd leave it. It do sound like you racked a bit too early. Always remember that your beer goes on its own schedule not yours, so always let it finish before racking off the primary yeast. At least until you realize what you are doing and if what you want in your brew depends on moving it off the yeast.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:44 PM   #5
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Your numbers MIGHT be off a bit. What temp was the wort when u took your initial and subsequent readings. Adjust the reading for 60*f and see what they give ya.

Newby here too.

If it is a very light ale it is almost by definition gonna be lower ABV.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:50 PM   #6
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[quote=Simphoto02;1370286]Your numbers MIGHT be off a bit. What temp was the wort when u took your initial and subsequent readings. Adjust the reading for 60*f and see what they give ya.


That depends on if his hydrometer is calibrated for 60f. Mine is calibrated for 68f.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:02 PM   #7
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What do you mean "mild light" during the day??? dress it in a dark T-Shirt.

my carboy wears a sweater from my work
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:18 AM   #8
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i made a cream ale with sugar in the recipe.I think it takes it much longer to taste good than a recipe without additions.
i made the same beer many times with no sugar in the boil but with corn and rice in the mash.
i think the sugar addition made the beer taste hot or unfinished for a long time.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:00 AM   #9
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Thanks for the responses guys, I'm not a complete newbie but I don't ferment anything that holds still long enough. ;-) (Although it's been know to happen from time to time, i felt it almost a sin to mow the dandelions the first time this spring) My hydrometer is calibrated at 68 and proper adjustments made, the readings are accurate and not falling fast enough at this point to make a discernable difference.

The brew has a pound of cara-pils in 5 gallons (my first time using it) and I'm pretty sure the sugars are unfermentable but I'm figuring it'll still drop ever so slightly before bottling. The fermentation was a bit fast & hot for my liking but I didn't bother with a water bath due to other commitments, the house has gotten to about 77 during the day most of this week. =( I've always racked once the airlock stops burping and the yeast drops, then I allow it to finish clearing in the secondary. I had a split batch of plum wine a couple years ago that I left half on the lees to long and it imparted the nastiest off taste I've ever experienced!

The area I ferment in gets highly defused light for about 2-3 hours in the morning and then basically nothing the rest of the day, I haven't ever covered the carboy's but it's probably a good idea with the lower proof stuff. Has never caused me a problem to date but I try to be careful about using smaller jugs for bulk storage for anything that is going to be a long time clearing.

Sim you make a great point for the lower alcohol content and this might just make one hell of a light summer drink served just as cold as I can get it. Never ran anything this low before, any potential of storage problems that anyone sees?
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:17 AM   #10
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I wouldn't add extra sugar. If you care that much about the ABV, brew a bigger beer next time. I'd be afraid more alcohol would just throw this beer out of balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanNC View Post
The brew has a pound of cara-pils in 5 gallons
A pound is a ton of carapils. Not sure I can think of any recipe where I'd use that much, let alone a light blond ale. I'm not surpised it's done at 1.015.

Quote:
The area I ferment in gets highly defused light for about 2-3 hours in the morning and then basically nothing the rest of the day, I haven't ever covered the carboy's but it's probably a good idea with the lower proof stuff. Has never caused me a problem to date but I try to be careful about using smaller jugs for bulk storage for anything that is going to be a long time clearing.
Probably not a bad idea to give the beers some kind of protection from the light, but if you haven't had issues so far you're probably OK. Not sure why the "proof" of the beer or the size of the container matters?


Quote:
Never ran anything this low before, any potential of storage problems that anyone sees?
What kind of storage problems are you worried about?


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