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Old 02-10-2011, 04:14 PM   #1
Feb 2011
Augusta, Maine
Posts: 12

My second batch of beer ever was a True Brew hefeweizen kit. As the directions suggested, I fermented the wort for a week before bottling. I've since come to realize that this is far too early and that fermentation is not yet complete after only one week. However, that still leaves me with 48 bottles of improperly fermented hefeweizen. It has been 3.5 weeks since bottling and I've tried two bottles (one at 2 weeks, one yesterday). While I don't expect perfection after only 3.5 weeks, it seems to be tasting worse! It has a very sour taste (sour candy sour, not rotten milk sour) and is damn close to un-potable. Should I dump it or assume it's eventually going to taste closer to acceptable. Keep in mind that, as I bottled after only one week, it is heavily carbonated and should become more so as time goes on.

My fourth batch is a Blueberry Wheat kit compiled by my local brew store. The listed OG is 1.040 with a FG of 1.005. However, upon brewing, my OG came to 1.056 (I doubled checked). The recipe called for and came with a can of blueberry pie filling to be warmed and added directly to the fermenter BEFORE the wort. My first guess is that they added the pie filling AFTER the wort and took the OG without accommodating for all that extra sugar. I'm wondering two things:
a) How did I manage to get an OG much higher than listed if I only used the ingredients provided?
b) How can I tell fermentation has completed since my OG is 0.016 high? Do I wait for it to hit the listed FG or do I adjust the target FG by +0.016?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 02-10-2011, 04:26 PM   #2
Dec 2010
Boise, ID
Posts: 89
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

1 - Can't tell you much about the sourness. But if it wasn't done fermenting before you bottled, and assuming you used some sort of priming sugar, you could potentially end up with bottle bombs.

2a - Don't have much on this.
2b - Doesn't matter what the recipe calls for and what you get. Just check your gravity a few consecutive days and if it doesn't change, then it is most likely done.

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Old 02-10-2011, 05:56 PM   #3
Jan 2011
Fredericksburg, VA
Posts: 1,735
Liked 142 Times on 124 Posts

1) I haven't had them myself, but bottle bombs sound like an extreem possiblity with what you are describing in the Hefe. As to the sour, you'd have to find one of the references to 'off flavors' to see if they had any suggestions. If you have the space (ie carboy or bucket) you could open them all up and 'gently' pour them back - as to avoid mixing back in O2. Then let them sit for some time and check the gravity and taste and rebottle. I've not tried that with beer, although I've done similar with wine -others here might have better ideas about that. Some of the off flavors won't come out of bottled beer because they have nowhere to go.

2a) assuming that it is a 5 gallon batch, your OG of 1.056 and thiers of 1.040 would mean you had 80 points of sugar in the pie filling. That seems high. How much other fermentables did you put in? What is the full receipe - are there unfermentables like crystal malt?

Also I wonder if that is the right numbers, I mean 90% of the instructions will be the same from receipe to receipe so a copy/paste and edit and 'oops forgot to change something'....

b) BoisePorter is right, you need 2 or 3 days of a gravity that is the same or about the same (like +/-.001) and then the fermentation is probably stopped. As for the target I'd expect? Well the general rule of thumb that I've found is about 75% fermentable, so only +.004, (25% of the .016) but your store said that only 1/8th would remain, not 1/4, so that puts it at +.002... anyhow if you get around 1.010 and it stops, it is probably done, if it stops at 1.020, I'd bet it is stuck.

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Old 02-10-2011, 07:53 PM   #4
Feb 2011
Augusta, Maine
Posts: 12

1) Thanks for the input. I'll likely dump them as they are nasty and I could use the bottles for other, more promising brews. I'm not too scared of bombs as I brewed a stout before this hef which suffered from the same mistakes and none of those have blown...yet!

2a) Full recipe:
1 can LME
3lbs DME
0.5 lbs crushed wheat grain (steeped, obviously)
1.5 oz cascade hops
1 tsp Irish moss
1 packet Burton water salts (the list doesn't have the amount on it and I threw the bag out after brewing)
~20oz blueberry pie filling

2b) I'll give it two weeks in the fermenter before testing for FG. If it has not yet reached stability or the target FG, can I simply put the cover back on and wait? Or does opening the fermenter allow too much O2 in?
Thanks again!

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Old 02-10-2011, 08:02 PM   #5
Nov 2010
Columbia, MD
Posts: 313
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

As far as the second batch, your pie filling shouldn't affect the OG that much, especially if it wasn't totally dissolved, which I am assuming it wasn't.

I also agree with the other poster that your home brew shop might have the info wrong.

I would look online for brew calculus or tasty brew recipe programs, or download the free trial of beersmith, and see what their calculated OG comes out to.

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Old 02-10-2011, 08:36 PM   #6
Oct 2010
Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 554
Liked 30 Times on 17 Posts

I'm guess that you only did a 3 gallon boil. So that means that you topped off with water. Its quite hard to get a good OG reading when topping off. You most likely got more boiled wort in your sample rather than water and didn't blend perfectly. If you followed then instructions and used the correct amount of fermentables then with extract there really is nothing you can do to changed the OG. Some extracts have more fermentables rather than other brands but were talking about just a minute difference in gravity readings.

Also about the hefe, have you ever had a hefe before?
Denny Conn - “The best beer possible with the least effort possible while having the most fun possible!”

Me - "Gun Control Means Using Both Hands."

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Old 02-10-2011, 09:36 PM   #7
Feb 2011
Augusta, Maine
Posts: 12

Yeah, I've had more brands of hefeweizen than I care to recall. I love the stuff and am familiar with the flavor. My batch is definately NOT it! lol

Thanks again everyone for the info. I'll look into all the resources listed here!

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