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New brewer with a petite saison and hydrometer questions

Hi all,

Just started brewing with the Petite Saison kit. I’ve taken a couple gravity readings that don’t necessarily make sense, so I’m hoping you guys can help with that.

The OG of my wort was 1.032. That was about 11 days ago; yesterday, I took a second reading and it was 1.013. I was expecting it to be a good bit lower, and would write it off to taking the reading a few days early, but the beer was relatively clear, there was no head and the taste was basically that of flat beer (with some off flavors, which I assume should be there).

Just to baseline, I dunked the hydrometer in water and the reading was, like, half a millimeter below 1.000. (All those readings I listed are temperature corrected.)

So, questions:
-Am I simply worrying too much as a new guy to the hobby, and everything will be fine?
-Does anyone know what the expected gravity is for this sort of intermediary reading?

Looking forward to future experiments. Thanks in advance folks!

-Jeff

1.013 is a respectable number for a final gravity. Kit-specified times tend to be conservative, because giving the beer extra time is generally a good thing, whereas not giving the beer enough time in the fermenter can cause serious problems, like exploding bottles. (Insert standard disclaimer about getting the same reading over 3 days before declaring “done”)

It’s actually your 1.032 OG that seems a bit low to me. If your kit was the NB Petite Saison d’Ete extract kit, your OG should have been 1.041. Extract kits usually hit the kit-specified OG really well. So maybe too much top-off water or not enough stirring of the top-off. The former will result in weak tasting beer, the latter just throws off the OG reading and resultant alcohol calculations, but is not an issue, as the yeast also stirs the beer for you.

Yes, that’s the kit.

As for OG, I went back to my notes and found the temp I plugged into the calculator was probably way off. I recorded it as 75, but I had the sample in an ice bath trying to chill it to 60. Plugging what I think the temp actually was (how did I not write this down?) gets me much closer to the correct OG.

A mistake on that first brew is probably not surprising; happy if it was a note taking, instead of brewing, mistake.

Just took another sample, and it held steady at exactly the same reading. Corrected gravity is 1.013. Didn’t yet know about the 3-day-same-reading rule, so thank you for that.

Either way, I think the conclusion here is that my original OG reading is quite suspect, but was unlikely to be actually screwed up. I’ll stop worrying over it now.

Good stuff. Thanks for your help; looking forward to bottling in a few days!

-Jeff

The one rule about note taking is: when you go back and look at your notes, you will always wish you took better notes. This is especially true when you repeat a kit, and it comes out different from last time. You want to go back and see if you can account for the difference and just curse yourself for taking sh*tty notes on brew day. (At least that’s my experience)

I keep notes for each recipe in a separate doc; each time I revisit a kit, I go back and re-read my notes for the previous attempt(s) before brewing. I then add my new notes to the same doc. Generally on brew day, I note OG reading OG sample temp, how I treated the yeast, how long the specialty grains steeped how well the steep held temperature, any deviation from the recipe or timing, and whether I am trying new technique or equipment. Later, I also note transfer date, and bottle date, FG, computed ABV, and tasting notes from each week after bottling. And STILL I want more detail.

Anyways, welcome to the best hobby. It sounds like your first batch is turning out WAYYY better than my first batch, where I not only had some nasty levels of diacetyl, but also broke my gravity meter after it’s first use. (The bottom end-cap fell out of the storage tube as I was putting it away. The replacement’s tube got some electrical tape tape on the end cap. I highly recommend doing this…)

Sounds good! Thanks for your help. Electrical tape pro-tip is already in use…

Yeah, I think this is going well. Baked a bunch of bottles today; will will bottle tomorrow. Gravity reading today was as the same a previous. Looking forward to the next step.

As for notes, yeah… I was putting them in a spreadsheet, but I think I’m just going to go free form with Evernote for awhile. The other thing I do (this is from spending a lot of time in the kitchen over the last couple years) is make prodigious use of my camera. That usually really helps when trying to recall some detail; for example, I’m surprised I didn’t snap a pic of the temp reading of the sample I had earlier. In any case, I’ve found photos will fill in almost all the details I forget to scribble when rushing around.

Thanks again; going to hunt up my next kit right now!

Don’t bottle tomorrow! Saison should take 4-5 weeks and finish below 1.005!

Oh? Four to five weeks in primary?

Today actually marked three weeks in primary (sorry, I screwed up the timing in the first post), and I was going to give it a couple weeks in the bottle.

This is the kit I’m using right now: http://www.northernbrewer.com/documenta … ondEte.pdf.

Hydrometer readings have been steady for 3 days at this point.

Feeling my way through when it’s done, so all info appreciated. Thanks!

I just brewed this recipe a few months ago, and mine took 4.5 weeks and finished at 1.002. It seems vigorous at first, but if you look really close you’ll still see bubbles of carbonation. It takes a couple extra weeks to get the last few gravity points out. I used Belle Saison yeast, which should be equivalent to 3711. If you used a different yeast, you might get different results. But in any case, I would be really careful not to bottle too early. Stop taking measurements and let it go for like 4 more days, and THEN take another reading. If it’s still constant, then you should be safe, but otherwise… I just don’t want to see you end up with gushers or bottle bombs. Dangerous.

You did a partial boil with top up water?

If so, it is nearly impossible to get the wort and water mixed well enough for an accurate reading. If you used all the extract and ended with 5 gallon, you will get the OG as stated on the kit.

And like dmtaylo2 said, let the beer sit for 3-4 weeks.

Ok, that all sounds good. No reason (other than my impatience) to bottle today, so I’ll let it ride or a few more days. Will keep prepping bottles in the meantime.

And, yes, I did do a partial boil with top-up water. I actually have the equipment to do a full boil (seven gallon kettle a burner), but since I don’t really know what I’m doing, I stuck pretty hard to the directions and double checked the amounts I was using. While I’m letting the saison sit for awhile longer, I’ll look into if/how to go with a full boil–I know it’s the “better” way to go, just not sure what better means in this case.

I appreciate all the help! Thanks much!

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