I had m’y fermentation going in 2 different 25liter pales. One stop fermenting 2 days before the other did, now I’m doing a test with the hydrometer and I’m reading 1.014 on both is taht okay to still run my mash ?? Also my refractometer is showing 30% alcohol on fermenting only is that even posisble ? Or it’s it off

3 Answers 3


A final gravity of 1.014 is quite high for a wash intended to be distilled. So off-hand I'd say you've got an incomplete fermentation on your hands. Taste it. Does it still have a residual sweetness? Unless it's quite dry and tart without any sweetness you've got unfermented sugars left in there.

Unfortunately you don't say what you were fermenting, but if it is a sugar wash, the most likely problem is either yeast nutrient or wash acidity.

Sugar has nothing that the yeast can use as a nutrient. So when the yeast runs out of its internal nutrient reserves it falls flat on its face. This is why any fermentation other than full grain ones should have a good yeast nutrient added to it. (Grains already contain most or all of the required nutrients.)

Another main suspect is acidification of the wash during fermentation. When you ferment sugar in water using yeast (and nothing else) the yeast produces organic acids, and when the wash becomes too acidic (a pH of 4 or lower) most yeasts throw in the towel. This is especially the case with generic yeasts, beer yeasts and baking yeasts (which are all basic Cerevisiae strains); specialized yeasts such as rum yeast or selected wine strains may be able to go a bit lower, but eventually acidity becomes a problem. That's why turbo yeasts have a pH buffer mixed in to keep the acidity in check.

Finally, a high stress fermentation (i.e. a sugar wash) needs oxygen as well. Make sure to aerate the wash well prior to pitching the yeast.

Personally I hate refractometers because unless you use them exactly for their intended purpose (which is to measure the amount of pure sucrose in pure water) they give you an incorrect gravity more often than not. Since fermented products (wash, beer, wine etc.) have other ingredients as well, you're not simply measuring sucrose-in-water, so your reading will be off.

That said, a 30% alcohol content in a fermented wash is extremely unlikely in anything other than very specialized and very finicky fermentations, so I'd disregard that reading entirely.

So in summary, when fermenting a sugar wash:

  • Add a good yeast nutrient
  • Pitch plenty of yeast
  • Use a pH stabilizer
  • Aerate well

Good luck!

  • just a nitpick, but refractometers exist that are designed to measure alcohol content in distilled spirit, although they obviously don't work for undistilled washes.
    – Jack
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 3:56
  • Not only do they not work for undistilled washes, but they are only accurate for ethanol in water. Vodka, in other words. Anything else in there (e..g flavour compounds carried over during potstill distillation, compounds picked up from oaking during maturation, etc. will trow off your reading. Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 14:39

Really hard to answer this question as there isn't really any information here. It's completely impossible for the anyone to to determine if 30% is possible considering there is no information provided on your grist, yeast, fermentation timeline, etc. I can say it's very unlikely you'll hit 30% even with distillers yeast.

Your refractometer is primarily used for reading starting gravity and you won't get an accurate read of gravity once there is alcohol in the solution without doing some math. Use a hydrometer to measure FG and determine your alcohol by comparing this number to your SG.

Is it "fine" to run your mash? Of course. You can distill a mash with 0% alcohol if you really wanted to. Most home distillers try to run mashes down to 0.000 so they can maximize output.

Without meaningful details this question cannot be answered with any more detail.


Well, a couple things: you say you have a couple Pales fermenting, and for a Pale Ale an FG of 1.014 is OK (a bit toward the high end perhaps). I'm not sure what you mean by 'run my mash' after you have fermented it out. Please clarify.

Also, your refractor showing 30% alcohol -- how is it showing that? There's no way a Pale Ale batch would reach 30%. All the yeast would die off long before that.

However, based on your hydrometer readings of 1.014, I'd say it was ready to package.

  • I believe OP means a Pale as in a Bucket- not a pale ale. This is a distilling question.
    – rob
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 12:12
  • A 'pail" then. Please try to use the correct words.
    – chthon
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 19:47

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