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Old 12-12-2012, 03:16 AM   #1
bfinleyui
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Default full boil small batch vs partial boil larger batch?

Having a hard time making the decision...

I'm getting ready to do a BIAB for the first time.

I live in an apartment, and my stove wouldn't be able to handle a full boil of five gallons, not to mention that I don't have a pot larger than 5 gallons...

If you were in my position, would you do a full boil for a final volume of 3 gallons, or do a partial boil for the full five?

I know the recipes (particularly hops) would be different, and can use brewsmith to figure the difference, that wouldn't a problem. If it matters, i'd be able to do the full 3 gallon boil sooner (don't have a 6 gallon primary vessel open until Tuesday, but have a 5 gallon bb open now)

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Old 12-12-2012, 06:08 AM   #2
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Nothing wrong with either option. If you've got a fermenter ready for the 3 gal batch, go for that! Once you get a 6 gal fermenter open, just do a late addition of the extract portion of your partial and you don't have to worry about the hops as much. For a year or two I did all my batches as 3 gal boils and partial mashes with half the gravity from grain and half from extract because I was in a similar situation. If you're doing a smaller batch anyways, maybe consider doing a higher gravity beer, something that you don't need to have 5 gals of, but something that you can age for a while and taste over time.

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Old 12-12-2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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I would be aiming for a partial volume boil, trying to get all my gravity from the mash, rather than trying to add extract late in the process...

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Old 12-12-2012, 01:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfinleyui View Post
I live in an apartment, and my stove wouldn't be able to handle a full boil of five gallons, not to mention that I don't have a pot larger than 5 gallons...
It should. Unless you have a weak, electric stovetop. I've vigorously boiled 6 gallons indoors on a standard gas range. An aluminum kettle helps... or if you still can't boil the full volume, you can split it up in two smaller kettles and straddle two burners each.

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If you were in my position, would you do a full boil for a final volume of 3 gallons, or do a partial boil for the full five?
The former is always the better option. Don't dilute your IBUs and general quality of your wort. Topping off is practical for the new brewer, but following that method is a huge factor when it comes to making mediocre beer. Go full volume boil. Better to have 2.5 gallons of excellent beer than 5 gallons of crappy beer. The only downside to brewing up a smaller batch is that you can't rack the smaller volume to a larger secondary. You should keep the beer in the primary with that dense C02 blanket... or if racking is something you need to do, invest in a smaller secondary.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:39 PM   #5
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The former is always the better option. Don't dilute your IBUs and general quality of your wort. Topping off is practical for the new brewer, but following that method is a huge factor for making mediocre beer. Go full volume boil. Better to have 2.5 gallons of excellent beer than 5 gallons of crappy beer.
Actually I do stovetop all grain batches topped off to 5 gallons quite alot, especially in the winter when I can't get outside to brew, and I've never "dilluted" my ibus whatever the hell that means, nor have I made "lesser quality" wort for that matter either. In fact I've won awards for some of these batches, so I don't know where you've gotten this silly notion that somehow you make crappy beer this way.

My last three batches were done this way. I've done everything from lightly hopped lagers like my Vienna (Bronze medal, world expo of beers, Frakenmuth Michigan,) to hop bomb IPAs, (honorable mention IPA category Michigan State Fair) this way.....

Quite a lot of folks on here do it, and I can assure you that if we were making dilluted substandard wort, we wouldn't be doing it.

I've posted a tutorial on several occassions.

bfinleyui, really either option is fine. Sometimes you only want 2.5 gallons of beer, other times 5 gallons....Do what works for you, and make the best beer you can, however you want to do it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:40 PM   #6
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Full boil smaller batches. It is what I do. But the secondary issue is one I am working through. I normally don't secondary any beer but I am planning a Barleywine right now and I will need to secondary that one. Guess I will be picking up a 3 gal better bottle soon.

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Old 12-12-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Actually I do stovetop all grain batches topped off to 5 gallons quite alot, especially in the winter when I can't get outside to brew, and I've never "dilluted" my ibus whatever the hell that means, nor have I made "lesser quality" wort for that matter either. In fact I've won awards for some of these batches, so I don't know where you've gotten this silly notion that somehow you make crappy beer this way.

My last three batches were done this way. I've done everything from lightly hopped lagers like my Vienna (Bronze medal, world expo of beers, Frakenmuth Michigan,) to hop bomb IPAs, (honorable mention IPA category Michigan State Fair) this way.....
Pats you on back and gives you a cookie.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Actually I do stovetop all grain batches topped off to 5 gallons quite alot, especially in the winter when I can't get outside to brew, and I've never "dilluted" my ibus whatever the hell that means, nor have I made "lesser quality" wort for that matter either.
I think he's saying that when you do a partial boil you need to increase your hop usage in order to end up with a given level of bitterness/flavor/aroma, relative to what you would need to use in a full boil. I've read this elsewhere, although I personally have no experience with it, since I started out with full boils from the get-go. But from what I remember (can't remember where, but I'm sure others know, and there's probably a dozen threads that have already discussed it), the hop utilization is better for full boils, so in order to get the same hop profile with a partial boil you need to use more hops.

This makes intuitive sense to me, since you're essentially watering down your wort with added water after the boil, which would cause the hop profile to be weakened, so you would want it to start out higher. How much of a difference there is, I don't personally know since I've never done partial boils, but my guess is that's what he was referring to.
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jerrodm View Post
I think he's saying that when you do a partial boil you need to increase your hop usage in order to end up with a given level of bitterness/flavor/aroma, relative to what you would need to use in a full boil. I've read this elsewhere, although I personally have no experience with it, since I started out with full boils from the get-go. But from what I remember (can't remember where, but I'm sure others know, and there's probably a dozen threads that have already discussed it), the hop utilization is better for full boils, so in order to get the same hop profile with a partial boil you need to use more hops.

This makes intuitive sense to me, since you're essentially watering down your wort with added water after the boil, which would cause the hop profile to be weakened, so you would want it to start out higher. How much of a difference there is, I don't personally know since I've never done partial boils, but my guess is that's what he was referring to.
You don't need to defend him, besides, basically he's saying you'll make crappy beer if you attempt it. It's one thing to offer information, it's another thing to offer opinion without stating that it is opinion.

I have found that in this hobby there are MANY ways of doing things, and that when someone is "so sure" that something won't work, he doesn't realize that there are folks who are doing it that way all the time, and it IS working. And used by a lot of people.

A lot of folks just repeat what they've heard, about something, without even experimenting for themselves. And USUALLY those things that folks are so convinced is "that way" like the hop utilization thing turns out to be so miniscule that our tastebuds really couldn't detect it anyway......

My primer covers any so called "dillution" of hops quite simply....As does most brewing software when you're working with dillution....

And the other questions remains, Have either of you ACTUALLY attempted it or are you just playing armchair brewer on this one? It's one thing to do it, and share info for or against it, and it's another thing to venture opinion without even having ever tried it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:05 PM   #10
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Ok

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