Variable Final Gravity when Priming for Bottle Conditioning

I was bottling a batch of beer last night and as always I take the last bit from the bottling bucket to test the Final gravity. When I tested it it read 1.044.

After much talking amoungst ourselfs we decided to try taking a sample on one of the other bottles that had been filled much earlier in the process and found its FG to be 1.020. Significantly lower than the 1.044. I am guessing this is from the sugar not evenly dispersing into the bucket.

What is the best way to get a consistent FG?

• Are you using a refractometer or a hydrometer? Are you measuring after you have added the priming sugar?
– baka
Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 14:02
• How did you mix the beer and priming sugar?
– dana
Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 14:13
• Hydrometer, and it would of been after the sugar. I mix the beer and sugar by pouring in the sugar and stirring them. Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 15:12

1.044 Final Gravity?!?! You have a severe danger of bottle bombs!

For future reference, you should dissolve your sugar in some boiling water, then pour that into the bucket, then rack the beer on top of the sugar water. That ensures equal distribution.

I'm afraid you are going to have problems with this batch. Probably, a lot of the bottles will be undercarbonated, and some of them will be overcarbonated, dangerously so.

You should store this beer in a place where it won't cause problems if some of the bottles start exploding.

• +1 Especially the point about adding beer to sugar solution instead of sugar to beer. You might want to buy a mop (or helmet):D
– dana
Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 16:52

You should always test FG before adding your priming sugar. You can use a sanitized wine thief or turkey baster to pull samples from a carboy.

You'll get a better mixture if you gently pour the simple syrup into the bottom of the bottling bucket, and then rack the beer into that. The flow of the beer will mix it thoroughly, and will not introduce much(any) additional oxygen.

This actually happened to me too this past weekend. I took the last bit from the secondary and had a gravity of 1.030 or so and was disheartened to see such. Then I thought that maybe since I took from the bottom there was too much trub augmenting the reading. So I popped open one of my bottles and measured it. It was 1.01! Much better.

So the moral is don't measure from the trub. I am guessing this makes sense since the trub allows for a denser solution thus skewing the reading...

• I always like to take a final sample mid racking myself for similar reasons. Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 20:00