I just brewed this extract IPA. I had 4.6 gal in the fermentor when I measured original gravity at 1.053 (@80 degrees), on the low end of the target range for 5 gallons (target 1.059, or 1.053-1.062). Is this a reasonable deviation from the recipe, considering it would be even lower if I topped it off?

It sounds like most low gravity readings are due to the top-off water not being mixed. I did not add any top off water, but I also did not mix the wort after pouring it in. I poured the ~2.5 gal. of wort through a strainer/funnel over the 2 gal. of water already in the fermentor. Is it still possible the heavy wort, despite being poured over the water, sunk to the bottom and thus gave me a low reading on the top?

So now I'm not sure if my beer is too strong or too weak. Is there a way to tell whether I should add the remaining water during bottling? For example, if my OG is low and my FG is high, maybe it would indicate my OG reading was wrong? But if my FG is also low, maybe I shouldn't add water.

  • maybe this will help? homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/14895/… so far when using extract kits, my gravity has been low, or way low to what it should be....
    – jsolarski
    Apr 6, 2015 at 2:53
  • That person topped off, which would explain their low OG. "there's no point in taking an OG reading" would suggest that I should just add the water at bottling time and forget about gravity. It's a good point, the malt extract is fixed and this recipe is intended to make 5 gallons, so I guess there is no reason to leave out water.
    – Ryan Silva
    Apr 6, 2015 at 3:05
  • my suggestion would be dont add water before bottling, take your FG, as long as its stable, bottle add notes that you made a smaller batch then what the recipe called for and adjust on your next brew. If you want five gals, boil the last top up water add your priming sugar to it, and mix it in when its cool.
    – jsolarski
    Apr 6, 2015 at 3:29
  • Temp correction gives you another point, but really you should be mixing the bejeebuz out of it once all is added to the fermentor to aerate the batch before pitching your yeast. That should reduce stratification and give you a more accurate reading, also a healthier ferment.
    – DHough
    Apr 6, 2015 at 17:15
  • Thanks, yes after I pitched I put the lid on and shook the heck out of it. By the time I thought more about it, fermentation was already underway.
    – Ryan Silva
    Apr 6, 2015 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


Don't worry about it too much. The answer to your question lies in your opinion only. If you add more water at bottling, all you will do is dilute it - less flavor and a lower ABV. Once you have your FG reading, calculate your ABV and then decide if you would like it to be lower.

I know you aren't asking for opinions, but I'll give it anyway: I would not personally add more water to this under any circumstances, especially since your OG is already a little lower than you were expecting. But then again, I like big beers. I say don't worry, everything seems to be going fine.

Also, I'm not an expert on the subject, but I think there might be a some danger in adding water at bottling time, since that water will be oxidized. You don't want to do anything at this stage of the process that will introduce oxygen to your beer, as it will increase your risk of contamination and off-flavors.

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