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Adding water after the boil

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fraser9569

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Hi all,

Fairly new to brewing, I've done four or five kits and recently started to experiment with other peoples recipes posted online. I've struggled a bit with the wording for this question so I hope it makes sense - if not please ask for any parts you want clarified.

A lot of the recipes I've been looking at are for Grainfathers and machines with a far larger brewing capacity than I have. I only have a simple 5 gallon stove kettle and it's not large enough for some of the 5 gallon recipes I come across. I have been reducing the ingredients to 50%-75% to allow me to brew to the letter of the recipe but I've seen a few posts regarding brewing the wort to a greater concentration and diluting post boil with water.

Question I have is regarding how much grains I need in the mash and how much water I should add if I'm going to make a higher concentration wort?

Do I stick to the original recipe with regards to the amount of grains and then just top up to the required fermenter volume just prior to pitching the yeast? For example if the recipe calls for 5 gallons of water and 3lb of grain during the mash can I go with 3 gallons of water and 3lb of grain and then top up to the fermenter volume stated on the recipe?

From what I've read I believe it would be best to try and get the wort to the required OG stated in the recipe prior to pitching the yeast, would this be the best route to take?

Thanks in Advance,
Fraser
 

AJinJacksonville

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If you plug your recipe into a recipe calculator and scale it down to your capacity (which you advise is about three gallons), you should be able to tweak the numbers and amount of grain/hops/etc. It's a numbers game, but you may find that even with scaling down a 5 gallon recipe to 3, you will more than likely not get the exact same beer at the end if you were able to compare both to each other. Not sure if that make sense.
 
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fraser9569

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If you plug your recipe into a recipe calculator and scale it down to your capacity (which you advise is about three gallons), you should be able to tweak the numbers and amount of grain/hops/etc. It's a numbers game, but you may find that even with scaling down a 5 gallon recipe to 3, you will more than likely not get the exact same beer at the end if you were able to compare both to each other. Not sure if that make sense.
Hi man, thanks for the reply. Do you mean scaling down the entire recipe to ultimately come out with a smaller batch? I've been doing that but I'm just wondering if I can still end up with 5 gallons in the fermentor by having a more highly concentrated wort and watering it down before pitching. Are you suggesting that there's a recipe calculator that will do that for me? If so can you point me in the right direction of one?

Thanks,
Fraser
 

Calder

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If you are just using 3 lbs of grain in 5 gallons, then I assume you are also adding extract. I mash 8 lbs of grain in 2.5 gallons.

Post a recipe. I suspect the response will be to steep the grains in whatever volume you boil, and add a portion of the extract and boil. Then add the rest of the extract at flame-out, and top-up fermenter with water to final volume.

Yes you can boil a smaller volume with the sugars and add water afterwards.
 
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fraser9569

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If you are just using 3 lbs of grain in 5 gallons, then I assume you are also adding extract. I mash 8 lbs of grain in 2.5 gallons.

Post a recipe. I suspect the response will be to steep the grains in whatever volume you boil, and add a portion of the extract and boil. Then add the rest of the extract at flame-out, and top-up fermenter with water to final volume.

Yes you can boil a smaller volume with the sugars and add water afterwards.
Hi Calder, thanks for the reply, that was just an example I pulled from the sky with regards to the gal/lb ratio, I've converted the recipe to a 50% version and typed it into the format below its in the metric system and works out at around 1.25 lb per gallon which is still a fair way off your ratio.....perhaps I've made an error somewhere.

link to original recipe:


Ingredients

  • 15L of bottled water
  • 1.25Kg Crisp: Pale Ale Malt
  • 0.75Kg Weyermann: Premiere Pilsner Malt
  • 0.25Kg Crisp: Caramalt
  • 12g Galaxy hops
  • 10.65g Mosiac hops
  • 11.5g SafAle US-05
Method

  • Heat water to 65c, add grains and hold for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grains and bring wort to a rolling boil for 90 minutes.
  • Hop additions;

  • 1.4g Galaxy at start of boil
  • 3.54g Mosaic after 75 minutes
  • 3.54g Mosaic after 89 minutes

  • After 90 minutes allow temperature to drop to 77c and add;

  • 10.63g Galaxy
  • 3.54g Mosaic

  • Whirlpool for 5 minutes.
  • Chill to 20c and add to fermenter.
  • Add water to take volume to 11.5L (if required).
  • When temperature hits 18c, aerate wort and pitch yeast.
  • Ferment at 17c for 2 weeks.
  • Rack beer on to mango and peaches (100g of each per L) and ferment for 1-2 weeks.
Bottling

  • Make priming sugar solution (7g per L) and rack beer on top before bottling and conditioning for 2 weeks.
 

Stormcrow

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To answer your original question, yes I think you can do that. Use the amount of grain for the full batch with as much water as you can, then add the rest of the water later. I've done something similar with good results, though for me the amount of water I was short was probably only a gallon or so. If you had a good mash, the target og should be reached in the end as long as you top off to the proper volume the recipe shoots for. I would advise that you boil your top off water for a few minutes so that it is sanitized. You could even do that early and put it in the fridge so that it can help cool the wort whenever you blend them.
 

Toxxyc

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I do exactly that. I can only boil 18l (which is around 4.7 Gallons), but I mash with more grain, and sparge with more water and do it slower and hotter to extract the most sugars from the malt. It allows me to end up with a relatively nice efficiency now (around 77%), and when I'm done I end up with 20l of sligthly concentrated wort in my no-chill cube.

After chilling, right before decanting into the fermenter, I'll usually draw a wort sample, see where the gravity is at and dilute to the exact gravity I want with clean water. I'm usually accurate enough to not stuff up the IBUs I calculated into the boil. This allows me to end up with around 6.5 gallons in the fermenter, but I only mash and boil around 4.7 gallons.

PS: If you're doing no-chill, I would do the same as I do. Dilute RIGHT before pitching yeast. Never dilute with unboiled or cold water into the cube. Risk of infection is too great.
 
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