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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Top off with all grain/pm?
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:43 PM   #1
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Default Top off with all grain/pm?

Just curious if you can top up in fermenter with all grain/pm? Thinking of doing 2.5/3 gallon boils on my gas stove biab style during the winter until i can use my turkey fryer. what do you think?

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Old 11-28-2010, 10:59 PM   #2
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What size kettle do you have? I brew AG inside all the time w/ a 5 gal pot doing a 4.5+ gal boil and topping up in the fermenter. Just be very careful of boil overs!!! If you are only going to boil 2.5 to 3 gallons, I would do smaller batches, BUT it is possible. If you are doing PM, you can top up no problem as you are already supplementing with extract. Folow DeathBrewers process and you will make great beer! There are many threads regarding this very issue already out there, just do a search.

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Old 11-28-2010, 11:11 PM   #3
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I have a 5 gal ss, 7.5 gallon aluminum, and 8 gallon aluminum kettle. not sure if i can get a full boil going on any of them with my gas stove.

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Old 11-28-2010, 11:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportscrazed2 View Post
I have a 5 gal ss, 7.5 gallon aluminum, and 8 gallon aluminum kettle. not sure if i can get a full boil going on any of them with my gas stove.
I straddle 2 burners with mine and have no problem boiling almost 5 gallons. Experiment with the bigger kettle so you don't have the mess factor and see how long it takes to get to a boil and how vigorous it is. I just don't use my big aluminum pot because I don't really think crawfish and crab flavored beer sounds very appetizing
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:41 PM   #5
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1 of the pots is tall/thin the other aluminum pot is short and fat. which would be better a tall thin one over 1 burner or a short/fat one over two burners?

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Old 11-28-2010, 11:47 PM   #6
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Short fat over 2 burners, IMHO

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Old 11-28-2010, 11:47 PM   #7
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I do top off ag batches all time. I often do 5 gallon batches dilluting 2.5 gallons of wort with 2.5 gallons of water.

I've been doing quite a lot of them in the winters in the last couple of years.

I do it a lot in the winter when I can't brew outside. I use a pre-boil gravity of 3.5 gallons boiled down to 2.5 and topped off with 2.5 gallons of water, and I've never had an issue with efficiency whatsoever, or hop utilization problems either.

I use beersmith to calculate everything then use their "dillute with water" calculator and hit my numbers all the time. A recipe calculated in a program like beersmith that takes into account for boil size will tell you how much grain you need to achieve whatever your set efficiency is. Basically you are still making a high grav wort, like your extract extract actually is, and then using the calculator dilluting it down.

The only thing I account for is hop efficiency. And I simply up my hopbill by about 18% to overcompensate for poor hop utilization. And I bet you with a better understanding of the formuals and such, you could nail the amount you need to overcompensate more precisely that I do, but 18% more seems to work for me.

I've done everything from IPA's to really light lagers this way and have had some great beers come out of it. My Wit and my Vienna Lager made this way have both placed in comps. And another one, my chocolate mole porter picked up a bronze.

I still do a lot of half sized Ag batches, because there is no extra math involved, but over the last two years I've found that the "you can only do full sized all grain batches, and can't dillute with water," isn't exactly true....it just takes a little finegaling with the maths.

I think the idea that you "can't" is just one of those common wisdom things that folks repeat because they've heard it, and never really give it much thought, or worse yet, just repeat the premise verbatum...

Funny thing is I've discussed this with brewers who own 2 different LHBS's (and have decades more experience than me) and they've been doing the same thing for years. I first thought about it, when I overboiled a 5 gallon batch on my turkey fryer by a gallon, and sat down and played with the dillution ration to top off with water, and it returned to the gravity had I not missed my post boil volume...I started to wonder what if....and it's been fun. Especially finding out that it works for many different styles, from really hoppy to not subtle brews.

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Old 11-29-2010, 12:09 AM   #8
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The better heat tranfer of aluminum might be better for stovetopping. You may be very pleasantly surprised how much you can boil over two burners. Take it slow and easy once you get near boiling...you really don't want a boilover inside...unless you plan on renovating the kitchen anyways.

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Old 11-29-2010, 11:19 PM   #9
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I've done the same as Revvy for years as well with no problem. It is "common wisdom" that it doesn't work, but having done it I know for certain it does. Still, every time I tell anyone about it, I am told how certain they are that it doesn't work. I've actually had people tell me that you can't do that while drinking the end result with no idea.

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Old 11-29-2010, 11:35 PM   #10
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I did two BIAB AG batches this last weekend doing partial boil. The first time about 3.6g of wort, the second time I got about 4 gallons. Both times topped off to 5-gal with tap water.

Remember that you are going to combine your mash water with your sparge water and the tough part is to get just enough to fill the kettle to the just-right-amount with your newly created wort.

Also consider getting three mesh bags for your grain bill instead of trying to fit it all inside one.

Mash your base grains and specialty grains together.

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