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I started my latests batch of IPA (from a Wilko kit) off 19 days ago. Unlike my previous attempts, fermentation began rapidly and consistent. It has slowed down over the past couple of days so today I took the SG. The instructions says that "Fermentation will be complete when bubbles cease to rise (if you use a hydrometer, when the Specific Gravity (SG) remains constant below 1008)".

On both this and my previous batches, the SG has hardly changed at all. My hydrometer has volume scale and it has barely moved off 0%! Any suggestions as to what I have done wrong or should do at the bottling stage?

Cheers

  • When you say 0%, do you mean a specific gravity of 1.000? – Philippe Oct 23 '17 at 13:45
  • Yes. It is barely any different to it floating in water. – Andrew F Oct 23 '17 at 14:50
  • In which case your fermentation has completed. What was the S.G? – GrainMother Nov 11 '17 at 9:28
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Did you take a hydrometer reading at the beginning of the process, before fermentation began?

If so, was the wort heavier in that original specific gravity reading?

If so, you might just have reached a point where the ratio of alcohol (SG 0.794) to dissolved solids (SG > 1.0) happens to equal 1.000, the specific gravity of water. That doesn't mean that you've created water. Rather that you have created a beer which has the same weight to volume as water.

Since you were aiming at 1.008, that is a bit of an over-fermentation. Did you augment the recipe with any extra ferment-able sugars or maybe so liquor? If not, did you use a different yeast? One with a higher alcohol tolerance? If neither of these deliberate recipe modifications are the culprit, you may want to look closer at your equipment sanitation process. A more robust yeast might have gotten in to your wort accidentally.

  • Hi Henry. I didn't take the SG at the beginning. I took a standard Wilko IPA kit but added some citra hop pellets. I used 500g of sugar and 500g DME. I used Safale US-05 Beer yeast. I do worry that perhaps I am not sanitising properly. – Andrew F Oct 23 '17 at 19:24
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    You might want to start taking the SG just before introducing the yeast into future batches. That will give you the originating specific gravity which is used to calculate the ABV/Proof of your finished beer. It can also help in cases like this, since it can point to possible explanations. Either too much or too little sugar can effect the final gravity. If too much, the yeast can burn down past its tolerance point before dying off. If too little, the starting line is lower, so the yeast's standard behavior yields a lower result. Let it age a little and your beer will probably be fine. – Henry Taylor Oct 23 '17 at 20:58
  • Thanks Henry. Do you think I am in a position to bottle it yet, or should I leave it in the fermenter for a while longer? – Andrew F Oct 23 '17 at 22:14
  • Assuming that you are not racking to a second carboy for a month of pre-bottle-aging (which I strongly recommend), you can bottle as soon as the air-trap stops showing bubbles. For safety sake, I would give it an extra day after the bubbles stop, just be sure. – Henry Taylor Oct 23 '17 at 22:31
  • I'm a little concerned with the 500g of DME fermenting out to 1.000 unless this is a 5 gallon batch there should be a decent amount of unfermentables from the DME and hit the 1.008 Mark. It may have caught a wild yeast that consumed the sugars brewers yeast usually doesn't ferment. – Evil Zymurgist Oct 24 '17 at 12:36

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