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Brew_Barron

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Hi,
Just transfered my brew over to the secondary and took a hydrometer reading. It read 20 in the white scale (below the zero).
So can anyone tell me what the heck that means??
On syphoning the brew between the two fermenters I got a mouth full and it tasted quite good but VERY sweet and almost fizzy.
 

OBX

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Brew_Barron said:
Hi,
Just transfered my brew over to the secondary and took a hydrometer reading. It read 20 in the white scale (below the zero).
So can anyone tell me what the heck that means??
On syphoning the brew between the two fermenters I got a mouth full and it tasted quite good but VERY sweet and almost fizzy.
Sounds like 1.020 (aka 20) was the reading. I can't be sure without seeing the hydrometer. Your original reading might have been something like 1.045 and fermentation will knock that reading back about 75% so if you started with something like 1.045 you would end up with 1.010 after it is done fermenting. Is it still bubbling? It may have some more fermenting to do before you bottle.
 
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Brew_Barron

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yep, still bubbles about every thirty seconds or so.
Think it still has a couple of days left before I take it to the king keg
 
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Brew_Barron

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Cheers Bill and OBX. just did not know if the number being lower on the physical shaft of the hydrometer is lower or higher than 1000 so 20 lower than 0 is 1020 then?
That would tie in with it still fermenting and needing a target reading of 1008.
Mark
 

homebrewer_99

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Do you have one of those plastic tubes on a stand that you use for taking a reading?

If so, put some water in it (check the water temp first) and check out the reading. If properly calibrated it should read 1.000 at 60F. A general rule is you add .002 for every 10 degrees.

Do you recall what your Original Gravity (OG) was?

Everything is relative to the type of beer you are making. If your reading is now at 1.020 you are probably still too high and have more fermentables to go.

If you started out at 1.056 OG then your target FG should be somewhere under 1.014 (your 56 divided by 4 = 14 (or about 75% of your OG)).

A lower FG (such as 1.008) will give you a bit more alcohol and make it taste drier.

The formula is as such:

OG minus FG = times=potential alcohol
(1.056 - 1.008 = 48 x 105 = 5.040 %)

I always use the tube to measure the gravity and the temp so I know how to manipulate the numbers. Afterwards I sample it and write a small critique as to how I feel the brew is doing. Sometimes I'll write something like "a tad too sweet yet", "should be lots better in two weeks", etc.

Now there are many people who will insist a hydrometer is a waste of time. Well, to them, it is.

I use my hydrometer. You don't have to. I enjoy doing all the little steps, even the menial ones. It let's me know how close I am to re-creating a previous recipe or hitting another one on the nose. Of course, those terms are all generalizations also. I could be wrong, your mileage will definitely vary from the manufacturer's recommended sale price, and batteries not included. Not responsible for stains which cannot be removed with a double dose of the stains original ingredients.

I am just answering your question. Do what you want with the information.

Either way, enjoy your brewing and good luck. :D
 

andre the giant

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I had a hydrometer for a couple years and actually took readings without understanding what it all meant. Now I find it an almost indespensible tool. Sure I could brew without it, but by using it, I can tell a lot of useful things about my beer, from mash efficiency to when it's time to bottle. The hydrometer and thermometer are your friends. You'll get to know them better with time.

Let it brew for a while longer. Then, enjoy..
 
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Brew_Barron

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I'm afraid I did not take a measurement at the start of the brew (I will know better next time)
Going to get a testing tube today so I can control the test a bit better.
Really enjoying my first venture into brewing so fingers crossed it turns out ok.
 

Rhoobarb

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homebrewer_99 said:
The formula is as such:

OG minus FG = times=potential alcohol
(1.056 - 1.008 = 48 x 105 = 5.040 %)
Is that for determining alcohol by weight? I ask only because, I always go by volume (ABV) and have used the following formula for that (dropping the decimal points):

1056 - 1008 = 48 / 7.46 = 6.43 + .2 = 6.63% ABV. If I've been taught wrong, somebody let me know! :(

Thanks!
 

homebrewer_99

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Rhoobarb said:
Is that for determining alcohol by weight? I ask only because, I always go by volume (ABV) and have used the following formula for that (dropping the decimal points):

1056 - 1008 = 48 / 7.46 = 6.43 + .2 = 6.63% ABV. If I've been taught wrong, somebody let me know! :(

Thanks!
If you used the 7.46 calculation for volume then the 105 is for weight.

They were only example numbers for the guy asking the question.

I usually drop the decimal points also, but I did not want to confuse the originator of the thread. :D
 
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OK guys, a bit of an update on the brew.
After 4 days I transfered to secondary with reading of 1020, another 4 days have passed (first day a very thin layer of bubbles appeared on the surface then went) and the bubbles going through the airlock have all but stopped (one every 5-8 mins). I took another reading to see if it was ready to move on to my king keg and it is still at 1020 and still smells very sweet, has my yeast given up the ghost and if so what do I do next get another pack of yeast and pitch it in?
 
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It is a Muntons Best Bitter Kit, I must admit I was not impressed by the yeast head it formed on the primary, very thin and just looked like a few bubbles.
Now there is no head on the secondary
 

homebrewer_99

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A bitter is basically what we just call beer (IMO) so 1020 would be considered too high.

Have you sampled any? Is it too sweet? Too bitter?

Do you think that pitching more yeast will solve your problem?
 
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Yeah, it tastes very sweet and slightly acidic. The back ground taste is fine but the sweetness hits you in the face.
I have no idea about the yeast but if there is still a lot of fermentable sugar in the brew and the current yeast has stopped would more yeast carry on where the first lot may have failed?
Would I treat this as a primary again and take it off to secondary in a week if I pitched more yeast?
Cheers
Mark
 

homebrewer_99

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Yes, you are correct. Pitch more yeast - make sure you make a starter first, and then treat this as a primary again. Just keep the cover and airlock on it in the meantime.

I don't know if you made a starter the first time, but I suppose now you understand why you should. ;) It gives you peace of mind by ensuring your yeast is lively. :D
 

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When do you take the final FG reading? Do you take a reading before or after adding the priming sugar? I keep taking my FG reading after I have racked the beer from my secondary into my bottling pale and added the priming sugar. It is just so much easier to sanitize the hydrometer and drop it in the pale. Will the priming sugar raise the FG reading or won't it? :confused:

My last brew was a nut brown ale and I started off at 1.058 and 19 days later I bottled and my reading in the pale was 1.019. It tasted pretty good for a flat beer. I am not too worried about the readings, but I was wondering if the priming sugar would raise my reading much, if at all.
 
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homebrewer_99 said:
Yes, you are correct. Pitch more yeast - make sure you make a starter first, and then treat this as a primary again. Just keep the cover and airlock on it in the meantime.

I don't know if you made a starter the first time, but I suppose now you understand why you should. ;) It gives you peace of mind by ensuring your yeast is lively. :D
Ok a couple of days on now and after pitching more yeast the brew has now settled at a reading of 1008/9 which is the target for this beer so it has now gone into my King Keg with 4oz of dissolved sugar.
I am aiming to leave it in airing cupboard for 3 days and then at around 19-20 degrees C for around three weeks, does that sound about right?

Sorry OBX cant help on your question.

Cheers
Mark
 
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OBX said:
When do you take the final FG reading?
From my readings (books and forums), it seems common place to take the reading before adding priming sugars. The ammount of sugar you are adding isn't going to change the gravity too significantly though. Next time you brew, take the few extra steps / time to take one before and after you prime and see what ya get! In my opinion, I would go with pre-addition of sugars just so when you are comparing numbers with other home brewers, you are comparing apples to apples. I have followed the wisdom of some of our more experienced brewers on this forum (against the wisdom of some others however) and I do not put much faith in the readings. I do still take these readings though since I am trying to collect as much info on my brew as I can so that in the future, if I deem this as good info to have, it will be available in my archives. Another one to ponder... taking a gravity reading of the wort prior to and after adding yeast! I may do that experiment today and then the fore-mentioned experiment when I go to bottle.
 

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DyerNeedOfBeer said:
From my readings (books and forums), it seems common place to take the reading before adding priming sugars. The ammount of sugar you are adding isn't going to change the gravity too significantly though. Next time you brew, take the few extra steps / time to take one before and after you prime and see what ya get! In my opinion, I would go with pre-addition of sugars just so when you are comparing numbers with other home brewers, you are comparing apples to apples. I have followed the wisdom of some of our more experienced brewers on this forum (against the wisdom of some others however) and I do not put much faith in the readings. I do still take these readings though since I am trying to collect as much info on my brew as I can so that in the future, if I deem this as good info to have, it will be available in my archives. Another one to ponder... taking a gravity reading of the wort prior to and after adding yeast! I may do that experiment today and then the fore-mentioned experiment when I go to bottle.
Even if you don't rely on a hydrometer to give you accurate alcohol content, it does come in very useful in judging if fermenatation is really done. If you take three separate readings over a few days, and each time the number is exactly the same, you know the yeast is done - either your fermenation is done, or stuck.
 

homebrewer_99

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I, for one, agree with the readings.

I'm glad we could get your brew down to 1008. Now that's better.

So you don't get confused, ALL readings are taken BEFORE adding either the yeast or the priming sugar. :D
 
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homebrewer_99 said:
I, for one, agree with the readings.

I'm glad we could get your brew down to 1008. Now that's better.

So you don't get confused, ALL readings are taken BEFORE adding either the yeast or the priming sugar. :D
I just had a thought, I have not put in any finings to clear the beer, should I have done that when I transfered it to the king keg?
 

homebrewer_99

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Finings are not necessary (that'll please Janx that I said that....note I said "necessary").

Finings, Irish Moss, and Polyclar are things we can use to help us clear our beer. All of these are used at differnet times in the process.

Since you are in the secondary and are conditioing around 18-19 C then this time alone will allow your beer to clear up. If you want there is still time to add Polyclar to your beer. Polyclar is powdered PVC (my understanding of it) so you do not want all of the beer from the secondary when racking to the bottling bucket. Leave it undisturbed and behind.
 
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Ok, thanks for the help.
I have now added a packet of liquid finings to the keg and it is now sitting at 19 degrees. Is there any tell tales to show me when it is ready or do I just try a bit in a couple of weeks (it has already built up enough pressure for the tap to work)
I am intending to bottle in grolsh type flip top bottles do I just attach a hose to the tap and pour it into the bottles (keeping the end of the tube below the beer in the bottle)? do I add any further sugar (as the keg was primed with 4 oz before the beer went in?
Cheers
Mark
 
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