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Low volume & high gravity -fiX or leave alone?

I made a chipotle porter a few weeks ago, and I could use some help. The OG was way high of the target and up around 1.090, mainly because I only got 4 gallons out of the brew kettle. I pitched 2 packs of yeast, and I’m down to 1.040 when racking to the secondary. The real issue I have is racking from primary to secondary, I lost about another gallon to hop sediment. So I’m down to 3 gallons in the secondary.

My question is, do I leave it alone and only get ~1 case out of it, or can I do something to “fix” it so that I get more volume out of the batch?

I feel like with the batch as concentrated as it is, that I could possibly water it down and still get a good beer out of it. But I’d rather get 1 case of good beer than blow the batch and get 2 cases of junk.



At this point in the process, I would tend to leave it be and live with it. I would think you could do more harm than good in watering it down. Hopefully, someone with a lot more sound reasoning than mine will reply to your post.

Thanks Mike. That’s what I was thinking too. I’ll probably end up leaving it alone, and thought this could be a chance to learn a trick or two from a master brewer, even if the trick is to do nothing.


How does it taste? I have never done it, but I don’t see a problem with boiling and cooling water to get it to your taste. Yes beer has alcohol in it, but it is still mostly water. As long as your sanitation is good it’ll be good.

Big commercial brewers will ferment at a higher gravity (10-20%) then dilute with deoxygenated water before packaging to save fermenter space. The homebrewer can do this as well, as long as the fermentation is managed appropriately and the diluted beer does not have the fermentation character of the strong beer.

I would only do the dilution if you have planned for it though, like if you hopped extra to account for your utilization loss, otherwise you could screw up the balance. You can do some trials by mixing your beer with different amounts of carbonted water, in a graduated cylinder if you have one. Don’t go higher than 20% water as a ROT.

It looks like there are other problems with the batch, however. 1.040 is quite a high FG, even considering where it started.

Do you have the recipe?
How fresh was the yeast? Even if it was very fresh, you underpitched by about 20% according to the mr. malty calc.
How long did you leave it in primary before transferring?
What was the fermentation temp?

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