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Starting with more water than directed?

I have a couple of beers on order, so I am planning my next beer day based on what I learned on my first run through. Knowing that there will be some boil off, would it make sense to add more water at the start to end at the full 1 gallon (or close to it)?

Reading through the forum, I am getting glimpses at the notion that adding water at the end of the boil can alter the flavor, so I have this hovering around in my head as the next step. When I say glimpses, I mean that I see it mentioned, but really not expanded upon.

Hmm… I’d try it. I never worked with 1 gallon batches, so this is all theoretical, but in 5 gallon extract, starting with the full volume gives you better hop utilization and lighter colored beer. I assume you might see similar results with 1 gallon. I’d estimate boiloff and shoot for ending up a little under a gallon, then still top up (but just by a bit).

@uberculture, and the top off needs to be freshly boiled water, correct? I saw that the water needs to be the same temp as the wort as to not cause shock, so is this added while in the kettle, or in the fermenter?

Well, clean water. Boiled and cooled would be ideal, but in the 5 gallon world, folks use tap water or bottled water all the time. It’s up to you if you’re okay with a minor risk of contamination from drinking water. “Cause shock” sounds like you may have been reading about yeast health… ideally, you would be adding top up water to the fermentor before pitching yeast, so I wouldn’t worry about temperature differential when adding top up water.

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Ah. Got it. Thanks.

This is just a reminder that all municipal water is treated with chlorine, chloramine, or both even if it doesn’t taste like it is treated. I Top off with tap water from my own well without boiling all the time.

Boiling treated water will remove chlorine but not chloramine. One-quarter of a Campden tablet will treat 5 gallons of water with chloramine in it.

I have a similar ( I think) question. I am going to brew the Bavarian heffe from the extract kit next. Is there a practical way to end up with say 5.25 gal in the fermentation bucket to account for the trub etc before transferring to the bottling ? Could I add a little more wheat malt extract liquid to the boil to adjust for the future .25 gal in the fermentation bucket? I ordered an extra small wheat malt extract liquid, before thinking this through a bit more. Goal is to just end up with a nice full batch for bottling. If it’s not a good idea I will just stick to the kit and take what qty I get.

Thank you!


You can add extra extract for the extra volume in the fermentor. Wheat LME will yield approximately 36 points per pound per gallon (PPG) or 7 gravity points per 5 gallons. 5.25 gallons is approximately a 5% dilution of the original 5 gallons of wort. You would just need to add enough LME to make up 5% of the original OG or about 2 gravity points with 5 ounces of LME.

Check my math. High probability it could be off.

Thank you flars, I thought that question would be right in your field of knowledge:) I know I should have ordered the DME but mistakenly ordered the liquid, so I will be throwing much of it away I guess. More lessons learned:)

Thank you for all the help!


Sacrilege to just throw the remainder away. Use a little extra to bump up the OG or a little more volume. Alternatively place another order in a month or two to use the remainder of the LME. Yes, DME does have a better shelf life.

Thank you flars maybe I will add a little and bump the volume. I have not yet learned enough to know the cause and effects of all the ingredients. I am still reading the joy of home brewing…

I will be out of bottles after this batch as I have my chinook ipa conditioning in bottles now. It’s only been a week so I guess I will give them 2 more weeks and then commence the consumption. The heffe will be coming right behind it.

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