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Curious - I may be making a negative alcohol brew

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Drover's dog

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Don't you just hate your first time, well in most things anyhow?
This brew of mine is by all accounts a Cerveza "Corona" like drink. I followed the directions with amazing exactness and now on the 5th day, my deceptive hydrometer tells me (if my readings are correct) that I have managed to give rise to a negative alcohol brew. The hydrometer in question is calibrated in a way that leaves a plethora of discretion for the wannabe brewer. My instrument and I use the term loosely, indicates beer start and beer finish. After 5 days of fermentation, my trusty glass component still reads well below the beer finish mark and even lower still from the magic red line indicating the presence of alcohol. I must add if future endeavors continue to produce a liquid below the red line, I may as well make Milo.

As disillusioned as I am I have this inner feeling I may have cocked up somewhere along the line. For now, I will let my brew sit and hope for some wisdom that may help rescue 20+ litres of brew.
 
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MHB

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Does your hydrometer have numbers on it?
If so they are much more useful, if not, take it back to whoever sold it and insert it... they robbed you.
Mark
 

n87

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Im guessing your hydrometer looks like this:




If so, ignore all the pretty colours, and the words. Take note of the numbers before you add yeast, and after you have had a steady reading for a few days.
throw those numbers into a calculator (millions on the interweb for calculating alcohol and attenuation) and that will give you the ABV.
The alcohol is determined by the difference in these numbers, not the numbers themselves.
 

manticle

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Numbers dropping inversely correlates with alcohol production* so going below the 'beer finish' zone means your beer is attenuating well (or has an infection - fingers crossed that's not it). How does the sample (not the main fermenter) smell and taste?

*Not technically but gravity dropping results in ethanol production in the case of beer fermentation
 

earle

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Stupid coloured hydrometers. All they do is cause confusion.
 

Drover's dog

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Im guessing your hydrometer looks like this:




If so, ignore all the pretty colours, and the words. Take note of the numbers before you add yeast, and after you have had a steady reading for a few days.
throw those numbers into a calculator (millions on the interweb for calculating alcohol and attenuation) and that will give you the ABV.
The alcohol is determined by the difference in these numbers, not the numbers themselves.
That's the guy...
I get it and can do as you suggest, I did record the start number and assume by now I have reached the end number. I will still check to make certain there are no more changes on my "instrument excellence" then will do the math. Many thanks, that's one more Valium for later.
 

Drover's dog

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Numbers dropping inversely correlates with alcohol production* so going below the 'beer finish' zone means your beer is attenuating well (or has an infection - fingers crossed that's not it). How does the sample (not the main fermenter) smell and taste?

*Not technically but gravity dropping results in ethanol production in the case of beer fermentation
The beer smells excellent and tastes surprisingly like beer. Boy, do I have some learning ahead of me. Appreciate your reply, I learn a little every day.
 

MHB

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If you are making an extra dry beer (usually with an enzyme addition) remember that you can get readings of less than 1.000.
Normally to calculate the ABV its change in gravity / 7.5.
Start 1.050, finish 1.010 change would be 0.040, what people call 40 points, 40/7.5 = 5.3%ABV
If you get down to less than 1.000, say you got down to 0.995 (the top of your red band) from a start gravity of 1.045, 1.045-0.995 = 0.050, call it 50 points 50/7.5 = 6.7%
So it isn't negative gravity (or alcohol).
Mark
 

Drover's dog

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Don't you just hate your first time, well in most things anyhow?
This brew of mine is by all accounts a Cerveza "Corona" like drink. I followed the directions with amazing exactness and now on the 5th day, my deceptive hydrometer tells me (if my readings are correct) that I have managed to give rise to a negative alcohol brew. The hydrometer in question is calibrated in a way that leaves a plethora of discretion for the wannabe brewer. My instrument and I use the term loosely, indicates beer start and beer finish. After 5 days of fermentation, my trusty glass component still reads well below the beer finish mark and even lower still from the magic red line indicating the presence of alcohol. I must add if future endeavors continue to produce a liquid below the red line, I may as well make Milo.

As disillusioned as I am I have this inner feeling I may have cocked up somewhere along the line. For now, I will let my brew sit and hope for some wisdom that may help rescue 20+ litres of brew.
To those who offered their wisdom, I thank you. I also changed (the glass thing) to a hydrometer… A quote from a Willie Nelson song seems appropriate - “After several reading my minds seems fairly sound”. Also my ABV says 5.5% My guess is even Willie would drink to that.
 
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