Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
KaijuBrew

Recovering from a brewing mistake - forgot to add water to LBK to line 2

53 posts in this topic

Apparently I shouldn't have had that second beer while brewing!

 

I made a brewing mistake and I wonder if there is anything to do to fix it.  18 hours ago I finished my Calavara Chile Stout and pitched the yeast.  I neglected to add water to bring the level in the LBK to line 2 before adding the yeast.   So I would say I am 4 - 6 cups low on water.

 

What are my options here?  I figure I can:

 

- leave it as is and have less but stronger beer; or 

 

- add cold water now to level it to line 2; or

 

- boil up some water and let it cool to say 100 degrees and then add it.

 

What say you, oh wise brewers?  

 

Thanks! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- leave it as is and have less but stronger beer; or 

 

Viable option, but it will be a lot stronger.

 

- add cold water now to level it to line 2; or

 

Not an option, too cold.

 

- boil up some water and let it cool to say 100 degrees and then add it.

 

Not an option, will kill the yeast.

 

As you can see, fermentation is active.  Adding water now will disturb the balance.  Lesson learned - even experienced brewers follow a process step by step.  Leave it alone.

HoppySmile! and KaijuBrew like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

- leave it as is and have less but stronger beer; or 

 

Viable option, but it will be a lot stronger.

 

- add cold water now to level it to line 2; or

 

Not an option, too cold.

 

- boil up some water and let it cool to say 100 degrees and then add it.

 

Not an option, will kill the yeast.

 

As you can see, fermentation is active.  Adding water now will disturb the balance.  Lesson learned - even experienced brewers follow a process step by step.  Leave it alone.

 

Thanks @RickBeer

 

So when you say stronger, do mean the taste is going to be off, or higher ABV?  Both?

 

I guess we will see in a few months time whether it will be drinkable or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

I vote for the high ABV option -- let it ride!

 

I don't mind higher ABV - just hope the taste is okay!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kaiju, what I used to do when I 1st started brewing was make a checklist of everything that I needed to do.  When the step was completed it go a check and then onto the next step.  This may help you out as well.  Good luck!  

KaijuBrew and HoppySmile! like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, KaijuBrew said:

 

I don't mind higher ABV - just hope the taste is okay!

 

I'm guessing that it will be very robust which will play well with the style of this beer.  As far as adding water at high krausen goes, I would be worried that this might stress the yeast, but just speculating here.

KaijuBrew likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

Kaiju, what I used to do when I 1st started brewing was make a checklist of everything that I needed to do.  When the step was completed it go a check and then onto the next step.  This may help you out as well.  Good luck!  

 

Not a bad idea to follow a list.  I have made over 20 batches now but this was the first time I made this mistake.  I was letting the wort cool before adding it to the LBK.  Then I just neglected to add the water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, KaijuBrew said:

 

Not a bad idea to follow a list.  I have made over 20 batches now but this was the first time I made this mistake.  I was letting the wort cool before adding it to the LBK.  Then I just neglected to add the water.

I still do this with my bigger extract brews (dry hop schedule, secondary, etc) & with every AG recipe.  I tend to get forgetful.  ?

KaijuBrew likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

@RickBeer  Just curious.  What would happen if you added boiled/cooled water at bottling?  Would this still stress the yeast? --Thanks.

 

The thing I would worry about is that the batch would not be thoroughly mixed by adding water near bottling.  I wondered about that even if adding water now would be okay - even with 3 weeks in the LBK, would things be mixed right?

 

At this point I am going to let it ride and do better next batch.

AnthonyC likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the option to let it ride. There is nothing wrong with a strong stout and a lot right.

 

However, for the sake of knowledge let's assume that you decided you want to get the water level right. How could we do this?

 

Here is how I would approach it. 

 

Your number one issue would be to minimize risk of infection. Your second issue is to add the water in such a way that the fermentation process is not disturbed.

 

I would boil X amount of water to sterilize. Then transfer it to a sterilized container. Sterilization is important. Place the sterilized water in the same room/area as the beer. The goal is going to be to get the water the exact same temp as the beer.

 

Assuming water is now the same temp as the fermenter,

 

I would add the water about 3 days before you would have bottled. Unscrew the top, gently pour the water in, then rescrew the top. Put the LBK back where it needs to be. The reason I do this 3 days out is that by this time fermentation should be complete. If you can measure gravity, do it when fermentation is finished. It gives it a few days for things to settle. Because I am like this, I would gently rock and swirl the LBK, just to let things mix a little. Then let it sit, let everything settle back.

 

Cold crash, and bottle.

 

That is how I would approach this.

 

 

hotrod3539 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, KaijuBrew said:

Apparently I shouldn't have had that second beer while brewing!

Best lesson learned?  Don't drink while brewing :)  I learned it the hard way and now I don't have a beer until the wort is flowing through the chiller into the fermenter.  :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kedogn said:

Best lesson learned?  Don't drink while brewing :)  I learned it the hard way and now I don't have a beer until the wort is flowing through the chiller into the fermenter.  :) 

 

Maybe I've been lucky, but I enjoy homebrew while crafting recipes, milling grains, mashing, boiling wort, hopping, and bottling.  Did I miss anything??

MichaelL likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

 

Maybe I've been lucky, but I enjoy homebrew while crafting recipes, milling grains, mashing, boiling wort, hopping, and bottling.  Did I miss anything??

You never had "too much" to make a mistake. :)

I wont do it any more.  Back in the day I used to think, "Oh, it may not be exactly what I was shooting for, but it will still be good".  Then I got to the point where I wanted to be able to replicate brews as closely to exact as I could.   Now, well, now I have to.  So I wont be taking that chance.  It might seem odd, because a lot of people say "You cant make beer, without drinking beer".  Yes, yes, I can :)

Bonsai & Brew likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

@RickBeer  Just curious.  What would happen if you added boiled/cooled water at bottling?  Would this still stress the yeast? --Thanks.

 

One of the major "beers" is made by adding water to a different beer.  Bud Light is Bud with water added at bottling.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

 

One of the major "beers" is made by adding water to a different beer.  Bud Light is Bud with water added at bottling.  

Do you have a link to share for documentation on that? A quick search showed up nothing to support it is why I ask.  I see stuff about a lawsuit that was eventually dropped, about them watering down beers to save money.  But that's all. Thanks.

D Kristof likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about this today while brewing my 100th batch.  If this were my stout, I might add a can of black cherries on Day 5 or 6.  Or maybe a quart of pasteurized prune juice.  There are options here to really make this stout your own @KaijuBrew!

And no, I have not been drinking.B)?

KaijuBrew likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

I've been thinking about this today while brewing my 100th batch.  If this were my stout, I might add a can of black cherries on Day 5 or 6.  Or maybe a quart of pasteurized prune juice.  There are options here to really make this stout your own @KaijuBrew!

And no, I have not been drinking.B)?

If you add prune juice you'll have plenty of time to sit & think!  ??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

If you add prune juice you'll have plenty of time to sit & think!  ??

 

Exactly -- it's a win-win!  But seriously, we were just talking the other day about serendipitous brews like @MRB Josh R's Witches Flight or your own Pumpkin Porter.  This may be a little bit different situation, but I think that there is an opportunity here to brew something really special.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love all the great ideas, @MrWhy, @Shrike, @kedogn, @RickBeer!  And everyone else too!

 

The recipe does require that you add a cinnamon stick and vanilla extract one week before bottling.  

 

This would be a potential point to add something (sterilized water, prune juice or the like).

 

I still think I am just going to let it ride and follow the recipe.  I think I will have nine 740 ml bottles instead of 11.

Bonsai & Brew and MrWhy like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0