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Thread: Blending Downstream

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Black Mountain

    Blending Downstream

    I understand that some famous english brewery blends an old stong beer with a fresh light beer to achieve their brown ale.

    What are your thoughts on say watering down a product with straight water after fermentation. Does the water contain O2 that might spoil the beer? I ask b/c I live in a state where acl by vol is capped at 6% I want to do a beer that "tastes" stong, getting those phenolics you only can from a high gravity ferment, while conforming to state law.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Depending on when you cut the brew with water, you need to consider O2 and bacteria.
    You need to figure out the best stage to water it down then look into the things to make this happen in a clean fashion.
    Its certainly done succesfully by many many breweries (in the US as well)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Rutherglen 3685 Vic Australia
    I always boil the water & then add it through the heat exchanger to the un fermented wort till I have achived the gravity I desire for a light beer, this way the yeast scavanges the oxygen in the water.
    MIKE S

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    London, United Kingdom

    This sounds like high gravity brewing - brew a stronger beer (for various economic considerations), then water it down. However, your reasons for doing this are different than the major industrial brewers.

    You will need to worry about oxygen - normally de-aerated water would be used for the dilution.

    What Mike suggested would probably do the trick - work out how much water you need to add, boil it in your kettle and then chill and add to your strong brew. If you have an O2 meter, you should check the O2 of your fermenter (should be virtually nil) and then boil until your dilution water until the same result is achieved. If you don't have a meter....... I guess boil for a while!

    Let us know how it goes!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Shanghai, P.R. China
    I recommend you use sterile, de-aerated water at no more than a 25% dilution rate. If you have an extra BBT with a CO2 stone you could try blowing CO2 through the water to fully dearate the water. Depending on your setup you could then chase this water through your sterile filter after filtration. Ideally you would have a DO meter so you could check DO's prior dilution and of course after dilution. Whatever option you choose you don't want to exceed 100 ppb at the absolute maximum. If a DO meter is unavailable the simpler solution may be dilution at knockout in order to maintain freshness. Curious what style of beer you have in mind for this product as their may be other options at getting the particular "phenolics" you have in mind.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Las Vegas
    Contact your yeast supplier and ask them to reccomend a strain and fermentation schedule to achieve the desired results. At 6% you should still be able to pull some higher alcohols and esters appropriate to a high gravity ale. Warmer fermentation temps can accomplish this. Yeast strain is very important, I'd go for an estery English strain over a clean American Ale strain for example. If you do blend with water follow everyone else's advice and consider adjusting the PH of the water with a food grade phosphoric to maintain correct final Ph in the beer. At small amounts of water its probably not an issue but at 25% depending on your water supply it may swing your PH to high.
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    As for adding water (with oxygen) in the fermenter, I would not blindly trust that all the oxygen would be scavenged by the yeast. If fermentation was active, yes; if fermentation has completed, the yeast are not metabolically vigorous and flavor compounds will likely absorb some oxygen before the sleepy yeast can suck it up.

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