I Need some advice on water?

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Wolfrich, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Wolfrich

    Wolfrich New Member

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    Hello brewers;

    I need some advice on how to get my target of 5 litres. The last two batches I've done have always been too short (the latest I thought I could add to the boil half a litre to make it up but ended up diluting my beer so it never reached it's OG and FG)

    How much water do I need? I'm doing 5 litre batches and have an 11.5 litre stock pot.

    Thank you
     
  2. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    The amount of water needed to net a given volume of beer depends on a number of factors. If you brew all grain, things like grain absorption dead space in the mash/lauter tun, loss to evaporation during the boil, kettle losses due to break & hop debris and fermenter loss due to trub all factor in. Some of these factors will be different from one recipe to the next due to variations in ingredients(primarily grain weight).

    If you are extract brewing all you need to worry about is measuring your water and accounting for losses in the kettle and fermenter. If the proper amount of extract(s) are used to achieve a given volume at a given OG, adding water to reach the desired volume does not water the brew down if the losses have been accounted for in the recipe.

    If you use the resources on this site properly most of your volume problems will be solved. There are a few things that you'll need dial in, but keeping notes over several batches and making adjustments as needed should lead to consistent results.
     
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  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Bob was kind enough to give a general answer. I'll simply say you haven't provided us enough information. But here are some of the areas you lose volume when brewing:
    - Left in grains after mashing/steeping
    - Left in the lauter tun under the false bottom/pickup tube
    - Added due to volume of extract/sugars (some positive number but always less than the total volume of the adjunct)
    - Boiled off
    - Lost to hops
    - Thermal contraction (liquid gets smaller as you cool it)
    - Lost to trub
    - Left in kettle
    From your original post, I don't even know how you're brewing (all-grain? extract? extract-and-steep? BIAB?), so I can't even tell you which of the water losses are valid. But what you do is this: Start with the amount of wort you want in your fermentor, determine all the applicable losses and add them to the fermentor volume. That's how the math works. If you use the recipe builder and brew session functions of this site, and if you know the losses you're dealing with, this site will tell you how much water you need.
     
  4. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    #4 Craigerrr, Oct 23, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
    The early advice I got when I first started out (this past February) was to buy How to Brew by John Palmer. It was money well spent, I highly recommend it.

    Edit: and of course read it:D
     
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  5. Aub

    Aub Active Member

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    I agree, it's a great book.
     
  6. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    While I was working out the equipment setup I added 2 liters to the misc losses in the equpment profile and then spent a bunch of batches working out what I needed to change in the equipment profile and my process to push that to zero. As Nosybear points out there's lots of possible sources. Some are more important than others, like the boil off rate, but even the little ones, like temperature adjustment of the samples make a difference. The brew sessions on the site here also helped a lot.
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'll second that. The question is far too general without knowing what sort of brewing method you're using.
    What's your mashing process? how are you sparging? what's your recipe?
     
  8. JT_YYC

    JT_YYC Member

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    I learned this year that the wider the mouth of the kettle, the higher your boil off rate. My new kettle is just about 2 inches narrower than my old kettle. So the volume calculations I had so carefully figured out for that kettle, are gone and out the window!
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Best way to find your boil-off rate is empirically. Fill your pot with a known volume of room temperature water, bring it to a boil, boil for an hour. Measure the water remaining after it has cooled to room temperature. The volume difference is your boil-off rate in whatever units you're using (gallons/hour, liters/hour, quarts/hour, etc.).
     
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