If you want to know the alcohol percentage of your beer, take an SG reading using your hydrometer before fermenting (original gravity (OG)) (see reading SG below) and then another after the beer is ready to be bottled, (Final Gravity (FG)). To calculate the percentage of beer, simply put your OG and FG into the following equation:
ABV = (OG-FG) x 131
ABV = (1.056-1.014) x 131
ABV = .042 x 131= 5.502%
Alternatively if you have space in a refrigerator when fermentation has finished put your fermenter into a fridge just before bottling. The cold temperature will allow all the sediment to drop to the bottom, then you can syphon the beer off the top into bottles and you will dramatically reduce sediment in your final beer.
This is not an exact calculation as there are other factors involved. If the OG is lower, then the multiplier reduces. If calculating a beer with a start gravity of under 1030 then use 125 as a more appropriate multiplier.
FAQ2. My house is colder than the recommended fermentation temperature. What do I do?
You can use a heat pad. This is a simple heated pad which your fermenter can sit on to keep the brew warm. Keep an eye on the temperature of the brew. If the temperature is too low the yeast will fall asleep and the beer will not ferment.
FAQ3. My house is warmer than the recommended fermentation temperature. What do I do?
You should find the coolest spot in your house, dry and away from direct sunlight. A cupboard or pantry may be the most suitable place. Make sure that the temperature does not exceed the levels recommended for the specific yeast or this could lead to unwanted flavours or kill the yeast off completely. If you have spare fridge space in which you can attach a temperature controller to, that would be optimal.
FAQ4. What is in the malt extract?
Malt extract is simply wort made from malted barley that has had its water content evaporated away.
FAQ5. Why is it important to clean and sterilise all the equipment?
It is important to clean and sterilise all equipment as cleaning will take away any foreign substances that you can see, and sterilising will kill all micro-organisms that could possibly infect the beer and lead to unwanted flavours.
FAQ6. I don’t have time to bottle my brew today, how long can I leave this in the fermenter for after SG reading is stabilised?
It is preferable to bottle as soon as the gravity has stabilised but leaving it in a fridge for a week can help to clear and condition your beer if required. If you leave the beer too long (more than an extra few days to a week) you have a higher chance of unwanted microbes developing in your beer.
FAQ7. Is there a benefit to using glass over plastic for bottles? Why Flip top over Capped and/or Screw cap?
Plastic bottles are fine if you are planning on drinking your beers over a short period of time, after several months plastic bottles can start to leak Co2 and the beer may become flat. Glass bottles with caps are good and are what most commercial breweries use. They will keep for a long time and should not lose any Co2. Flip top bottles have the added benefit of not having to cap the beer and also beer can be saved for a couple of days after original opening without going flat. Plus flip top bottles look really cool!
FAQ8. The airlock has stopped bubbling before 7 days is up. Is something wrong?
No sometimes fermentation can finish in as little as a few days, this is more likely at higher temperatures. Do not exceed recommended temperatures as fast beer will come at the expense of taste. Some yeasts will ferment at different speeds at different temperatures.
FAQ9. How do I ensure my beer is clear when serving it?
Handcrafted beer contains the natural yeast sediments. These are harmless and some say they have added health benefits! However, if you want to ensure your beer is clear when serving, decanter your bottle of beer into a serving jug first. Pour so as not to disturb any of the yeast sediment at the bottle. Pour the beer from the serving jug.
FAQ10. There is a layer of sediment at the bottom of each of my bottles. Have I done something wrong?
No this is normal. What you are seeing is natural yeast sediment which has settled to the bottom of the bottle while clearing.
FAQ11. Is it better to use priming sugar or carbonation drops?
This is your own personal preference. We prefer carbonation drops as it is much easier to measure each teaspoon.
FAQ12. When is the ideal time to drink my beer?
When you are thirsty and feel like a drink! In saying that, letting the beer condition in the bottle for at least two weeks is preferable, but carbonation in the bottle usually takes place within seven days. Stronger beers need more time to develop and will usually taste better after more time in the bottle. Lagers also need a couple more weeks to fully develop their flavours.
FAQ13. Does beer have a shelf life?
Yes most beer has a shelf life, but this depends on the type of beer, the alcohol content, amount of hops added, and what temperature it is stored at. Most basic styles of beer are best consumed within a few months of bottling, although some more complex beers taste better after being in the bottle for 3-6 months and some, even years.
FAQ14. My bottle brush is flat, how can I get it back to normal?
These brushes will take their original shape when immersed into boiling water, there is no need to reshape these by hand.