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Splitting a batch and adding water after fermentation starts

Because of bad calculations, my Russian Imperial Stout had an OG of 1.119 instead of 1.090. It isn’t really the right recipe to be a barley wine. It has been fermenting for 1week now, quite nicely. I was considering getting a second carboy, spitting the batch in half and adding water to get the gravity down to reasonable levels. My main concern is adding oxygen at this stage. I really don’t want to ruin it.

Any advice? Should I just leave it alone? I’m worried it’s going to come out cloying and sweet.

You can deaerate your water by boiling it first. Then add it to a carboy and rack your imperial stout on top.

I would have to say that its too late. I think that just the act of pouring both the beer and the water (even if its boiled first) would aerate them. If you don’t care if you end up dumping them then you could try filling the carboys with co2 first to push out all the oxygen but it still might aerate the beer.

I don’t see a huge problem with your plan.

Yes, you add some level of risk of contamination and oxydation, but I would not be too concerned about this if you are carefully enough.

My input would be that the two smaller beers that you will end up with probably won’t seem as balanced in flavor as they would if you were to have brewed them to the smaller gravity from the beginning.

At least at first.

From my experience, whenever mixing two worts (in your case wort and water) I usually taste both as seperate entities in the beer while it is young.
So in your case it may take an extra month or two before the two blend together flavorwise and your beer stops tasting like watered down high gravity beer.

That is just MO.

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]I don’t see a huge problem with your plan.

Yes, you add some level of risk of contamination and oxydation, but I would not be too concerned about this if you are carefully enough.

My input would be that the two smaller beers that you will end up with probably won’t seem as balanced in flavor as they would if you were to have brewed them to the smaller gravity from the beginning.

At least at first.

From my experience, whenever mixing two worts (in your case wort and water) I usually taste both as seperate entities in the beer while it is young.
So in your case it may take an extra month or two before the two blend together flavorwise and your beer stops tasting like watered down high gravity beer.

That is just MO.[/quote]
If thats the case then we should just pour beer into our kegs and bottling buckets.

Not sure where I recomended dumping everything together carelessly, then shaking up, then grabbing the oxygen pump. :wink:

Rack the beer as you would into a secondary. Then syphon some water in there as you would beer. Not sure how this would be any worse than any other racking process,

I have added the occasional amount of water to a keg as a top up. Never had any issues.

I have never cut a beer in two and mixed that much water in. So how it turns out I cannot comment on. Will probably taste like watered down beer to some degree. I still don’t have that much of an issue trying it.

Not sure where I recomended dumping everything together carelessly, then shaking up, then grabbing the oxygen pump. :wink:

Rack the beer as you would into a secondary. Then syphon some water in there as you would beer. Not sure how this would be any worse than any other racking process,

I have added the occasional amount of water to a keg as a top up. Never had any issues.

I have never cut a beer in two and mixed that much water in. So how it turns out I cannot comment on. Will probably taste like watered down beer to some degree. I still don’t have that much of an issue trying it.[/quote]
Touthè (spelling) for some reason I was thinking dump The beer the whole time.

I’ve added water to finished beer on a couple of occasions. I’ve even done it after blending the remnants of two different “big” beers, in order to wind up with a full corny of lighter beer for a party. It came out perfectly fine.

I boiled the water first, cooled it down, and added it very carefully to the beer. No issues with the finished beer…it tasted great (albeit lighter) and from the time I did it to the last pour there were no oxidation or other issues.

Of course, the flavor aspect of the end result will depend in large measure on the character and quality beer you started out with.

Thanks for all the advice. I think I am going to do it. Of course I would boil and cool the water and use a racking cane, just like racking to a secondary. It will still be a fairly big beer and it will bottle condition for several months before opening, so hopefully that will mingle the flavors.

Why not just let it ride? I’ve seen imperial stouts as high as 15%. The style guide line is 1.075-1.115 your just over a few points. I bet it would age really well.

This is a fair point and something I would consider if it were my beer.

On the other hand, would you be more likely to consume 10 gal of 6% beer or 5 gal of %12 beer. It would probably age very well, but personally It would be worth more to me to have the larger quantity of more sessionalable beer. :cheers:

I could have let it go, sure. But it didn’t really have enough hops in it to offset all those malts and I thought it would end up cloying. However, I kind of split the difference.

I ended up racking just over a gallon and a half into two growlers, which I fitted with stoppers and air locks. I carefully added water to the carboy to offset the difference. So I have 5 gallons of an Russian Imperial, and 1.6 gallons of a longer aging Barley Wine.

I’ll post again after the Russian finishes up in a few months. If I remember ill post again when the barley wine finishes but that’s probably over a year off and many beers to go.

[quote=“Mike Foran”]I could have let it go, sure. But it didn’t really have enough hops in it to offset all those malts and I thought it would end up cloying. However, I kind of split the difference.

I ended up racking just over a gallon and a half into two growlers, which I fitted with stoppers and air locks. I carefully added water to the carboy to offset the difference. So I have 5 gallons of an Russian Imperial, and 1.6 gallons of a longer aging Barley Wine.

I’ll post again after the Russian finishes up in a few months. If I remember ill post again when the barley wine finishes but that’s probably over a year off and many beers to go.[/quote]

Sweet sounds like a good idea. Hope they both turn out great.

Just a quick follow up on the Russian Imperial: I kegged it, force carbed and it came out great. Time will mature it but already it has a well balanced character. I bottled from the keg so I could cellar the bottles for a while. I’ll probably bring the first batch around Christmas. I also force carbed and bottled the portion set aside for a Barley Wine. Those I plan to cellar for about a year so I’ll dig them out next Thanksgiving. I took a small nip of,that while bottling and I think it’s going to be good with some time.

Glad to here all is well. :cheers: cheers

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