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Old 04-05-2013, 04:10 AM   #1
BrutalBrew
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Default boiling down large volumes. Big beers

I have a question about boiling down large volumes of wort. I'm going to brew a barley wine. Ive read and have been told to brew 2 beers. A big beer and then a smaller pale ale with the rest of sparge. What if you just want a really big brew. Why cant you just sparge until you have removed the mass majority of starchs from the grain and boil it down? I know you may end up with 10g to boil down to 5g. My LHBS said boiling down the remaining runnings wont help. I believe this, I just dont understand why. I would think you could boil it down to concentrate it? Does it caramelize the sugars so much that they become useless to the yeast, causing just a sweet brew? I know boiling down 10g to 5g would take 5 hours, BUT i planned on using 2 x 6g pots so that would actually decrease boil time to 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Im using 24lbs of grain in a 10g cooler MLT w/7.5g strike. That would give me about 6g first running's , then I was going to fly sparge 4g thru the grain to get all the goodies out. Am I better off just sparging the 1.5g LHBS recommended? Need info/input

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Old 04-05-2013, 06:06 AM   #2
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A lot of the traditional big beers were based upon long boils, up to 4, 6, even 8 hours (probably even more). You will get more caramelization, and definitely go through some propane, but not enough that it should discourage you from doing so. You'll want to make sure when you sparge to keep the pH in a good range so you don't extract tannins, since the tannins will also concentrate in the final product. Two pots is a good idea if you can handle it. The greater total surface area of boiling wort you've got, the more you'll boil off. I'm not sure what the effect of boiling hops for 2-2.5hrs would be (other than a very small increase in bitterness), but you could always wait until you think you've got about an hour or hour and a half left, then toss the hops in.

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Old 04-05-2013, 07:26 AM   #3
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I did this recently with a RIS. I did my first batch sparge and the SG for the sparge was in the mid 40s. I decided to do another batch sparge and got the SG down in the low 30s. I probably could have gotten away with a third batch sparge and had good pH but at that point I had already collected about 9.5 gallons.

I split it into two pots to boil it down faster until my total volume was what it should have been at the first hop addition and then recombined them. It seemed to work great. My efficiency was about 68% (I usually do 72-75% so I was happy for such a big beer). It's still fermenting right now but the wort sample tasted great! No off flavors that I could detect although RIS has lots of flavor that could have covered it up. Like was said previously, this method was traditionally pretty standard for big beers so I don't see anything wrong with it.

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