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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Boiling...vigorous or just a simmer?
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
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Default Boiling...vigorous or just a simmer?

So, you shouldn't believe everything you read randomly on the Internet. So, why not ask a random question in the Internet where I might get some good advice.

I'm really wanting to do a good pilsner...but I've read that I don't want a massive boil to let everything caramelise as much as I would a darker beer. I usually get a really rippin' boil and boil off from 8.25 gallons down to 5.25 gallons in 90 minutes. However, do I want something so strong for a lighter, paler beer? Would things caramelise too much for a light pilsner?

Cheers!

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Old 06-28-2011, 01:34 PM   #2
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I say especially with a lighter lager I would want a more vigorous boil. You'll not only get optimum use of you bittering hop additions, you will also boil off many of the volatile minerals/chemicals in your wort. Giving you a cleaner fished product. I haven't had any problems with caramelization. My beers have also been turning out more clear since I got the setup on the propane burners!

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Old 06-28-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
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I've noticed my lighter ales have been turning out really clear since i've been getting such a nice hard boil...but this is going to be my first very light lager. So I wasn't sure. I think i'm just going to take your suggestion, continue with what I've been doing and hope for the best! haha

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Old 06-28-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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The main purposes for the boil are to drive off DMS, promote hop utilization, sterilize the wort, and cause Maillard reactions (not actually caramelization, but basically the browning effect you're talking about). All you need for the first 3 are a good rolling boil, i.e. just enough to keep the liquid moving in the pot. It should just look like there's a curve to the top of the liquid, not jumping all over in the pot. The Maillard reactions are increased by removing water or increasing temperature, so you would get more browning by boiling harder. It's up to you really if the flavor changes caused by these reactions are more or less desirable than the color impact, but basically yes a more vigorous boil will make it more difficult to have the lightest beer possible.

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Old 06-28-2011, 07:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stageseven
The main purposes for the boil are to drive off DMS, promote hop utilization, sterilize the wort, and cause Maillard reactions (not actually caramelization, but basically the browning effect you're talking about). All you need for the first 3 are a good rolling boil, i.e. just enough to keep the liquid moving in the pot. It should just look like there's a curve to the top of the liquid, not jumping all over in the pot. The Maillard reactions are increased by removing water or increasing temperature, so you would get more browning by boiling harder. It's up to you really if the flavor changes caused by these reactions are more or less desirable than the color impact, but basically yes a more vigorous boil will make it more difficult to have the lightest beer possible.
100% right on.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the great info!

I need to lower my boil off rate then, but i should be pretty set for this. Just bring it to a nice boil (i don't really need it ripping, but definitely getting the water rolling) and let it go. Would 60 minutes be enough, or should I aim for a 90 minute boil?

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:42 PM   #7
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One thing to note: if you change your boiling profile and don't quite hit the evaporation rate you planned on you could boil off more or less than intended. If you aimed to boil off 15% but only boiled off 8%, you'll end up having more volume at the end of the boil, which will through off your IBUs and OG.

To help keep track of your evaporation rate, take an initial volume reading and then another into your boil (halfway or a quarter of the way in). If your new reading shows you that if you continue boiling at that rate you will fall below your final volume, ease back on the boil or vice versa.

Practicing this will help you hit all your numbers.

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1971hemicuda View Post
Thanks for all the great info!

I need to lower my boil off rate then, but i should be pretty set for this. Just bring it to a nice boil (i don't really need it ripping, but definitely getting the water rolling) and let it go. Would 60 minutes be enough, or should I aim for a 90 minute boil?
90 minutes for a beer with pilsner malt! It has more SMM (DMS precursors) so it needs to boil for 90 minutes. BUT- I've done a 60 minute boil using pilsner malt, without DMS. I don't recommend it, but it worked out ok for me!
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:03 AM   #9
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If you have your process down well enough, and you can cool a pils wort down below 120 in less than 6-7 minutes post boil, you'll be ok like Yooper said. If you can't do that, stick to a 90+ minute boil with Pilsner malt or else you should just go ahead and re-name your brew liquid corn salsa.

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Old 06-29-2011, 09:28 AM   #10
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The milliard reactions also help with the maltiness of the beer and in a pilsner (except german) the maltiness is important to the style.

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