Barley wine OG low

I just finished brewing a partial grain extract kit form NBFor barley wine. Somehow I overcalculated the starting amount of this brew (6.5 gal) and ended up with 5 3/4 gal of liquid post boil. I suppose as a result of this my first reading once in the carboy is 1.072 instead of the recommended 1.082. Is there anything I can do to correct the ending abv or am I destined to have a slightly weak abv once finished?

There are some options like making very high gravity small batch and blending them. I’m not sure how you would figure how high a gravity to make though. If you have not pitched the yeast you could boil the wort more until reaching the 1.082.

Honestly I would just let it go. You will end up with an ABV closer to 8% rather than 9.5 but still have a reasonably powerful beer. Then try it again sometime and you will know how to fix it.get it right.

Thank you for the advice. Next time I will be more conservative with starting amount of water. One additional question… Is there an option of blending a light tasting spirit like vodka into the bottling bucket to increase ABV? Just a thought and I have no knowledge about how this may effect taste and overall beer quality.

Boil 1 pound of sugar (or 1.5) in as little water as possible, let it cool then added it to the fermentor after a day or so of fermenting. That should get you closer.

I would not. In order to add enough to raise the ABV enough to to make any impact it would thin out the beer and possibly give it an alcholly or sherry like flavor. I think you will find what you have will turn out to be a nice beer and powerful enough.[quote=“gdtechvw”]Boil 1 pound of sugar (or 1.5) in as little water as possible, let it cool then added it to the fermentor after a day or so of fermenting. That should get you closer.[/quote]This might work better than the vodka. Table sugar will ferment out almost completely and leave no or almost no taste. I add sugar to many of my beers. It might thin it out slightly but not much. I still will go with just let it ride and brew another one. It will be fun to compare the two anyway.

The other thing you could do is add some LME directly to the fermenter. I wouldn’t worry about dissolving it - the yeast will find it and ferment it. To get up to an OG of 1.082 from 1.072, you would want to add 1.6# LME for 5.75 gallons wort.

Thanks again for sharing knowledge and experience. I am stuck between adding LME vs leaving it alone. I did notice while cleaning up after the brew that I still had a good amount of LME left in the 2 6lb jugs. Usually I shake these with some hot water to get the last LME out and pour into the boil. This time I did not since I could tell I already seem to have too much water (3/4 of the LME was added at the last 15 minutes of boil). I emptied the remaining LME into a pint mason jar and pretty much filled up the jar. So I have a pint of LME that should have gone into the boil but did not. If I decide to boil, cool and add this DME into the fermenting beer is there a point in time where I should not open the carboy to do so? For example during the phase where krausen is bubbling out of the blow off tube and pressure is at its highest vs waiting until the foam starts to fall back down. I have never disturbed a carboy while in the very active stages of fermentation.

This is just my opinion, but to me the beauty of a good barley wine is the richness and intensity of flavors, not necessarily the high alcohol, and it’s not going to be quite as flavorful without the additional malt. You won’t get that by adding sugar or anything to just boost the ABV. Maybe some dark candi or some invert sugar would do it, but I’d add the extra LME. You could add it at any point, but if your fermentation is vigorous enough to need a blow-off tube, I’d wait until it settles down before adding it.

Rather than boiling it, you could put your pint jar of LME in a water bath at 170-180F for 10 minutes or so - no reason to boil it. Loosen the lid so you don’t build up pressure in the jar. This will pasteurize the LME and avoid risk of contamination. You could pour it in hot - won’t hurt the yeast with such a small amount. If you’re using a bucket this would be fine, but a glass or plastic carboy could get damaged if you slop it on the side, so you might want to wait until it’s cooled down a little so you don’t temperature shock the glass or deform the plastic.

Warm the left over extract just enough to make it flow easy and add it. You don’t really have to boil extract, it was boiled in the manufacturing process.

Next time you could also cheat the other way. Once or twice I have brewed extract beers and didn’t dilute to the full 5 gallons. It was strong and tasty. :cheers: