Two Technique questions I've been trying to think about in my head but I'd like to leave it to those more experienced.
1) If I want to maintain a boil of about 4 gallons (I can't really do more than that as my pot is only 5 gallons) is it OK to keep adding a bit of water throughout the boil to keep the volume from dropping much? The main reason I would want to do this is to keep my hop utilization as maximized as I can throughout the boil. My instincts tell me that it shouldn't matter at all because if water wasn't added to the boil more would just have to be added to my fermenter before pitching the yeast.
2) I usually top up to 5 gallons after my wort has cooled and I've transfered it to my fermenter. I use bottled arrowhead spring water. Would I be OK adding some of that water to my 5 gallon brewpot as I start to cool it after the boil? Maybe add up to a volume of 4.5 gallons (not to the top so it doesn't spill while I pick it up and pour it in the bucket)? It seems like if anything it could add to the cooling process slightly.
3) Lastly, on whirlpooling, after I cool the wort down and take out my wort-chiller I want to start a whirlpool (I haven't used this technique yet). So all I do is make a quick whirlpool in it and let it sit there (covered) for 10-15 minutes? Is it that easy?
Thanks for any help.