Author Topic: Readjusting volume post (or during?) fermentation  (Read 476 times)

Offline unclebrazzie

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Readjusting volume post (or during?) fermentation
« on: April 27, 2016, 09:04:12 PM »
I'm in a bit of a pickle.

Last weekend, I did a parti-gyle (actually a split sparge or whatchamacallit) barley wine / bitter. First runnings became the BW, second (with some cara sprinkled on top) became the bitter.

The bitter was supposed to be (after dilution of the wort) a 1.040 OG brew, about 20 liters with 40 IBU.

However, just prior to pitching, I discovered my refractometer had done a whoopsee: instead of the 1.040 it had shown me earlier, my hydrometer claimed it to be 1.070. A whooping difference, which I was loath to quickly adjust because I was pitching on top of a Windsor cake I'd just laid bare after racking the brew which had been sitting on top of it.

So, instead of diluting with boiled-and-then-cooled water, I decided to pitch anyway, and to hell with style guidelines for bitters.
Only now, I'm beginning to wonder if it would at all be possible to still dilute the beer without it ending up a sorry mess.

As it's a parti-gyle's second runnings, the grist is a bit of a refactored affair.
Mother wort came from 90% Maris Otter and 10% oats. 8kg in total.
I pulled off 15 liters of 1.090 wort from that for the barley wine, and sparged for second runnings with 20 liters of hot water and 500g of caraMunich sprinkled on top. Refracto told me the result was the 1.040 I expected it to be.

Hopping was

East Kent Golding            6,0 %     10 gr          70 Min.                                                                       
Fuggle (GB)                    5,6 %     10 gr          70 Min.                                                                 
East Kent Golding            6,0 %     45 gr          10 Min.                                                                         
Fuggle (GB)                    5,6 %     45 gr          10 Min.                                                                 
East Kent Golding            6,0 %     50 gr          Hopstand                                                               
Nelson Sauvin                13,0 %    20 gr          Hopstand                                                                   
 
The wort sample I tasted was assertively bitter, but I've no idea how a dilution with water would affect this brew.
Diluting to a hypothetical OG of 1.040 would mean adding 15 liters of water to the fermenting/ed beer.

In a way, what I'm proposing is what high gravity brewing intends to do: brew an overly heavy/strong beer, and then dilute it so you have more (weaker/lighter) beer than you'd normally have.

Anyone here who can advise me in this?
All truth is fiction.
--Don Quichote

Offline blair.streit

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Re: Readjusting volume post (or during?) fermentation
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2016, 11:01:16 PM »
I'm on my phone and don't have access to all my tools at the moment, but second runnings of 1.070 from 17.5 pounds of grain and 9.2 total gallons of water sounds feasible.

If you trust the measurements and you're several days into fermentation I would wait until it's done and then look at one of the online dilution calculators to get an estimate for ratio.

Good news is you don't have to guess. Get a carbonator cap and a PET bottle (i.e. plastic Perrier or seltzer bottle) and try it out once the wort is finished fermenting. You can try the highest strength you think you'd want and continue diluting until you like it (and then keep going until you don't).

Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Readjusting volume post (or during?) fermentation
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2016, 07:10:57 AM »
Sounds like a plan. Thx blair!
All truth is fiction.
--Don Quichote