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Old 06-28-2010, 01:15 PM   #1
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Default Late additions screwing up my final volume

Extract Brewers,

Let's say you have an 8 gallon pot that you're using to do full boils - 5 gallon batches.

If you know you have a late addition of extract (say, last 15 minutes), how much water do you fill the kettle to start with?

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Old 06-28-2010, 02:39 PM   #2
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When you add the extract does not change the amount of water you start with.

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:16 PM   #3
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But it changes the final volume, that's my point.

Here's what I'm saying, I've been trying to make sure that I end up with exactly 5 gallons in the fermenter when I'm done boiling.

To do that, I've been starting with 6 gallons of water. On a normal batch, if I do a 90 minute boil - I will have boiled off that extra gallon and I'll be left with 5 gallons - and last time I hit my OG exactly.

If I start with my usual 6 gallons of water, plan on a 90 minute boil - and then get to that last 15 minutes and I have to throw in 6 f-ing pounds of LME, not only does my boil stop, but the kettle is almost filled up to the point where it was pre-boil (6 gallons).

So, that's why I'm asking - if I see that I've got a 15 min addition that's going to bring the volume up that much, would it be better to just start with 5 gallons of water pre-boil?

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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I See your point. However, everyone's equipment is different and boil rates will be as well. For example, I start with 7.5-8 gallons, boil for about 70 minutes and end up with about 6 gallons. I like to have a little extra so I can leave behind most of the break material and hops.

Maybe there is a quick and easy answer, but more than likely it will be you who comes up with the answer for your system based on your experience. It seems like my boil off results are almost never the same. Time, flame adjustment (or watts if electric), ambient temps, humidity etc will all play a role. Just my .2 cents. Wish I could be of more help.

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:37 PM   #5
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For this particular beer it wasn't a huge issue because there were three hop additions that ended up soaking up quite a bit of wort. I didn't leave much behind in the kettle and was right at 5 gallons in the better bottle. I was two points low on my OG though...

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:38 PM   #6
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The other part that sucks is when these large additions kill your boil and drop the temp by about 5 degrees.

What do you guys do in that case?

For this batch, I just threw the lid back on - is that the best option though? I was a little worried that the 5-10 minute stall that caused would screw up my hop schedule. :/

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Old 06-28-2010, 07:50 PM   #7
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I think it would be comparable to adding a Immersion Chiller. Every time I added mine when I used one it would halt the boil for a few minutes. Pretty standard. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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Old 06-28-2010, 08:22 PM   #8
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My chiller will kill the rolling boil but not drop the temp more than a degree or so...

I guess with the hop thing, I'm wondering:

if a hop addition is supposed to be @15 and instead it stays in for the last 20, have I screwed up and now it's going to be adding more bitterness than flavor/aroma? Or, not enough that I'll even be able to tell?

I guess the late extract/volume issues I'm not as worried about after posting and thinking on it for a while. Two points difference on starting gravity doesn't really matter much, eh?

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Old 06-28-2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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I would agree. Not bad questions at all. Sounds a lot like me when the first couple of years of brewing. TO ME 2 points don't make any difference. You have to be your own pilot. I don't enter any competitions and my beer tastes great to me and others that drink it. If your end result is good, then thats all that matters to me. Just keep good notes and reflect when trying to duplicate.

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Old 06-28-2010, 09:53 PM   #10
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I actually asked Northern Brewer about the volume question and Tom was kind enough to reply:

"Yes I would recommend slightly lowering the starting amount of water if there is a significant late extract addition. A 6lb container of malt syrup is only about 1/2 gallon, though."

And he's absolutely right - I think it seemed like I was back up to 6 gallons in the kettle because I had also just added the immersion chiller + 1 oz of hops. I think all that added stuff in the kettle displaced the liquid enough to make it look 1 gallon fuller. Would also explain why I didn't overflow the better bottle!

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