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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2010 * Archive through April 28, 2010 * Very low OG beer < Previous Next >

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Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 341
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 75.66.84.117
Posted on Sunday, April 04, 2010 - 06:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I tried to make a low OG wheat beer yesterday as a base for a fruit flavored beer. I used 3.3 lbs of Northwestern Malts wheat LME and steeped .5 lbs of carapils. Promash told me that should give me 5 gallons of 1.028 wort. I estimate that I got less than 5 gallons, and the the OG is only about 1.020. I went ahead and pitched the yeast. It is bubbling away now.

Are there any problems common with beer that starts out with such a low OG? I was planning to just add some strawberry flavor to the beer. But if I need to boost the OG to save the beer, I suppose I could add some real fruit. I am not opposed to having a 2-2.5% abv beer. I just want it to taste ok for the intended consumer (not me).
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2381
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 173.25.24.227
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 02:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Aside from the potential to taste thin and watery, the biggest technical issue I see is just potential for contamination due to the low alcohol level. As long as your sanitation procedures are solid, this won't be a problem.
 

ChriSto
Advanced Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 660
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 11:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Unless you left some syrup in the can, it's usually pretty fail-proof of what your OG is going to be for a known amount of LME in a known amount of water (though I guess batch to batch %moisture of the LME could be off at the extract brewery). Maybe your hydrometer needs callibrating or you needed to adjust for temperature to 60F?

Either way it's going to be low-grav. No problems with that other than what Graham states - especially with an extract batch - is that it tends to be watery/thin. I try to brew at least one or two <3% batch each year but attempt to keep the FG high with a high mash temp (usually go with 159F for these small beers) to create some residual body and using some "flavorful" grain (no US 2-row). If the body is off some, you could add a non-fermentable such as lactose or malto-dextrin.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7063
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 74.83.191.159
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 02:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you did a partial boil, there is a very good change your low hydrometer reading was due to stratification of the sugars. This is harmless. Go with your calculated OG.
 

Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 343
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 216.37.68.121
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 05:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I squeezed most of the LME out of the bag. I could have left an ounce or two in the bag, but not much more than that. I took the reading at 80F and added 3 points. It was a partial boil that I topped off with filtered water. I swirled the carboy around before pouring some out for the hydro sample, but I suppose that may not have been sufficient to mix up the wort and water addition completely. I think that stratification is the most likely culprit. Anyway, it is bubbling away at 60-62F. I am hoping that the .5 lb of carapils will give it enough body to keep it from being watery/thin.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 11548
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.103.148
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 05:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Why add the LME to the steeping bag? Some of it was left in the bag with the spent grains. Add the LME directly to the hot water in the kettle, then add the "tea" from the steeped specialty grains.
 

Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 344
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 75.66.84.117
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 06:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The "bag" I referred to was the plastic bag that the LME was packaged in. Come on Bill, I've been posting here for 10 years or more. Are my posts really bad that you think I would steep extract?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 11549
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.103.148
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 06:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry, Steve. I was doing a little too much multi-tasking when I read your post. I should be more careful.

Anyway, I assume you rinsed the LME bag well with the hot liquid from the kettle.
 

Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 345
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 216.37.68.121
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 07:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You caught me Bill. I did not rinse the bag. I let my daughter and some of the neighborhood kids squeeze the last few drops of the "beer candy" out of the bag and eat it. Like I said earlier, there could not have been more than an ounce or two of LME left in the bag.
 

Steve Anderson
Intermediate Member
Username: Steveinmemphis

Post Number: 346
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 216.37.68.121
Posted on Friday, April 09, 2010 - 02:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

After 4 days of watching the airlock bubble, I thought I should check the beer to make sure that it did not ferment down to too low a gravity. I was a little surprised to see that the hydrometer showed a gravity of 1.022 at 63F. Stratification was obviously the reason for low gravity on my initial reading. Another stupid mistake on my part. Another lesson learned.
 

Joakim Ruud
Senior Member
Username: Joques

Post Number: 1708
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 84.208.91.52
Posted on Friday, April 09, 2010 - 04:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you have both refractometer and hydrometer, you can calculate the OG from FG and final Brix. There's a formula, pretty complex. They have it in BrewMath for iPhone, among probably other places.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 11563
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.103.148
Posted on Friday, April 09, 2010 - 05:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The calculation Joakim refers to (determining the O.G. when both the hydrometer and refractometer readings of the finished beer are known) is also in both ProMash and BeerSmith. I've got it in my brewing spreadsheet as well (it's very complex and took me a long time to derive), and I've done a fair amount of testing of the results. It's accurate within two or three points, assuming your readings are accurate (the hydrometer measurement must be in decarbonated, flat beer).