2nd Beer... need help!

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tbone0n74

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Well, after a successful first batch of beer (a wheat beer) I decided to brew a Nut Brown Ale from an extract kit. I never did the whole hydrometer reading thing the first time around, so I thought I'd give it a shot this time. My reading before pitching the yeast was 1.1078, and a week later, I took another reading. It was 1.014. This seems WAY too high. Although, I tasted the sample, and it tasted like Vodka... I'm talking strong alcohol here. By my calculations, this beer is gonna be 12%!! Please tell me I screwed something up on the first reading! This can't be right.... can it!?! I also noticed that the level was at 4 1/2 gallons (not 5) on my primary. It could be that I need to add 1/2 gallon of water (I was thinking of doing this when I transfer to the secondary) - or should I not do that? I'm pretty sure I just misjudged where the 5 gallon line was, and filled to the bubbles, and not the liquid. I know that's a lot of questions, but I'd appreciate any help you folks can give me.
 

woollybugger2

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Post the recipe and your OG can be calculated.

1.1078 is wrong... 1.078? is almost a High Gravity Beer...


Don't dilute the beer, let it mellow with time...

1.014 may be wihtin your FG target range..
 

bull8042

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Also, if you are experiencing a very strong alcohol taste, that might be linked back to your fermentation temps. Especially if they were mid-seventies or above.
 
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tbone0n74

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Well, I wish I had the recipe, but alas I do not. Must be one of those rookie mistakes. I just bought the kit, and made it. Don't really know what's in it. It was the Bear Paw Honey Brown Ale from Homebrew USA. Next time, I'll write down the ingredients. Tried looking on their website, but they weren't listed there either. My fermentation temp is 72, cuz that's what temp my thermostat is set to.
 

Yooper

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My fermentation temp is 72, cuz that's what temp my thermostat is set to.
This sounds nitpicky, but it's really not. Your fermentation temperature was NOT 72. That's your room temperature. Because fermentation gives off heat (it's an exothermic reaction), you fermentation temperature might have been closer to 80 degrees during the peak of fermentation. Maybe more.

Many of us have those stick on thermometers on the side of our fermenters, to keep an eye on the fermentation temperature. I have a cooler with water in it that I stick my fermenter in, if the room temperature is above about 66-68 degrees and if the temperature of the fermenter rises, I add a frozen water bottle to the water bath to help keep the temperature under control.

It's too late now, but for next time keep an eye on fermentation temperatures. A too-warm temperature can be responsible for some off-flavors as well as fusel alcohols. Fusels taste "hot" and can give you a headache.

Some of that will smooth out, so be patient and see what happens!
 
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