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Old 09-01-2012, 03:55 PM   #1
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Default Messed up; 3.5 gallons fermenting; NEED HELP

I could have swore I started with 5 gallons (and a little extra) and had my wife double check me. The beer has been fermenting 7 days and I just turned the light on in that unused bathroom it is sitting in and I could see the liquid level at only 3.5!?!? Could I have lost that much in the boil? Prob not, I prob F'd up. I thought the 6 gallon bucket seemed nearly full so I paid no mind. I haven't popped the top to confirm but seems pretty evident.

Can I distill some water, bring it down to 70 degrees, and add it now? What do I do? Big mahalo and thank you in advance for helping out a newb!

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Old 09-01-2012, 04:01 PM   #2
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you started with 5 gallons before you boiled? It's common to lose about 1G per hour of boiling...

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Old 09-01-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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I wouldn't add water at this point. You'll end up diluting the beer down and ending with low alcohol and watered down flavor. Just let it go, watch the gravity until it stabilizes and bottle your 3.5 gallons and enjoy. Next brewday, watch your volumes a bit closer. Id suggest you try boiling a few gallons of water in your boil kettle for 60-90 min to figure out your boil off rate before your next brew. That way you know how much wort you need, preboil.

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Old 09-01-2012, 04:06 PM   #4
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Agree with Doc, I wouldn't add water now.

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Old 09-01-2012, 04:09 PM   #5
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Thank you for the advice. So if the beer was originally supposed to be 5.5% alcohol, and I added the appropriate amount of yeast and sugar (and a little extra per a modified recipe so maybe 6.5%), am I now going to have like a barley wine or worse type of alcohol level because it's only 3.5 gallons?

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Old 09-01-2012, 04:11 PM   #6
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is there a puddle of beer in the bathroom?

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Old 09-01-2012, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnyhitch1 View Post
is there a puddle of beer in the bathroom?
No. I checked for that. It would smell strong if there were too.
Maybe my wife has been drinking it in the middle of the night! haha
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:21 PM   #8
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What was your starting gravity before fermentation started? You would have easily figured something was off, if you took a reading. It would be way off in that case.

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Old 09-01-2012, 04:25 PM   #9
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What was your starting gravity before fermentation started? You would have easily figured something was off, if you took a reading. It would be way off in that case.
Another NEWB mistake. I had the wife steel some wort with a sanitized baster and I sealed it up and put the airlock on. When I went to take the reading she had not got the amount of wort I needed and the hydrometer didn't even float a bit.....or is it the spec gravity the reason it didn't float?

This is only my 3rd batch and the 1st was amazing with no readings, so I just said whatever and kept the bucket closed for fear of infection.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 31FIFTY View Post
Thank you for the advice. So if the beer was originally supposed to be 5.5% alcohol, and I added the appropriate amount of yeast and sugar (and a little extra per a modified recipe so maybe 6.5%), am I now going to have like a barley wine or worse type of alcohol level because it's only 3.5 gallons?
You can't know the actual ABV % unless you took accurate gravity readings prior to fermentation. You could assume you'll have a higher alcohol content as you have the same amount of fermentable sugars in a smaller volume, however you can't calculate the % without gravities.

As you stated in another post regarding the first beer you made "without numbers", this will probably turn our fine, but if you think it may be higher ABV due to low volumes, give it more time to condition both in bulk (primary) and in the bottles to carbonate. I'd suggest at least 3 weeks in each.
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