Watered down first batch

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smiff707

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My first batch has been bottle conditioning for 2 weeks so I pulled a couple out to try and they seem watered down or weak. They have no body. I was just wondering what the problem could be or even if there is a problem.

I'll tell you my process and you all can tell me where i went wrong. 2 cans(6.6#) of LME boiled for 60 min, hops added throughout according to the directions in the extract kit. I pitched the yeast a little early when wort temp was around 85 or 90 degrees. Then, in the primary, did not use a blowoff hose only an airlock and the lid blew off my plastic primary bucket after 1.5 days in the primary. No problems though, i just put the lid back on and it continued to ferment fine. Well after one week, there were very few bubbles in the airlock so i transfered to a secondary and dry hopped. Now here's my first question: my secondary fermenter is a 5 gal glass carboy and when i transfered from the primary my batch didnt fill the carboy all the way up so i added more water in the secondary, around .75 gallons. could this be the reason for my weak brew? Then i bottled after only one week so, total, it had one week in the primary and one week in the secondary then bottled. It's been exactly one month since brewing. Could I have a problem or am i just being impatient?

Also a couple other questions if you dont mind. I have heard that you should not leave your brew in the primary for an extended period of time sitting on that layer of yeast because that dead yeast will make the beer taste bad. but on several threads, ive heard of people letting there brew sit in the primary for weeks. Which is correct? Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

ArcaneXor

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Your beer tastes watered down because that's what you did with it - you added water. That's generally a very bad idea.

Extended primaries are fine. Autolysis is extremely rare with healthy yeast, and you'll reap more benefits by leaving the beer on the yeast, allowing fermentation by-products to be re-absorbed by the yeast as they go dormant.
 

Yooper

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Now here's my first question: my secondary fermenter is a 5 gal glass carboy and when i transfered from the primary my batch didnt fill the carboy all the way up so i added more water in the secondary, around .75 gallons. could this be the reason for my weak brew?
Yes, adding water to a completed brew will, well, water it down. Just like if you have a beer in your glass and you add water to it. Next time, don't add water.

I leave my beer in primary for 3-4 weeks, and it makes a nice clean tasting brew. Many older texts warn of autolysing yeast, but I think it's very rare. I wouldn't worry at all about it, unless you left it on the trub for months, not weeks.
 
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smiff707

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Thanks a lot guys. Of course if i add water to my beer that will make it taste watered down. I know it was a stupid question but I had to ask it. I knew that was the reason but i guess i just had to hear it from someone else. Thanks for putting up with us newbies and our questions!
 

Yooper

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Thanks a lot guys. Of course if i add water to my beer that will make it taste watered down. I know it was a stupid question but I had to ask it. I knew that was the reason but i guess i just had to hear it from someone else. Thanks for putting up with us newbies and our questions!
NOT a stupid question! I came into brewing as a winemaker, where we ALWAYS topped up our carboys. It was strange to start making beer and not do that. It's crucial for wine, since it stays in the carboy for a very long time and fermentation is finished, so no co2 is protecting it. But for beer, there is still plenty of co2 in solution to form a "blanket" over the headspace and protect it, so topping up isn't necessary in most (if not all) cases.

The other thing that I did at first was worry about quantity- if the recipe said 5 gallons, I expected 5 gallons, darn it! Later I realized that 4.75 gallons of really good beer (after racking losses, etc) is better than exactly 5 gallons of slightly watered down beer. When you make up your own recipes and purchase ingredients on your own (not a kit), then you can design your recipe to make 5.5 gallons, so you actually end up with 5 gallons if you want to. It's not that important to me any more, but I usually make 5.25 gallon batches so that I have a little more at the end.

Don't ever worry about asking questions! We might kid you a bit, but you're not the only one learning when you ask the questions. We're all learning here, all the time!
 

histo320

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When I started brewing I did 2.75 Gal boils with extract. Well, I decided to move up to 4.75 gal boils and top off my carboy with a bit of water to get it up to 5. Since upgrading my kettle I have gotten much fuller and better tasting beers.

If you are only using a small kettle, I would upgrade.
 

Grinder12000

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I was going to say what yoop said about winemaking. I know MANY winemakers that when they make their first brew top off the carboy with water.

One thing I don't thing anybody mentioned is sometimes people use distilled water which can have a bad effect one the final product. You need minerals and so forth to work their magic.
 

Jaymo

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Here's a related question:

Awhile back I made a 5 gallon batch, but apparently (due to some foaming while topping the primary up to 5 gallons) only topped up to a little under 4.5 gallons. I left it until transferring to a secondary, at which time the LHBS recommended I add a bit more water (after boiling the oxygen out) to top it up to 5 gallons.

It turned out ok, so I haven't worried about it, but I can see the difference between losing wort and topping back up, thus diluting it, and a case like mine where there wasn't enough volume to start with. Did I simply get lucky that it turned out alright, or is it ok in a situation like this?
 

ArcaneXor

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Here's a related question:

Awhile back I made a 5 gallon batch, but apparently (due to some foaming while topping the primary up to 5 gallons) only topped up to a little under 4.5 gallons. I left it until transferring to a secondary, at which time the LHBS recommended I add a bit more water (after boiling the oxygen out) to top it up to 5 gallons.

It turned out ok, so I haven't worried about it, but I can see the difference between losing wort and topping back up, thus diluting it, and a case like mine where there wasn't enough volume to start with. Did I simply get lucky that it turned out alright, or is it ok in a situation like this?
I always go by OG when topping up my fermenters, i.e. I'll add water until the O.G. is within a point or two where I want it to be. Whether that's at 4.5 or 5.5 gallons, I don't care. With extract batches, you'll always be quite close to 5 gallons. With partial mash, the variability increases a bit.

In your case, you were probably ok doing what you did, but it's not an ideal procedure. In the future, add a couple of drops of Defoamer 105 or Fermcap-S if excessive foam is preventing you from filling up your carboy all the way.
 

WortMonger

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There are brewing techniques that allow for adding water, to a smaller but higher gravity batch of beer, without making it watery. It is called High Gravity Brewing, or Blending. You have to plan for it, brew accordingly, and maintain stricter parameters for your numbers to work. Here's a Wiki article I enjoyed researching and writing.
 

daveooph131

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I was going to say what yoop said about winemaking. I know MANY winemakers that when they make their first brew top off the carboy with water.

One thing I don't thing anybody mentioned is sometimes people use distilled water which can have a bad effect one the final product. You need minerals and so forth to work their magic.
CRAP!!! I used distilled water on my first batch...It's been in the primary about a week and half...I hope it's not screwed!

If someone uses bottled water from the store, should they purchase bottled drinking water, spring water, or what?
 

ArcaneXor

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CRAP!!! I used distilled water on my first batch...It's been in the primary about a week and half...I hope it's not screwed!

If someone uses bottled water from the store, should they purchase bottled drinking water, spring water, or what?
If you use extract, it's not all that critical, because there are minerals in the extract itself. Whether or not drinking or spring water is preferred depends on the water chemistry of each - again, for extract brewers, it doesn't matter nearly as much as for partial mashers or all grain brewers. John Palmer's book How To Brew has a good overview of brewing water and what to look out for.

You can contact the distributors of the brand of water you use and ask them for their water analysis (and then add it to the thread linked to in my signature for others to see).
 

Jaymo

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For what it's worth, most of the cheapo brands of bottled water are straight from the tap. I have a family member that works for Pepsi and I know for a fact that their brand (Aquafina) as well as many others are.

CNN article about it
 
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