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Old 12-02-2010, 03:25 AM   #1
dmercer
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Default Help lowering boil-off rates

So, we moved into a house in June, and with the added space, I decided it was a decent opportunity to move to all-grain brewing. Leaving myself a little room to grow, I bought a 15.5-gallon kettle and an SP-10 Bayou Classic propane burner.

I've done 3 all-grain batches. The first, I didn't use enough sparge water, so when I ended up short of my 5-gallon target, I redid the math and realized my mistake. The second batch, I did a simple cream ale for SWMBO and collected just shy of 6.5 gallons. Post-boil I just a hair over 4 gallons in the fermenter (I topped up with bottled water). I decided I had way too vigorous of a boil going on, so I attempted to correct that this past weekend. I collected 6.25g of wort, and after a 60-minute, barely-rolling boil (less vigorous than I used to do on my stovetop with extract when I didn't care about boiloff) I put about 4.6 gallons in the fermenter. That's around 25%.

The first two batches, I made obvious mistakes, but this last batch surprised me. They've all been fairly simple, 5-gallon (target) ales, so I don't know what I can try to get lower rates. Granted I'm brewing in the garage now and it was probably 45F in there this weekend, but no breeze, and it was close to 60F with the cream ale.

FWIW, my pot diameter is 16". I see the 15-gal Megapot is 19". Appreciate any advice.

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Old 12-02-2010, 03:36 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dmercer View Post
So, we moved into a house in June, and with the added space, I decided it was a decent opportunity to move to all-grain brewing. Leaving myself a little room to grow, I bought a 15.5-gallon kettle and an SP-10 Bayou Classic propane burner.

I've done 3 all-grain batches. The first, I didn't use enough sparge water, so when I ended up short of my 5-gallon target, I redid the math and realized my mistake. The second batch, I did a simple cream ale for SWMBO and collected just shy of 6.5 gallons. Post-boil I just a hair over 4 gallons in the fermenter (I topped up with bottled water). I decided I had way too vigorous of a boil going on, so I attempted to correct that this past weekend. I collected 6.25g of wort, and after a 60-minute, barely-rolling boil (less vigorous than I used to do on my stovetop with extract when I didn't care about boiloff) I put about 4.6 gallons in the fermenter. That's around 25%.

The first two batches, I made obvious mistakes, but this last batch surprised me. They've all been fairly simple, 5-gallon (target) ales, so I don't know what I can try to get lower rates. Granted I'm brewing in the garage now and it was probably 45F in there this weekend, but no breeze, and it was close to 60F with the cream ale.

FWIW, my pot diameter is 16". I see the 15-gal Megapot is 19". Appreciate any advice.
Well, first, you do want a good vigourous boil, not a wimpy little bit of bubbling, but I'm sure you know that. Boil off rate, among other factos, is a function of surface area presented to atmosphere. Your kettlle has a large surface area. A kettle of less diameter would put you back into more familiar grounds...
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:39 AM   #3
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kick it up to about 6.7 gallons of wort. that should get you 5 post-boil

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Old 12-02-2010, 03:40 AM   #4
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faster boiloff is a blessing. as long as you boil takes 60 minutes, you should be able to fit in all you hops additions. unless you constantly have a several inches of foam, i don't think you're burning too hot.

water expands when it's hot. 7 boiling gallons might shrink down to 6.5 room temp gallons.

what is the elevation of where you live/brew?

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Old 12-02-2010, 04:19 AM   #5
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I used to have around a 25% boil off until I switched to a better burner. Now its right at 12%.

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Old 12-02-2010, 10:38 AM   #6
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I used to have around a 25% boil off until I switched to a better burner. Now its right at 12%.
Which burner did you switch to?

I did my last batch with a 15 gallon pot and SP-10 and boiled off way more than you did. With the old pot 1.5-2 was usual, with this thing I went from 8 to a little less than 5.5 including with the trub going in.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:56 AM   #7
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kick it up to about 6.7 gallons of wort. that should get you 5 post-boil

I'll try that with the next batch. I'm wanting to do a 10-gallon batch that I can split with a buddy. Does something like this scale more or less linearly? Meaning if I want 10-gallons post boil we'd need to end up with nearly 13 gallons of runnings?
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:43 PM   #8
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I have a keggle and have to create my recipes to start with about 7.25 gallons preboil to end up with 5.5 gallons post boil at the desired gravity.
do you have brewing software or are you manually calculating it?

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:44 PM   #9
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I boil off a gallon per half hour. There is nothing wrong with the high boil off. I usually do six gallon batches so that I can get 5 into the fermenter after trub. For a six gallon batch I start at just over 8 gallons pre-boil.

Rather than boiling slow or worrying about reducing the amount of boil off I would just focus on upping your pre-boil volume based on what you boiled off this first batch. After another couple batches you will have it nailed down and will be able to hit your target volumes spot on.

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:45 PM   #10
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I'll try that with the next batch. I'm wanting to do a 10-gallon batch that I can split with a buddy. Does something like this scale more or less linearly? Meaning if I want 10-gallons post boil we'd need to end up with nearly 13 gallons of runnings?
No. The boil off is the same IF the pot is the same! So, it doesn't scale at all.

I start with 7 gallons for a 5.25 gallon batch (into the fermenter). I start with 12 gallons for 10.5 gallons.

So, if you boil off 1.5 gallons in an hour boil, you'll do it no matter the batch size. You won't boil off more. I hope that makes sense!
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