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Old 07-08-2009, 11:19 PM   #1
nodough
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Default Stupid beginner mistake.....

Hi, I'm completely new to homebrewing and am really looking forward to making some tasty brews. Unfortunately I've already screwed up. I'm making a 5 gallon Brewers Best IPA. Everything was going fine until 5 minutes ago. My brew has been sitting for 48 hrs and I just now noticed that I forgot to fill it up to the 5 gallon mark (it's just a little above the 4 gallon line). My question is: can I simply add the extra water without screwing up the brew? And did this effect my original gravity? Any help would be very much appreciated. Maybe next time I won't have so many beers


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Old 07-08-2009, 11:24 PM   #2
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It made your OG higher. It'll be a stronger brew than if you had added water.

I'd just leave it alone. It'll be fine...a little stronger is all.

You could top it off if you really wanted to, but as I said, I'd leave it alone and see how it turns out. Maybe call it an imperial IPA.


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Old 07-08-2009, 11:25 PM   #3
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im with Rick500. adding water now runs the risk of oxidation and contamination. leave it alone.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:26 PM   #4
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How much would you need to add to get 5 gal?

I wouldn't worry too much about it at this point. You'll just be a little higher in gravity and ABV.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:27 PM   #5
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Welcome to HBT and homebrewing!

Yes, the short volume affected your original gravity. Less volume = higher concentration of sugars = higher original gravity.

Now, you can do one of two things: 1) relax, and let it be what it is-- a slightly stronger beer than you planned on (IPA's should be strong anyway!), or 2) add some cooled boiled non-aerated water to the fermenter asap, minimizing any splashing (you don't want to introduce any air at this point), and don't forget to sanitize anything the cooled water touches.

Option 2 is probably controversial, depending on who you ask, but it's really the only simple way of fixing the volume at this stage.

Either way, I'm sure the beer will come out fine!

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Old 07-08-2009, 11:27 PM   #6
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Presumably your OG will be higher. Do you have a hydrometer? If so take a gravity reading and see where you are at. If you wanted to you could top it off with more water, but it would need to be water you have boiled then allowed to cool to about the current temp of the wort. No need to top it up though, not a big deal.

Either way it is not screwed up, may just be a bit strong.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:29 PM   #7
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Steve's got it; if you wanted to add the boiled, cooled top-off water quietly, you could even siphon it in, in order to minimize oxidation. If it were me, I'd just leave it be and have fewer, stronger beers.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:29 PM   #8
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I might be inclined to add water- but not right now. First, wait until it's finished up and you check the gravity (the FG). Taste it. If it's saying to you, "Good beer, but it needs to be watered down a little", then you can simply add more water to your bottling bucket when you bottle. Instead of boiling a cup of water and dissolving the priming sugar, you can boil up the .75 gallon or so that you're missing and add the sugar to it. Put that in your bottling bucket, and then rack the beer into it.

Now, when you take the sample, you may decide that the beer is great as is, and doesn't need to have water added to it. That's fine! It'll just give you a little bit "thicker" and higher alcohol beer. Either way, it'll still be good beer.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:34 PM   #9
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The OG was 1.061. The instructions in the kit said between 1.050 and 1.055.
I thought this was strange only because I matched the kits FG perfectly at 1.015 (although at the high end). I'll leave it alone because I love higher alcohol beers. Thanks for the quick responses and lowering my blood pressure!
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:35 PM   #10
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The OG was 1.061. The instructions in the kit said between 1.050 and 1.055.
I thought this was strange only because I matched the kits FG perfectly at 1.015 (although at the high end). I'll leave it alone because I love higher alcohol beers. Thanks for the quick responses, great advice and lowering my blood pressure!


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