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Old 06-21-2014, 09:09 PM   #1
s1rGr1nG0
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Default Help me understand the hydrometer...

Just put my first batch into bottles today. It was just over 4 gallons after putting it into the bottling bucket.
I didn't do any hydrometer readings prior to putting it in primary simply because it would not have made sense to me anyway.
Today when I put it in the bottling bucket I did take a reading and it was around 1.030, (hard to read through the bubbles).
Now, looking at the sheet that came with the kit, Brewers Best Summer Ale, it shows an OG of 1.042-1.046 and an SG of 1.010-1.014.
Am I screwed? I'm thinking that the ABV is going to be pretty low, correct? It's only supposed to be %4.0 - 5.0 anyway but is my brew going to be even lower than that?
It did smell delicious though and I can't wait to try it in a couple weeks!

All in all I'm pleased with the process and I already have my next kit ready and will probably brew it tomorrow.


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Old 06-21-2014, 09:41 PM   #2
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Hard to really give an accurate answer since you did not take an initial reading.
Thoughts:
1) You read the hydrometer wrong and 1.030 is wrong.
2) If your OG was 1.046 like it was supposed to be and the 1.030 is correct, then you have a SERIOUS problem!
You bottled too early before fermentation was complete and you added MORE sugar to bottle prime and you have created BOMBS!
Get them outside where they cannot do damage!

I don't know what else to tell you at this point, except I would not want to be around those bottles when they start exploding.




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Old 06-21-2014, 09:51 PM   #3
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Hmmmm, the airlock has showed NO activity in a few days now and the kreusen (sp?) has also completely disappeared a few days ago as well. I know that doesn't mean that fermentation is complete but initially the carboy was full of foam and the airlock was bubbling like crazy. That has all subsided now. I did put the bottles in a box and set them on a blanket so if the do go BOOM then hopefully the damage will be minimal.
The reading I took today could have been lower, like around 1.020 but with the bubbles it was hard to tell. The bubbles were from the leftover sanitizer from the bottling bucket.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:53 PM   #4
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1.046 to 1.030 would be pretty horrible attenuation... Before you start panicking about bottle bombs, how long was the batch fermenting for, and at what temperatures?
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:09 PM   #5
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It was sitting in my closet a week. We keep the AC in the house set on about 72 so it didn't get over that during that time.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:28 PM   #6
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Air lock activity is NOT a sign of a completed fermentation.
Krausen (the "foam" in the carboy"), or lack there of is NOT a sign of completed fermentation.
Waiting for the time stated in recipe is NOT a sign of completed fermentation.

The only way to tell if fermentation is completed is to take a FG (final gravity) reading; usually with a hydrometer but some people will use a refractometer instead, wait 2-3 days and then take another reading. If the readings are similar (within ~0.003 of each other) then fermentation is complete. If the readings has changed a bit then wait another few days to a week and start the checking cycle again.

I would really keep an eye on those bottles because if your hydrometer reading was really at 1.030 they are going to probably go boom, and while the damage might be minimal the mess is going to be bad. You might want to place those boxes in a tub to minimize the clean up later if they do go boom.

Of course if it was me and I wasn't comfortable with the reading i took (and there is a huge difference between 1.020 and 1.030) I would sacrifice one bottle; open it up pour some into the testing tube and take another reading just to be sure. Since you won't be rebottling the beer no need to sanitize anything so you won't have the foam messing with you. You could then drink the sacrificial bottle, no need to let it go to waste.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:18 PM   #7
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Ok, here is a pic I just took. I opened up one of the 22oz bottles and the hydro floated at this reading. Obviously my reading earlier does not match but this looks better, right?

Time to drink a lukewarm first home brew!

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Old 06-22-2014, 12:17 AM   #8
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Much better! Hey don't fret this, we weren't born knowing how to brew OR read hydrometers, we all had to learn at some point. My lesson was a hard one, aka pouring an entire batch of bottle bombs down the drain!
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Old 06-22-2014, 12:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estricklin View Post
Much better! Hey don't fret this, we weren't born knowing how to brew OR read hydrometers, we all had to learn at some point. My lesson was a hard one, aka pouring an entire batch of bottle bombs down the drain!
So, I'm not going to nuke the neighborhood with this batch then?
I must admit, my hydro didn't come with a tube to measure in so I had to scramble to find a vessel tall enough. I emptied TWO 22oz bottles and THREE 12 oz bottles before my wife suggested just using one of the 22 oz bottles for the test!

And, as suggested earlier, I couldn't let my first home brew go to waste so I'm drinking it! It's not bad! LMAO!!
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Old 06-22-2014, 01:12 AM   #10
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In that 1.030 reading the bubbles may have contributed to your erroneous reading. Give the hydrometer a little spin right when you drop it into the beer, to throw off the bubbles. Buy a cheap hydrometer jar, only a few bucks.

Glad to see your FG is more in the neighborhood of 1.010 and everything worked out well--and no one got hurt. I've never had a bottle bomb, but can't imagine the thought of a couple cases going boom. Messy beer and shards of glass everywhere.


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