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Hydrometer numbers and secondary fermentation

Okay so i am currently brewing my second batch of beer and i think i may have messed up. My first kit was a hefe and was super easy to brew and so i decided to try the lemondrop saison kit. I was told that i should get a hydrometer to truely test my beer instead of basing it off of number of days. Welll the paperwork says the OG should be 1.060. However my first reading i took was at 1.021 and now its been two weeks and it looks like fermentation has been completed and ready to go into the secondary. So before doing so i took another reading and its now at 1.001… i have a feeling i screwed up somewhere and that its not even worth putting into the secondary carboy?? Thoughts and suggestions please :slight_smile:

Assuming you’re brewing with extract, partial boil and topping up, I imagine your first reading was not accurate. The wort/water will stratify unless mixed very very well and you may get an inacurate OG. That being said if you used all the ingredients and volumes are accurate, you should hit the OG predicted or very close. So don’t worry about that part.

Your FG is a slight concern but depends on the yeast you used. More info would be helpful. My concern with a super low FG is wild yeast, aka infection, but don’t toss it yet! I’m not a big fan of saisons and have never brewed one. I believe saison yeast finishes lower so wait for someone who’s more familiar with those yeasts to chime in.

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Yes i am using one of the extract kits. And for the yeast i did the live yeast which was the Wyeast 3711 French Saison that was a suggested option when purchasing the kit. The big issue i think was like 2 days after i brewed i checked the airlock and it was bone dry, so i quickly added new solution to it and it has been fine since. So maybe some bacteria got in when the airlock was dry? I dont know. I guess there is no harm in putting it in the secondary and seeing how it goes. I just dont really understand the whole gravity thing and how it plays into different beers / brewing (as you can tell i am very new at this). I appreciate the quick response!

I wouldn’t waste time on secondary unless you’re adding something like fruit. Check your gravity again in a day or two and if you get the same reading you’re done. Highly doubt it will go much lower but better to be safe.

That’s pretty high attenuation for even that yeast in an extract batch but you have nothing to lose except your time by going forward.

It’s possible but not all that likely that it got infected with a dry airlock. Airborne infections can happen but poor sanitation is more often the culprit.

I think you’re fine. I’ve made a lot of saison and it sounds like your SG of 1.001 is right on. 3711 and 3724 from Wyeast dry the beer out to a remarkable degree, sometimes more dilute than water!
As @dannyboy58 said infection is always a possibility also but I think you will have a great result. 3711 leads to a peppery dry saison.

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Awesome, i will deff check the readings again tomorrow and see what i get. I appreciate the feedback from you both! I was almost considering adding in some honey for extra flavor but i dont think i am at a good enough brewing level to be changing up the recipes haha.

Honey won’t do anything other than raise the ABV and dry out your brew even more than it is now… Let me ask this… Did you take your first hydrometer reading BEFORE you pitched your yeast?
See what the hydrometer is doing… it lets you know how much sugar is in the wort… known as OG… Original Gravity… Then as the fermentation wanes… we take a few readings a few days apart… We want to verify, with extremely close readings, that the fermentation is about done… The second benefit is to be able to use the OG and now the FG, Final Gravity, to determine how much alcohol, ABV your brew has… Just more bits and pieces you’ll come to understand as you learn about this hobby… Happy Brewing!
Sneezles61

Just as a sanity check that your hydrometer is properly calibrated, the SG of pure water is 1.0000.

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That is deff good to know about the honey! I was thinking it would just add extra sweetness and flavor. Glad i did not do that yet lol. And yeah i took my sample before putting in the yeast.

I really need to just read up more on what all these little tips and tricks are used for and how to incorporate it into my future brews. Trial and error is definitely going to be apart of the learning curve !

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Steve has the most important part… Do test with your hydrometer… Good clean water… As close to 60*F as you can get… See what it reads…
Sneezles61

I wouldn’t worry about bacteria and at 1.001 I wouldn’t worry about a Brett infection either. If your hydrometer has multiple scale on it I would make sure you’re using the right one.

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I haven’t done any tests on this, always take hydrometer readings at 60 degrees. How much can readings vary based on temps?

BTW, you’re going to love this forum! So many intelligent, experienced brewers here to help.

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My finishing hydrometer reads .98… So there are a few things to check on… I believe Damien has a post on checking/calibration that’s an excellent read… If you want/need to be very accurate… Do find his post and read… I’m not as in depth any more… I check OG more to confirm my mash conversion… I’m alright with the other aspects of brewing…
Sneezles61

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I have done the Lemon drop saison extract kit twice, both times with Wyeast 3711 French Saison. My FG was 1.002 on one and 1.004 on the other, lower than I usually see on other kits. No secondary fermentor but four weeks in the primary.
Both batch came out very good.

.001 is not unheard of for wy3711 did you measure your volume correctly? If your over 5 gallons exactly you will be off. Did you add all the extract including rinsing the jug of liquid extract. Whatever you did just bottle and drink it probably fine.

@sneezles61 remarks on honey are in regards to adding it in the boil prior to fermentation and he is correct. Flavor from honey never makes it past fermentation because the yeast just devours the sugars and like table sugar it gets completely metabolized with very little residual so it tends to up the abv and dry the beer. If you want honey flavor in your beer the best way to accomplish that is with honey malt.

I read you post as adding honey in secondary which would only add sweetness and flavor but it would also pose a few potential problems. First it would be very difficult to mix in without agitating the beer which would also introduce oxygen that would ruin your beer. Second, unless it’s pasteurized the honey could introduce wild yeast to your beer, aka, infection.

Trial and error is definitely a big part of developing recipes. Feel free to post your wild ideas here before attempting them. haha

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Seriously guys, thank you so much. I did not expect this much response and helpful tips. I really appreciate it. Based on what yall have said, i will check the the readings again to make sure they stay steady and will let it ride in the primary for the additional 2 weeks. I will totally keep yall posted on how it comes out after being bottled !

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You’ll always get feedback here. We like talking about beer. This forum isn’t as active as it used to be but the core group of guys who have stuck it out are pretty good brewers and there are a few pros here as well.

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Hold on. The recipe calls for honey and you haven’t added it? That would definitely affect your OG. You can add it to secondary heat it and while it’s still warm rack on top. Don’t stir it up after it starts to ferment swirl it once a day a bit for the first couple. It will ferment trust me I do it in mead all the time. It’s gonna be dry but it could be good.

Post the recipe

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