Author Topic: Newb question  (Read 4218 times)


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Newb question
« on: November 09, 2009, 04:26:02 PM »
I am still making extract recipes, so please no flames...

I have 3x 5gal carboys. and at this point don't want to invest in 6 or 6.5.  I do 5gal batches, but as you can imagine once I transfer to secondary and lose some in blow-off, my secondary has less than 5gal of liquid.  Is it okay to add more water at this point (boiled and cooled of course), or do I just live with a slightly stronger beer than originally intended?

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Newb question
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2009, 09:59:49 PM »
This is usually a flame free area so, for the most part, you wont have to worry about that.  Regarding your question though, I think the general consensus will be that adding water is not something you should be doing.  Having said that, there are no hard and fast rules in homebrewing so if adding water is producing good beer that you enjoy drinking then by all means, there are no rules here, just guidelines. 

That leads me into the second part of your statement where you mention ending up with a smaller batch of beer that is stronger than what you predicted.  For the most part, that 4.5 to 4 gallon batch will be the same strength as the five gallon batch, its not getting any stronger just because you lost some of it trub.  Your inner mathematician must be thinking in terms of a balanced equation but it doesn't work that way. 

Now to the fun part, it can work that way if you want.  If you want to end up with five gallons of good beer that is the strength you planned on but don't have the room to ferment five gallons then I would consider starting off with five gallons that is stronger than you want, then when you lost some to trub you can then dilute with boiled water which will bring it back up to five gallons at the strength you want. 

Having said all that, the above is just a suggestion if you absolutely must have five gallons.  My advice would be to simply let it go and accept that not all the beer you make is going to make it out alive or simply buy a bigger carboy.  I'm personally not a big fan of diluting already fermented beer. 

Maybe others on here have a different or more informed opinion.

Hope this helps


Offline SOGOAK

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Re: Newb question
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2009, 05:24:02 AM »
+1 on wr. Take your time and get brewery parts when you get a good deal.  Craigslist is great for finding quitter's equipment cheap. My friend got a whole all grain setup super cheap that way.  Lots of people use those 5s for secondary after the big bang of krausen is done.
Good Recipe, Good Ingredients, Good Procedure, Good Sanitation = Good Brew.

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Newb question
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2009, 07:02:53 AM »
Also +1 for WR
I would just live with what you got. Most of us start with 5.5 gallons and end up with 5 after loss to trub and transfers, etc. However not all of us have equipment/intentions to make 5G. So we make due.  ;D

I also agree this place is usually a flame free forum. Extract, Partial Mash, and All Grain, all make "good" beer. "IMO" its the brewer that makes Great Beer. I like to think we have great brewers here, and we all make great beer eventually. It's the journey we are are on, and you can make it with extract, PM, and AG... So brew on!

The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline SleepySamSlim

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Re: Newb question
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2009, 10:21:54 PM »
I think your best bet is to pop about $15 for a 6.5g plastic fermenter at your brew shop. With 3 glass carboys you are set to go - a 6.5g  bucket fermenter can handle a lot of krausen. Then use your carboys as secondarys as they can probably hold 5.25g or 5.5g.

Either way good luck and keep brewing
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Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Newb question
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2009, 12:57:23 PM »

Here is an almost 8-gallon bucket in which you could brew all you wanted, even splitting a big batch into two secondary carboys to condition (dry hop) differently.