Gravity up or down?

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FunkyScribe

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I brewed my first batch, and, yes, I didn’t know I was supposed to top off to 5 gallons in the fermenter so I only had 4 gallons with a 5 gallon recipe, but is your gravity supposed to go down after fermentation? For some reason I thought it would go up. Anyway, it went from 54 to about 15, I think, which according to the formula I found makes the ABV about 5.1% (ignoring negative numbers). Does that seem right?

Also, it tastes (out of the fermenter, before adding sugar) like the sourest crabapple you ever bit into, so…
 

Kickass

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Sour crab apples, no bueno. But, never just a beer before it’s served, it changes drastically. What was your recipe?

Gravity of wort is based off sugar. More sugar=higher gravity. So in your case (1 gal less water, you’d have more sugar for the volume of liquid) you’d have a higher than expected gravity for the given recipe.

As yeast take sugar and turn it into alcohol your gravity drops.
 
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FunkyScribe

FunkyScribe

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Sour crab apples, no bueno. But, never just a beer before it’s served, it changes drastically. What was your recipe?

Gravity of wort is based off sugar. More sugar=higher gravity. So in your case (1 gal less water, you’d have more sugar for the volume of liquid) you’d have a higher than expected gravity for the given recipe.

As yeast take sugar and turn it into alcohol your gravity drops.
So sour it almost puckered my face off my skull. But that was before I added the bottling sugar(?).

So the sugar in the fermenter comes from the malt extract? Because I could drink that stuff straight, yum. Sour after fermentation because the yeast ate the sugar…

My recipe was the American Ale from morebeer.com. Pretty basic, but it turns out I can still mess it up. 😉

Thanks for the help!
 

camonick

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What yeast did you use? Are you confusing sour with bitter? I just looked at that recipe and it should be a run of the mill American pale ale towards the upper end of the style for bitterness. Yours will definitely be different because of the lower water quantity, but shouldn’t be “sour”.
 
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FunkyScribe

FunkyScribe

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What yeast did you use? Are you confusing sour with bitter? I just looked at that recipe and it should be a run of the mill American pale ale towards the upper end of the style for bitterness. Yours will definitely be different because of the lower water quantity, but shouldn’t be “sour”.
I used the included dry yeast, which was called Cali.

It is entirely possible that my highly developed lawnmower beer palate may be confused by the hops, good call on that. I guess young, uncarbonated, room-temperature beer might not be the best predictor of the final product.
 

ncbrewer

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It looks like a possible infection. I'm not very familiar with infections, but bacteria can work slowly. It's likely that it could look like the gravity is stable, but bacteria is still active and will continue to eat some of the remaining sugar. If you will be bottling, it could cause bottle bombs. I would wait maybe three weeks and take another gravity sample to see if it is really stable before bottling. Hopefully someone with more experience with infections will comment.
 

hotbeer

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How big is your FV (ferment vessel)? You want some amount of headspace so 4 - 4¼ gallons in a 5 gallon FV will probably be about right.

How long has your beer been in the FV?
 
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FunkyScribe

FunkyScribe

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How big is your FV (ferment vessel)? You want some amount of headspace so 4 - 4¼ gallons in a 5 gallon FV will probably be about right.

How long has your beer been in the FV?
My fermenter is 7 gallons, and I left it in there for two weeks until the activity completely stopped and all the foam was gone. That’s when I tasted it, right before bottling, and it was not good. After two weeks of bottle conditioning, it still tastes like sour apple candy. Drinkable, but not great.
 
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