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Old 09-20-2005, 05:51 PM   #1
gibfried
 
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I'm trying to come to grips with some of life's most proponderous questions. So bear with me please.

As a beginning brewer I chose ingredient kits to familiarize myself with different beers and the general methods of extract brewing. The kits have all tasted great - containing great hop selections and good amounts of specialty grains.

It seems as if I made a good mistake with my first several batches. I started out with 5 gallons in my primary. Then once I transfered to the secondary, I had less because of the trub leftovers. Then to my bottling bucket it ran. Well, of course, by bottling time I had lost a good amount and wasn't bottling 5 gallons worth.

But the beer was fantastic. Then I learned the error of my ways and worked up a chocolate stout, and bottled 5 gallons by adding sanitized water along the way to make up for the trub losses. After three weeks of rest in the bottles I've been sampling them.

Tastes watered down to me...

Should I end up with a final bottling volume of 5 gallons (for 5 gallon recipes), or should I just not compensate for the trub and other losses?

Any thoughts?
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Old 09-20-2005, 05:58 PM   #2
El Pistolero
 
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Seems as tho most of the experienced brewers here shoot for 5.5 in the primary. That compensates for the various losses. I added 10% to the DME in my last batch (to compensate for the extra half gallan) and after topping off to 5.5 gals in the primary my OG was right where it was supposed to be.
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Old 09-20-2005, 06:12 PM   #3
Walker
I use secondaries. :p
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yup. i make sure I have 6 gallons of water ready to go for brewing. the boil loses some, and then racking into the carboy loses some more, and I end up with something pretty close to 5.5 gallons in the primary and about 5 gallons bottled in the end.
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Old 09-20-2005, 06:43 PM   #4
Toilet Rocker
 
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I just began adjusting my water volume by using 6 G instead of 5 G when I start out. I notice my final gravities now are more on target and not crazy high. I wouldn't make it up for it once fermentation begins though.
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:14 AM   #5
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Yeah- I also try to add a little more water in the begining to compensate for loss. On one of my batches, I ended up with almost 7 gallons! I don't know how or why this happened- but it was for a basic ale kit and luckily turned out pretty good- nice summer sipper.

I do a 3 gallon boil and almost 3 in the primary now.
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Old 09-21-2005, 01:45 AM   #6
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I fill my carboys, with water, a measured '5 gallons',
then mark them with electrical tape, {but first}
{Dump the water out and dry the carboy off, real good.}
When brewing, I fill the 7.5 gallon primary,
{by eye} about a half gallon over the mark.
When I rerack to the secondary,
the wort fills the carboy to with in a few inches of the neck.
{Unless I drink it.}

The electrical tape lasts years if stuck on a dry carboy.
I don't go all the way around, but just a mark three or four inches long will do.
{Maybe several of them in case you do loose one.}
Then it is easy to keep them in place.


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Have a homebrew.

Reason: accuracy

 
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:03 AM   #7
Shambolic
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Just don't worry about the reduction in volume. I definitely wouldn't add water just to up the volume. You're better off with 45 bottles of good beer than 55 bottles of dirty water.

 
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Old 09-21-2005, 10:13 AM   #8
PT Ray
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gibfried
I'm trying to come to grips with some of life's most proponderous questions. .....
That just put a big grin on my face hearing that. When I first started brewing I had a hard time accepting that very fact. Somehow I felt cheated. As previously mentioned an easy fix is to adjust your recipe to start with a 5.5 initial volume. When I did finally get a final volume close to 5 gallons, it always left me with 48+ bottles. Then I had to rob some extra bottles out of another case, leaving me a partial case of bottles to deal with on the next batch. On the flip side, I wanted to cry the other day when a racked a brew into my secondary and not all of it would fit because my initial volume turned out to be a little too much (doh!).

 
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Old 09-21-2005, 03:39 PM   #9
gibfried
 
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Thanks for your input. I really don't have a problem with bottling a few less because of loss. What I'm interested in is good beer. That's why I started doing this anyway. I think I'd rather have my beer a bit more robust, and to be on the safe side either add a bit more fermentables or refrain from adding water.

Thanks again for your input. It's always good to hear wisdom from good beer drinkers.
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Drinking: Heavenly Honey Wheat,Chocolate Stout, London Porter, Big Fat Fatty's Oatmeal Stout, Pete's Porter, California Not So Common, Ugly Monk Belgium Abbey, Maple Brown
Upcoming Brew: Bass Clone, Fosters (a light drink for those who think beer has to be light).

 
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Old 09-21-2005, 04:01 PM   #10
Walker
I use secondaries. :p
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gibfried
It's always good to hear wisdom from good beer drinkers.
I think you mean "advice from drinkers of good beer".

My brother is a good beer drinker (as in, he's good at drinking beer), but you wouldn't want to follow any advice he might spew... especially if he's been good at drinking beer all day.

-walker
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