Is it too late to add water to my beer?

I’m a noob. I brewed two, 1-gallon batches, then upgraded to a 5-gallon operation. My first, and only, 5-gallon kit called for a 2.5 gallon partial boil. I was very confused about how/when to add the additional water to bring the wort up to 5 gallons. I thought I had to boil/sanitize any additional water before I added it, so after all the water loss from boiling my wort and my additional water (which I now know I really don’t need to do) I only ended up with about 3.75 gallons in my fermentation bucket, which has been fermenting about a week now.

I have a few questions: Is it safe to add distilled water to beer that has been fermenting for a week? Should I just leave it alone? If I leave it alone, will the beer be extra dense, bitter, alcoholic etc from being over a gallon short of what it should be?

It’s believed that the mega brewery’s make a higher gravity beer and dilute it down to sell to the public. The problem is adding oxygen (dissolved in the water and splashing) will case the beer to stale and take on a cardboard flavor.

I would want to boil the water to drive the oxygen out. Then carefully add it.

Over a gallon short on water may have raised the ABV 2 points or more and raised the bitterness. Possible make it more “malty”.

What recipe is this?

I’ve done it before with no problem. Just make sure you boil the water and cool it to the same temperature (1-2 degrees off is fine, but after 3 those sensitive yeasties risk getting shocked by sudden temperature change). Like Nighthawk said make sure you add the water as lightly as possible to avoid adding/dissolving oxygen into the solution. Relax, bro, it’ll be beer in the end.

Its a Full Sail Pale Ale clone that my local homebrew shop put together for me. I was nervous about adding water at first, and then I got nervous about not adding water once its been fermenting for a week.

The kettle is on the stove now boiling water and I’ll be sure to add it nice and easy.

Thanks guys!

I would have advised not to add any water to the bucket after fermentation has started. I hate to bring you down but I would guess that it would be near impossible not to be adding oxygen to the wort by doing this.

Yeah even if you boiled the water first and then cooled it. When you transfered it im sure you introduce it to O2.

I wonder what the effects on the beer would be if you transfered boiling water (I know that it wouldnt be boiling once you shut the flame off but it would be within a degree or two) into it once its done fermenting?

I’ve added a gallon of water before kegging before without boiling and that was finfe. I wouldnt call it a “best practice” but you’ll be fine. If you bottle add the water(boiled and cooled probably is best) to the bottling bucket FIRST. or to the keg FIRST. Then rack your beer on top of that. No oxygenation issue that way.

When I needed to top off, I always did it before pitching, much less fermentation. I would generally keep a couple gallons in the freezer, and use that as part of my chilling. I could get the work down to 90 - 100 pretty quick, but it’s those last 20 - 30 degrees that’s a bummer. A gallon and a half or so of real cold water drops it pretty quick added to 3.5 or so of wort,