I recently got a Refractometer, and I'm loving it. That is, until today.
For those of you that do have one, you probably know that you need to adjust for alcohol content if you want to use it to take readings during or post-fermentation. There are good calculators online and many posts about it. At first, I didn't trust these calculators and would take readings with my hygrometer and compare to the alcohol-compensated refractometer reading. They always compared well, never being more than 0.002 off.
I brewed a Westveleteren 12 clone with O.G. of 1.092. I added 1/2tsp of Fermax Yeast Nutrient near the end of the boil. I pitched a Mr.Malty recommended amount of washed yeast from a batch of a Belgian Amber (OG 1.064, FG 1.007) at 65F. I used a Ceramic Heating Lamp and the Johnson Controls unit from my Kegerator to ensure a fermentation profile that rose to 79F over three days and then cooled down to 67F where I've been holding it since.
Everything was going according to plan. Then today, day 8, I checked the specific gravity and my refractometer read 1.042.
I was hoping to see something along the lines of 1.012. I hadn't seen any significant action since day 4 so I immediately concluded I had my first stuck fermentation. It seemed to be at 2/3 sugar break, so following a staggered yeast nutrient addition from my experience brewing mead, I decided to boil up 4oz of water and add 2 tsp of Fermax yeast nutrient. I cooled it down, added it to the carboy and stirred it in well with my MixStir, making sure to rouse all those sleepy yeasties at the bottom of the primary fermenter.
Then, a few hours later I realized I never compensated for the alcohol. The calculator revealed the specific gravity is actually 1.011, right on target.
I'm trying to relax, not worry and have a homebrew, but it's 10:17am and I'm on antibiotics. I'll have to settle for the first two.
Anyway - have any of you made the same knuckleheaded mistake? Did I totally ruin this batch? Will it make my brew taste like the turnstile at a NYC subway station?
Perhaps I just made things easier on the yeast that the recipe calls for at bottling time...
And, I still love my Refractometer. Can't blame that. I'll blame it on the medication I'm taking for this rotten cold.