Really low FG with Bell's Oberon Clone

% LB OZ Malt or Fermentable ppg °L

50% 6 0 Rahr Two-Row 34 4 ~
42% 5 0 Rahr White Wheat Malt 34 5 ~
4% 0 8 Briess Munich Malt 34 10 ~
4% 0 8 Briess Caramel 10L 34 10 ~

    12   0 

first wort - 0.5 Czech Saaz
boil 60 mins 0.5 Hallertauer Hersbrucker
boil 30 mins 0.5 Czech Saaz
boil 15 mins 0.5 Czech Saaz
boil 1 min 0.5 Czech Saaz
dry hop 7 days 1.0 Czech Saaz
dry hop 7 days 0.5 Hallertau Hersbruck

I mashed 4g at 154* and it held very steady for 90 minutes. Before I vorlaufed, I mashed out by adding 1 gallon of 168* water. I think I may have had too much water in the mash as the vorlauf never seemed to run very clear (that or it’s normal for a wheat beer). Once all the first runnings were out, I added another 4g of 168* water for sparging and let sit for 10 min. There was a lot of debris in the wort and I had about 6.25g or so in my kettle for the boil.

boil all went normal although I boiled off/lost more water than I expected and ended up with only 4.5g in my primary.

OG was accurately measured at 1.051 at 65* (with a hydrometer).

After 4 days fermenting at 62* (controlled temp with temp controller and my fridge) the FG at 62* was 1.003 (again, measured with hydrometer).

The beer does not tast infected, although it tastes bitter (not sour) and very dry. I assume that I over hopped which would explain the bitter taste etc., but I was surprised at the FG.

I don’t think I could have measure this wrong as all I do is take a sample with the wine thief and put it in the cylinder with the hydrometer.

Thoughts anyone? Did I mess up during the mash possibly? This was my first AG.


I dont know what to tell you other than I can imagine you had a stratified sample is all.
Try to obtain a well mixed sampling etc…(OR simply *see below to restrict continually opening the fermentor) Other than that the only thing that would cause that low of SG would be a strain of wild yeast or bacteria. 154 mash temp would result in typically the 1.010 area. And if by some chance the thermometer was off and you mashed in the 140-150 range you would see at a low 1.006-1.007 possibly. My past results in single temp mashing seem to result in these:
145-150 = 1.007-1.009
150-154 = 1.009-1.010
154-162 = 1.010-1.015

*I would say no worries at this point and wait for 2 weeks total in primary before you rack anything. Then catch a sample mid volume transfer and then check SG for posterity to see if it was simply stratified because if it is a wild yeast or bacteria that has taken it down to 1.003 in 4 days you cant fix it now if you wanted to.

Now that I think of it, there was so much sediment in the beer after we transferred to the carboy and I recall there being sediment settled out in the wort sample that I tested…although that would make me think of a higher SG. Is that what you had in mind when you said “stratified?”


[quote=“jtgreanya”]…There was a lot of debris in the wort …

The beer does not tast infected, although it tastes bitter (not sour) and very dry…[/quote]

This makes me think you extracted some astringency-producing tannins from mash debris during your boil. It would explain both the dry mouthfeel and bitter taste.

What yeast strain did you use? I’d have a hard time believing that gravity with the facts you’ve presented, and yeast is the only missing variable.

I used Wyeast 1272…and I will be checking the gravity again soon as it is currently in the secondary being dry-hopped.

Ok, so I just checked the gravity again after it’s been dry hopping for about 10 days and I measured it around 1.010 - 1.009. That seems a lot better. I also tasted it again and it has a great aroma and hoppy taste, very light in body, as we would expect, but it does still have some astringency at the end as an after-taste. I’m hoping that will fade with time.

On another note, the beer is still very cloudy (it’s wheat, so not too surprised) but also has a lot of gunk floating around in it, hop material etc. I plan to cold-crash this and my other beer before bottling to help them clear out, so I hope this does the trick. Also, I’m thinking of bottling with honey instead of traditional sucrose/dextrose. Any thoughts?


Thats what I thought would be the case. The earlier sample was simply diluted or stratified thus showing a lower than normal reading. This is often the case when sampling with a tube/cane etc… from the top of teh fermenter. The astringency can come from oversparging or sparging with alkaline water etc… I am leaning towards the astringency simply being the dry hopping as long dry hopping sometimes adds a vegetal/“green” appearance that typically fades over time. The noble hops used tend to have more earthy/ veggy tastes initially too. To each their own but I find that diligent racking right after dry hopping and short contact times seem to work the best for me to get the big hoppy aromas but low levels of “green” or veggie tastes from the hop material.
IE: 3-4 days dry hop and cold crash to drop most everything including hop sediment and rack to clean fermentor and/or keg.

I made a mistake when doing this recipe. I did not cold crash the keg for a few days as is typical for me and hooked up the gas for the keg to charge and this screwed up the beer furthermore until kicked. What happened was all the yeast and wheat proteins were fully in suspension when carbed and then it would never drop bright without a lot of hassle so it ended up leaving an overly “spritsy” almost overcarbed taste because of the yeast/CO2 bite it retained. Lesson learned, I doubt you are kegging from the sounds of it but definitely cold crash for 3-7 days before bottling/ carbing.

Honey, sure you could. But I would say the beer is on the right track at this point. Use a sugar that will be more reliable/accurate to dose in the recarbing and leave the beer with its intended flavor outcome also. As you add many other aspects to the aroma and body when using honey, molasses, invert, brown, demara etc… that may be something that brings complexity or other benefit to a recipe. But this recipe as is will be stellar and needs no added invention.

I am not suggesting its not right to experiment. I am suggesting that too many flavors and/ or tweaks sometimes take you away from the intended outcome which is light and bright with no sweet characteristics and cane/corn sugar will leave the recipe clean and clear in its finish which to me is the biggest reason to back away slowly and enjoy what will be a killer beer just the way it was meant to be. Then on a later recipe maybe reserve a gallon just to carb with honey and see if it is better or worse than the original. :wink:

Here is a few quotes from John Palmer regarding honey.
“The water content varies in honey from batch to batch, so it is hard to know how much fermentability is represented by a given weight or volume. The only recourse is to dilute it with a known amount of water and measure it with a hydrometer.”
This comment is true to a point within your question as your using lower quantities for priming but the flavor-aroma profile for honey still holds true.
“Honey can impart a strong aroma and sharp sweet flavor that can be overpowering if more than a couple pounds are used in the batch.”
Here was a quote from another forum that reflects my experience when talking to people regarding thier outcomes: The bottom line seems to be inconsistent carbing and overall a needless option as you just need some CO2. The flavors of the beer should be locked up by this point. Use a clean CO2 option and enjoy.
[color=#FF8000]"I have primed with honey before, and am reluctant to do it again. Here’s why:

Made a honey pale ale months and months ago; primed with honey. Tasted magic, but some bottles were fine; others were nearly bottle bombs. Did it again with an APA a few months ago - they were super overcarbed, to the point where I cracked them, let them foam for 5 mins. and then re-capped them (ghetto . . . I know). Notable improvement.

Honey is listed as less fermentable than, say, dextrose; but (and this could simply be in my deluded mind) I think that since it’s a natural product, the amount of CO2 that it produces can be unpredictable. It’s not made in a factory or lab like other priming ingredients."[/color]

ITsPossible your post was very helpful/educational.

I can say that I certainly dry-hopped longer than I should have and will make sure to shorten that length in the future. As for adding honey, I think I will go with you advice. As it was my first AG batch, I’m a bit over-worried that it will turn out well. I kept thinking that I over-hopped it and it needed a little sweet to balance it out. I think you’re probably right that it will mellow out and the astringency etc. will go away.

Thanks again, and I’ll let you know how it turns out!

First of all, is that a true Oberon clone? I think Oberon is the most over-rated boring beer ever. The times I tried it, I didn’t think it was dry hopped at all. I mean, the malt bill looks likely, but it has that many hop additions?

Of course, what you brewed might actually be something I’d want to drink.