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I've had several batches of Mr. BEER come out short on abv by a few percent. I try to follow the directions religiously but some batches just come up very short. Most recently American lager, came out 3.57% after 16 days at 64-66°. I've had a suspicion that this is a yeast problem. I can see the yeast getting blown out by some if the high malt recipes but this one? I'm thinking old yeast. I brewed it within a week of receiving. Idk what do you guys think? Do you activate your yeast first? 

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How are you calculating your ABV? Are you meeting your O.G. or falling short? Are you meeting your F.G. or is your fermentation not completing? Are you using the Mr. Beer yeast? If so, what is the date code? How was the yeast stored?

 

There's a lot of questions that need answers to be able to help you. The one that I would like the answer to the most is how are you calculating your ABV?

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Yes meeting the OG for the most part. Occasionally a bit short. 

 

OG-FG X 131.25. Compensate readings for temps according to chart. 

 

I always use the yeast supplied. I don't usually refrigerate it but keep it at room temp not usually over 70°. Occasionally it might take me a week or so to get to brewing. Haven't looked at date codes. Guess I should. 

 

I do buy clearance kits occasionally but I assume they'd throw fresh yeast packs in there. 

 

Btw the American lager deluxe got 70% attenuation. Maybe it wasn't done after 16 days. I normally ferment 3 weeks.

 

 

Edited by GoBucks64
Added info

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Check the website, they advertise 5% with two booster packs, but 3.57% for the standard refill is about right HOWEVER, 16 days at mid 60's is probably not enough time for complete fermentation. The temperature is perfect, but three weeks is better than 16 days. Even if your hydrometer readings determine fermentation is complete, the extra week cleans things up and ensures the yeast are done. Also, if you want more alcohol try adding more malt, not booster. More malt has many benefits, including more taste and body.

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Booster is a cheap way to add alcohol. The deluxe refill with extra LME is the way to go, and as Rickbeer pointed out, expect around 4% alcohol. You could add even more malt, but hen you would probably want a hop addition as well, to keep it balanced.

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On 4/23/2017 at 8:45 PM, Brian N. said:

Check the website, they advertise 5% with two booster packs, but 3.57% for the standard refill is about right HOWEVER, 16 days at mid 60's is probably not enough time for complete fermentation. The temperature is perfect, but three weeks is better than 16 days. Even if your hydrometer readings determine fermentation is complete, the extra week cleans things up and ensures the yeast are done. Also, if you want more alcohol try adding more malt, not booster. More malt has many benefits, including more taste and body.

I don't necessarily want more alcohol. I just want to hit the expected marks. 

 

I'm going to pay closer attention to the dates. But why does Mr. Beer instruct 7-14 days fermentation? It never is. I've traditionally done 3 weeks anyway, just thought this one might not need as long. Plus I have to brew and bottle when I have time so that plays a role. 

 

Thx for your input guys.

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You got 3.57%.  If you emptied the can completely, and emptied the LME pack completely, then there are several reasons why you didn't hit 4.0 - 4.1%.  I always swish water around in the can to get every last bit (the hot wort water is fine).  I don't use LME packs, but you need to squeeze out every drop.  

 

1) You read OG wrong.  

2) You read FG wrong.

3) You did improper temperature adjustments (normal adjustments are usually insignificant because you're so close to the calibration temperature.

4) You are reading the hydrometer wrong (see below).

5) Fermentation was not complete.  Unlikely because you would have had bottle bombs or bulging bottles.  

6) The yeast did not attenuate as much as expected, and then did not do more in the bottle (unlikely, because the sugar would have kicked it into gear).

 

 

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