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Old 04-22-2009, 08:01 PM   #1
Neunelfer
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Default Bringing the beer to the correct volume.

So I brewed an Austin Homebrew kit and it's a little different than I have done before. After boiling the 2.5gal and combining with cooled water that I had previously boiled (I made some strong calculation errors), I ended up with around 3gal of wort after combining. I didn't have time to boil another 2.5gal to get to the recommended 5.25gal mark... so I went ahead with primary fermination. I am now ready to go to secondary but the question now is... should I add an additional 2gals to get up to 5gal batch size or will it make the beer watery? Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 04-22-2009, 08:11 PM   #2
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At this point you're going to be essentially watering down your beer. Although some guys say to boil the water before using it to top off the batch, I have never done so and have never had a problem. Was your OG way off due to the much lower volume?

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Old 04-22-2009, 08:16 PM   #3
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I wouldn't. Just go with the fermented volume....

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Old 04-22-2009, 08:33 PM   #4
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The thing is, any damage from the hops or yeast being in too high a gravity wort is already done. So the only thing you'd be gaining is it would thin out the beer. It might be desirable if you really want it to be a session beer, but there is still at least one problem with adding water now. The yeast are done with their most active stage of fermentation, so I doubt they are going to do a good job of mixing the water with the beer. And you can't thoroughly mix it yourself, because you will be adding substantial amounts of oxygen, which can spoil the beer. And if you do no mixing, you could end up with a mix of watery bottles and super strong bottles. If you're kegging, maybe it would be ok if you shake it when the keg is purged of air, but again the only thing it will do is make the beer more watery.

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Old 04-22-2009, 09:16 PM   #5
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Somewhere out there is an article (BYO, maybe?) about adding water later, post-fermentation, though even then the amount is supposed to be fairly small (a gallon or so).

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Old 04-22-2009, 09:20 PM   #6
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Blend it with another beer, either homebrewed to compensate for the mistakes you made with the original batch, or commercial. American Lagers work well if you need to thin out the beer and/or add extra carbonation. Pale Ales/IPAs are good for adding hoppiness, dark lagers for adding maltiness, and Stouts/Porters for adding roastiness.

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Old 04-22-2009, 09:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsmith179 View Post
At this point you're going to be essentially watering down your beer. Although some guys say to boil the water before using it to top off the batch, I have never done so and have never had a problem. Was your OG way off due to the much lower volume?
I have a hydrometer I just don't have a sanitary way of extraction beer from the carboys yet... I need to invest in a wine thief sort of device.

I was thinking about just adding tap water and in hindsight it might have been a better choice.

Any idea what the beer will taste like with such a low volume of water? Maybe I should add ~.5gal to bolster it up a little?
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:33 PM   #8
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I would just leave it be for now, and do what ArcaneXor suggests and blend it with other beers @ serving time.

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Old 04-23-2009, 02:36 PM   #9
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Personally, I don't worry about hitting a particular volume--I focus instead on trying to hit the right SG. If the SG is "right," then there is no reason to add to or dilute what you have. I know you said you can't really read the SG at this point, but you should invest in a wine thief for your next batch so you're able to do so--its a good tool to help you figure out if your end result is "off," which will help your accuracy on your future batches.

As for your question: I'd leave this batch alone, and just mentally chalk it up as a lesson on "dialing in" your brewing setup and process. It's a process...

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