Watering down beer

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Random Badger

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Just wondered if there are any views on adding water to fermenting beers?

I've got a couple on the go (Youngs American IPA and my Australian Monster) that are both currently over 6.5% with a brew length of 21.5 litres (I habitually brew a bit short). Is there any reason why adding a litre of water to the fermenter now to slightly nudge them down, would be different to using more water at the start of the process?
 

Covrich

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I would say as long as you dont dilute over what the original kit tells you to do , you'd be okay.. the kit recipe was say designed to be balanced at say 23l so if you go beyond that then it may literally start to dilute the flavours.


If you batch prime a simpler way would be to make a larger priming solution and do it that way
 

crowcrow

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I had a beer that was also too strong. The advice I was given was to pour a measured amount, say 200ml of the beer, and the test out adding 1ml or 5ml of water to it at a time to take to get to a flavour and strength you like, and then scale that up to whatever you have in your fv and water it down there. But yes, entirely possible to do if you need to. Might knock back some of the flavours/hops though.
 

clib

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It's not unusual for beer to be diluted at packaging time. I do it sometimes. Breweries do it.
 

Hoppyland

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I often dilute my brews, particularly if I'm using a vigorous top-fermenting yeast. It depends upon how much final volume I want, because the maximum fermentor size I can fit in my brew fridge is 25l (to the graduated mark, there is more headspace). If I'm using a yeast that might be lively enough to overtop this, then I'll maybe start the fermentation at 23l, and then top up once the initial most vigorous fermentation subsides. I don't think there is any difference between a late addition of water, and having extra volume at the start.
 

Hoppyland

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Thinking of diluting, I did have a "brilliant" idea a decade or so.... OK several....ago. I figured that I could save a lot of fermentor and plastic barrel space if I brewed double-strength beer. So, instead of my usual 4% or so brew, I doubled up on all the ingredients and made 8%+ beer. When serving, I then diluted it 50:50 with water.
Great idea, but a disaster in practice. I still don't quite figure why, but it tasted nothing like the "same" beer brewed to 4%. In fact, i did not like the taste at all. The experiment was not repeated.
 

Random Badger

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Thinking of diluting, I did have a "brilliant" idea a decade or so.... OK several....ago. I figured that I could save a lot of fermentor and plastic barrel space if I brewed double-strength beer. So, instead of my usual 4% or so brew, I doubled up on all the ingredients and made 8%+ beer. When serving, I then diluted it 50:50 with water.
Great idea, but a disaster in practice. I still don't quite figure why, but it tasted nothing like the "same" beer brewed to 4%. In fact, i did not like the taste at all. The experiment was not repeated.
Just a guess, but maybe the character of a beer fermented to 8% (yeast behaviour or whatever) is sufficiently different from using half the amount of the same ingredients to create a 4% beer, that diluting it down to create double the volume simply does not taste the same.
 

moto748

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Maybe also the hops wouldn't work in the same way if they'd been boiled in a much smaller volume?
 

Clint

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I read somewhere that Guinness brew high abv then dilute it to save on fv space....as they only have 4 ,23l buckets(joke)!
 

Scrattajack

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Thinking of diluting, I did have a "brilliant" idea a decade or so.... OK several....ago. I figured that I could save a lot of fermentor and plastic barrel space if I brewed double-strength beer. So, instead of my usual 4% or so brew, I doubled up on all the ingredients and made 8%+ beer. When serving, I then diluted it 50:50 with water.
Great idea, but a disaster in practice. I still don't quite figure why, but it tasted nothing like the "same" beer brewed to 4%. In fact, i did not like the taste at all. The experiment was not repeated.
Newcastle Brown was done as a blend of two brews, one at high gravity to grab the fruity esters not possible otherwise and the other low gravity to get the desired ABV.
 

Cwrw666

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I understand you should boil water to drive off any dissolved oxygen before adding it to your fermentor
I would think so, also to sterilise it. I believe breweries have special equipment to de-oxygenate water when doing this.
 

DrunkDelilahBrewery

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Yes, but that's at the start. Certainly by bottling stage if you get oxygen in your beer you'll ruin it.
How do you think priming in the bottle works if not with oxygen present? Carbonation to occur requires fermentation, by it's very definition - fermentation is the conversion of sugar to alcohol and CO2 which requires the presence of yeast, sugar and Oxygen.
 

clib

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Boddingtons must be a blend...of cats piddle and ditch water....
Be very careful what you say about Boddingtons. 😉

Whatever it is like now, it was once the finest brew ever made. And nobody has ever been able to reproduce it. Brewed by wizards, I believe. Wizards who disappeared into the night, when Whitbread bought the brewery.
 
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