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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > 20 Minute Boil
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:12 PM   #1
SynicalKaos
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Default 20 Minute Boil

I posted this over at my blog, but since I don't get much traffic and I would like some pointers, I'm going to re-post it here. Sorry for the lame ctrl-c, ctrl-v move, but it was just too easy.

Next up, Cream Ale. I figured it was about time I tried brewing something below 15 SRM. Who knows, my “yellow beer” drinking parents may even enjoy this one. Looking through the BJCP guidelines, a cream ale is essentially an American style lager made with ale yeast. It should be a clean beer with neither the malt or the hops being too dominate.

This got me to thinking about the recipe. It’s just an extract kit ordered from Midwest. Liberty Cream Ale.

* 6 lbs. Breiss Golden LME
* 8 oz. Cara-Pils malt
* 2 oz. Cascade (5.4% AA)
* Wyeast 1056 Activator

The directions call for an ounce of hops at 60 minutes and the second ounce at 2 minutes. It’s a typical Midwest recipe. They love the 2 minute addition. I think though that this 2 minute addition will put too much hop aroma/flavor into the beer and the 60 minute addition will bitter it up too much. So this is where I plan on deviating from my usual brewing procedure and would like some input as to what you think.

From what I’ve read/heard from various places online, extract only needs to be boiled long enough to sterilize it since all the hot/cold break material was taken care of during the making of it. 10 to 15 minutes is sufficient for this. The only reason I can see for boiling extract for a full hour is to achieve your bitterness but that is hop related not extract. I understand that the gravity of the boil impacts the utilization of your hops but if a guy only has to boil the hops in a given gravity for 20 minutes to achieve the desired level of bitterness, there wouldn’t be any reason to boil for 40 minutes prior to adding the hops unless you were looking for those melanoidin reactions, which a cream ale doesn’t need.

Plugging the numbers into ProMash, a 1 oz. addition at 60 minutes would give me 26.6 IBU’s, far too many, I feel, for the style. The 2 minute addition would add another 4.4 bringing the total up to 31. I think the 2 minute addition would also add too much aroma/flavor. Tweaking around with the numbers, I discovered that a 2 oz. addition at 20 minutes would give me 17.9 IBU’s. I’m thinking that I would also get just a touch of flavor/aroma out of the 20 minute addition but not so much that it would be terribly noticeable.

Here’s the plan.

* Begin with 5.5 - 5.75 gallons in the kettle. Lower than usual to account for the shortened boil time.
* Add the Cara-Pils to the water and bring up to 170º F.
* Remove the grain and add the LME. I think I’ll also put in the chiller at this point.
* Bring up to a boil and add the hops.
* Boil for 20 minutes for my bittering.
* Flame out, chill, rack, aerate, pitch.

I would like to know what you think. Am I off my rocker for considering such a drastic change? Are my numbers working out? Do you anticipate any problems I might encounter?
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:25 PM   #2
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I thought there were other reasons to boil for about an hour, like protein breakdown or some such thing.

But even if not, seems like a waste of hops. Why not boil up 3/4 oz hops for about 60 mins and add the other 1/4 at 2 mins? Then you save an oz, your bitter/flavor hops are more to recipe and you still have your 60 min boil.

That's what I would do, although if 20 mins is all you need to boil, then there's nothing wrong with what you propose.

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Old 03-12-2009, 09:18 PM   #3
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You'll get a lot of flavor from those hops if you only boil it 20 minutes, and since you stated earlier that you thought a 2 minute addition would be too much flavor/aroma, do you really want that?

The shortest I'd push it back would be to 45 minutes, that should be long enough to get you just bittering.

If you're doing a full boil (which it looks like you are), you really don't need to worry that much about melanoidin reactions in the kettle. Fresher extract will be a bigger deal than boil time.

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Old 03-12-2009, 10:00 PM   #4
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How much would the 2 oz addition at 20 minutes compare to a 1 oz addition at 2 minutes as far as the flavor is concerned?

Perhaps 1 oz at 45 minutes just for bittering is a way to go, I'll play around with the numbers in ProMash. I'd have to say I was kinda looking forward to having a brew day that only lasted around an hour, start to finish, just for a change.

Thanks for the input.

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Old 03-13-2009, 02:30 PM   #5
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2 minutes it an aroma addition, you won't get much flavor from it, mostly just smells.

2 oz at 20 you're talking in the range of IPA hop-flavor. It could be delicious, as long as the hop you use has a good flavor, but if you're only looking for bittering and don't want to boil for 60 minutes, I'd do a bittering addition at 45 minutes and leave it at that.

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Old 03-14-2009, 10:53 PM   #6
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I would go 1oz. at 30 min boil. I've heard that 30 minutes is minimum for bittering acid breakdown, but can't remember where. I'm drinking Midwest Cream Ale as I type this, and I think your on to something, got me thinkin'. It's actually quite bitter at 5 weeks old. And I like it, but was unaware of the BJCP guidelines. This is hoppy, (31 IBU I think you calculated), not like an IPA, but not like a Sleemans Cream Ale either. I think you may be correct with your thinking, only maybe 30 minutes and pocket the extra oz. Maybe Midwest doesn't want to deviate from their instructions because this was an extract kit, and they prob. don't want to throw off someone new to the hobby with the confusion, thus overloading their call center. In the name of BJCP guidelines, I say go for it!!!!

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Old 03-15-2009, 06:03 PM   #7
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This has all piqued my curiosity. As far as the malt is concerned. 20 minutes is fine. It's the hops that are the constant source of debate/concern.

What is it I want out of the beer? I could boil as directed and the beer would be too bitter. I could adjust the size of the 60 minute addition to achieve the desired level of bitterness but wouldn't get anything else from it. I could add the 2 oz. at 20 minutes and get lots of flavor. Add 1 oz at 35-40 minutes to get the desired bitterness.

I'm torn between the 2 oz at 20 and the 1 oz at 35. I'm curious as to what the beer will be like with the 2 oz. I don't want a boring beer by any means, but am still concerned about the drinkability.

Maybe the oz. at 35 minutes to get the bitterness. It should still put some flavor in the beer, but maybe not so much that it overwhelms.

Thanks for the input Boxer. It was good to hear from someone that was currently drinking it.

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Old 04-03-2009, 11:02 PM   #8
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As far a extract goes, I don't think it actually needs any boil time. The FDA guidelines for pasteurization are 165 degrees for 3 seconds for acidic liquids. As long as you were successful at getting all of your extract into solution and the water was above say 170 degrees, you are safe. You don't need 10-15 minutes even for the extract.

So that really means it's all about the hops. And unfortunately, the hops need a certain amount of extract to be present in order to isomerize the alpha acids properly, or so that's the jist of what I've read.

Might be interesting to play around with this.

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