Q: Is it advisable to brew a strong 5-gallon wort, divide it into two batches and add an equal amount of water to each batch, to get two new 5-gallon batches, each containing half of the original wort? For example, could I brew 5 gallons of 1.080 wort, divide it into two 5-gallon fermentors, add 2.5 gallons of water to each fermentor, and end up with two 5-gallon batches of 1.040? This would save time and allow me to experiment with hop additions to two worts that I know have the same composition.
A: Sure, that will work. All big commercial breweries do something similar. They call it high-gravity brewing.
A couple of things to watch out for: If you dilute the wort with cold water before boiling or fermentation, make sure the water is dechlorinated (boiled or carbon filtered). If you add water after fermentation, make sure the water is dechlorinated and deaerated. Boiling is probably the simplest way to deaerate water and has the added benefit of killing microbes. Be sure to keep the kettle closed during cooling to prevent exposure to contaminants.
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