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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Boil Volume in Extract Kits?
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:15 AM   #1
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Default Boil Volume in Extract Kits?

So this will be the third extract kit that I have ever brewed, so I am still kind new to the brewing world. I have already done an Oktoberfest and a Porter with the Brewers Best kits and they have turned out better than expected so far. My question is that the kit says to start off with 2.5 gallons of water and start to steep your gains and contain on with the boil. Once finished it says to add another 3 gallons or so to get up to the 5 gallon make so that your can begin fermentation. So I was kinda wanting to do a full boil since I have a large enough boil kettle, but I wanted to know what the benefits or negatives would be of doing so. The kit says that it is made so that you should boil with the 2.5 gallons of water, so would doing a full 5 gallons instead affect the beer in a negative or positive way? Or is adding the extra water to do a 5 gallon boil just a waste of time? Thanks for everyone's help. This website has already helped out a lot for me.

Dakota

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Old 02-11-2012, 03:49 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dshay View Post
So this will be the third extract kit that I have ever brewed, so I am still kind new to the brewing world. I have already done an Oktoberfest and a Porter with the Brewers Best kits and they have turned out better than expected so far. My question is that the kit says to start off with 2.5 gallons of water and start to steep your gains and contain on with the boil. Once finished it says to add another 3 gallons or so to get up to the 5 gallon make so that your can begin fermentation. So I was kinda wanting to do a full boil since I have a large enough boil kettle, but I wanted to know what the benefits or negatives would be of doing so. The kit says that it is made so that you should boil with the 2.5 gallons of water, so would doing a full 5 gallons instead affect the beer in a negative or positive way? Or is adding the extra water to do a 5 gallon boil just a waste of time? Thanks for everyone's help. This website has already helped out a lot for me.

Dakota

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One negative is that it will take you a year to chill that wort unless you have a wort chiller. That is one advantage of partial boils. Adding cool water helps chill the wort to pitching temp more quickly.
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:15 AM   #3
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I built a immersion chiller out of copper tubing and will be using it the first time on Sunday when I brew a Imperial Pale Ale from Brewers Best. But besides the chilling of the wort, what are the benefits of doing a full-boil?

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Old 02-11-2012, 05:47 AM   #4
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I've done a few brewers best kits with a full boil. My understanding is that they give instructions for partial boil because most people using their kits, don't have the equipment to do a full boil.

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Old 02-11-2012, 05:57 AM   #5
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I'm not familiar with that particular brand of kit, but in general, altering the boil volume is going to (possibly considerably) change the hop extraction rate. That being said, if you compensate for the hop extraction rate and have the means to cool your wort quickly, a full boil is preferable to a partial.

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Old 02-11-2012, 06:13 AM   #6
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How did the kit turn out when you did the full boil? Did you have to add anything extra to the wort due to the increased volume of water?

And by hop extraction you mean the IBU's? And are you implying that I would have to add more hops then what the kit comes with in that case?

Thanks for all of your help guys, still trying to figure everything out.

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Old 02-11-2012, 06:25 AM   #7
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Actually, doing a 5 gallon boil vs. a 2.5 gallon boil means you would add less hops. Less concentrated sugars in the larger boil means better utilization, so less hops are needed.

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Old 02-11-2012, 10:25 PM   #8
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So since its a imperial pale ale with lots of hops, should I add less of the hops that come with the kit? or just follow the instructions but do a 5 gallon boil? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to figure it out lol.


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Old 02-11-2012, 10:30 PM   #9
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So since its a imperial pale ale with lots of hops, should I add less of the hops that come with the kit? or just follow the instructions but do a 5 gallon boil? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to figure it out lol.


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The hops utilization will NOT change appreciably, even though brewing calculators would have you think so. IBUs are now found to be independent of wort gravity. John Palmer himself came out after How to Brew (his book) came out and said he got it wrong in the book.

In other words, don't worry about it! Just follow the recipe, boiling as much wort as you can. In general, some of the advantages of doing a full boil include less maillard reactions (less caramellly flavor from the extract), a "cleaner" and fresher tasting beer more like a comparable all-grain beer, and less of an "extract taste".
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:55 PM   #10
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In the BrewStrong podcast from 2-7-11 (starting at ~18 minutes), Palmer does say that alpha acid isomerization is not dependent on wort gravity, but that alpha acids "cling" to the proteins in the break material instead. However, while admitting that the forces behind the model were not what was expected, he says that the Tinseth and Rager models are still effective in estimating hop utilization (beginning at 31 minutes).

I agree that full boils are likely to produce better beers, but I would still trust IBU calculations to the established models.

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