Alcohol Content: Why So Low?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

t-bag

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
71
Reaction score
0
Location
southern california
I just brewed my first batch of english pale ale and first id like to say that i bought a recipe kit that had everything i needed and all the directions plain as day. it started fermenting within 24 hours after pitching and only lasted 2 days. i checked the gravity then and again after a week and it was the same so i bottled it. but the alcohol content is lower than what the kit says it should be. The starting O.G. is 35 and end gravity is 11 so ABV% is 3. this kit says it should be between 4% and 4.5% Why is my beer so low in alcohol content not that it matters much i just want to know if i did something wrong or if its just something that happens???
 

RCCOLA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
123
Location
Northwest Arkansas
At what temperature did you check your starting gravity?If it was hot then your gravity would read low.Also(next time) check your gravity after aerating to make sure it is fully mixed.
 
OP
t-bag

t-bag

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
71
Reaction score
0
Location
southern california
i used a hydrometer test jar so i took the sample from the spigot after i added cold water to make the temperature of the wort 75 degrees. should i have stirred the wort after adding water?
 

arover

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
289
Reaction score
3
Location
San Diego
The kit directions often never mention aerating. After adding the extra water to meet the 5 gallons when I'm brewing (the 2 times I have), I dump the water back and forth several times between the kettle and the fermenter to aerate, then take my OG reading.
 

nibiyabi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
170
Reaction score
0
Location
Santa Clara University
i used a hydrometer test jar so i took the sample from the spigot after i added cold water to make the temperature of the wort 75 degrees. should i have stirred the wort after adding water?
Yup. The water is lower gravity than the wort so if the wort is not fully mixed you will get an artificially low reading.
 

aubrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2008
Messages
242
Reaction score
2
Location
Acworth, Ga
Yes, mix thoroughly before taking the OG reading. Otherwise you usually pull a dilute sample and thus read too low. With extract, its hard to miss the OG that the kit says you should get.
 
OP
t-bag

t-bag

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
71
Reaction score
0
Location
southern california
I'm curious, what does the kit say the OG should be?
the kit said the o.g. should be between 35 and 45 but if you do the math like i did the o.g. should be roughly 43. the kit didnt mention aything about mixing thoroughly but it makes sense i thought aeration was supposed to be bad for the beer
 

arover

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
289
Reaction score
3
Location
San Diego
If I understand it correctly, you aerate before primary fermentation to give the yeast plenty of O2 to go off of (initially). Any oxygen after you start the fermentation...no good. You should check out Palmer's How to Brew or the Joy of Homebrewing--I read their beginner processes thoroughly and mixed them in with the kit directions. Kit directions aren't always the best.
 
Top