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Old 02-03-2014, 05:32 PM   #1
Conman13
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Default Add water to fermented beer for volume

My volume came up about a gallon short in a 5 gallon batch. My OG is also about 8 points too high.

This was the northern brewer patersbier all grain recipe. It's happily sitting in secondary right now, fully fermented, tasting good and being happy. Is it ok to add a gallon of water to complete the volume? Just pour it in slowly and gently swirl? Or would this be an egregious offense to the Beer Gods?

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Old 02-03-2014, 05:37 PM   #2
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At this point you would do a lot more harm through oxidation and not getting fully mixed than you would good. You can do it, but IMHO you are much better off leaving it as it. Its just a bigger version of what you intended.

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Old 02-03-2014, 05:40 PM   #3
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+1 for leaving it, just adjust your process for the next batch. 8 points isn't huge anyway

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Old 02-03-2014, 05:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conman13 View Post
This would be an egregious offense to the Beer Gods
Fixed it for ya.
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Old 02-03-2014, 06:04 PM   #5
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gonna take the other side of this issue. it seems like you want a higher volume of a slightly lower alcohol beer. the way to accomplish this is by adding water.

make sure the water is sanitized (i'd use purified store-bought).

you could just mix it in the bottling bucket or gently rack it under the surface of the beer, avoiding bubbling (i'll leave it to your imagination and available tools at hand to figure out how)

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Old 02-03-2014, 06:05 PM   #6
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Was your FG 8 points higher as well?
8 points in OG= no biggie, but 8 points in FG could be 1.020 vs. 1.012. Kind of sweet vs. dry.
In all of the thousands of posts I've read, I can't think of anyone watering down their beer after it's finished. Afterall, we don't want to be making Budlight
But I'm sure it has been done by someone. If you do, I'd make it distilled and boiled, then cooled. Probably would add it to the bottling bucket. If you are the one to bite the bullet and experiment. let us know the results.

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Old 02-03-2014, 06:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimRausch
But I'm sure it has been done by someone. If you do, I'd make it distilled and boiled, then cooled. Probably would add it to the bottling bucket. If you are the one to bite the bullet and experiment. let us know the results.
good idea. if it is that important to you then you can boil 1 gallon of water with your NORMAL AMOUNT of priming sugar, add that to the bottling bucket and then transfer before bottling.

i will say (though i have no science or numbers to back this up) that if you want a slightly smaller beer you should err on the side of caution when diluting your finished product. you said you are 8 points over your target, but adding a whole gallon of water will probably over dilute, and give you a beer that was smaller. than you wanted.

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Was your FG 8 points higher as well?
whenever i overshoot my OG, it doesn't affect my FG unless i did something like mash at too high a temp or under-aerate. if this is his problem, then there is another opportunity for improvement in his process that doesn't have to do with overshooting his FG
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Old 02-03-2014, 06:51 PM   #8
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If you do this, do not randomly select the amount of water to add based on the shortage, because you could way overshoot the change in FG that you are attempting to make. Perform a calculation using a Pearson's Square (there are online calculators) in order to either determine how much water you should add in order to obtain the result that you want or what the result would be if you go with the full gallon.

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Old 02-03-2014, 07:01 PM   #9
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Adding water to a beer after fermentation is sometimes called high gravity brewing or, more euphemistically, blending for volume. If you do this, you need to lower the amount of oxygen in the water as much as possible. If you don't the beer will quickly go stale. Boiling will reduce water to about 1 ppm, which is good enough for beer that you plan to drink within a month or two.
Generally, you shouldn't do this unless you've planned ahead for it. In your case, you came up with a thicker beer than you planned. So diluting it a bit may bring it down to your target. Good luck.

[Edit: You can do a small scale test of this before committing to diluting the full beer. Take a small sample and some carbonated water (or Michelob Ultra) and make the proposed blend. If it makes the beer better, proceed. If it's a toss-up, remember that you've got a nearly full batch of beer that tastes good and every attempt you make to improve it comes with a risk.]

Here's a little bit more on that topic:
http://beerandwinejournal.com/expand-theory/

Chris Colby
Editor
beerandwinejournal.com

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Old 02-03-2014, 07:21 PM   #10
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FG was actually under the target by a little bit. It finished at about 1.005, I was shooting for 1.008. This combined with the low volume means I have a 6.3% beer when I wanted about a 5.1-2% beer.

I will check out the Pearson Square equation to determine how much water would be necessary to reach my desired numbers.

I will be kegging this batch, so it will be going straight from the secondary to the keg. I suppose I could rack to another container that had pre-boiled and cooled water in it to accomplish the blend.

It sounds like if I do this, I need to be extremely careful. It seems possible to do, but probably not a great idea for most of us.

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