I have brewed several extract brews now. All but one has turned out highly drinkable. I have refined my process, and have it down pretty good. However, I seem to be having the same problem every time. My OG is right on the money, but my FG ALWAYS seems to hit about 4.5% ABV and quit. I can’t seem to get it any higher. It doesn’t seem to matter what beer I am brewing. I have brewed an American Pale Ale, Irish Red Ale, Honey Ale, German wheat…I know they all have different ideal OG’s and I am always right on…then I stall at 4.5% ABV.
What’s your process? How are you taking readings?
What is the specific gravity at the end of the fermentation? Are you using a hydrometer or a refractometer to determine final gravity?
Refractometers aren’t accurate in the presence of alcohol for determining final gravity.
4.5 sounds about right for those beers.
Replace some of the extract with sugar.
I use a hydrometer to take my measurement. My Irish Red ale was 1.044 OG and 1.01FG.
Rookie… are you saying replace some of the extract with just regular sugar or add some DME?
I also have a problem with crystal clear beer coming out of the secondary getting cloudy and flavors muddled after I keg it, cool it, and add CO2.
Any reason that may be happening?
I always clean and sanitize my keg. So, I don’t know what the issue is
Your ABV is correct for the recipe.
Adding sugar can bump up the ABV, but at the cost of ending up with a thinner and drier beer. Extra extract and balancing with more hops would be a better option.
Your beer getting cloudy could be chill haze. How long do you primary? Do you measure FG in the primary?
Flavors getting muddled could be oxidation, but how are you carbonating in the keg and what is the length of time before you pull a beer?
I typically take my FG reading from the primary and wait for 3 days of no movement in the reading before I move it to a secondary or go straight into the keg. I force carbonate under 20 lbs of pressure for 3-4 days, then turn down to 10 lbs of pressure before i drink. usually 4 days of carbonating before i pull a decent beer.
how do i prevent oxidation when transferring to the keg? I typically fill it like you would fill a growler.
Your problem may not be oxidation. Hard to know without a taste test. The air can be flushed from the keg with CO2 to help prevent the possibility of oxidation when racking. Of course the racking tube curled at the bottom of the keg so there is no splashing.
Sounds like chill haze. Chill haze occurs when proteins mix with Polyphenols (tannins) and the beer is chilled. Couple ways to combat this:
- use whirlfloc in boil. 1/2 tab for last 5 mins in boil.
- cold crash for several days
- use a fining agent (flavorless gelatin)
“Rookie… are you saying replace some of the extract with just regular sugar or add some DME?”
Yes, some extracts don’t ferment down as much as would be preferred, so replacing 10% or so of the extract with 10% or so of sugar would lower the final gravity without thinning the beer all that much.
Maybe time to move to intermediate brewing… Git some crushed barlely and steep in a separate pan, in a mesh bag, at 150* for half an hour or longer to convert starch to sugar, then add the liquid, called wort, to your boil kettle. Remember, the higher the initial gravity reading, the higher the potential alcohol… This directly relates to the amount of fermentable sugars…. Haze in yer glass has so many places it can come from…. I would follow Flars and Loopie as a start. Ifn it clears then you know yer answer. Sneezles61