Author Topic: Gravity Question..Help!  (Read 11597 times)

trainz71

  • Guest
Gravity Question..Help!
« on: May 04, 2009, 07:35:59 PM »
Brewing my first batch(5 gallons). I forgot to check the gravity before primary fermentation. It has been fermenting for 8 days..1 day into secondary fermentation now..I did check the gravity after 8 days..the reading was 1.008..the beer smells great..looks great..did not taste it...my question is....is there any
way to get the abv% without the OG...'a rookie mistake'....Thanks for any help...

Munton's HME Nut Brown(4lb)

Offline SleepySamSlim

  • Barley Engineer
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 275
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 09:06:00 PM »
Well - without an actual  OG you can only get a ABV estimate --- BeerSmith should have given you an estimated OG and just use that number. Also be sure to use temperature correction if needed as should be covered in your directions from your spec. gravity thingy
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

dhaenerbrewer

  • Guest
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 09:21:24 PM »
If you have access to a gas chromatograph you can get the exact ABV%. But unfortunately most of us don't. SleepySamSlim is correct, just use the estimated OG that beersmith gave you (Minus 5% I would say) and go with that.

trainz71

  • Guest
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2009, 08:38:59 PM »
One other thing, I used Munton's Nut Brown (4lb) and about 7 cups of cane sugar in the wort..it is now 7 days into secondary fermentation...I had a taste of it...and it tasted like flat tea..the color is good and it smells good...I used the cane sugar b/c I did not have any corn sugar at the time...is this going to be a problem do you guys think..?...as I said before I did not check the OG( my mistake) and I have checked the FG over 3 days now.. and it has been steady at 1.008....any help or comments?  thanks alot!

Offline SleepySamSlim

  • Barley Engineer
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 275
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2009, 10:50:09 PM »
Well basically at the end of primary fermentation (assuming you are close to your expected final OG) you've basically got flat beer - meaning no carbonation. And its going to taste sharp - ragged - green - etc as it needs conditioning. You could choose to bottle + carbonate then -- but going 2 weeks in secondary really helps to clarify the beer a lot. And after secondary it might taste a bit better but its still green. HOWEVER !!!!  At both the end or primary or secondary you should have a BEER LIKE tasting substance !

If you're getting soapy - yucky - or massive off tastes ... something has gone awry.

Now all that said - as long as you have a beer like substance - and you properly carbonate and bottle it -- store it 2 - 4 weeks AT ROOM TEMPERATURE --- bottle conditioning can really work wonders to round out a beers flavors and character.

Hang in there - study up on the bottling process - here is a link to check out
http://www.mainbrew.com/pages/infopages.html/bottlingbeer.html
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

Offline MaltLicker

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
    • Blue Ribbon Brews
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 09:10:41 AM »
One other thing, I used Munton's Nut Brown (4lb) and about 7 cups of cane sugar in the wort....I have checked the FG over 3 days now.. and it has been steady at 1.008....

Munton's DME finishes drier than most DME's, and I think a cup of sugar is ~7 oz, so 7oz * 7 cups = 49/16 = 3 lbs sugar.  If that math is correct, I would also recommend (like Slim) some conditioning time in secondary to resolve any acetylaldehyde, which sometimes tastes like tea.  While usually present in any fermentation to some degree, acetylaldehyde is more prevalent when lots of simple sugars are used and then the yeast is not given sufficient time to clean it up. 

trainz71

  • Guest
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2009, 09:36:27 AM »
How long should I leave it in secondary before bottling...and then how long should it be stored after bottling do you suggest? Been in secondary for 8 days now.. thanks...

Offline MaltLicker

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
    • Blue Ribbon Brews
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2009, 11:44:08 AM »
Since you detected some tea flavor at transfer, I'd overestimate the time for secondary and say 2-3 weeks.  You could grab another taste and see if you still detect that flavor.  That's the rub.  In moving off the primary yeast cake sooner than later, the amount of yeast to do the necessary clean-up is greatly reduced, so it may take longer in secondary than it might've in primary. 

Bottling time for a typical ale should be 3-4 weeks at a "typical" CO2 range of 2.5 volumes. 

Back to your original question on your original gravity, a pound of Muntons yields 0.8% ABV, so that is 3.2%.  A pound of sugar should logically be slightly more and you had 3#, so let's guess 2.9% there, so perhaps approx. 5.9% ABV.  That's a total SWAG, but with a FG of 1.007 or 008, may be fairly close.

Offline bonjour

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • Beer du Jour
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2009, 01:56:26 PM »
If you measure the gravity with both a hydrometer and a refractometer you can calculate the OG.  Great if you want to clone a beer and you have no info on it. 

The refractometer tool (in "Tools") will perform this calculation.

fred

trainz71

  • Guest
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2009, 02:43:12 PM »
an update...the flat tea taste that it had on day 1 of secondary has turned into a much more bitter and beer like taste now on day 8 of secondary...just thought i would let u know...any thoughts or tips..pleaz comment..and thanks again..

Offline SleepySamSlim

  • Barley Engineer
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 275
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2009, 10:06:27 PM »
How long should I leave it in secondary before bottling...and then how long should it be stored after bottling do you suggest? Been in secondary for 8 days now.. thanks...

A good rule of thumb is 1 - 2 - 3. One week in the primary fermenter plastic bucket. Two weeks in a glass carboy secondary. Bottle and wait 3 weeks.

Patience is the name of the game.
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

Offline bonjour

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • Beer du Jour
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 05:56:51 AM »
A good rule of thumb is 1 - 2 - 3. One week in the primary fermenter plastic bucket. Two weeks in a glass carboy secondary. Bottle and wait 3 weeks
I hate this rule of thumb. 
Do Not transfer from the Primary until the fermentation is done, by that I mean several days after all obvious fermentation is done.  The last thing the yeast do is to clean up after themselves (among other things remove the diacetyl, the buttery popcorn that you see in some beers.).

The Secondary Fermentation is not commonly a fermentation, but a clarification step.  many brewers normally skip this step with most beers.  I would keep the beer in the primary for at least two weeks for normal strength beers unless you know that fermentation has been stopped for several days.

The correct time to rack a beer from the primary is when it's ready.  Unfortunately this time can vary by a number of factors that affect fermentation.  You are always safer waiting then rushing.

Fred

Offline MaltLicker

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
    • Blue Ribbon Brews
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 07:06:22 AM »
I also don't believe this 1-2-3 rule fits the ferm process very well.  Fermentation is both simple and complicated at once, and the complicated part is invisible to us brewers.  The yeast are doing their thing, and the shift from one stage in their lifecycle to the next is gradual and overlapping, and each batch is entirely independent of every other batch.  No two ferms are the same. 

I would propose a 3-3 timeline might fit more batches.  Allow three weeks for fermentation to fully finish and clean-up, and three weeks for bottle priming (less to keg).  If you allow for three weeks fermentation, you can later decide whether to secondary (or not), or to keg after 17 days if you taste it and think it is fully ready. 

Either way, you've allowed time for the yeast to do their job and you can likely eliminate diacetyl, acetylaldehyde, and any other flaws that arise (primarily) from rushing the initial ferm phase. 

We've probably all had a batch in which the last bottle/pint we drank was the best in the lot....because we waited.  The sample principle applies to the ferm, which affects every glass we drink.  Give each ferm the time to be the best it can be. 

Offline UselessBrewing

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Useless Brewing
    • Useless Brewing
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2009, 07:30:18 AM »
[Soapbox] Stand here.
123 has valid uses!
I also do not believe the 123 rule applies in most cases. However... It is most useful for the "new" brewer in an effort to keep things simple. As he (New Brewer) goes along and tries bigger beers and learns his way through the brewing processes, typically he learns more advanced brewing methodologies and will understand that it is finished when it is finished and to trust the Hydrometer.

Remember when you were new to brewing and you could not wait to taste your first beer. 123 made it easy to remember. Most new brewers are using all extract and usually not above 4%ABV, Dry yeast, and partial boils. Which in most cases will finish in 3-4 days, leaving 3-4 days for the yeast to clean up after its self.

The other thing to remember is that the 123 also weeds out those that want to make hooch or are to impatient to learn the art of making great beer. It's not for everyone, but if they can get past the 6+ weeks they will most likely make good beer!
[/Soapbox]

123 Cheers!
LOL
Preston
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 07:32:42 AM by UselessBrewing »
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline MaltLicker

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
    • Blue Ribbon Brews
Re: Gravity Question..Help!
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2009, 02:07:05 PM »
I know, I know.........I actually erased my own reference to my soap-box. 

I do agree simplicity works in the beginning, and I am guilty of overwhelming newbies all the time.......but I bounce any K-I-S-S approach against the downside of teaching something first that may need changing later.  If I'm learning to speak Spanish, I don't want to learn to pronounce something incorrectly b/c it's easy, only to have to unlearn that practice later.  Don't get me started on all my wife's bad driving habits that will NEVER change. 

As you often say, it's each person's hobby to do as they please.  My approach is that the most expensive ingredient is my time, so I try to make each batch the best it can be.  <Insert Go Army ad jingle here.>