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Old 12-09-2009, 02:26 PM   #1
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Default Winter Brewing, Weak Stovetops and Split Pots

With the winter arriving here in Chicago I am now relegated to brewing my 5 gallon all grain batches indoors on my weak gas range. As it is really tough to bring 6.5 or 7 gal of preboil volume up to even a weak boil (even with pot sitting across two burners) I'm considering doing some sort of hybrid split pot method. But here is the catch - I CAN get 4.5 to 5 gal to a boil in a reasonable amount of time. It's just that last couple of gallons that seem to max out my stoves abilities...

So - I'm thinking of doing a 4.5 gal boil in my primary kettle, and collecting another 2 or 2.5 gal of wort into a smaller pot - I'd probably mix the wort to achieve a standard gravity across both pots. Could I get away with only boiling the primary kettle (while keeping the "backup" kettle at around 200 degrees or so - not boiling) and adding the "extra" wort into the boil half way through or so once enough evaporation has occurred? I'd like to avoid messing around with splitting hop additions and I definitely do not want to be concerned with chilling two separate pots. Does anyone do anything similar? Does this approach really throw off any gravity calcualtions, hop calculations, etc?



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Old 12-09-2009, 04:32 PM   #2
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If'n it were me, I'd probably split the batch on two kettles and split the additions as well. After the boil is complete, you could gently add the one of the kettles to the other to chill.



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Old 12-09-2009, 06:20 PM   #3
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I've actually tried it where I just boiled additional water alone in a second smaller pot, and then topped off mid boil (after the main pot had lost a lot to evaporation). There may be a reason that this is stupid, but the beer didn't seem the worse for wear. It's nice in that the smaller water only pot comes to a boil fairly quickly, so you don't have to have two boils the full time.

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Old 12-09-2009, 06:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by McGarnigle View Post
I've actually tried it where I just boiled additional water alone in a second smaller pot, and then topped off mid boil (after the main pot had lost a lot to evaporation). There may be a reason that this is stupid, but the beer didn't seem the worse for wear. It's nice in that the smaller water only pot comes to a boil fairly quickly, so you don't have to have two boils the full time.
are you doing extract or all grain? If all grain, wouldnt adding water after the sparge dilute your wort and throw off the gravity you are targeting? Or, is it offset by not taking as much volume in the sparge (thereby the wort is a little too concentrated to begin with)??

thanks
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:32 PM   #5
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are you doing extract or all grain? If all grain, wouldnt adding water after the sparge dilute your wort and throw off the gravity you are targeting? Or, is it offset by not taking as much volume in the sparge (thereby the wort is a little too concentrated to begin with)??

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Actually - i guess that begs the question posed this way: can you do what is in essence a partial boil with an all grain batch?
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:42 PM   #6
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Yeah I would probably do a partial boil. Use a little extra grain if you have to in order to get a more concentrated wort. Splitting the wort and not bringing part of it to a full boil for at least full hour can leave you with unwanted DMS. Just do the partial and add bottled spring water or filtered water at the end. Doing this will also give you a little extra O2 in your fermenter which is never a bad thing.

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Old 12-09-2009, 06:52 PM   #7
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very good point on the DMS - I hadn;t considered that. Thanks for the advice all

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Old 12-09-2009, 09:35 PM   #8
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I'd just brew outside. I've brewed in <20F before and it's not that bad. Just pull the chair up close to the burner and pretend it's a roaring fire.

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Old 12-09-2009, 09:39 PM   #9
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I'd just brew outside. I've brewed in <20F before and it's not that bad. Just pull the chair up close to the burner and pretend it's a roaring fire.
i would if i could but i live in an apartment and cant use the deck i usually brew on during the winter. kind of sucks - id gotten so used to propane this summer
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:42 AM   #10
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are you doing extract or all grain? If all grain, wouldnt adding water after the sparge dilute your wort and throw off the gravity you are targeting? Or, is it offset by not taking as much volume in the sparge (thereby the wort is a little too concentrated to begin with)??

thanks
I do this for extract or partial mash, and I see now that you're talking about AG. I have used top off water for AG, but it's a small amount...~10% of the total volume.


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