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Beer is a little sweet

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Dark_Ale

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I recently brewed an ale. Any way starting gravity was 1085. This was the only gravity reading I took. :( . Anyway I racked over into the secondary Jan 16. I bottled Feb 6th, without taking a gravity reading. After the first week in the secondary I had the really small bubbles as people describe in some of the posted threads. Around Jan 30 I still had a few small bubbles going on so I left it alone, not bubbles that are visible coming up from the bottom but the bubbles that just kinda sit there. On the day that I bottled I had no bubbles what so ever the top was smooth, like glass, so I thought man its time. Anyway this was a 5 gallon batch, and I used 2/3 dark brown sugar for my priming sugar. So I bottled. Now It has been a week, So I thought I would pop a cap on a bottle and check it out. Its a little sweet, Carbonation is slightly low. So just for the heck of it I ran a gravity on what was in the bottle. It was a 1030. Having said that I just have a few questions.
1. Since it has only been in the bottle for a week, with some of the sweetness go away with more conditioning, as the residual yeast does its thing.
2. Would the 2/3 cup brown sugar I used for priming even be noticable on a gravity reading. Can I assume the bottleing gravity was around 1030.
3. I Have not had anybottles explode yet, should I be ready for a big mess.
Thanks for all your help, I thought I had the hang of all this, guess not,
 

homebrewer_99

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I suppose I don't have to beat you up on the importance of using a hydrometer (against other peoples recommendations on this site). Its use definitely takes the guesswork out of the equation. "Waiting for the bubbles to subside" is not a good rule to follow.

I have an Oktoberfest that's been lagering nicely in the secondary since 5 Dec 04. It started at 1.088. When I transferred it was 1.020. One month later it was 1.019 and yesterday it was 1.016. That's just over 2 months lagering. I'm trying to achieve a 1.012. If the gravity stablilizes for a month then I guess I'll bottle. I'm hoping sometime next month. This way it will age well in the bottle until October.

I said it before in another thread, you can not rush a natural process.

I do believe you bottled too soon.

I do not believe 2/3 (cup, I am assuming) will have that much impact on the gravity reading.

As for aging, the beer will definitely mellow with age, but by how much is the unknown. Unfortunately, some never do.

Carbonation on the other hand requires a warmer area to sit in. If you are concerned about bottles exploding them place your cases in large plastic garbage bags in about a week or so. I'd check them on a weekly basis until you are satisfied with the carbonation level then refrigerate.

Good luck.
 

Janx

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Brown sugar may take a bit longer than corn sugar to condition. The fact that your beer is both sweet and undercarbonated means that the brown sugar is not finished fermenting.

What else was in the beer? Liquid extract? Any adjunct grains? There are lots of contributors to sweetness. Most often it's because of unfermentable sugars such as those in liquid extract and crystal malt.

I'm not convinced you bottled too early. Maybe it's just the beer you made. Tell us a little more about it :D
 

Janx

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homebrewer_99 said:
I suppose I don't have to beat you up on the importance of using a hydrometer (against other peoples recommendations on this site). Its use definitely takes the guesswork out of the equation. "Waiting for the bubbles to subside" is not a good rule to follow.
I think you're jumping to conclusions. Every liquid extract beer I have ever tasted had undesirable residual sweetness. You could wait and take gravity readings until the end of the world and it still won't ferment dry. Some beers have unfermentable sugars and are just sweet.

edited - homebrewer_99 and I have settled our hydrometer disagreement and it bears no further scrutiny ;)
 
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Dark_Ale

Dark_Ale

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Janx said:
Brown sugar may take a bit longer than corn sugar to condition. The fact that your beer is both sweet and undercarbonated means that the brown sugar is not finished fermenting.

What else was in the beer? Liquid extract? Any adjunct grains? There are lots of contributors to sweetness. Most often it's because of unfermentable sugars such as those in liquid extract and crystal malt.

I'm not convinced you bottled too early. Maybe it's just the beer you made. Tell us a little more about it :D
Extract:
> 9 lbs. dark malt extract @ $2.29
> Grains:
> 2 lbs. domestic special pale malt @ $.99
> 1/2 lb. German dark crystal malt @$1.69
> 1/4 lb. Belgian Special B malt @ $1.19
> 1/4 lb. German Carafa malt @$1.69
> Sugar:
> 1 cup brown sugar at end of boil
> 2/3 cup brown sugar (packed) at bottling time for carbonation
> Hops:
> 1 oz. Target hops (boil 45 minutes) @ $1.79
> 1/2 oz. Crystal hops (10 more minutes) @ $1.49
> 1/2 oz. Crystal hops (end of boil) @ $1.49
> Yeast & nutrients
> 1 pkg. Windsor ale yeast @ $1.99
Here is the recipe......I just got through finishing a bottle, it was carbonated very well, kinda perfect, and not as sweet as the other bottle I opened. So I got some chilling right now to check it out cold, the bottle I opened was room temp. Again it has not been two weeks yet. I have been storing it at room temp about 70 degrees. I did run a gravity on it still was 1030 mabe just a bit under 1030, but it was drinkable. I think I am just gonna leave it, Let it condition some more, if they explode they explode. I will chalk it up as a lesson learned, although I am not a beginner I have alot to learn and hopefully the others that have not been brewing long can learn from this also, patience is a must especially with big beers. Janx I remember reading in one of your previous threads that you like to use the dry malt, because it seems to not leave as much sweetness in the end. Could you help me alter this recipe, so I can eliminate so much liquid extract. I would also like any advice you may have on differant techniques to ensure I get a good ferment all the way through. Mabe I have some unfermentable sugars in here as well which I could eliminate. I am shooting for a hoppy hoppy hoppy hoppy dark dark dark ale. Thanks for the help
 

homebrewer_99

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Janx said:
I think you're jumping to conclusions. Every liquid extract beer I have ever tasted had undesirable residual sweetness. You could wait and take gravity readings until the end of the world and it still won't ferment dry. Some beers have unfermentable sugars and are just sweet.

edited - homebrewer_99 and I have settled our hydrometer disagreement and it bears no further scrutiny ;)
I think it was mutual. :D
 

Janx

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Dark_Ale said:
Extract:
> 9 lbs. dark malt extract @ $2.29
> Grains:
> 1/2 lb. German dark crystal malt @$1.69
> 1/4 lb. German Carafa malt @$1.69

Janx I remember reading in one of your previous threads that you like to use the dry malt, because it seems to not leave as much sweetness in the end. Could you help me alter this recipe, so I can eliminate so much liquid extract. I would also like any advice you may have on differant techniques to ensure I get a good ferment all the way through. Mabe I have some unfermentable sugars in here as well which I could eliminate. I am shooting for a hoppy hoppy hoppy hoppy dark dark dark ale. Thanks for the help
Your unfermentable sweetness could be coming from any of the ingredients listed above. Maybe the brown sugar too. Actually, I'm not at all familiar with Carafa malt, so that may not be a culprit. The dark crystal malt will generate sweetness...I almost never use crystal any more except in very dark beers that need to be rounded out. So, it might be right on in this brew. I bet most of the sweetness comes from the extract.

As far as switching to dry extract, it's been a long time since I brewed extract. But I *think* it can be used on a 1:1 ratio in substitution for liquid. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

So, I'd substitute the light dry extract for the liquid, get yourself some chocolate malt and a little bit of black patent malt to make up the color that the dark liquid malt contributed (a little goes a long way towards color with both of these malts...especially black patent). Maybe drop the crystal malt...maybe not. It could be a really nice addition. I love Special B, so I'd keep that. What is Carafa like?

How did the hops turn out this time? You looking for more? Bitterness? Flavor? Aroma? Sounds like what you're after is a really hoppy Porter...something like that?

Also, post the alpha acids for those hops when you get a chance, and answer those questions above. I'll run it through SUDS and see what it looks like, and we can try to make some adjustments you'll like. Cheers! :D
 

Rhoobarb

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Actually, the conversion from LME to DME conversion is 80% (0.80). For example, 3.3 lbs LME = 2.64 lbs. DME.

Conversely, converting from DME to LME is a factor of 1.25
 

homebrewer_99

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Rhoobarb said:
Actually, the conversion from LME to DME conversion is 80% (0.80). For example, 3.3 lbs LME = 2.64 lbs. DME.

Conversely, converting from DME to LME is a factor of 1.25

I concur....

Another note, too much sweetness also equals not enough bittering hops.
 
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