Ok. Sorry if this has been asked. I really did try to research it. LOL

I did my first batch of American Amber Ale, and made a few mistakes. I didn't take an initial gravity reading, and I think I kind of "half assed" measuring the amount of water to add to bring the brew up to 5 gallons in the primary carboy for fermentation. (I have since measured out 5 gallons on my primary and secondary carboy).

When I racked it to my secondary, the brew is sitting about a little under 4 gallons. Hmmm. Took a reading and it seems to be where the recipe calls for in gravity and alcohol content.

Question... when I go to bottle, should I add extra water to the priming sugar to bring the levels closer to 5 gallons? Not for taste, but to stretch my brew as far as possible? Or should I leave it at 4 gallons and hope for the best?

Live and learn!

1 Answer 1


Leave it 4 gallons. Adding water will only make it taste "watery" -- if you're happy with the flavor, then hey, awesome.

During each transfer phase you will lose some volume due to trub/yeast/etc -- since you're trying to transfer only the beer/wort and not the dead yeast/hop residue/etc, you'll find losses at each stage.

When I brew a 5 gallon batch, in order to get 5 actual gallons into the keg, I start with nearly 8 gallons of water during my mash/sparge phase. From grain absorption and dead space in the mash ton (giving me around 6.75 gallons into the boil kettle), to evaporation (down to 6.25 or lower depending on length of boil), to wort lose due to hop absorption (6-5.75 gallons into the fermenter) to beer loss due to the yeast cake, sampling and so forth (5.5 at the transfer to secondary, 5.25 at the transfer to key), I only end up with about 5-5.25 gallons total of beer.

  • 1
    I agree. Flavor is more important then volume.
    – Denny Conn
    Jan 3, 2012 at 16:36

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