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First batch gravity questions?

Hey everyone, just moved my first batch of Irish Red to the secondary fermenter and i have a question about my current gravity. Original gravity two weeks ago was 9 brix or 1.036 SG, today used refractometer and northern brewer calculator today and got a current ABV of 4.294 from brix of 4…does this seem about right, to me the ABV seems a little low but Im guessing the priming sugar will bump that final gravity up a bit…any way to estimate final gravity assuming i know what type of priming sugar, ill be using, by weight?

You are right in the correct ABV range. A starting gravity of 1.036 is pretty low and will end up with a correspondingly low ABV value. If you ended up with more than 4% alcohol, you did a very complete job of maximizing attenuation and the FG is probably less than 1.005.

Priming sugar will add a little bit to ABV, but it will be very small. The priming sugar is there to carbonate the beer, not bump up the FG.

What beer are you making? That’s a really low OG. My guess it you mix the wort with the top off water well enough to get an accurate reading. No big deal. The yeast will find all the sugars and turn them to alcohol.


We had this issue when doing extracts. Our gravity readings were all over the place. Once we started mixing well…really well…was when our numbers were on. Then we switched to AG a couple batches later. :cheers:

NB’s Irish Red extract has a target OG of 1.044, so a 1.036 isn’t terrible for a first measure. I agree, too much top-off or not enough enough stirring are likely culprits.

There’s no real indication of anything wrong, so let me say how I missed my first few extract kit OG readings…

You’re only off by 0.008 so another likely suspect is leaving LME behind. It’s thick stuff that likes to cling to the inside of the bottle. Pre-heat the bottles in your hottest tap water to make it flow better. Try not to rotate the bottle when pouring to minimize coating the bottle’s sides. Then add an inch or so of water to the “empty” bottle, shake the bottle and dump it in your pot. Repeat. – 2-3 times usually gets the bottle clean. Assuming you’re not boiling 5 gal to start with, the extra water will just come out of your top-off water.

Assuming you have a new fermenter bucket, after you transfer/bottle I would recommend getting a good measure and measuring 5 gallons of water into the bucket. See where it falls. In my fermenter the bucket’s pre-printed 5-gal mark was about 3/8" too low, which resulted in consistently high OG readings and about 46-bottle counts. If your bucket’s mark is high, it might make you over-dilute.

Another first-batch possibility; the NB kits say, “Leave any thick sludge in the bottom of the kettle” My wife and I left too much wort with the sludge when we tried to do this by gently pouring. People talk about whirlpooling, paint filters, and other techniques; we use a double-mesh strainer. When the strainer clogs, gently scrape the strainer with a spoon.

Thanks JMcK, Im pretty positive that my issue was a lack of complete mixing after topping off with water, everything else, except for the strainer was what I did…So assuming its just my OG measurment thats was off,if i actually hit target OG being 1.044 or brix of 11, and if my other measure was right(brix at 4 on the line at 14 days), the calculator says ABV is just over 6, which is on the high side for an Irish Red but sounds better to me than 4.3…also read somewhere that when doing an extract brew, as long as you get all the LME in the boil its near to impossible not to hit your target OG, is this correct?..If thats correct than I’m quite positive i hit it because i did use the hot water bath, and made sure to get as much as possible, just did not rinse with water to get the last couple drops.

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