I did not fly sparge properly, undershooting the preboil gravity by quite a bit, and ended up using more sparge water to extact sugars. I then reduced away most of the additional water, and ended up with an OG of about '87 (with a somewhat bigger volume). The target was 1.1. I'm thinking about adding sugar, honey or similar to the primary fermentation (going on as we speak) to get it up to or closer to this level.

My question is fairly general: What might I expect from doing this? From what I understand, I'll need to add almost a kilo of, say, honey to achieve this. BeerSmith warns me that this will lover the estimated FG from '18 to '15. Does this seem reasonable? One of my main reasons for considering this is I still used the same amount of hops, and having first worted quite a bit of it I'm a bit concerned about balance (with the greatly increased boil time). Furthermore, I want the brew to be heavy for the winter months.

The relevant recipe is the following but with more hops, Target substituting Admiral, and English Dry Ale substituting Irish Dry Stout: http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/62000/imperial-stout

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't add sugar or honey, since they won't leave residual sweetness. If you are concerned about preserving the hop bitterness to sweetness ratio, then you could make a steep of some light crystal, such as carapils, boil, chill and add that to the fermentor. This will help compensate for the lower OG and lower residual sweetness.

However, it's probably best you do this only after tasting the beer prior to bottling. You may find that the bitterness isn't as high as you expected - as the IBUs increase, it becomes progressively more difficult to get bitterness into the beer, so you may have got less bitterness than intended without knowing it.

  • Great answer. I'll taste the brew with this in mind as bottling approaches. Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 14:48

It may lower the FG and it will also reduce the body of the beer substantially, which will not give you the "heavy" beer you speak of. Also, adding sugar will not change anything with the hops, since the isomerization happened during the boil. I'd advise you to rethink your plan. You may end up with a better beer at the lower OG without the sugar.

  • Allright, then I'll certainly go with the lower OG. For the bitterness, if necessary, I'll see what ageing can do. Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 18:05
  • I believe the part about hops was regarding the SG:BU balance - with the lower OG there will be less residual sweetness, and so a more prominent hop, which may be unwanted. Increasing residual sweetness, with maltose, maltodextrin, or even making a small steep of crystal, boiling then cooled and pitching this to the fermentor can help get the right balance, but I would do this only after sampling the beer as bottling time approaches. Hop bitterness will naturally decrease over time.
    – mdma
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 22:46

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