Author Topic: When is too late to top off?  (Read 2110 times)

Offline Tommy C

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When is too late to top off?
« on: December 30, 2011, 03:59:51 PM »
Long story short I got distracted when I was wrapping up my brew session from the other day and forgot to top off and bring what i put in my fermenter up to 5.5 gallons.  I went to check on it yesterday to make sure the yeast was munching away and noticed I was about a gallon short in my carboy and realized my brain fart. 

My question is it too late to boil a gallon of water, cool it, and add it to the already fermenting beer to bring it up to 5.5 or should I just suck up my mistake and settle being a little short this batch?


Thoughts would be appreciated.

Offline tubercle

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 04:06:09 PM »
It depends.

 What was your OG and what was you shooting for?
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Offline gmac

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 04:09:54 PM »
Unless it's really too strong for you, I'd suggest it's best to take what you've got and be happy (and a bit drunker).  I've been tempted to top up more than once and I've always resisted the urge and I've been happy with the decision.  No sense risking a good brew just to have more of an ok brew.

Offline Tommy C

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2011, 04:44:53 PM »
It depends.

 What was your OG and what was you shooting for?

I was about .10 off of my target og.  It sounds based on what you guys are saying it's best to take it and run with the results.  I can deal with a few stronger beers to know it will not get contaminated trying to stretch the batch.

Thanks!!

Offline hokerer

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2011, 05:15:14 PM »
I was about .10 off of my target og.  It sounds based on what you guys are saying it's best to take it and run with the results.  I can deal with a few stronger beers to know it will not get contaminated trying to stretch the batch.

Contamination probably isn't as big a concern as oxygenation - be really hard to add that kind of water without introducing extra oxygen.  Although at just one day in, you might be safe but I still wouldn't risk it.
Joe

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2011, 05:16:07 PM »
You can dilute it after its done fermenting.  I don't see where that is a risky venture.  Boiling water drives the air out of it.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2011, 05:29:56 PM »
I would not worry about it.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 09:41:57 AM »
Boiling water drives the air out of it.

You're correct in that boiling gets the oxygen out of the water but I was coming at it more from the "how do you physically add the water without adding air".  You can't just dump it in as that would aerate.
Joe

Offline noonancm

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2012, 09:48:48 AM »
If you want to add some more, do so after the fermentation is over and at bottling time. At least I bottle and to add the sugar, I normally dissolve the sugar in some water and then add it to the batch. Rarely have judges comment on oxidation.

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2012, 10:16:17 AM »
I would not worry about it.

+1. Watered down beer sucks.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2012, 10:22:18 AM »
Boiling water drives the air out of it.

You're correct in that boiling gets the oxygen out of the water but I was coming at it more from the "how do you physically add the water without adding air".  You can't just dump it in as that would aerate.

I've done this before with a Strong Scotch Ale that ended up a little high @ ~13%. I boiled a gallon of water then cooled and added to the secondary using a sanitized funnel and a length of tubing reaching to the bottom of the carboy.  The beer turned out fantastic...  Cheers!!!
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Offline hokerer

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2012, 10:30:04 AM »
If you want to add some more, do so after the fermentation is over and at bottling time. At least I bottle and to add the sugar, I normally dissolve the sugar in some water and then add it to the batch. Rarely have judges comment on oxidation.

That is an excellent idea.  If you're going to top off, that's a great way to do it without introducing extra oxygen.
Joe

Offline nateo

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2012, 08:05:35 AM »
+1. Watered down beer sucks.

Sorry to revive a dead thread, but I thought I'd add my $0.02 in case anyone reads this later. I've topped off my beers at all the different stages (during primary, during secondary, or at bottling) at one time or another, and never had any ill-effects that I could tell.

I recently made a special bitter with an OG that was too high (1.052, diluted to 1.040), and topped that off with water at bottling. The beer definitely tastes watery now, and it's bumming me out. So I would say use caution when topping off low gravity beers, and don't worry about topping off higher gravity and fuller-flavored beers.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2012, 10:38:01 AM »
+1. Watered down beer sucks.

Sorry to revive a dead thread, but I thought I'd add my $0.02 in case anyone reads this later. I've topped off my beers at all the different stages (during primary, during secondary, or at bottling) at one time or another, and never had any ill-effects that I could tell...

+1.   
I don't do it very often, and when I do it's not for the usual reasons  that many state (such as winding up with too high FG ...I generally consider that event more of a bonus than a failure.   :P.   Fact is though, if one is careful, the beer can be topped up at practically any stage from pre fermentation, to kegging, or (more rarely) at serving time.
 
Sometimes, if I want to have a beer and not be concerned about getting buzzed, I will occasionally make an "L.A." beer by pouring a robustly flavored (but not necessarily strong) beer such as a porter, and cutting it with a some plain, cold seltzer, right in the glass.     
Sounds odd, I know, but the result is refreshing, lower in alcohol, still packed with flavor, and it allows me to have a pint in the middle of the day and still get my work done
...without getting my mixed all words up. ::)
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Offline bo

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Re: When is too late to top off?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2012, 10:40:25 AM »
It's too late when the glass is empty and starting to dry out. :D