Chapter 9

Fermenting Your First Beer

How Much Alcohol Will There Be?

This is a common question. While there are various laboratory techniques that can be employed to determine it precisely, there is a simple way to estimate it. The easiest is to use a "triple scale hydrometer" which has a percent alcohol by volume scale right on it. You subtract the respective percentages that correspond to your OG and FG, and there you have it.

If you don't have this type of hydrometer, the following table based on the work of Balling should satisfy your curiosity. To use the table, look for the intersection of your OG (columns) and your FG (rows). This number is your approximate percentage of alcohol by volume.

Table 8- Percent Alcohol by Volume (ABV) From Original and Final Gravity

1.030

1.035

1.040

1.045

1.050

1.055

1.060

1.065

1.070

1.075

0.998

4.1

4.8

5.4

6.1

6.8

7.4

8.1

8.7

9.4

10.1

1.000

3.9

4.5

5.2

5.8

6.5

7.1

7.8

8.5

9.1

9.8

1.002

3.6

4.2

4.9

5.6

6.2

6.9

7.5

8.2

8.9

9.5

1.004

3.3

4.0

4.6

5.3

5.9

6.6

7.3

7.9

8.6

9.3

1.006

3.1

3.7

4.4

5.0

5.7

6.3

7.0

7.7

8.3

9.0

1.008

2.8

3.5

4.1

4.8

5.4

6.1

6.7

7.4

8.0

8.7

1.010

2.6

3.2

3.8

4.5

5.1

5.8

6.5

7.1

7.8

8.4

1.012

2.3

2.9

3.6

4.2

4.9

5.5

6.2

6.8

7.5

8.2

1.014

2.0

2.7

3.3

4.0

4.6

5.3

5.9

6.6

7.2

7.9

1.016

1.8

2.4

3.1

3.7

4.4

5.0

5.7

6.3

7.0

7.6

1.018

1.5

2.2

2.8

3.4

4.1

4.7

5.4

6.0

6.7

7.3

1.020

1.3

1.9

2.5

3.2

3.8

4.5

5.1

5.8

6.4

7.1

1.022

1.0

1.6

2.3

2.9

3.6

4.2

4.9

5.5

6.2

6.8

1.024

0.8

1.4

2.0

2.7

3.3

4.0

4.6

5.2

5.9

6.5

In the next chapter (10), we will discuss how brewing and fermenting lager beer differs from ales. Then we will prepare to prime, bottle and ultimately consume our beer in Chapter 11 - Priming and Bottling.