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I'm in the final stages of my very first beer, which is a Belgian wit. Everything has gone great so far, and I will be bottling in just a few days. I have a pretty high alcohol content (around 8.2%, which I would like to bring down), and I think my volume is the reason; I only have maybe 4 gallons of beer.

When bottling day comes, I will be boiling some sugar and adding that to my beer before I bottle. My question is, can I boil the sugar in say a gallon of water, and add that? I want to bring my alcohol content down a bit, and hopefully lighten the color of the beer.

It would make sense to me that I could do this, since what I have right now is essentially a "slightly dehydrated" beer. If I can do this, then at what point do I take my "final" hydrometer reading?

So the questions again, in quick and to the point form: 1. Can I add a gallon of water to my beer before bottling? 2. If I do this, when do I take a "final" hydrometer reading?

{ asked by 3rasmus }


There certainly isn't any harm on doing it at bottling. You just don't want to do it prior to bottling. Adding straight water to the beer might oxidize the beer. I'd just recommend that you boil the water for a good 15 minutes first to drive off any oxygen that's in the water. If you don't then that O2 will mix and oxidize the beer. I'd boil for 15, then kill the heat and add your sugar. That will be more then enough to sanitize and dissolve the sugar.

Be very mindful of your volumes. You need to boil more than 1 gallon of water because you'll lose some to evaporation. You want to also be sure you have 4 gallons of beer. The volumes are important just so you can accurately track what you are doing and how the gravity and ABV gets effected.

I'd leave it alone if it was me. But I hope I provided a decent idea of how to go about what you want to do. Shouldn't be a problem.

{ answered by brewchez }