Adding Ice to Finished Beer

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BryanEBIAB

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I’m still messing around with my new-to-me all-grain setup/routine/recipe and sometimes overshoot my OG and don’t have extra room in the fermenter for more water to bring it down. Sometimes my FG is surprisingly lower than expected. Anyway, sometimes my ABV is 2+% higher than targeted. I thought a lot about how to add water to the keg after fermentation without oxygenating but ultimately, I found that adding a few cubes of ice to my pint glass does a rather swell job. I over-carbonate a bit to compensate for the extra flat water but don’t feel like it makes a ton of difference. Plus, my beer stays nice and cold. Makes a great shandy too.

Now, I know a lot of folks will say “if you like it, do it—who cares??” But I’m interested in other people’s thoughts. Is there anything that adding ice to my too-high ABV beer might do that I’m overlooking? Am I angering the home brew gods?
 
I'm sure you're angering someone, but I doubt their feelings matter.

It's not something I'd ever do, and I'd probably look at you weird for a bit if I saw it, but at the end of the day I don't really care.

For the long term I would just work on getting your gravities dialed in better, which will come with practice. Or maybe you'll just be putting ice in your beer until the end of time, definitely not the weirdest thing anyone is doing 🤷‍♂️
 
Definitely a weird move, but there have been weirder moves and stranger people roaming this forum. Do you bro.
 
Haha, definitely hope I’m not putting ice in my beer forever! Long term plan is to definitely settle on a routine but in the meantime, I’ve been experimenting with various things—probably too many at once—that may affect my efficiency: mashing overnight (not sold), more insulation (meh), finally a recirculating pump (fun, I think this is my ticket), etc.
 
Like you mentioned, a shandy works, too. That's always a good way to turn a strong beer into a summer session drink.

But you shouldn't have to dilute your brews.

Now that you have done some AG brews you should work on your brewhouse calculations. Obviously, you're getting higher than expected efficiency. Dial in your numbers so you aren't having to dilute the finished beer. You can adjust your mash bill (make it smaller), so you don't keep overshooting OG. And since you are getting lower than expected FG, that could be a mash temp error. Is your thermometer calibrated?
 
Pouring a beer in a nice big glass w some ice can be just the ticket if you've been working all day, maybe a bit dehydrated, and want to drink beer.

Not something I do a lot w my own brew, but back in the day, w commercial beers, it's not like you can ruin the flavor, and you got that six pack in the fridge after a long hot day's work..& kinda parched.
 
I’m still messing around with my new-to-me all-grain setup/routine/recipe and sometimes overshoot my OG and don’t have extra room in the fermenter for more water to bring it down. Sometimes my FG is surprisingly lower than expected. Anyway, sometimes my ABV is 2+% higher than targeted. I thought a lot about how to add water to the keg after fermentation without oxygenating but ultimately, I found that adding a few cubes of ice to my pint glass does a rather swell job. I over-carbonate a bit to compensate for the extra flat water but don’t feel like it makes a ton of difference. Plus, my beer stays nice and cold. Makes a great shandy too.

Now, I know a lot of folks will say “if you like it, do it—who cares??” But I’m interested in other people’s thoughts. Is there anything that adding ice to my too-high ABV beer might do that I’m overlooking? Am I angering the home brew gods?
Perhaps you could remove some of the high OG wort and add water to your fermenter to get the OG where you want it. You could then ferment the wort you removed as a small batch or save to make starters. Just a thought!
 
sometimes overshoot my OG and don’t have extra room in the fermenter for more water to bring it down.
Use a bigger fermenter? You don’t say what size batch you are making or what you are using for a fermenter. But just like you don’t boil 5 gallons in a 5 gallon pot, you don’t ferment 5 gallons is a 5 gallon carboy.
 
The plan is to put about 5.5 gallons of wort into a 6.5 gallon plastic bucket primary fermenter (my trusty old Ale Pail), transfer about 5.25 gallons of beer into a glass carboy for lagering, and finally transfer 5 gallons into a corny for drinking. Things don’t always go according to plan and I think I was pushing 6 gallons in the primary when this happened.

Upgrading all those vessels wouldn’t be my first choice. If and when it happens again, I’ll follow Dan’s suggestion above and add the necessary water to hit my target OG. The excess will get saved for future starters.
 
The plan is to put about 5.5 gallons of wort into a 6.5 gallon plastic bucket primary fermenter (my trusty old Ale Pail), transfer about 5.25 gallons of beer into a glass carboy for lagering, and finally transfer 5 gallons into a corny for drinking. Things don’t always go according to plan and I think I was pushing 6 gallons in the primary when this happened.

Upgrading all those vessels wouldn’t be my first choice. If and when it happens again, I’ll follow Dan’s suggestion above and add the necessary water to hit my target OG. The excess will get saved for future starters.

No need to transfer to a secondary...keep it in the primary and cold crash/lager directly in the keg...you're playing with too much oxygen moving the beer so much.
 
No need to transfer to a secondary...keep it in the primary and cold crash/lager directly in the keg...you're playing with too much oxygen moving the beer so much.
At risk of getting a little off topic but yeah, I’ve heard plenty about how secondaries have gone out of fashion due to oxygen concerns. Can’t say I ever noticed an issue with my beer doing it this way though. I end up with a ton of trub, maybe a gallon, and I appreciate the chance to leave it behind in the primary. I immediately use the primary again for a new batch (not cleaning it is awesome) so I like that it’s not tied up lagering.
 

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