Low ABV problem (newbie)

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Jhogan0101, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. Jhogan0101

    Jhogan0101 Member

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    Hey everyone,
    Im new at this, brewed a stout and my OG was about .015 too low. Didnt realize how important that was. My final gravity is correct (1.013). I tasted the beer and it is a bit watery (not sweet at all) and has about half the ABV it should have. Anyway to fix this?
     
  2. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    Beer is beer, there is no way to fix beer once it is done, you need to go through your process and determine what came up short, it could be a number of things causing this affect, but more of what i want to tell you is dont get discouraged do not give up. Its is correctable in future batches.
     
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  3. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Give us some more details, did you brew an extract batch, all grain, BIAB? Post up your recipe and some details on your process, you will get plenty of helpful advice here!
     
  4. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    It's generally not worth the effort of fixing up a finished beer. It's usually just easier to brew another batch and drink the 'failure' if you can, dump it if you can't. Some of my favourite recipes have come from stuffing up a batch and ending up with a much lower ABV than expected. Might not be the case here, so give us some more details as Craig asks and we can hopefully help out for the next batch.

    Most of the ideas I can think of for fixing up your beer involve brewing a stronger beer and blending, but I can't see the point in that.
     
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  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Blending is a good option (see above) but you'd have to hit your numbers on a bigger beer, something more difficult than a smaller one. Agree with Mark: Drink if you can, dump it if you must but learn from it rather than expending effort on trying to fix it.
     
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  6. Jhogan0101

    Jhogan0101 Member

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    Thanks guys. This was all grain, 5 gal batch. I screwed up the sparge. Went to fast, i now realize that i should've been doing it at 12mins/gal. Im going to try it again tomorrow.

    On another note,i have 4 different thermometers and they all are off by as much as 10 degrees. Is there a go to thermometer i can trust? How the hell are you supposed make good beer if the mash temp is wrong....
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Sparge: Try batch sparging. Easier, little chance of tannin extraction and much quicker. Only downside is slightly lower efficiency. Thermometer: Test it. It should read 32 degrees F/0 degrees C in ice water, your boiling point adjusted for altitude in boiling water.
     
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  8. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Id just blend it in with my tap line up for a bit of a twist once things get boring. If you know your batch volume kettle/fermentor and know your losses you should be able to use a set sparge volume to meet your pre boil. I always just sparge with 5lt so just subtract my sparge from my total brew liquor to hit my target.

    Sounds like you need to get another brew or two under your belt and your sparge will all make sense.
    Keep brewing.
     
  9. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    And it may not necessarily have been your sparge Maybe your Milling was slightly off there are many reasons that could have caused the issue I personally recirculate the entire time because that's the way my system was upgraded in built if you have that ability it can be really beneficial remember not to travel too far out of your comfort zone and always adjust one thing at a time if you try and correct an issue by changing many different things you won't know which one corrected it or it'll be a lot harder to determine which one corrected it I recommend that if you feel your sparge was too fast change your sparge speed on the next batch and see if that does correct it if it does not come back to the forums and describe your process in as much detail as possible and I can almost 100% guarantee someone here will be able to answer the question and give you a reasonable solution.

    I do agree with everybody else there's really no sense in trying to fix a beer drink it if it's drinkable dump it if it's not don't have shame brewing beer is not easy if it was everybody would do it
     
  10. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    You can check your calibration on your thermometers by using the ice bath and boiling water test. Make an ice bath and measure the temperature of each thermometer and compare to the 32 degree reading you should be getting (or 0 if you're metric). Do the same with boiling water. 212 F or 100 C. This will give you an idea of which thermometer is accurate and how much offset you may need to account for. Also note that the boiling point will be lower if you live at elevation. This is not a problem for us down in Louisiana.
     
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  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Small point of order on this: Correct the boiling point test for elevation. Bubba Wade mentions this and I wanted to reiterate it. I live in Colorado at 6,000' elevation so my boiling point is about 200 degrees F. Also, looking at the parenthetical "newbie", try to go with the simplest process possible. As mentioned several times, your efficiency miss could be a result of several things. Crush is one of the most likely, at our scale, sparging, whether batch or fly, quick or slow, is low on the list of potential causes for as large a miss as you mention. The one that is most likely to me is simple measurement error, most of the brewing processes, once you kick them off, operate more or less on auto-pilot. Check to see if your hydrometer is calibrated - measure distilled water at the calibration temperature of the instrument and make sure that measures zero. And make sure you measured at the appropriate temperature! If your sample were hot, you'd get a lower reading of gravity and a lower efficiency.

    Consistency is what you want. If your process generates a consistent conversion level and you're making good beer, you're doing it right. Try not to get hung up on a number, it's only that and it may be that for a number of reasons. You'll eventually discover the reasons, your process will evolve over time and the number will change. The one constant you should strive for is good beer.
     
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  12. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    The attached file shows the correlation between altitude and the boiling point of water.
     

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  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Why'd you stop at 5750'? :D

    Should be of some help to the poster. Thanks!
     
  14. Jhogan0101

    Jhogan0101 Member

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    This is the recipe here.
    My OG was 1.035 instead of 1.038.
    My FG was 1.015 instead of 1.006
    My fermenting temp was a steady 68F. After a couple of days of no activity i shook it up a bit and raised the temp to 73 and still nothing. Not sure what happened.

    https://ibb.co/f0Kr8RD
     
  15. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Nosy, could this be due to a mash temperature being too high producing unfermentable sugars?
     
  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The initial three points are a trivial error, 5 ounces of sugar in a 5-gallon batch. It could be high mash temps leading to the higher than expected FG (the problem) but I'd go with yeast over fermentability. That's a yeast choice (high flocculators finish high) or a mash error (high mash temps). Does the finished beer taste sweet? How would you describe the mouthfeel?
     
  17. Jhogan0101

    Jhogan0101 Member

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    It does not taste sweet. It tastes like a watery stout. For shits and giggles i repitched it 3 days ago and still nothing (wyeast 1084)
     
  18. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    Just bottle some and taste again some weeks later.
    I don't have much experience, but my first batch was quite blah (boring, bit watery) initially, but turned into a very drinkable beer after a week of 3.
     
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  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You won't get any additional fermentation no matter how much saccaromyces you pitch. When the yeast is done, it's done - there's nothing more left to ferment. You state it tastes like a watery stout: Given the ABV you mention, it should but imagine how watery it would have tasted had the additional 6 points of gravity fermented out? Try this: Do an extract-steep batch of the same beer, this will ensure you get a standardized wort. Ferment it with the same yeast you used at the same temperature. If the beer comes out fine, you have a mashing problem. If it comes out the same, you have a fermentation problem. That will help you localize the issue.
     
  20. Jhogan0101

    Jhogan0101 Member

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    Thanks Nosy
     

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