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Old 10-24-2011, 08:42 PM   #1
Alellujah
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Default Can you add water after fermentation has begun?

I put this in another thread, but it wasn't getting any action, so I'm starting anew.

I brewed a barleywine last night that came out to 1.124, but only about 4 gallons of wort (with a layer of trub on the bottom). I've already pitched and fermentation looks strong and healthy.

That OG is way higher than what I wanted, and volume is about a gallon and 1/2 shy. So the question is, is it too late to top up with a gallon and 1/2 of boiled and cooled water? I know all my readings will be off, but I just want more volume at a lower OG.

Thanks in advance!


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Old 10-24-2011, 08:46 PM   #2
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Well I have added other fermentables like simple syrup, molasses, etc. If I were going to add water I might do it at packaging time, though. That way, I can sample different dilutions to figure out what ratio I like best.


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Old 10-24-2011, 09:11 PM   #3
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^^^ I'd probably do the same. When bottling or kegging time comes boil up the remainder volume you want with your priming sugar for 5-10 minutes then cool and put in the bottling bucket. Rack on top and give a gentle stir with a sanitized spoon and bottle. Unless there's a smarter way - anyone?


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Old 10-24-2011, 09:23 PM   #4
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Thanks for the ideas, guys.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:05 AM   #5
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Wouldn't there be an issue in putting that much oxygenated water into your fermented wort? I don't know how long a you would need to boil a gallon and a half of water to de-oxygenate it, but likely longer than your 5-minute flash-sterilize.

If it were me I'd think about adding sooner rather than later - get the benefits of oxygen when your yeast want it rather than risking stale beer later. Just a thought.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:12 AM   #6
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Somewhere in a book/article/podcast a while back talked about blending with carbonated water. Basically, fill a keg with how much water you want to blend in (no chlorine...), get it carbonated to the same pressure and top off with your beer. Not sure how you would do this post-fermentation without kegs.

Edit: I'm assuming that you should boil the water first to sterilize and deoxygenate.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:32 AM   #7
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Well I'd suggest adding distilled water to your beer. You don't have to boil...it's already ok. Just sanitize the outside container before pouring.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:44 AM   #8
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It is pretty easy to calculate this: Concentration1 x Volume1 = Concentration2 x Volume 2. Volume 2 = Concentration 1 x Volume 1 / Concentration 2. Volume 2 - Volume 1 = Volume to add. Boil your water for sanitation or use distilled/RO, don't worry about oxidation; its still early in fermentation. The yeast will use the oxygen without damage.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:33 PM   #9
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Thanks so much for all the input, everyone!
I think that what I would consider doing is adding extra water to my priming sugar and blending it in that way. However, I've decided to take my lumps and just ride it out. Lesson learned: More pre-boil water volume for this style and amount of hops used.


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