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This question is as simple as the title reads. In general, if I know the FG of any given beer, can that be a good indicator to me of how sweet that beer will taste? So the higher the FG, the sweeter the taste.

My guess ... 80% of the time that will be true, but not always. I'm thinking there are cases where a beer might contain a lot of unfermented dextrins contributing to the Final Gravity, which do not provide a sweet taste.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Perceived sweetness has a lot to do with balance. A beer with an FG of 1.025 sounds sweet based on that number, but if the IBU level is high or, better yet, well balanced, the beer won't be cloying. Similarly and coversely, a beer that finishes nearly dry at, say, 1.005 could taste quite sweet if the IBUs are low and the alcohol content is high. Alcohol is sweet. Without hop bitterness to balance it, the beer would taste sweet even with such a low finishing gravity.

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Makes sense to me. Thank you. –  JasonStoltz Dec 9 '10 at 17:11

You've got it right. Gravity is a measure of dissolved solids in the liquid. And if those solids are complex, un-fermentable dextrins then the gravity will be high but the taste will not be super sweet.

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But would you sau often times that is not the case and it could be a good indicator? Our would you say it is generally not a good indicator? –  JasonStoltz Dec 9 '10 at 14:05

I don't think you can generalize to say that it is or isn't. You can have a beer with a low FG that has a low hopping and it will taste sweet. Or you can have a beer with high hopping and high FG and it won't necessarily taste sweet.

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