Back to Shopping at

Dumb FG question!

I think I understand the importance of having a target OG. Why is there no target FG? I know this could vary greatly, but a nice .004 range would let me know if my methods are OK. My question is raised as I’m fermenting a Barley Wine for next Christmas. OG was 1.086 ten days in I’m at 1.036 which seems fine, How much further should this drop? I’ll be moving this to a glass carboy after 4 weeks and secondary for 6 months. Do you use an airlock and top off the sanitizer in it monthly or is there another method to use for such a long secondary? Thank you for your help.

All grain or extract? What yeast? I can’t remember the exact method but you can figure your apparent attenuation.

Extract, 1945 Neo Brittania. I was using this as an example. I was really wondering why there isn’t a target FG for all recipes?

because different yeast eat sugars better than others. dark extracts don’t ferment as well light extracts. You could also have a poor fermentation and/or not enough oxygen prior to pitching.

and there are many many more reasons why the don’t all finish the same.

Here is some info on attenuation


Yeast is responsible for turning sweet wort into what we call “beer”. Yeast consume the sugar in wort, and turn that sugar into CO2, alcohol, and flavor compounds. When yeast finish the fermentation process, they shut down, clump together, and fall to the bottom of the fermentor, or “flocculate”. When yeast flocculate, it is easy to see that fermentation is done. But how can the brewer be sure? What if the flocculation is minimal, and yeast and CO2 stay in solution. How does the brewer really know when fermentation is done? The answer: by testing the degree of attenuation. Apparent attenuation percentage is the percentage of sugars that yeast consume. Attenuation varies between different strains. The fermentation conditions and gravity of a particular beer will cause the attenuation to vary, hence each strain of brewers yeast has a characteristic attenuation range. The range for brewers yeast is typically between 65-85%.

The only way to know if a yeast has completed fermentation is to check the expected attenuation. Many homebrewers make the mistake of worrying about a beer before they even check the attenuation. A simple check of the specific gravity at the end of fermentation will help in this regard. It is not completely accurate without computing the attenuation. For example, if a high gravity beer is made, the FG will be higher then normal, but the expected attenuation for that yeast strain may have been obtained. To obtain expected attenuation numbers, consult a list of yeast strain attenuation figures.

Most manufactures of brewers yeast list the attenuation ranges of their yeast strains. This can be very useful to a brewer in matching a yeast strain to a beer style. An example would be a brewer wishing to make an American-style Pale Ale. A yeast strain should be selected that will produce a dry finish, and allow for hop flavors to come through. A good choice would be a neutral yeast with an attenuation of 70-80%. If a brewer wants to make an English style mild ale, a yeast strain that does
not attenuate as much would be desired. An attenuation range of 65-70% would be more appropriate. Would a yeast strain that attenuates to 80% taste bad in an English style mild ale? No, but the beer would not taste true to style.

Long story short: There are too many factors involved to estimate a FG.

If you know your attenuation percentages for your specific yeast, you can calculate “ballpark” figures for FG. Example; 70-80% atten.
at 70% atten: OG at 1.050, then up to 35 drop = 1.015.
at 80% atten: OG at 1.050, then up to 40 drop = 1.010.

ballpark figures.


Go here for the “official” FGs for each standard type of beer:

I just joined the forum after visiting the NB store in MPLS.

Today I picked up the Wee Heavy extract kit. When I got home and read the instructions I had the exact same question. Why doesn’t Northern include the FG range in the kit instructions. I have only been brewing since April but already have 14 brews under my belt.

My previous experience is with Midwest. They always include the FG range in their instructions. Just like NB, the kits state the recommended yeasts so the attenuation is known. Of course there is no way to state the FG for all yeast possibilities but at least it should be included for the yeasts listed on the kit.

Knowing the target FG is really important to an extract brewer. You can test to see if the gravit stops changing and that tells you the fermentation is done. But if the gravity does not reach the predicted FG, then something went wrong. I am not trying to bash NB. Just hoping to get the best information to help me make the best beer that I can.

Because newbies freak out over perfectly normal variations.

THANK YOU a10t2! We are about to bottle our 1st batch using NB as our guide, alongside many other sources. I know our beer was ready but we waited the 13 days for our ‘Friday the 13th Wheat’ to have been in the Primary for 13 days.

At 1st I was concerned as the Kruesen dissipated, I thought… ‘Crap, I broke my starter Hydrometer trying to make a safer option than a shipping peanut!’. So after reading the fact that I didn’t even calibrate the cheapy thing (found a $79 GLASS hydro from france @ LHBS) I said hydro-schmydro! We do it when I SAY SO!

Now We have our 2nd kit & 2 new cheapy hydros that work great, be sure to calibrate them, Of 2, each is different, I marked the red cap w/+1 & +3 respectively. I will take a FG reading as we bottle later today & make note of it, We will use Colorado Honey to prime our inaugural batch, just to say its OURS.

We have requests for more of the ‘Friday the 13th Wheat’ as there are 2 more this year, April & June, so its already a hit before we bottle!

Wow a10t2.

Newbies have a right to freak out. Im sure all home brewers have freaked out when they first started. Didn’t you? Isn’t that part of a forums responsibility to help newbies enter into the hobby?

I recommend a publishing normal gravity ranges. That is totally predictable for extract. If you follow the instructions, there is no reason to be out of the range unless something happened.

For example for a recent wheat beer from another LHBS:
SG: 1.040 - 1.044
FG: 1.009 - 1.013

These are extract kits so using the yeast that is recommended for the kit, it is all predictable. And, if it is predictable, then why isn’t it included.

If the SG or FG isn’t met with an extract kit, something abnormal occurred. The newbie can then turn to the forum for help in understanding what might have happened. Isn’t one of the main purposes of the forum to help promote the hobby to those just starting up?

BrewerBill, You stated my question alot better than I did. I mean I’m on batch 26 and I still have more questions than answers, but a target range for FG would have really helped me know I was on the right track. My complaint with forums/emails is you can’t tell the emotion of a remark. I feel blessed that I’m only 20 minutes from NB’s Milwaukee store and they have always treated me with respect and answered my questions with understanding. I’ll drive further and bypass the hydroponic/LHBS to patronize a business that treats me with courtesy.

I have had 3~4 days of zero activity but have left it sit until I am ready, I do not see any reason to doubt I will have fantastic beer. I will drink my words if in fact it fails…TBD…Bottling today

That’s pretty much my point. If you have a more or less healthy fermentation, the FG will end up right around the limit of fermentability of the wort. There are still a huge number of factors that influence that.

A four-point spread is too narrow to avoid unwarranted out-freaking. That’s within normal batch-to-batch variations. In your example, if the expected FG is 1.011, the “normal range” would be more like 1.008-1.016.

Even that wouldn’t prevent things like “I added a pound of lactose. Why is my beer stuck at 1.025?” Which is a question that I’ve seen multiple times on this forum.

[quote=“Shanhorn”] I will take a FG reading as we bottle later today & make note of it[/quote]Don’t wait until you’re bottling to take the FG - make sure you’re at FG first, by taking a couple of readings over a couple of days, then plan on bottling. Once you know your recipes and your yeasts, you can skip this if you like.

+1. I use to take readings for 2-3days in a row, but only after 2 weeks minimum in the primary. Now I don’t bother. I have a system for Ales and a system for Lagers. I take a reading after it’s cooled, aerated and in the primary and I don’t take another until I’m ready to keg or bottle.

So with 2 different hydros, one for OG & a new one for this FG. W/dry yeast added dry. We had a 1.014FG and a 1.042OG for about 4%ABV, I may explore my yeast possibilities also add more water to boil and PF to get more bottles as we had a few different issues during our learning process…maybe a bit more malt. We do like BOTH cappers, we opted for the Super Colonna Corker/Capper and the standard Red Barron. Even the spring tip bottle filler will be heavy enough to release the beer… oops!!

OK bedtime…


“Which is a question that I’ve seen multiple times on this forum.”

And thats bad how? Or too much trouble for you?

With all due respect to you, I really cannot believe you have that attitude. Are you better than a newbe. I do not think so. Do you have more experience? From your length of time on this fourm, I believe so. If you participate in this forum, do you have an obligation to share your experience. Of course you do.

So even though I have only been on this forum for a couple of days, I really think your attitude to newbies and helping them to learn the hobby is disrespectful.

Again with all due respect, this forum should be an encouraging place that helps newbies or old pros learn new skills or to understand how they can improve the skills that they have.

Go here for the “official” FGs for each standard type of beer:

I didn’t know how to box in the copy/paste thing here…As newbies we need to understand that many more resources are available to us than any of us could imagine. I spent about 30 min @ the site above and see that all the info that is being asked in this thread is right here under our fingertips. No need to get hot under the collar. No one is calling you out for a fist fight, Fact is that EXPERIENCE will teach you way more that any forum post/reply. This IS a resource…

We are ready for batch #2 brewing outdoors on Monday, although being a different kit, we will be incorporating all we have learned from the 1st round. Which leads me to believe that when The 2nd & 3rd batches of our inaugural ‘Friday the 13th Wheat’ become a reality, they too will be that much better that the original!

Back to Shopping at