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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Hydrometers? We don't need no stinking hydrometers! - When a homebrew goes south...
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:12 PM   #1
AlterCow
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Default Hydrometers? We don't need no stinking hydrometers! - When a homebrew goes south...

I am new to homebrewing as a whole, although I did assist in some mead making and beer brewing another lifetime ago. When I got into making beer on my own it was January of 2009. My first recipie kit was a True Brew All Malt Amber. Without the usage of my hydrometer I simpley made the beer and relied on time to measure the wort fermenting out. The reason I did not use my hydrometer was thatI didn't have a tube to check the gravity of the liquid in. My first beer was a success, but only because of luck.

Thinking I succeed without this step in brewing I did not purchase a measuring vial until recently. In interim I have brewed a Dead Guy clone, a True Brew Stout and IPA without taking readings. The Dead Guy came out overcarbonated, stinking of alcohol, and tasting flat. The stout is way off and in no way resembles a stout: it is very thin bodied and again has an alcohol smell. Now I have yet to check my IPA which has been aging in bottles, but again I do not have much hope of it turning out good.

For the Dead Guy and the Stout I used Kreamex(?) and I wonder if that played a part in how it all turned out. On the IPA I used straight dextrose when bottling.

So, I believe that I have learned to take all steps necessary to assure the brew is what it is supposed to be before bottling.

Any insight or questions are welcomed. I just wanted to share misfortune in the beginning stages of figuring out brewing.


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Old 11-19-2009, 07:21 PM   #2
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what where your fermentation temps? if they where anywhere around 80 or above that will cause the problems. did you add any yeast nutrient? over doing this will cause the problem. was the wart cool when you pitched the yeast? again should be somewhere in the 60's. did you add any refined sugars to your brew? this could cause this problem.


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Old 11-19-2009, 07:25 PM   #3
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Starting fermentation temp: 68*
Finishing temp: 64*

I did not add any yeast nutrient.

I pitched yeast in the upper 60's on every batch.

The only sugar I added was at the time of bottling. That is with exception to the candi sugar that was part of the recipes.

Thanks for the response.
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:26 PM   #4
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ok silly question here... what about during fermentation?
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:52 PM   #5
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It started at 68* and ended at 64*. It did not fluctuate wildly in between those two temps for 7 days of fermenting, but it gradually cooled.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlterCow View Post
It started at 68* and ended at 64*. It did not fluctuate wildly in between those two temps for 7 days of fermenting, but it gradually cooled.
Is that the temp in the room or the temp of the fermenter? What yeast did you use?

Hot fermentation temps produce fusal alcohol flavors.

What is in the kits for fermentables? Was it all malt extracts? Candi sugar can thin out beer. Too much simple sugars can make it taste cidery.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:20 PM   #7
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In the fermentor. I am sure the fermenting temps were between 68* and 64* during the fermentation.

Pacman yeast for the Dead Guy Ale. Not sure the other yeast for the True Brew porter, but it was the stock Muntuns.

Both kits had grains to steep, with malt extracts boiled down after steeping.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:21 PM   #8
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The hydrometer has no effect on your finished beer.

It just tells you when it is done.

Knowing that your beer finished a little lower in FG would have changed nothing. Maybe your yeast is too strong.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezydemon3 View Post
The hydrometer has no effect on your finished beer.

It just tells you when it is done.

Knowing that your beer finished a little lower in FG would have changed nothing. Maybe your yeast is too strong.
+1 - the off-flavors you are describing are the result of your process somewhere, the hydrometer would have just told you when the beer is done, and how much alcohol is in it. It would not do anything for the flavor.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:58 PM   #10
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Yes, I am aware that a hydrometer doesn't have anything to do with flavor, but that the beer was finished fermenting.

Maybe the off flavor was the Kreamex bottling sugar. Maybe I didn't let the grains steep long enough.

That Pac-Man yeast does seem awefully powerful.


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