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Old 10-07-2013, 05:29 PM   #1
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Default HELP! Has anyone dealt with this?

We brewed a 5 gallon batch on our single tier system with RIM. Started with about 7 gallons in the HLT to have sufficient sparge. Wound up with 5.75 gallons in the boil kettle at the start. Tossed in leaf hops (in a muslin hop sock) at 60 mins. Sent the hot wort through the chiller and finished with 3.75 gallons in the fermenter!!! I am a little surprised so much was lost but I am guessing the leaf hops, the hop sock and the chiller accounted for so much???

Here is my question... should I top off the fermenter with clear water to get back to 5 gallons? I already pitched the yeast, and 14 hours later we are bubbling along nicely!

Thoughts and observations PLEASE!!!

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Old 10-07-2013, 06:54 PM   #2
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I lose 2-2.5 gal/hr but my kettle is very wide. Measure originally volume and final volume w/o chiller, preferably at similar temp. I squeeze my hop bags so they don't take too much. If you are way high in OG you might consider adding water bit I would have done that before fermentation started.

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Old 10-07-2013, 07:03 PM   #3
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Sounds about right for the volumes you are talking about.

For a batch I brewed yesterday, I mashed with 3.1 gallons and sparged with 5.6. I ended up with 7.5 in the kettle before boiling, 5.4 after, and about 5.1 into the fermenter. I boil off almost the same amount every time - 2.1 gallons.

Once it's started fermenting, I wouldn't add any water. You're pretty much stuck with what you've got.

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Old 10-07-2013, 07:35 PM   #4
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I should have squeezed my hop bags, but pulling them from the boiling wort presented a challenge.

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I lose 2-2.5 gal/hr but my kettle is very wide. Measure originally volume and final volume w/o chiller, preferably at similar temp. I squeeze my hop bags so they don't take too much. If you are way high in OG you might consider adding water bit I would have done that before fermentation started.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:14 PM   #5
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I should have squeezed my hop bags, but pulling them from the boiling wort presented a challenge.
Haha. I tend to wait until the wort is cooled down and then do it with sanitized hands!
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:19 PM   #6
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I would not suggest adding water because you lost sugars with those hops. If it was just boil off I'd say go ahead and add water, no biggie. If you add water at this point you will just be watering down past where you want it. If you are really concerned about volume boil some water and extract at your OG, let it cool then add it to the fermenting wort.

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Old 10-07-2013, 08:24 PM   #7
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I'd take this as a learning experience and fix volumes moving forward

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Old 10-07-2013, 08:25 PM   #8
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This partly summarizes what's been said already because this issue has several sides:

  1. It depends on your OG. If your OG was high, you can top off with enough water to reach your target OG.
  2. If your OG was NOT high, you need to top up with target-gravity wort, not water. You may need to bitter this wort in order to avoid an unplanned, maltier beer.
  3. Since fermentation has already started, you'll need to work off calculations from the OG in any case.
  4. Be careful not to aerate as you top up. If you're topping up with wort instead of water, add some yeast nutrient.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:31 PM   #9
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Thats the crux of my surprise! I started with a 7.5 HLT for a 5 gal batch! I've never used that much leaf hops before (and may never again), so I am blaming them partly for soaking up too much wort! I just wondered what the collective opinion was for adding water, and NOT hurting the brew. I get the OG will be affected, and I won't know by how much unless I just toss in some pre-bolied cool water.

It is a simple one malt batch with an OG of 1.03.


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I'd take this as a learning experience and fix volumes moving forward
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:57 PM   #10
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So then was the 5.75 gallons your full volume before you started your boil? Or what was the volume before you started boiling? Was the 7.5 gallons all the water you used for a full 5 gallon batch?

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