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Low og / first all grain brew..update

I wanted to update on a previous post I made. To bring you up to speed I just did my first AG batch and had a lower than anticipated OG.

After many replies and suggestions I believe my crush was not as good as it should have been and that resulted in the low OG and efficiency.

It has been in the primary for 1 week and I just pulled a sample to check gravity. It is now at 1.014 and fermentation seems to have quit. I never got an intense fermentation at all. I would say it was the least active I have ever had. Beer Smith suggest FG should be around 1.018 with an ABV around 4.9%. My concern is the ABV is very low. Besides the markings on the hydrometer how can I estimate the ABV? Im still planning on a cpl weeks in the secondary as well as some dry hopping. My yeast was 1968 ESB which i fermented at the lower end around 65. I have slowly brought the temp up to 68 and was planning on holding it close to 70 for the secondary fermentation. I read a lot of posts suggesting to airate the carboy to get the yeast active again since this strain tends to settle out before finishing up. I gave it a little shake for a cpl minutes to add some oxygen and then put the airlock back on. I will probably rack to the secondary in a cpl days if the gravity holds tight.

The beer tastes ok and the hop and fruitiness I was wanting is there it just doesn’t taste like there is any alcohol in it.

So i guess my question is, is there anything I should do from here to help with the ABV situation or am I just gonna end up with a tasty lawnmower?

Thanks for any help!!!

Adding this to your other post, or a link to it would be helpful so we don’t have to search for information that you may have omitted, like a recipe.

You do NOT want to add oxygen after the beer has fermented. You risk getting a cardboard flavor by adding post fermentation.

The only way, besides sending a sample to a lab, to tell the alcohol content is OG-FG.

I would bottle it in a couple of days so it can carbonate and be consumed before the cardboard flavor sets in.

My first AG, an amber ale, ended up at about 2.9% because of poor crush and lousy temp control. But, no one knew until I told them. Despite have only about 50% of the expected alcohol, it had 90% of the flavor. IMO, that’s what counts, not ABV. Just my 2 cents.

Oh, congrats…you made beer!


I’m slightly confused by your post, there seems to be a contradiction there. On the one hand, you’re saying the final gravity is lower than what your software predicted and on the other hand, you’re concerned that the fermentation didn’t complete fully and you’re trying to restart it by introducing oxygen. I would think you would be happy it finished as low as it did considering the low OG you started with. This gives you ~ 3.7 percent instead of the 3.2 you would have gotten if it finished at 1.018 as you had originally anticipated. The lower the FG, the higher the alcohol and if you’re already below what you had anticipated, I don’t know why you would be worried or trying to get it EVEN lower.

As the other person that responded said, don’t introduce oxygen post fermentation. On really big beers sometimes people will add a little during early stages of fermentation, but not after it is done.

I understand your confusion. I can see where i contradicted myself. I guess I am concerned because I didnt see an active fermentation and there seems to be a lack of alcohol taste in the beer (kinda tastes watered down).

Maybe I’m just worrying myself for nothing.

[quote=“rpwinkler”]I understand your confusion. I can see where i contradicted myself. I guess I am concerned because I didnt see an active fermentation and there seems to be a lack of alcohol taste in the beer (kinda tastes watered down).

Maybe I’m just worrying myself for nothing.[/quote]

As long as your OG reading and your FG reading were correct, there’s nothing to worry about.

Ironically I had a scare a couple of weeks ago with the same yeast. I sort of just “missed” the most active part of fermentation somehow because it was bubbling slowly each time I checked it for a couple of days, then it seemed to stop sooner than I expected. I thought it would either take off more rigorously or last a lot longer and I didn’t see either happen so I was worried. When I kegged it a couple of weeks later I checked the FG and it was 1.014 just like yours, it turned out just fine. The friends that were over yesterday that had to be driven home by their wives will attest to the fact that there is indeed alcohol there.

not a total disaster…my advice: call it a session batch and brew again, shooting for a 7% then adding a pound of DME…if you end with it a 6% you’ll be stoked.

Thanks to everyone that responded.

I just racked to secondary and pulled a sample before hand and gravity was the same. I did notice a difference in taste since i gave the carboy a little shake the other day. I hope I didn’t cause any harm. Guess I should have asked before, oh well its a learning experience. I did notice a “cardboard” taste as someone mentioned.

It still tastes good however so I’m hoping after 2 weeks in the secondary and after a 10 day dry hop the flavor will mellow out.

The “cardboard” taste will not go away. Bottle and drink it before it gets worse. Don’t age it anymore.

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