Low ABV

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rotoole2

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Hi guys, I've been brewing off and on for a couple of years, my problem is I can't get my ABV up past 4%. I do my iodine test for sugar, I make sure everything is sanitized, it ferments like crazy for about the first 3-4 days and then just stops. What am I doing wrong?
 

2hennepin6

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Some of my most favorite beers are low ABV English ales. Some of my least favorite beers are low ABV session IPAs.

Sorry, that doesn't help you at all.
 
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rotoole2

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10lb Ireland stout malt
6oz Simpsons light crystal malt
4oz Simpsons dark crystal malt
2oz Simpsons extra dark crystal malt
2oz Crisp roasted barley

OG: 1.051
FG: 1.027
I bring my sparge water up to 160 degrees, let it sit for an hour, check doing Iodine test.
 

RM-MN

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Do you test your FG with a hydrometer or with a refractometer. A refractometer will not be accurate with alcohol present and will give you a higher reading.

What is the temperature at the start of the mash? If it is 160, you are denaturing the beta amylase enzyme too quickly leaving mostly dextrines that your yeast can't digest.
 
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rotoole2

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I use a refractometer, I used a hydrometer and got the same readings. In that case should I lower my temp, if so how much?
 

Cool_Hand_Luke

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I think RM-MN found your culprit. It’s not really possible for a refractrometer to read the same as your hydrometer with ethanol present. A refractrometer is fine for OG, but a correction factor has to be used if you try to use it for FG.

There are online calculators you can use for this, or you can use a hydrometer for FG to be more accurate.

Plugging your provided information into this link below, I get 1.013 corrected final gravity or 5.1% ABV. Which seems more believable. 1.027 would be severely under attenuated.


Happy Brewing!
 
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rotoole2

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I'll give it a try with my hydrometer and see what I get.
 
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rotoole2

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Time to keg the beer. Thanks for every ones help. Very informative. Happy brewing
 

hotbeer

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Why do you say it's time to keg? Did you get the same SG reading 2 or 3 days apart? If not you really can't be certain the yeast is finished fermenting. OG and FG are targets, not absolute limits where you begin the next phase.

And some of us don't get in a hurry to move from the fermenter just because it's finished fermenting. Depending on yeast type and other stuff, the beer will clean up pretty well if you can be patient for a week longer.
 
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rotoole2

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It's been in the fermenter for a week , quit fermenting 4 days ago. It will be another week before drinking
 

RM-MN

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It's been in the fermenter for a week , quit fermenting 4 days ago. It will be another week before drinking
I'd leave it in the fermenter for that week. Let the yeast settle there, then transfer to the keg. You'll get clear beer sooner.

Actually, I'd probably leave it in the fermenter longer than that but I already have beer to drink.
 

hotbeer

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says he's kegging so not going to get bottle bombs? no worries? maybe save a bit of co2? hybrid spunding? ;) lol :mug:
I realize that about kegging, but when someone says it finished fermenting, I'd be curious to know since it was only 3 days after putting in the fermenter that it's being called finished.

Although I've never kegged and don't so far think I'll ever want to, I'd think waiting longer would give the beer time to clean up after fermenting and before putting in the keg. That way I wouldn't have to be drinking the cloudy brews my son and friends that keg seem want to serve me.
 
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rotoole2

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Based on FG, check 4 days in a row , FG doesn't change. I should have left it in the fermenter longer. No patient
 
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