I've got a 5-gallon (wort) batch of barleywine that I just transferred to secondary, and I've now got about 4.5 gal of liquid. After secondary, I'm expecting to have about 4.2 gallons (added premiere cuvee yeast).
Can I compensate for the loss of volume by adding an appropriate mix of vodka and water? That is, if the beer's supposed to end up with around 11.5% ABV, can I dilute vodka with distilled water until I get around a 12% solution, and then add an appropriate volume of that mix to my bottling bucket, so that my final bottling batch fills 5 gallons total?
I'm guessing that no one would be able to taste the difference, and I'd end up with another four or 5 bottles than I would otherwise. After all, any good barleywine should have some kind of alcohol taste in its profile, I think!
Anyway, this was a random thought I had today when I was staring at my carboy, which has about half-an-inch of solids precipitated at the bottom. I hate it when I can't fill up at least 48 12-oz bottles! I thought about diluting the final bottling batch with water, but then I realized that you can add vodka to beers without tasting the difference.
I'm sure this has been attempted before...but if not, I'll gladly try it out and post the results!