I’m still a boot home brewer and decided to make the Saison de Noel for my second batch (extract kit). It was in the primary for 16 days stored in an old fridge I rigged up with a two-stage thermostat and heater to ensure I can maintain proper fermentation temperatures. I have the temperature set at 68F +/- two degrees. I just finished transferring it to the secondary and figured I’d check how the fermentation was going with the hydrometer.
Now I used some of the beer from near the bottom of the bucket and some of the crud on the bottom got mixed in, so that may have goofed up the hydrometer. Anyhow, the alcohol by volume shows only around 2% or so. Any idea of that is a reasonable measurement after two weeks in the primary? I realize I really shouldn’t check it until a full 4 weeks of fermentation but was just curious how far it should be by now.
It should finish fermenting in the first week under those conditions (but there is still work for the yeast, so I don’t mean bottle it then) so it’s good to check the gravity at that point. I would recommend that you take the measurement again. What was your OG and FG? I ask because I’m assuming that the OG was what you expected but it hasn’t dropped down to the FG that you were expecting yet. I could imagine yeast cake, etc raising that FG measurement (rather than lowering it) but I’ve never had that issue before.
Also, do you know that the fridge really was in the 68ish range? Because if it wasn’t working right then a cooler temp could have kept it from fermenting fully.
I forgot to measure the OG before I put it away. I followed the instructions to the letter. The OG should have been 1070 (according to NB website). I’ll check it again in a week and see how it is. The temp should be good. The thermostat prob reads the temps pretty accurately. There was clearly a ring around the bucket where the yeast had foamed up so it looks like it fermented ok. I went out of town shortly after pitching the yeast so I wasn’t around to witness any bubbling in the airlock.
Did you taste it? If it started at 1070, I assume you got something around 1050 for FG. You should easily be able to taste whether that’s where it is actually at (or if it tastes more like beer). I’d still recommend taking another reading and tasting it too.
Edit: I just read that you said you’ll check it in a week. I think that’s fine as far as the beer goes and I would only check earlier to pinpoint whether the beer is still needing to ferment or if it was an error taking the gravity.
If you used saison yeast, WLP 565 or wyeast 3724, you may have a slow ferment. This yeast likes hot temperatures and sometimes takes a few weeks to finish. It will have a huge Krausen for a day, and then quit. It will eventually finish out the beer if left in primary. If you have a really sweet beer, you should probably pitch some kind of ale yeast that will go ahead and finish out the beer before the bad yeasts take over.
I love this yeast and have used it many times, but sometimes it fails me. Most of the time it makes fantastic saisons.
Duh. I misunderstood the markings on the hydrometer. The ABV reading is before fermentation, not after. The gravity was actually 1.008, which should be about a little over 8% ABV. So, I think I’m good! It still has two weeks in the secondary before bottling though.
We’ve all made similar mistakes. Glad to hear that the beer looks like it’s right on track.
Thanks for the advice all the same. All I have to do now is figure out what to brew next. I’m debating taking the lager plunge.
Glad to hear it worked out. Lagers are fun if you have the space, time, and refrigeration to do them.