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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Boiling Over and Covering the Wort
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:07 AM   #1
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Default Boiling Over and Covering the Wort

So I want to do a full boil for my next beer, but my one concern is if my pot is quite big enough. I have a 32 quart pot and when I fill it with six gallons it has about three inches of empty space in the pot. I do not know if that is cutting it too close to do a full six gallon boil and if I should do a partial boil? I am just afraid of boiling over and do not want that to happen. Please give me some advice.

Also on my first two batches when I was steeping and boiling the hops I did not cover the pot. I was just thinking about it and wondering should I cover the pot when I am doing this. Or does it not really matter? Just trying to improve my techniques. Thanks for the advice everyone.

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Old 03-24-2011, 05:12 AM   #2
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Few options...

Fermcap-s as soon as the boil starts will prevent boil-over.
Have a spray bottle with water in it. A quick shot of water mist will usually knock the foam right down.

I brew in a 32qt kettle all the time... Have yet to get any boil-overs even when starting off with ~7 gallons.

Keep in mind, you don't NEED a hard boil... Just get the wort to/above 212F (at sea level) and you're boiling.

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Old 03-24-2011, 05:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdenmark View Post
So I want to do a full boil for my next beer, but my one concern is if my pot is quite big enough. I have a 32 quart pot and when I fill it with six gallons it has about three inches of empty space in the pot. I do not know if that is cutting it too close to do a full six gallon boil and if I should do a partial boil? I am just afraid of boiling over and do not want that to happen. Please give me some advice.

Also on my first two batches when I was steeping and boiling the hops I did not cover the pot. I was just thinking about it and wondering should I cover the pot when I am doing this. Or does it not really matter? Just trying to improve my techniques. Thanks for the advice everyone.
So I know people usually tend to do 5 gallon batches, are you doing 6 gallon batches, or do you put in 6 because you want to end up with 5 gallons after the boil off? If so, then I would only put in 5.5 gallons, which should leave you more than enough room.

You should leave the top off the kettle when boiling the wort. If you leave it on then you risk having off flavors in your beer (DMS - dimethyl sulfide).
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:36 AM   #4
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I've done 7 gallon boils in my old 32 quart pot. It can boil over right at the beginning before hot break, that's when you need to watch it like a hawk with the spray bottle and your hand on the throttle. After hot break, I can usually back the heat down, toss in the hops and walk away from it.

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Old 03-24-2011, 06:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by LarsonLE View Post
So I know people usually tend to do 5 gallon batches, are you doing 6 gallon batches, or do you put in 6 because you want to end up with 5 gallons after the boil off? If so, then I would only put in 5.5 gallons, which should leave you more than enough room.

You should leave the top off the kettle when boiling the wort. If you leave it on then you risk having off flavors in your beer (DMS - dimethyl sulfide).
So I should only cover when I am getting the water to the right temperature to steep my grains. Then do not cover it the rest of the boil?
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:30 AM   #6
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I do 7.5 gallon boils in a 32 qt pot without boilovers. Just keep an eye on it and turn down the burner when the foam starts to rise.

Also, supposedly you do need a hard boil in the beginning to get a good hotbreak. After that you don't need a super hard boil. In my laast two brews I made sure I got a good vigorous boil for the first 15 minutes, and I've noticed a ton more break material and clearer wort. However, I also started using whirfloc tablets instead of irish moss, so I'm not sure what to give credit for the clarity.

I cover the pot until I reach the boil, then leave uncovered for the duration of the boil.

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Old 03-24-2011, 06:53 AM   #7
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So I should only cover when I am getting the water to the right temperature to steep my grains. Then do not cover it the rest of the boil?
Correct. You can also put the lid on the pot while steeping the grains to keep your temperatures steady, but this is not a must. I personally do it.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:56 PM   #8
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Correct. You can also put the lid on the pot while steeping the grains to keep your temperatures steady, but this is not a must. I personally do it.
Thank you so much for the help.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:03 AM   #9
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I have pot size issues too. I've found the late addition idea works, but it's a pain to pour in the DME. What I've taken to doing is getting a second pot and putting a gallon or two of water in it. I warm it, add the DME and let it dissolve while my main boil is going. Then I bring it to just under a boil and ladle it into the main pot right at the end. Evaporation has, by then, left enough room to add this pretty easily.

I got tired of having my boil so full that one small second of neglect could result in disaster. Now I leave plenty of room and then add at the end. Much easier.

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Old 03-25-2011, 07:14 PM   #10
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Similar question, but if I did not do a late addition of DME/LME, could I just add the water as I get more room in the kettle? I would be boiling as much as possible, but due to evaporation, it may not be all the water I would need. Instead of topping off after I transfer to the fermenter, could I just add it to the boil a little at a time?

MBasile - I don't think I would try to do a 7.5gal (30qt) boil in an 8gal (32qt) pot. With the expansion that happens when boiling (I have read roughly 4%) you would have less than a 1qt volume remaining. If you can get that to work, more power to you.

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