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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Side effects of under-shooting full boil volume?
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:15 PM   #1
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Default Side effects of under-shooting full boil volume?

I did my first all-grain on Saturday, and it mostly went okay I thought... except I didn't take into account the amount of wort I would lose due to avoiding the trub/hot break material at the bottom of the boil kettle after cooling it. As a result, I ended up with about 4.7 gallons, but was shooting for 5.25 or so. Though, my OG readings seemed pretty close, despite my being off on volume. I guessing that is just a result of poor efficiency of the mash and sparge (I forgot to take a reading immeditely after collecting all the wort in the kettle... sigh).

What ill effects can I expect to see/taste in the finish product? I'm guessing it will be a darker color obviously, and that I will have to adjust my priming sugar levels accordingly, but any other common things that accompany this situation?

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Old 04-30-2013, 06:21 PM   #2
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I wouldn't worry about it. I just did a big IPA yesterday, planned on putting about 5.25 - 5.5 gallons in my fermenter. I started the boil with about 7 gallons, did a 75 minute boil, I ended up losing 2 gallons to evaporation and the amount of hops I had it in.

No big deal though, still hit my Gravity just fine. There are so many things that can happen, but as long as it turns out well you are fine. Next time I do my big IPA though, I"m going to use hop bags, since I probably lost 1/2 gallon due to hops :-)

You need to give us more details though, how much grain did you use, how much water did you mash in with, how much water did you sparge with, how much wort did you start with at the boil? How long did you boil for? etc.

You can always lose 3 quarts to 5 quarts / hour of boiling depend on wind, temp, etc.

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Old 04-30-2013, 06:25 PM   #3
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Less beer into the primary, less beer out. That is the main side effect. Well, that and a possible higher OG due to it being more concentrated.

Taste, you probably will not notice much. Might be a smidge stronger flavored but should still be tasty.

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Old 04-30-2013, 11:40 PM   #4
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I did the same exact thing on my first batch. The taste came out great in the end...so don't worry. Your final ABV will be a little higher than you planned...maybe about .4 or .5% is all.
Take good notes so it doesn't happen again...that's all you can do.
Taking a hydrometer reading after you pitch the yeast is going to be very inaccurate...so just leave it. And, you could name the beer, "AA" as in "Alcohol Anonymous" ...cuz' you don't know what it's at!

LOL, I cracked myself up on that one!

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Old 05-01-2013, 12:04 AM   #5
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If you have an accurate post boil volume and gravity reading you can still calc brew house efficiency. I use the one on brewers friend site.

It is good to check the volume and gravity pre boil to dial in the grain absorption and other variables in AG brewing. You need to cool the sample to 70deg or use a refractometer for an accurate gravity reading.

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Old 05-01-2013, 02:58 PM   #6
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let's see... more details... i got my supplies from austin homebrew, so i kind of used their suggested directions, which was 1.25 quarts/pound (10 lbs) so i mashed with 10.25 quarts (plus about .5 quart to bring the temp up a bit). i then continuously sparged with 5 gallons, until it was running clear out of the ball valve. that got me close to 6.25 gallons, which is what they were suggesting.

i think my boil off/evaporation put me at about 5.25 probably which would have been great (i think?), but i didn't want to collect all the break/hop material at the bottom of the kettle after chilling, which is why i ended up with so little, as there was still quite a bit of wort/break at the bottom. i thought it better to siphon as little of that as possible? should i not care as much next time about bringing along some break and hop material, and care more about getting my target volume?


i think one important lesson i learned was maybe it wasn't a great idea having a few friends over (all non brewers, so no help in the process, either) and having homebrew throughout the process also... makes it tough when you're trying to juggle several things at once.

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Old 05-01-2013, 03:22 PM   #7
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You can also buy a 5 gallon nylon paint strainer bag and strain all that break/hop material out after it cools. This will also help aerate the wort prior to pitching. They catch pretty much all of the material, and even if it misses a little bit it will end up in the trub after it ferments.

In the future if you miss your final volume by boiling down too much you can always add preboiled and cooled water to it to make up the missing volume. As long as your OG was higher due to the lost volume your new OG after adding the water will be fine. There are calculators on brewersfriend for dilution/boil off that calculate gravity.

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Old 05-01-2013, 04:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5oBrewing View Post
You can also buy a 5 gallon nylon paint strainer bag and strain all that break/hop material out after it cools. This will also help aerate the wort prior to pitching. They catch pretty much all of the material, and even if it misses a little bit it will end up in the trub after it ferments.

In the future if you miss your final volume by boiling down too much you can always add preboiled and cooled water to it to make up the missing volume. As long as your OG was higher due to the lost volume your new OG after adding the water will be fine. There are calculators on brewersfriend for dilution/boil off that calculate gravity.
where are you placing the strainer bag? in the kettle before hop additions, and just boiling it the entire time, and lift it out at the end after chilling? or, in the fermenter bucket, and siphoning into that? i've heard of people also using a bag on the end of the siphon tip on the intake side as well... haven't tried that either.

and for your second tip, when you're saying as long as my OG was higher due to lost volume... as opposed to what? i will take another look at brewers friend also and check out that calculator. i think i may also need to think about buying beersmith software since i hear people say it's practically idiot proof once you have your parameters input... which is good because i still feel like i have very little idea what i'm doing here.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:20 PM   #9
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I place the strainer bag inside my fermenter bucket (they are made for buckets so work great), and pour my wort into the bucket. Airates and strains at the same time. Works great with IC's. Otherwise you can do as you mentioned above.

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Old 05-01-2013, 05:42 PM   #10
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What drunklejon said. I use a giant rubber band to hold it as it doesnt go all the way to the bottom of the fermenting bucket. I also use little nylon bags to hold my hops during the boil, i setup little hooks on the edge of the pot after the boil is done and fish out the bags and hang them on the hooks to drain back into the pot.

My second point being, if you lost more volume than you anticipated during the boil your OG should be higher (i.e. you ended up with 4.5 gallons instead of 5 gallons your 5 gallon calculated OG will be lower than what you would have at 4.5 gallons) So adding water at the end of it to bring your 4.5 back up to 5 should get you back to your original calculated OG. Just remember to mix the water well with the wort or you may get an erroneous hydrometer reading due to stratification.

As for brewing software, i just created an excel spreadsheet that has my water addition calcs and spaces for all my recipe notes and readings and whatnot, and use brewersfriends calculators for everything else.

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