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Old 05-04-2011, 02:09 AM   #1
jwic
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Default Does the size/strength of a boil affect the beer?

I have a gas stove but unlike many I've seen with a small burner, two medium burners, and a large burner, mine has four small/medium burners. This means I haven't been able to get a really hearty boil going. To put it in perspective, I have to cover the pot to get the boil going; once going I can uncover it but it's a lazy roll not a vigorous boil; I have never had to worry about boil-over (and I dare say I could even cover the pot and it wouldn't boil over).

Is this too weak a boil? To what degree does the strength/size of boil matter?

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Old 05-04-2011, 02:35 AM   #2
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Does the surface look lumpy? Or is it only little bubbles slowly rising? You dont need a really vigorous boil, but you want the fluid moving consistently. The boil has an effect on hop utilization, flavor (melonoidin formation, and driving out nasty voliteles like DMS), etc.

If you cant hit a proper boil, consider boiling less and adding sterile water when you chill.

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Old 05-04-2011, 02:35 AM   #3
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If you listen to the Brewing Network regularly, Jamil occasionally mentions that he doesn't get a very vigorous boil going. He says that the important thing is that the wort gets moving and turning over from the bottom to the top. As long as it is boiling, you're burning off the precursors to DMS, isomerizing the alpha acids from the hops, etc... You should be fine.

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Old 05-04-2011, 11:40 AM   #4
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It definitely rolls; if I cover the pot I can get a better boil going. I think a 2.5-3 gal. partial boil is about max for my stove, though...

I read from time to time about "getting a raging boil" going so I was a bit worried it affected the beer.

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Old 05-04-2011, 12:38 PM   #5
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I don't think my stove could boil more than 5gal at a time but then I only have a 17qt Bk... I do AG 5gal batches and collect all my runnings and give it a good stir and split it into two 3gal boils and split all my hops and any other additions.. It adds more time to the brew day but I feel more confident about getting rid of all DMS and getting full extraction from the hops this way. I want to go all electric eventually with a 7.5gal BK...

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Old 05-04-2011, 02:17 PM   #6
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On the 'Head Retention' podcast JP said something about the high heat load possible from using propane jet burners can degrade proteins and cause excessive break. Not really sure exactly what he meant though. I was boiling my wort pretty hard (with a jet burner) and after listening to that I've been boiling fairly gently and not as long...but those beers aren't done yet (only started this a few batches ago) so can't comment yet.

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Old 05-04-2011, 02:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
On the 'Head Retention' podcast JP said something about the high heat load possible from using propane jet burners can degrade proteins and cause excessive break. Not really sure exactly what he meant though. I was boiling my wort pretty hard (with a jet burner) and after listening to that I've been boiling fairly gently and not as long...but those beers aren't done yet (only started this a few batches ago) so can't comment yet.
I made a kolsch for the second time last weekend and decided to get a good hearty boil going for this batch. I noticed I had a lot more cold break in my fermenter this time. Usually I just get a nice rolling boil, nothing to vigorous. I'm going back to that.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:25 PM   #8
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When I first started brewing, I put my pot in between two burners on the stove, and cranked them both up. It took for-freaking-ever to get the boil going... and it wasn't that fantastic a boil either.

I may live in an apartment, but a turkey-fryer burner and a propane tank was a must-buy for me, to get the proper BTU's to get the boil going, and the brew day over and done with.

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Old 05-04-2011, 02:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwic View Post
It definitely rolls; if I cover the pot I can get a better boil going.
Not good to boil wort in a covered pot.

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Old 05-04-2011, 02:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildwest450 View Post
Not good to boil wort in a covered pot.

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Because of possible boil-over or for some other reason?
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