First Brew - final SG to high?

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FrikkieVZ

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I'm busy with my first brew, so totally green and rely on what I read online.

I bought a MG stater brewing kit just before lockdown (South Africa) which came with a MG Lucky Goat Pale Ale malt extract pack. Sanitised as well as I could, OG seemed right at 1.050, after 10 days the gravity was down to 1.012 where it has remained for the last 5 days. The temperature was at a stable 22'C (dipped to 19'C 4 days ago, but I got it back to at least 20'C within half a day). The instructions say the final SG should be 1.005. I'm not going to get there.

Clearly fermentation did take place even though I did not see any airlock action. I tried to tighten the screw-on lid as tight as I can and never opened the fermenter (using a tap for sampling). During my reading this morning I took a small taste and I seemed fine. Do I just bottle it and hope for the best? I don't know how important the final SG on the packet is.

For more info, after brewing I saw that the malt extract packet expired 8 months ago, the yeast must have been rather old as well. As we are in lockdown for a further 3 weeks (at least), I don't have the option of getting supplies to add anything to help bring down the gravity. Please give me a few pointers.
 

IslandLizard

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Yeah, if final gravity has been stable for 5 days, it's done! Ready to bottle.

The beer should be pretty clear already, perhaps slightly hazy. That's fine it will clear more during the next 2-3 weeks of bottle conditioning/carbonation in a 18-24C environment. Once carbonated it will clear more when refrigerated.

Don't sweat the 1.005 from the directions, it's an estimate, and there are many factors in play why it may never get quite there.
 

IslandLizard

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Yeah, if final gravity has been stable for 5 days, it's done! Ready to bottle.
Let me rephrase that somewhat:
If final gravity has been stable for 5 days, AND close to the expected gravity, it's done! Ready to bottle.

As @grampamark pointed out, 1.005 is too low of a target for a 1.050 batch unless it contains a large (!) percentage of plain sugar, had enzymes added (e.g., Brüt beers), or used a highly attenuating yeast (such as Saison yeasts). For an average ale yeast such as US-05, around 75% (apparent) attenuation is to be expected.

1.050 ==> means you started with 50 points
If your yeast has 75% attenuation:
50 points - 75% = 12.5 points left over ==> 1.0125
So your measured 1.012 is close enough. ;)

Now, if it were at 1.020 for 5 days, it may not been finished, and probably not safe for bottling.
 

Brulian

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I wouldn’t expect a 1.050 beer to ferment down to .005. That would be 90% attenuation. Your beer is at 76% and 5% ABV. That seems quite reasonable, especially when considering that your kit’s ingredients weren’t the freshest.

Congratulations; you made beer!
What is a standard attenuation %?
More specifically for Ale? Not sure if the type makes a difference.
 

Yooper

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What is a standard attenuation %?
More specifically for Ale? Not sure if the type makes a difference.
Most ale yeast strains will attenuation from 65-80% as an average. To get the specific details, consult the yeast manufacturer's website, which will tell you the average attenuation for the strain you are using.
 

VikeMan

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What is a standard attenuation %?
More specifically for Ale? Not sure if the type makes a difference.
The yeast strain definitely matters. So does the wort's fermentability, which is affected by grain bill, mash temperature, and mash length.
 

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