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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Loss of a gallon of beer?
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:36 PM   #1
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Default Loss of a gallon of beer?

I have only been brewing for about a year or so and this may sound like a dumb question, but here goes.

When I brew the beer/ale I end up with 5 gallons that goes into the primary. Later after a couple weeks I transfer to a secondary.

At the point I am ready to bottle it seems I have only 4 gallons. So I will assume the missing gallon is in the sediment at bottom but seems like much loss of beer. Should I try adding a bit more water when brewing to primary and if so, how much to not lose the taste and quailty?

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Old 02-23-2014, 10:40 PM   #2
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Are you brewing lots of hoppy beers? I typically lose about a half gallon to yeast/trub at the bottom of the fermenter, but if I brew something with a substantial amount of hop matter, that loss will go up.

A couple other thoughts:

-You may be too cautious and leaving too much beer on top of the sediment.
-You may not be leaving enough time in the fermenter. A little extra time will allow that cake to compact a little bit (although some strains leave a looser cake than others).

No matter what your batch size, you will have loss due to the yeast cake. If you're interested in getting more into the package, you can increase the batch size, but if you're brewing a recipe that's designed for 5 gallons into the fermenter, and you're putting 5.5 gallons into the fermenter without scaling up the ingredients, you're effectively watering the beer down. If you've got brewing software, you can scale up the recipe (most software programs have a scaling function and can do the math for you). Some folks target 6 gallons after the boil, figuring a loss of a half gallon to kettle trub and another half gallon to the yeast cake, so they have 5 gallons packaged.

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Old 02-23-2014, 10:53 PM   #3
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A good cold crash will also help with compacting and hardening the yeast cake prior to bottling.

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Old 02-24-2014, 01:38 AM   #4
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Default This will account for some of your volume loss.


I saw this clip a few hours after reading your post. It explains how alcohol molecules are smaller than water and can slip into the space between the water molecules. The myth-buster girl explains it better. I know it wouldn't account for a whole gallon missing but I thought it was pretty interesting and would account for some of your missing wort.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:53 AM   #5
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Was she talking? I find it hard to pay attention to anything when she's on screen ...

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Old 02-24-2014, 01:59 AM   #6
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In a nominal 5 gal batch, losing 1 to 1.5 gal between the brew kettle, primary, secondary, and the bottling bucket seems typical to me--the higher end of that range if doing a heavy dose of dry hops. I do 6 gallon batches to sorta compensate for the loss.

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Old 02-24-2014, 04:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gvtspook View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnLA7cHEVeM

I saw this clip a few hours after reading your post. It explains how alcohol molecules are smaller than water and can slip into the space between the water molecules. The myth-buster girl explains it better. I know it wouldn't account for a whole gallon missing but I thought it was pretty interesting and would account for some of your missing wort.
thats methanol not ethanol
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:09 AM   #8
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Default At 1:26 she says that alcohol molecules are are smaller than water molecules

and that's why it works. Since both methanol and ethanol are variants of alcohol I was thinking that ethanol would work the same. Now I could be wrong. It has been a long time since I had a chemistry class. I was just going by the fact that she was talking about alcohol in general regardless of the specific type she was using but TV has steered me wrong before. My House is littered with snuggies and things they promised could can make minute made orange juice in only thirty seconds.

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Old 02-24-2014, 12:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gvtspook View Post
and that's why it works. Since both methanol and ethanol are variants of alcohol I was thinking that ethanol would work the same. Now I could be wrong. It has been a long time since I had a chemistry class. I was just going by the fact that she was talking about alcohol in general regardless of the specific type she was using but TV has steered me wrong before. My House is littered with snuggies and things they promised could can make minute made orange juice in only thirty seconds.
No you're not wrong ethanol will decrease the volume too.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrazela View Post
In a nominal 5 gal batch, losing 1 to 1.5 gal between the brew kettle, primary, secondary, and the bottling bucket seems typical to me--the higher end of that range if doing a heavy dose of dry hops. I do 6 gallon batches to sorta compensate for the loss.
+1 to this. Your going to have a bit of loss at every step the only thing you can do is try to minimize those losses or brew a bigger batch to compensate those losses.
Make sure your getting a good cold break and whirlpool at the end of your boil. The more break material you leave behind in the kettle the less trub you'll have in your primary.
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