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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > When do you read the alcohol by volume
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:19 PM   #1
mooseface
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Default When do you read the alcohol by volume

I'm still not grasping this, sorry. At what point do you get your reading for alcohol? I have transfered to the secondary and my sample was still high, FG should be 1.007 - 1.010 and I am at 1.014. My alcohol by Volume target on the recipe is 4.0% - 4.5%, that means I'm only at about 2% right?


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Old 10-29-2007, 08:22 PM   #2
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No, ABV is based on the difference between the starting gravity and the finishing gravity. The final gravity tells you how much of the sugar didn't ferment.


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Old 10-29-2007, 08:28 PM   #3
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Oh, good grief. Thank You. So, I just need to attempt to hit my final gravity and I should be OK. How close is close enough in a case like this?
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:32 PM   #4
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close enough is whatever you end up with...if it's off by 5 or 10 points, what are you gonna do? I've got a double IPA in bottle right now that finished at 1.038. I tried everything I could (short of beano, which I refuse to use) to get it lower, but it wouldn't budge. So I just let it be, and it tastes great. Of course, it's hopped to the gills, but regardless...

It's rare that any of my beers will drop below 1.012...even though I oxygenate the hell out of my beer. I wouldn't be concerned with 1.014 or 1.012.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:38 PM   #5
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Thanks! Everyone is so helpful! I can't thank you all enough, this is so fun!
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:45 PM   #6
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You need the OG and FG to determine the alcohol content. Many yeasts attenuate at approximately 75%.

When I brew and take my notes I record the OG reading and divide the OG by 4, example:

OG: 1.050 / 4 - 12.5 (use the last 2 numbers only).

This tells me at a glance that my FG should be in the neighborhood of 1.012.

When I take gravity readings I look for the projected FG. If it's still over I give it more time in the primary. I never rack to the secondary if it hasn't hit the FG or is really close like at 13. This way I know the fermentation is complete.

Racking to a secondary is for clearing, aging and mellowing.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:24 PM   #7
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I'm such a newbie...well, sounds like I should avoid waiting out the secondary and just go ahead and bottle it? At this point I'm not doing myself or the beer any good am I? It's my very first batch, I don't think I need to attempt to clear or mellow anything yet, or do I?
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:31 PM   #8
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Well, it's not always just about being clearer. It will taste better, too, whether you leave it for another week or two in the primary or move it to the clearing tank. Young beer tastes ok, but like young beer. Mature beer tastes, well, finished. Better and smoother and cleaner and clearer.

But it's so hard to wait for that! If you wait to bottle, you'll have less sediment in your bottles when you pour. It'll be a cleaner tasting beer without a yeasty bite. It'll be really good. If you bottle sooner (but still after it's done fermenting), it'll be drinkable.

Oh, yeah, to estimate your ABV:

(OG-FG) X .131= approx ABV.

So, say your og was 1.040 and your fg was 1.015 (just to make the math easier for me):

(1.040- 1.015) X.131
25 X .131= 3.28% ABV
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:49 PM   #9
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Excellent information. It's in there already, I guess I will let it be for a while. Thanks everyone for the helpful conversions, clears things up a bit.
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:11 PM   #10
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This is a starting gravity of 1.056.

Click image for larger version

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When the beer continues to ferment, the liquid becomes "thinner" because of the increase in alcohol concentration. That will make this hydrometer sink to a lower number. This one ended around 1.015 for a 5.4% beer.

Once you've hit that final number and the hydrometer remains static for three days, then you can assume your fermentation is complete. Then follow Yoop's calc's below to determine the ABV%.


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