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Old 12-12-2012, 09:13 PM   #1
Chief462
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Default Can you add Water after primary ferementation

I made an imperial wheat with OG of 1.124, made 2L starter of white labs english ale. Had a extreme ferementation and lost about a gallon in the blow off. So with trub loss and blow off My original 5.5 gallon will be down to 4 gallons. After Primary is over can I top off with a gallon of water to bring back to 5. Will this affect anything beside abv.

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Old 12-12-2012, 09:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief462
I made an imperial wheat with OG of 1.124, made 2L starter of white labs english ale. Had a extreme ferementation and lost about a gallon in the blow off. So with trub loss and blow off My original 5.5 gallon will be down to 4 gallons. After Primary is over can I top off with a gallon of water to bring back to 5. Will this affect anything beside abv.
I would think no bc it would give the beer a watered down taste. I personally would just get over the loss and stay with the 4 gallons.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:24 PM   #3
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Yes you can but you need to boil the water first, then cool to add and you can do this while still in the primary. It will dilute the beer and the ABV will be less. In addition, when adding you need to add very slowly so as not to introduce O2 so you do not oxidize the beer.

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Old 12-12-2012, 11:31 PM   #4
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If it tastes good, then why mess with it? I totally sympathize with "homebrewer greed" where you plan to make 5 gallons and you'll be damned if you get one ounce less! But there's no sense in messing with a good thing. Are you kegging? If so, how about get it in the keg, carbonate, and pour a sample. Then dilute it by 20% and see how you like it. It won't be perfect because the water won't be carbonated but you'll get the idea.

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Old 12-12-2012, 11:48 PM   #5
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Yes, you will dilute everything about the beer by 25%.

If you were happy with the beer other than the loss of volume, I can't even fathom why you would be keen on diluting the beer.

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Old 12-13-2012, 03:53 AM   #6
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With an OG of 1.124 you'd be fine diluting it down a bit, I've done it a few times either directly racking onto sanitized water in a keg or bottling bucket. I usually slit the difference though, if I ended up with 4g I just add a .5g to get it to 4.5g. Definitely give it taste first though, always hard to tell on a beer that big but if you think it's exceptional you may want to leave it, if it's a little on the heavy side then add a little water.

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Old 12-13-2012, 02:10 PM   #7
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It will work, and there is good advice above. Boil the water for a while first---I'd probably go half an hour or so. This is to sanitize it (which only needs a few minutes) and to deoxygenate it (which may take longer, I don't have a good number, so I'd just boil as long as is convenient). Cover and cool it, and I'd suggest siphoning it in to avoid splashing.

Before doing this, though, test it on a small quantity. I'd draw a few ounces of beer out and put something like 2 ounces (1/4 cup) in a glass. Taste it. Add a teaspoon (1/6 ounce) or maybe 1/2 teaspoon (1/12 ounce) of water, stir it up, and taste again. If it still tastes good, add another teaspoon and try again. Note when it starts tasting worse and try to remember where you thought it tasted best.

Then, start over with a couple ounces of pure beer and add what you thought was the best amount of water and try again. Make sure you're happy with that. If so, scale it up and dilute in that ratio. If you have 4 gallons, then that's 512 ounces, so a 2 ounce sample is 1/256 of that, or about 0.4%. So whatever dilution you liked best, multiply by 256 to figure out the amount of water to add to the whole batch. That works out to about 43 ounces (5.3 cups) per teaspoon added to your sample.

Anyway, that's how I'd do it. But I'd be cautious about this---you have 4 gallons of very strong, probably very expensive beer on your hands. It'd be a shame to spoil it trying to stretch it to 5 gallons. I'd be strongly inclined to "suffer" with a smaller number of bottles of full-strength beer. With something that strong, you could also look into smaller bottles since you may only want an 6-8 ounce serving in one go. I'm not sure how feasible that is, but a few cases of 6-oz Coke bottles full of beer would be pretty cool.

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Old 12-14-2012, 01:30 AM   #8
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You can do it. As folks have said, make sure you boil it to get oxygen out of it, as that can cause the beer to stale quickly.

Many contract brewers do this deliberately. It allows them to increase volume without adding additional fermentation capacity.

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Old 12-19-2012, 05:34 PM   #9
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Its part of a larger project where 12 of us are making 55 gallons to be put in a rye barrel for aging. So I will leave as is to not affect the overall beer.

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