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Fermentation stopped early?

First time brewer here with a (possible) problem. Nine days ago I started fermentation on my first ever batch of beer. I ordered the extract kit from this site (Bavarian Hefeweizen w/ Wyeast 3068). I made a 1L yeast starter the day before brewing. I pitched the yeast @ 70 degrees and have been fermenting @ 68 degrees (for 9 days). The first 24 hours of fermentation was fast and furious and resulted in a clogged blowoff tube and foam running out of my bucket. I cleaned the bucket up, sanitized the outside and lid and replaced the clogged tube with a new sanitized tube. Today there are no bubbles coming out of the tube so I figured I should check the SG with my refractometer (I’m into saltwater fish tanks as well) and came up with 1.040!?! The OG was 1.049. This puts my beer right around 1.6% alchohol. Should I wait this one out and check again when it’s at 2 weeks old? Being new I’m not really sure if the yeast are still going or will start up again on their own.

Thanks for any replies,
Billy

p.s. the foam cap has subsided, for what it’s worth.

Use a hydrometer.

For what?

To determine your FG.
Alcohol screws the reading so you can’t use a refractometer once fermentation starts.

http://www.brewheads.com/refract-currentgrav.php

The above calculator will get you in the ball park for correcting the alcohol reading on the refractometer.

To determine your FG.
Alcohol screws the reading so you can’t use a refractometer once fermentation starts.[/quote]

I see. Will a swing-arm work? I’ve got one that I use for double checking my refractometer when mixing up salt water.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Brewheads.com - <?=$pagetitle?>

The above calculator will get you in the ball park for correcting the alcohol reading on the refractometer.[/quote]

Thanks for the help but I’m a little confused as to which numbers I should plug in. This is my very first brew so some of the technical details are lost on me, but I’m learning. Should I convert my OG & current SG to Brix and then use the calculator you linked? I guess a simple solution would be to listen to the above posters and get a hydrometer (my submersible is probably not my best option.)

Based on your 1st post you have a OG of 1.049 (12.49 brix)

Current SG is 10 brix (1.040) ??

If we put the 1.049 and the 10 in the calculator and click the SG tab I get 1.033. Seems reasonable after 24hrs of fermentation.

You could also put the 12.49 and 10 in with clicking the brix tab to get the same number.

I don’t know what a swing arm is.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Based on your 1st post you have a OG of 1.049 (12.49 brix)

Current SG is 10 brix (1.040) ??

If we put the 1.049 and the 10 in the calculator and click the SG tab I get 1.033. Seems reasonable after 24hrs of fermentation.

You could also put the 12.49 and 10 in with clicking the brix tab to get the same number.

I don’t know what a swing arm is.[/quote]

I came up with the same numbers as you. This beer has been fermenting for 10 days now, not 24 hours. I guess it’s just got a little ways to go. I’m not going to open it up again until Thursday. I’ll check the SG, use that handy calculator and go from there. Thanks for all your help guys.

Billy

Ooops, I see the “9 days ago” now. :oops:

I was fixed on the “1st 24hrs”.

After 10 days I would expect it to be below 1.020.

You have some type of submersible salt water hydrometer? Is there a way you can use that outside of the fermenter? Rig up a test tube to put it in with some of the beer.

You can gently swirl the fermenter to get the beer off the bottom. Or a long spoon if in a pail.

I have a “Deep-Six” brand swing-arm hydrometer. It measures SG using a weighted arm. They are notorious for being slightly off but when calibrated with a refractometer they are pretty accurate. The downside to using this method is that it would take about 4 oz of beer for each test. I think I’ll swing by the only brew store in town and pick up a hydrometer tomorrow to test the brew on Thursday.

edit: Should I just test with my refractometer and use the calculator to figure out the actual SG?

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