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Old 02-06-2005, 12:43 PM   #1
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Default Water won't boil HELP!

Hi all, first time brewer here, been reading and reading for weeks, I think I'm ready, the kit I got is an extract kit, which I sampled at my local brew supplier and loved it. My problem is the 5 gallon stainless pot I bought won't boil water on my smooth top range, the kit calls for 1 1/2 gallons of water in the boil but I was told the more water in the boil the better. The bottom of the pot isn't flat so I figured thats why. Luckily I have a 3 gallon pot (much heavier and flat on the bottom)which I guess I could use but even that took 1 1/2 hours to get 2 gallons to 200 degrees. Any tricks or ideas would greatly be appreciated, I plan on brewing at about 4 this afternoon. I do have access to a propane cooker on legs that we use for PATRIOTS games its about 1/2 hour drive, if it's that much better to use more water. Thanks alot for reading

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Old 02-06-2005, 01:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bandt9299
Hi all, first time brewer here, been reading and reading for weeks, I think I'm ready, the kit I got is and extract kit, which I sampled at my local brew supplier and loved it. My problem is the 5 gallon stainless pot I bought won't boil water on my smooth top range, the kit calls for 1 1/2 gallons of water in the boil but I was told the more water in the boil the better. The bottom of the pot isn't flat so I figured thats why. Luckily I have a 3 gallon pot (much heavier and flat on the bottom)which I guess I could use but even that took 1 1/2 hours to get 2 gallons to 200 degrees. Any tricks or ideas would greatly be appreciated, I plan on brewing at about 4 this afternoon. I do have access to a propane cooker on legs that we use for PATRIOTS games its about 1/2 hour drive, if it's that much better to use more water. Thanks alot for reading
I usually boiled 2 gals in my extract days. It took about 20 minutes on a gas range. I don't think you should worry about the extra 1/2 gal just yet. Get a few more brews under your belt, get familiar with the process while saving a couple of bucks to buy your own propane burner. I have a heavy-duty burner for my 15.5 gal converted keg and that was about 80 with shipping. For less you can get a turkey fryer for about 30 that comes with a burner, which would get you through to your first AG upgrades.
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Old 02-06-2005, 02:25 PM   #3
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do you put the lid on it? might be too much surface area for the small burner heated area on your range. you will notice too, that the temp of the water may actually be at the boiling point with not a whole lot of vigorious activity cause of the large amount exposed at the top.

pop the lid on and see what happens, course watch it closely too

i'm a firm believer in the natural gas range, that's what i learned to cook on growing up, and couldn't make teh adjustment to electric and ripped the electric stove out and ran a gas line to the kitchen when my wife and moved

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Old 02-06-2005, 05:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by t1master
do you put the lid on it? might be too much surface area for the small burner heated area on your range. you will notice too, that the temp of the water may actually be at the boiling point with not a whole lot of vigorious activity cause of the large amount exposed at the top.

pop the lid on and see what happens, course watch it closely too

i'm a firm believer in the natural gas range, that's what i learned to cook on growing up, and couldn't make teh adjustment to electric and ripped the electric stove out and ran a gas line to the kitchen when my wife and moved
I put the lid on my 3 gallon pot and got 1 1/2 gallons to boil, no luck on the 5 gallon though, Thanks alot!!
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Old 02-07-2005, 01:53 AM   #5
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I have one of those propane turkey deep friers. The unit cost less than $30, and can bring 7 gallons of water to a boil in under 30 minutes. Each batch only takes about 1/4 a tank of propane. Boiling outside is nice because I don't care if I get a boil-over or make a mess.

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Old 02-07-2005, 05:00 AM   #6
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Boiling on electric is really scary. In those first few minutes of the boil, you really have to kill the heat to let the boil settle down, and electric ranges seem to stay hot for a long time when you turn them down. I guess with the small batch you can remove the kettle from the burner. Or maybe the flat ranges cool more quickly?

I'd be trying to get an outdoor propane cooker asap before you end up with wort all over the place. But, then those flat ranges do clean up nicely

I think they just don't crank out the BTUs a good gas burner does, but as has been said above, keeping the lid on (with a close watching to immediately remove lid when the boil starts) will help a lot.

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Old 02-07-2005, 11:45 AM   #7
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First batch, first boil over, although only a little but still frustrating, thats why I wanted to use that 5 gal pot so bad. Thanks alot for your help guys your great!!!

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Old 02-07-2005, 06:04 PM   #8
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Default Dude!

I had the very same problem for my first batch months ago.

The problem is quite simple - you're trying to boil water on a flat top range with a not so perfectly flat kettle, I presume. If the bottom of the kettle doesn't touch your heat source completely, it will be tough to get it to boil.

I ended up boiling my batches outside using a camping stove.

I am willing to bet your problem is the kettle/pot not being flat, and not your stove top etc.

You can purchase a camping stove at walmart for about $20 (doesn't have to be a coleman). The propane tanks are about $2 each, and one canister of propane will last longer than about 2.5 hours at full blast/heat.

Hope this helps!
Happy brewing!

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Old 02-09-2005, 01:56 PM   #9
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hammer the bottom down.... well more realistic.... get a peice of sheet metal and cut it round to fit under the high spot on the pot.......

Also with electric stoves, if it starts to boil lower is and blow on the electic coils, that seems to work good for me..... electric is good for boiling faster though......

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Old 02-11-2005, 12:55 PM   #10
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Default Don't Worry..

I have a flat top stove, and I had your problem. This is what I do..

1. Put your lid on. Before I had the Automasher, I used a meat thermometer just eased up under the lid. Meat thermometers are big at the top, so they will not slide into your pot if the lid is on. The thermometer is there so you can know when to shut the heat off!

2. Put your big pot on the stove such that it is on two of the heating elements. For my pot, about half of each element ends up exposed with no part of the pot covering it. That's fine.

3. Blaze up the heat on both elements.

4. As soon as the thermometer is at 210 or so, go ahead and remove the lid. The boil will start soon and keep itself now even without the lid. You will notice that the bubbles rise from the two corners of the pot.

5. Go ahead and move the pot to one element now. I like to leave my lid about 3/4 of the way on so that it holds enough heat to keep a decent boil, but not toooo much! I use a big fork or something to prop the lid. You may think that your lid will rest there gently without a prop, but 5 minutes after you're gone, even the most stable looking lid will fall and totally cover the pot unless you use a prop. That means boilover!

I love the flat top. Boilover isn't really so bad because you can just scrape it off with a razor blade.

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