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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Help 50% boil off rate
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:51 PM   #1
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Default Help 50% boil off rate

I have been struggling with low amounts of wort going into the fermenter. I never get 5 gallons. I use a kettle and turkey fryer burner to boil in and I have always used generic software online to calculate my mash temps. and water amounts. I also left the boil off rate at 10 percent in the formula. I just tried an experiment by boiling 5 gallons of water for 60 minutes. I turned the burner down pretty low and had a good boil. When it was over I only had 2 1/2 gallons left. I don't get it how can I possibly lose 50%? I'm doing an 11 1/2 gallon batch of BM cream of 3 crops tomorrow and I really want to end up with 2 full kegs. I am thinking I'm boiling too hard but the flame was turned down quite a bit.

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Old 08-26-2010, 03:12 PM   #2
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I think you are looking at it the wrong way. 2-2 1/2 gallons is an acceptable boil off rate if you have your burner turner up.You are going to lose the same amount of volume if you boil 10 gallons or 5 gallons. It is not a percentage of the total amount of water you use. The best way would be to calculate your boil off rate in gallons / hour instead of percent. Then adjust your sparge or add top off water at the start of the boil to account for your boil off rate.

Boil 10 gallons of water. Figure out how much is lost to evaporation. Use that number to figure out how much you need to start with to achieve 10 gallons in the kegs. You also need to determine how much you lose to trub, racking and yeast.

For my system, to get 10 gallons in two kegs, I have to start with 15 gallons in my kettle. I boil for 90 mins and, after whirlpool and leaving trub behind in the kettle, I have 5.6 gallons in each fermenter. I do rack to a conditioning vessel so there are losses. When I finally rack to the keg, It is full at 5 gallons.

You need to start at what you want in the keg and calculate backwards what your losses are. Measure what you leave behind at each step and record it. Boil 10 gallons of water a couple of times at different rates of boil so you will KNOW what amount of of water is lost for each setting. Record this. Then you can plan you recipes accurately.

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Old 08-26-2010, 03:13 PM   #3
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Turn the heat down more. Turn it down until it quits boiling and then slowly turn it up until you have a boil. There's no need to boil hard enough to evap half your wort.

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Old 08-26-2010, 03:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Wayne1 View Post
I think you are looking at it the wrong way. 2-2 1/2 gallons is an acceptable boil off rate if you have your burner turner up.You are going to lose the same amount of volume if you boil 10 gallons or 5 gallons. It is not a percentage of the total amount of water you use. The best way would be to calculate your boil off rate in gallons / hour instead of percent. Then adjust your sparge or add top off water at the start of the boil to account for your boil off rate.

Boil 10 gallons of water. Figure out how much is lost to evaporation. Use that number to figure out how much you need to start with to achieve 10 gallons in the kegs. You also need to determine how much you lose to trub, racking and yeast.

For my system, to get 10 gallons in two kegs, I have to start with 15 gallons in my kettle. I boil for 90 mins and, after whirlpool and leaving trub behind in the kettle, I have 5.6 gallons in each fermenter. I do rack to a conditioning vessel so there are losses. When I finally rack to the keg, It is full at 5 gallons.

You need to start at what you want in the keg and calculate backwards what your losses are. Measure what you leave behind at each step and record it. Boil 10 gallons of water a couple of times at different rates of boil so you will KNOW what amount of of water is lost for each setting. Record this. Then you can plan you recipes accurately.

I just put a better regulator on the burner so I can turn the flame down more. So if understand this a little better if I want 5.5 gallons in my fermenter (only accounting for boil off)and I'm boiling 60 minutes I need to start with approx. 8 gallons?
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:21 PM   #5
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Turn the heat down more. Turn it down until it quits boiling and then slowly turn it up until you have a boil. There's no need to boil hard enough to evap half your wort.

I'm trying that now. I never really understood what a rolling boil was supposed to be. I can boil with a small flame or really boil with a large one. Should there be bubbles or should the water kind of "roll".
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:30 PM   #6
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I just put a better regulator on the burner so I can turn the flame down more. So if understand this a little better if I want 5.5 gallons in my fermenter (only accounting for boil off)and I'm boiling 60 minutes I need to start with approx. 8 gallons?
Maybe. On my system I want 5.25 in the fermenter. When I account for trub losses and boil off I need 6.5 in the kettle pre-boil for a 60 min boil, up that to 7 gal for a 90 min boil.

Your results may vary, depending on your boil off rate and trub losses, etc. You'll have to figure this out with a bit of trial and error.

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I'm trying that now. I never really understood what a rolling boil was supposed to be. I can boil with a small flame or really boil with a large one. Should there be bubbles or should the water kind of "roll".
Some people boil the ever loving snot of their wort. I just get it to a boil where there is decent turnover of the liquid. IMO, you don't need the wort exploding out of the kettle. Just make sure it's constantly turning over.

I made a heat shield with some aluminum flashing for my turkey fryer. I added some horizontal support to my fryer legs for the shield to rest on. The shield is flashing riveted together in a cylinder that is slightly larger than my kettle. I can keep a nice rolling boil and can barely here my burner whispering. Best $7 i ever spent. I'm now getting about 8, 5 gal batches per tank of propane.
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:40 PM   #7
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I'm trying it again with a lighter boil.

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Old 08-26-2010, 04:28 PM   #8
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I'm trying that now. I never really understood what a rolling boil was supposed to be. I can boil with a small flame or really boil with a large one. Should there be bubbles or should the water kind of "roll".
I would try to use the lowest amount of heat needed to hit a boil. Break out your thermometer. Check you boil temps. Is is 212 F in your area? You cannot have a hotter temp than boiling in an open container. It doesn't matter if you are having big bubbles or a small roll. The temp is the same. Use the lowest setting that achieves boiling temp for your altitude.

You will save money on Propane and perhaps not evaporate quite as much. It does take a bit of time and trial and error to calibrate your system.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:32 PM   #9
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I think the new regulator is making a huge difference. I'm at 30 minutes and not much has boiled off. More importantly I'm not getting the deafening roar I used to get. I have the flame down nice and low and can't even hear it. The old regulator sounded like a jet engine inside my open garage. I bet I save a ton of gas too. I hope this works......30 more minutes.

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Old 08-26-2010, 04:37 PM   #10
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I've always heard to boil as hard as possible. I read that it helps the hot break. That said. It's personal preference.

As far as boil off rate, you sound like yours is very normal. I boil off a gallon per half hour. It looks like you boil off 1.25 per half hour. All you gotta do is adjust accordingly for your setup.

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