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Approximately how low can the finishing gravity of a beer be? I've been brewing from kits for about 10 years, and went all-grain last year. I wouldn't expect to see anything lower than 1.006 or so, but my latest blew me away -- it was somewhere around 1.000! I couldn't believe my eyes.

Has anyone else seen an FG so low?

(BTW, the yeast was Wyeast 1762, and the SG was 1.066, and table sugar contributed probably only about 1.010-1.015 or so. The grain was all pilsner, and I mashed at about 65 C.)

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I just had the exact same thing happen with a Belgian Wit using Wyeast 3944, OG 1.046, FG 1.000 (as best I could read it). I was told by my LHBS owner that only bacteria could bring it down to 1.0, but it shows zero signs of infection, one of my best brews. Also, did you mean you wouldn't expect to see anything lower than 1.006? –  Mlusby Apr 1 '11 at 13:54
    
Cool, thanks. I don't think there's any significant bacteria in mine, either. And thanks for the correction... I've edited the question. –  Jeff Roe Apr 1 '11 at 14:05
    
I just reviewed my recipe and notes and realized my mash was lower than normal ~148F, so that's certainly in line with what Chris mentioned. –  Mlusby Apr 1 '11 at 16:40
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5 Answers 5

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Theoretically, a beer could finish below 1.000 due to the alcohol in it. You'd need to have a very fermentable wort and a very attenuative yeast (or bacteria), but in theory it's possible.

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Agreed. Starting at 1.066, 100% attenuation would end you at .984. That would, of course, imply infection. –  Brandon Apr 1 '11 at 17:59
    
Brettanomyces yeast are also capable of consuming the more complex sugars that Saccaromyces can't. Also the FG is consistently in the 0.995 range for the wines I make. –  Mattress Apr 4 '11 at 16:31
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I had a saison that finished at 1.002 that was fermented with Wyeast 3711 French Saison at about 84F. The attenuation rate of the yeast strain along with the use of fully fermentable sugars can bring your final gravity quite low. Your mash temperature will also dictate how fermentable your wort will be, a lower beta amalyes rest will produce more simple sugars.

Lacotbacillus and brettanomyces bacteria will also consume more complex sugars than regular yeast strains dropping the FG below normal levels.

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I also just a Belgian Dubbel fermented with 1762 and aged on mission figs to drop to 0.993, down from 1.016 after primary. Doesn't taste infected but drinking early just in case. It is quite alcoholic

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Since the attenuation has already happened, there's probably no hurry to drink it. In fact, I had an unintensional brett contamination once that was horrible 'cherry pie' flavor. I left it for a month in the garage (up to 80F), then figure I'd get rid of it at the drunken end of a party. But it 'cleaned itself' and actually tasted good! I took it home with me! –  Dale Jul 29 '13 at 0:54
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If you add enough simple sugars, you can probably get it below 1.000.

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I manage to get FG on a Wyeast Labs 3724 French Saison down to 1000. Taste was great too, no infection. In the same batch we also fermented WLP565 Beligian Saison and ended up on 1004. Same base wort, time and temprature as 3724.

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