Forgot the OG, should I risk taking a Hydrometer reading?

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So I'm on my second ever home-brew (using Midwest Supply beginners kit and recipes). I was crazy prepped and ready and have everything down pretty tight. But after hours of cleaning, prepping, brewing and waiting, I pitched my yeast and forgot to take an OG.

I'm saw a lot of activity in the airlock so I think it's ok, It's been in the primary for about three weeks (not doing a secondary, straight to bottle) and I think it's probably ready to bottle.

My question is, I haven't tasted it yet, and I haven't taken an OG, and after having an issue with Acetaldehyde the DAY before I was going to bottle my last beer, I'm a little nervous. Since I pitched it, I haven't touched it, I haven't so much as looked at it for very long. So, is it worth the risk to open her up, taste it and take a reading, or should I just trust I brewed it right and bottle the sucker?

As always, must appreciation for any advice.
 

suckmyale

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I wouldn't worry about the OG anymore. Take your reading now, and see if its within their FG range. Check again tomorrow or next day, if it hasn't changed (I would bet it doesn't) you are ready for bottle.
 

woozy

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You're probably alright to bottle without taking a reading...

But that's the *WRONG* way to do it and you can't expect us to advise you to do things the wrong way, can you? Take a reading now and another three days later. If they are the same then the final gravity has been reached and you are ready to bottle. That's the *right* way to do it. And it's the only way you can ever *know* it is ready to bottle. Otherwise it's just a guess.

Don't worry about the original gravity at this point but you still (if you are doing it *right*) need to read the final gravity to see if it's stabilized and completed. (Which you know, and I know, and suckmyale knows it has. But we don't *know* it has... Gotta do things the *right* way. At least when people are watching...)
 

zacster

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Take the reading, satisfy your curiosity, taste the sample and bottle it. Don't wait if you don't have the time, or are just dying to try it. You don't say what you use for a fermenter, but in a carboy it is easy enough to take a reading using a turkey baster (buy a new one, don't use the one you use on Thanksgiving. Sanitize before every use.) You just pop the airlock and take a few pulls. In a bucket you have to remove the lid, a little more risky, but still not impossible.

If you want to wait until you start bottling, sanitize a glass and use your bottling wand to fill it as much as you want. Take a reading from that sample, and then drink away.
 
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Just took the reading. Looks like it was right around 1.0 and 1.02 (closer to 1.0), and it has an estimated FG of 1.012-1.014 so that sounds about right. I'll take another reading later this week and hopefully bottle this weekend. It tastes like an IPA, so that's a start. Thanks gentlemen!
 

rcbishop

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For your second batch, I would say you should probably take a gravity reading, at least at bottling time. That will help you match up what you're seeing, with what you know about fermentation.

Some of my friends will get on me about this forever, but I haven't taken any SG readings at all (except maybe out of curiosity, looking at a first runnings or something) for years. When you watch the fermentation fade out over time into a clear beer, it's obvious that it's done. When in doubt, a taste can tell you everything.

[edit] Didn't see your post before I replied -- sounds like all is well!
 
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Still getting the hang of this whole "reading a hydrometer" thing. So what I was actually reading was 1.001 and 1.002, so it's a little ways off from 1.012-1.014, though I'm not sure I'm terribly worried. If I understand what I've been reading, that just means more alcohol, which, for the kind of beer it is, I think is A-ok.
 
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