Beers aren't finishing (high FG)

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by joshbotimer, May 11, 2018.

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  1. joshbotimer

    joshbotimer New Member

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    I'm new to home brewing and here's the scoop. I've brewed 6 beers to date and haven't had a single one finish at the "proper" FG. I say "proper" as I understand things don't happen exactly the way they're projected all the time. They've all been extract kits using SF-05 or SF-04 dry ale yeast. On my second batch I started making yeast starters 100g DME/1000mL. They've all basically had a difference of 0.030ish from OG to FG. For example:

    My extra IPA was brewed on 4/1/18 with an OG of 1.056. Projected FG: 1.017. Grav readings since:
    4/29/18 was 1.029
    5/5/18 was 1.028
    511/18 was 1.028

    My Chocolate Milk Stout was brewed 4/9/18 with an OG 1.069. Projected FG: 1.023. Grav readings since:
    4/22/18 was 1.046
    5/9/18 was 1.044
    5/11/18 was 1.044

    I have done a dry Irish Stout and a Brown with similar numbers. I use a refractometer to measure my gravity. Fermentation temps have held steady at 67-68 F for every batch. I've tried "rousing" the yeast by agitating the fermenters... I've scoured the web for solutions and what I've deduced is that the LME that comes with kits sometimes results in higher FGs. Anyone have any advice? Help please!

    Note: The taste of the first 3 I brewed was fine; I'd say borderline good, yet they just seem like they had a little wasted potential.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    How are you taking your gravity readings? Those FG values look like uncorrected refractometer values to me. If you're using a hydrometer, you have a problem. If you're using a refractometer, you need to correct the readings - alcohol has a higher refractive index than water so as the beer ferments, the readings become farther and farther off.
     
  3. joshbotimer

    joshbotimer New Member

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    I had no idea. THANK YOU!!!!
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Get a hydrometer.
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    most used piece of brew equipment out side of kettle and fermentor!
     
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  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Uh, I never use mine any more. Once you've figured out how to convert the refractometer reading, the hydrometer begins to look like a mercury thermometer.
     
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  7. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member

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    Converting requires math. Math blows. Sucks AND blows :)

    I use the refractometer a lot on brew day, but once fermentation is underway and alcohol is present, I go with the hydrometer.

    How else do you drink from the test jar ??
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    First, I only do the math once. The spreadsheet does it for me thereafter. And second, just because the instrument only requires a few drops, that doesn't mean the sample size has to be that small! Seriously, both work just as well. But I agree on one thing: The hydrometer is the most straightforward way of measuring gravity. No conversion required!
     
  9. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Been thinking about getting a refractometer, but I almost always hit my #s, so really see no reason to check gravity prior to cooling. Aside from that my second cop out is I'm too damn old to learn to use another piece of equipment :)
     
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  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    dont have refractometer Nosey.
    ok ill put it this way (gravity measuring device refractometer or hydrometer) most used piece of brew equipment outside fermentor.:)
     
  11. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    But you started with a hydro. ;)
     
  12. Aub

    Aub Active Member

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    And if able to afford it the Tilt hydrometers are great as you can get a reading anytime during fermentation without having to take a sample.
     
  13. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Make sure you don't accidentlly step on your hydrometer. I use a refractometer for brew day and then a hydrometer for the final gravity readings.
     
  14. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member

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    I've never stepped on one, but several have committed suicide jumping off the counter to their death
     
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  15. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    +1
    Lesson = always have a spare!
     
  16. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I've found that the cure for that is to always have a replacement. Since I ordered an extra I've never broken one. Same with flasks.
     
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  17. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member

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    Me too. Last time around I bought 2 and the spare just sits in my brew day box. Same principal as life insurance ... you're never gonna be able to spend that money.
     
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  18. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I was lucky I had a second one in the garage I don't use often, saved me.
     
  19. BoomerBrian

    BoomerBrian Active Member

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  20. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I get good results using the equations from Zymurgy last July. Plug the equations and the values into a spreadsheet and you get both the SG at any time in the fermentation using drops of wort and those nifty fermentation curves without spending money on monitoring equipment. I was going to attach my spreadsheet for you but it's local on my machine at home.
     

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