Home brew at 0.53% ABV?

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Reidriguez

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Hey all,

New guy here, first time brewing. I’m in the middle of brewing a pale ale (of of those Cooper DIY kits) and I have a question regarding OG and SG.

I took an OG reading at the start of fermentation and got a reading of 1.026. 6 days later I took another reading and the SG is 1.022. This seem very low, and I note that the instructions that came with the kit indicate the OG should have been 1.046 or thereabouts. That is of course assuming I used the Coopers fermentables (which I didn’t, I just used sucrose).

From your experiences, did I just goof up on the OG reading or is my process perhaps flawed? (I do know that it has been fermenting at ~1-1.5°C lower than it recommends). Any advice at all would be much appreciated!
 

Jayjay1976

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Why did you change the kit recipe? What did you do with the cooper's fermentables? Have you checked your hydrometer with plain water to verify 1.000?
 

yourlastchance89

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Something went wrong somewhere if the information you are giving us is correct. Could you detail your process a little more? Is your hydrometer properly calibrated? What was the temperature of the liquid when you took your readings?
 

dmtaylor

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Did you measure the OG just after the boil when the wort was still hot? You have to measure at room temperature or else measure the temperature and apply a correction because it reads much much lower at high temperature than it really is once cooled.
 

BigCrazyAl

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Can you be specific about what you actually fermented? What did the recipe you made end up being?
 

kh54s10

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I will say that your process is flawed. On your first brew you decided to substitute an ingredient without knowing the effect. Get another kit and brew it the way it came - no changes. Once you gain some knowledge of procedure and recipes/ingredients, then you can experiment.

Without knowing what you actually had, what you used, and what you didn't use anything said is just speculation.
 

Boomer

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You’ll find that you’ll get a lot more help and advice if you include as many details as possible.

The way your original post reads is as follows:

I bought an extract kit but subbed sucrose for the included fermentables.



If you didn’t do any type of calculations to determine how much sucrose you’d need to hit your OG, then it probably explains why you came up really short.

Also, the reason we use specific fermentables when making beer is to impart both flavor and alcohol into the final product. Subbing in other ingredients is commonplace; however, most people still try to maintain some semblance of the original recipe in order to keep the intended flavor of the beer intact.

If you’re just subbing in sucrose and removing all of the included fermentables from the kit, you’ll likely end up with something not too different from jailhouse hooch.

Now, it’s possible that everyone who has commented is off the mark. However, without knowing your recipe and process, we won’t be able to help out too much. Personally, this is why I try to keep really good brew day notes so I can try to learn from them later on.
 

masskrug

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Did you just use the can of hopped LME? You are supposed to use some other fermentables.
 

Lefou

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Adding gravity points is more often better than taking away, especially in fixed ingredient recipe kits.
On my first American lager extract mix, I did leave out the included dry yeast but used all the pre-hopped extract along with a bit of honey and YCH Cascade hops. It ended up being a small batch of dry pale ale with honey flavor and aroma. Not quite what was intended but it was beer.
 

TGFV

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If it is a coopers Can, then you are supposed to add a KG of their brew additive (1 or 2) which is a combination of DME, sucrose and maltodextrin. The recipie is a link to their website for base recipes as well as advanced ones.

If it is an older can, it may actually say to add a KG of sugar, which will make a weak tasting "piss" beer version (imagine if Coors or Budweiser made a pale ale with the same amount of adjuncts as their lagers...).

Either way though the OG should have been higher. A 1.75kg can with 1kg of fermentables should get you 4-5% since LME pppg is .036 and Sugar is .046.

How much water did you add and what yeast did you use?
 

DownstairsBrewing

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If it is a coopers Can, then you are supposed to add a KG of their brew additive (1 or 2) which is a combination of DME, sucrose and maltodextrin. The recipie is a link to their website for base recipes as well as advanced ones.

If it is an older can, it may actually say to add a KG of sugar, which will make a weak tasting "piss" beer version (imagine if Coors or Budweiser made a pale ale with the same amount of adjuncts as their lagers...).

Either way though the OG should have been higher. A 1.75kg can with 1kg of fermentables should get you 4-5% since LME pppg is .036 and Sugar is .046.

How much water did you add and what yeast did you use?
My guess is that you have it here - I have seen those Cooper's can kits in a lot more places than I have seen their BE product, and the instructions make those optional. Some of the instructions make it sound like dextrose versus sucrose is optional too.

That said, I don't see how that OG reading is possible with the 1.8 cans plus 1 kg of sucrose. The metric/Imperial/US error would make it stronger, not weaker, those are 23L kits.

The SG reading has barely moved as well, so something isn't working.
 

beernutz

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Coopers Quick and Easy Brewing Method for Beer Kits:
  • Clean and Sanitize all equipment prior to use.
  • Mix contents of Kit and 2 Lbs of Sugar and 2 Liters of boiling water.
  • Add 20 Liters of cold water, mix, add yeast then seal lid or cover and ferment.
  • Syphon or tap into bottles with added sugar, cap bottles and store.
What could go wrong?
 

DownstairsBrewing

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Coopers Quick and Easy Brewing Method for Beer Kits:
  • Clean and Sanitize all equipment prior to use.
  • Mix contents of Kit and 2 Lbs of Sugar and 2 Liters of boiling water.
  • Add 20 Liters of cold water, mix, add yeast then seal lid or cover and ferment.
  • Syphon or tap into bottles with added sugar, cap bottles and store.
What could go wrong?
Having tasted one of those years ago, what could go wrong is following those instructions. Cooper's now 'recommends' their enhancer instead of sugar, basically LME/dextrose and I think maltodextrin. If you just use sucrose, TGFV has it about right.

The friend who enticed me into homebrewing happily sticks with these kits, and it is actually remarkable how good of a beer he can make them with dextrose, LME/DME, and some extra hopping.
 
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