First ever “Is my beer ruined” post

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Greynolds16

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Hey everyone,

As the title says, this is my first “did I just ruin my beer” post.

I am making a Pliny the Elder clone recipe in an attempt to do a side by side taste test (going out to northern CA in a few weeks and will bring some home with me). I used the recipe from the local home brew shop and it seems to be pretty similar to other recipes online, with a bit less grain perhaps and more dextrose. (10.5 lbs 2-row, 1 lb carapils, 8oz caramel 40, 1.5 lbs dextrose)


My issue is that my tilt hydrometer has the SG at 1.009 after 5 days and I worry it will be over attenuated. Target FG according to the recipe is 1.019 (seems high to me) and according to brew father should be 1.011. For reference, OG was 1.071

Here are my thoughts on possible culprits:

The classic - got an infection or wild yeast that is eating all the sugars. I won’t know until I taste it during the transfer to the keg.

not great thermometer - I mashed at 150 for 60 minutes, final temp was 147. It could be off by even a few degrees and mean I am mashing lower than I think.

measurement error - could be a wonky calibration for the hydrometer and maybe I’m just over thinking it.

over pitching - I used two packages of oyl-004 Chico. I read that Chico can rip through some wort, though attenuation Max on Chico is supposed to be 80% and right now attenuation is 88%

Any other ideas? If it is over attenuated but not tasting off from an infection, is there a way to add more body to the beer?

Thanks all!
 

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Dgallo

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Tilts aren’t 100% accurate and you used 1.5 lbs and you mashed low. You can almost expect a sub 1.010 beer as you should get the high end of attenuation for your strain based on the dextrose and low mash temp. Let it ride out and stay calm. The beer will finish where it finishes and you can make adjustments next brew
 
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Greynolds16

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Tilts aren’t 100% accurate and you used 1.5 lbs and you mashed low. You can almost expect a sub 1.010 beer as you should get the high end of attenuation for your strain based on the dextrose and low mash temp. Let it ride out and stay calm. The beer will finish where it finishes and you can make adjustments next brew
Thanks for the feedback! I even went off recipe from the notes from the home brew shop and mashed higher than they recommended (they had the mash temp at 148 and I bumped it to 150)
 

hotbeer

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What are you fearing from lower FG readings?

I just figure the OG and FG is there to give you a there-a-bout figure of what to expect. But for many reasons you might get differing SG's. Doesn't mean you won't get a good or great beer.

I too would just let it ferment until it finishes. Not just finish by the hydrometer reading, but finish by the clarity of the beer in the fermenter. My six week in the primary beer so far has been my best beer. The recipe for it didn't even give OG's or FG's so I had less to worry about. It just is what it is.... or becomes.
 

spittiz

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I've been brewing with a tilt hydrometer for 1,5 years now, and I get very wonky measurements sometimes despite calibration. Its value isn't in showing absolute values but rather in showing trends. I wouldn't worry.
 

Gnomebrewer

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Contamination/wild yeast won't take hold in that short timeframe (unless you deliberately pitch a huge amount of it or use an obviously filthy fermenter). It takes weeks for them to kick in - even when pitching a vial of Brettanomyces it takes a month or so before there's any noticeable impact.

Attenuation is listed for all-malt wort. Any sugar/dextrose additions will ferment 100% (which is actually more than 100% apparent attenuation) regardless of strain.
 

Saunassa

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Krausen can stick to the tilt and affect readings slightly. Lately checking sg and fg with a hydrometer I have been getting 5% more attenuation then listed on the packet. Yeast is alive so it can be more or less efficient depending on the environment. Don't sweat it, grab a beer, sit back and let it ride.
 
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Greynolds16

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What are you fearing from lower FG readings?

I just figure the OG and FG is there to give you a there-a-bout figure of what to expect. But for many reasons you might get differing SG's. Doesn't mean you won't get a good or great beer.

I too would just let it ferment until it finishes. Not just finish by the hydrometer reading, but finish by the clarity of the beer in the fermenter. My six week in the primary beer so far has been my best beer. The recipe for it didn't even give OG's or FG's so I had less to worry about. It just is what it is.... or becomes.
My main concern is that I will have hop water with no body to it if the FG goes too low. Seems to be holding at 1.009, which is within the style guidelines for double IPAs. Readings that made me feel a bit better!
 
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Greynolds16

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Thanks for all of the replies! This has definitely quelled my anxiety. I’m normally not quite as concerned, but I do love a Pliny and want the side by side to go well.

Plus, the hops in this recipe and the two pouches of yeast brought the cost over $100 just for this batch. I’d be more accepting of a ruined/not great pale ale but it would sting to lose this one.
 
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Greynolds16

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Contamination/wild yeast won't take hold in that short timeframe (unless you deliberately pitch a huge amount of it or use an obviously filthy fermenter). It takes weeks for them to kick in - even when pitching a vial of Brettanomyces it takes a month or so before there's any noticeable impact.

Attenuation is listed for all-malt wort. Any sugar/dextrose additions will ferment 100% (which is actually more than 100% apparent attenuation) regardless of strain.
Good to know! I actually just got a new ale pail before my last batch and have been really diligent about using PBW and sanitizing as soon as I transfer to the keg.
 
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Greynolds16

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I know these things get lost in the ether sometimes but I have been trolling homebrew talk for my current batch of beer and find myself thinking - “I wonder how all of these ‘did I ruin my beer’ posts turn out?” So a quick update if anyone ever finds this useful.

beer was solid out of the fermenter! The tilt was in fact reading a little low, ended up saying 1.007 but hydrometer reading had it at 1.010 (and the tilt read that as well after jostling it into position to transfer to the keg). And then the beer oxidized because I didn’t do a closed transfer. Still drinkable, just not as good as it could have been.
 
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