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Question about Bourbon and Gravity

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by JeanPaulValley, May 3, 2013.

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  1. JeanPaulValley

    JeanPaulValley Feb 27, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Hey all, I'm pretty inexperienced with homebrewing, and currently have a porter in secondary (5 gallon batch). We extracted 3 vanilla beans in a some bourbon (8oz), and pitched that all into the beer when we moved it to secondary. There seems to still be activity, as the airlock is still bubbling intermittently. Here's my question: My gravity when I moved the beer to secondary had held steady at 1.018 for 4 days. After being in secondary for about a week, we took a gravity reading, and it was 1.020. We double and triple checked, but it definitely seems that the gravity is currently higher than when we transferred. Would the vanilla or bourbon raise the gravity, or should I just chalk this one up to human error?
  2. clearbrew

    clearbrew Nov 3, 2009 Louisiana

    It is very likely due to temperature changes.
    jbakajust1 likes this.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    The bourbon would lower the gravity.
  4. JeanPaulValley

    JeanPaulValley Feb 27, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Thanks for the replies guys. Now I know for the future.
  5. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Indeed! 8 oz bourbon would lower the gravity from 1.018 to 1.017777..., then a touch lower due to the alcohol. I didn't do the research necessary to calculate that, but I think it's safe to say that the resolution of a homebrew variety hydrometer would likely read 1.018 after adding the bourbon.

    I vote temperature.
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I just got 1.0168 based on bourbon at 0.920 SG. But I did it without a calculator, so I might be off.
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