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First Brew Problems

Hi. I am a real novice to this and have a few worries about my first brew. It has been brewed in a grainfather so hopefully temperature hasn’t been an issue. I didn’t use a hydrometer after mashing so not sure of the ABV but now the hydrometer doesn’t show in the bottling area despite the reading remaiang static for a few days.
The beer should be an English Pale Ale but looks to have more of a ruby colour? It is also a bit cloudy. Nothing too bad but still an issue.

I have tasted it and it does taste a bit strong. Should I bottle it?

So your saying, it just sank to the bottom of the bucket? Sneezles61

The hydrometer? No. It floats but the reading is below the yellow bottle now area

OK, so you did sanitize it too? Check in a couple of days… You are trying to verify that its fermentation has, in a sense, stopped… Which it really hasn’t… If you bottle too soon, you could end up with bottle bombs! Be careful… Sneezles61

It has been fermenting for two and a half weeks and the hydrometer reading has been the same for a week. I drew some beer out to test it so shouldn’t be any sanitation issues. This was then thrown away.

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Always taste your hydrometer samples. Forget about the color coding on the hydrometer scales. Every fermentation is different. The final gravity is determined by the amount of fermentables in the wort and the strain of yeast used. Most often the beer is done fermenting when the specific gravity has been stable for 3 days. With some strains of yeast the beer isn’t done fermenting until the specific gravity has been stable for one to two weeks.

Which yeast did you use and what are the specific gravity readings you recorded?

It was a dried yeast in the kit. The gravity reading has been 1.017 for about a week. I thought if it stayed the same for a few days I should bottle it but it tastes strong and is a bit cloudy

1.017 seems high for a typical American style ale. Final gravity would depend on the mash temperature, the yeast, and the fermentation temperature. Is this an English ale brew? Some English strains of yeast do finish higher than American strains. Can you link to the recipe?.

I think it’s this one

According to the recipe the beer should finish at 1.010. Do you have the beer in the primary? What is the current temperature of the beer and has this temperature been stable?

Hi. Beer mashed in grainfather then transferred to conical fermenter. Been taking out sediment every few days What are common reasons for beer being stronger than recipe?

Looks as though you had a kit, so, they could’ve put in more malt,DME,LME than shown. And if it was all grain, then your efficiency was better than what kit used for starting gravity. Sneezles61

Is there anything I can do now to change the gravity or improve the clarity?

Gravity can be pulled down with the addition of water… But now that its done, you can use another brew to mix it with… Clarity takes time… and cold will help, and pouring very gently… Sneezles61

Thanks for your help. May try a recipe rather than a kit next time

I’ve been brewing kits since 2010. Temperature control has improved every style.

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The key is figuring out your efficiency on your grainfather. Most recipes are geared at 70% efficiency.

And @flars said, it doesn’t matter your equipment or ingredients if you control the fermentation temps.

Couldn’t hurt to test the hydrometer. Dunk it in 60° preferably distilled water. Should read 1.000.

The Grainfather looks like a pretty high tech (and price) gadget. I would think following the kit instructions the OG should turn out pretty close to the expected gravity listed.

How soon did you start to dump the sediment? The yeast will be in there too. I put two ports on my conical. One on the bottom to dump sediment and one on the side for samples or harvest yeast. I never touch the bottom one until I get my expected gravity or so. I test the samples from the side valve until I’m happy, drain from it until it’s reasonably clear, then start to keg or bottle on rare occasions from it.

Hi. Thanks for your response. I will test the hydrometer - that’s a good idea. I started to dump the sediment on day three. The airlock was bubbling well and continued to do so. Maybe I started to dump the sediment too soon then? I used the bottom one to dump the sediment and the side one for samples. Perhaps the yeast was taken out too quickly?

Thanks for this. Sorry for my inexperience but I’m not sure what you mean! Do you mean how efficiently the grainfather maintains its fermentation temperature? It was set at 23 degrees. Could this have been a bit high?

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