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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Boil size vs. hop efficiency
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:17 PM   #11
JohnnyNeurotic
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I'll just agree to disagree and assume that all of the guys - who are a lot smarter and more experienced than me - who came up with hop utilization formulas were correct.

In my early experience with extract brewing, especially IPAs, the size of my boil had a huge impact on bitterness and the harshness of that bitterness.

IMHO, err on the high side of your boil size when you can.

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:51 PM   #12
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So I think the only question here is whether hop utilization will increase too much with a full(er) boil. I say it will be fine, but there's a chance it may be noticeable in the bittering additions.

I think the only way to know is to do a batch with a small boil and then do the same one with a larger boil, then compare. Or, at least, do the big one and see if you like it. If it's good, all's well that ends well.

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:55 PM   #13
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making the switch to full boils gave me the greatest improvement in my brewing to date. Boil as much as you can and your beer will better.

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Old 08-10-2012, 03:43 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SilverZero View Post
I think the only way to know is to do a batch with a small boil and then do the same one with a larger boil, then compare. Or, at least, do the big one and see if you like it. If it's good, all's well that ends well,
That's it, brew one for the team! I love the idea of side by side brewing; you can learn so much from one experiment and that knowledge will travel with you the rest of your brewing career. Not to mention, you can share your knowledge and experience here for all to learn! Just make sure you use as little variables as possible to increase your chances of understanding more completely what is changing.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:53 PM   #15
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Thanks for all of the feedback. I will go for it and try to use 3 gallons vs the recipes 1.5 gallon. Hopefully I get smoother but not more bitter.

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:01 PM   #16
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If it helps, this is my grain bill
5.5# light LME
1.1# Wheat LME
160z Chocolate malt
8 Oz victory malt
8 Oz flaked barley
1 Oz Nugget hops - 60 min
1/2 Oz willametter Hops - 10 Min
1/2 Oz willametter Hops - 1 Min
Yeast - Safale S-04

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:35 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by kevinb View Post
Yooper, will do, sounds like good advice. Can you explain to a noobie how the beer improves with a large boil size? Is bigger always better? I think my brew pot is large enough that I can boil 4 gallons, should I go for it?
Yep, "bigger is better" in this as well as some other things. The reasons are diverse, but one of the reasons is that a larger boil will have less maillard reactions and hence less carmelization type of taste and less of a "cooked extract" taste.

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The gravity of your boil GREATLY effects your hop utilization.
Actually, no it doesn't. The science since 2008 would dispute that as well. John Palmer said he "got it wrong" when he stated in his book that gravity has any effect at all on IBUs.

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I'll just agree to disagree and assume that all of the guys - who are a lot smarter and more experienced than me - who came up with hop utilization formulas were correct.

In my early experience with extract brewing, especially IPAs, the size of my boil had a huge impact on bitterness and the harshness of that bitterness.

IMHO, err on the high side of your boil size when you can.
The reason really high IBU beers, like IPAs, have a lower IBU rating for a partial boil has nothing to do with wort gravity.

There are a max amount of hops oils that can isomerize in any gravity wort- generally thought to be 100 or so. That means that, regardless of theoretical calculations, there can never be more than 100 IBUs in any beer. Even the 100 figure is considered to be high, and many brewing gurus state it's more like 80-90. In any case, even assuming 100 is the max, there is a very good reason why an IPA with a partial boil isn't bitter enough.

Say you boil 2.5 gallons of wort and manage to get 100 IBUs in it. Then you add 2.5 gallons of top up water. That means you just diluted your IBUs to 50 for 5 gallons! That right there would explain a huge difference in calculated IBUs and has nothing to do with wort gravity. It's even worse when you consider that the actual maximum might be 80 IBUs. In a 2.5 gallon boil, topping up with 2.5 gallons of water means a max of 40 IBUs total in an IPA. That's one reason a bigger boil is better for bitter/more balanced beers.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:40 PM   #18
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Interesting stuff. I'll be sure to do a bigger boil for my next IPA attempt...

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinb View Post
Thanks for all of the feedback. I will go for it and try to use 3 gallons vs the recipes 1.5 gallon. Hopefully I get smoother but not more bitter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinb View Post
If it helps, this is my grain bill
5.5# light LME
1.1# Wheat LME
160z Chocolate malt
8 Oz victory malt
8 Oz flaked barley
1 Oz Nugget hops - 60 min
1/2 Oz willametter Hops - 10 Min
1/2 Oz willametter Hops - 1 Min
Yeast - Safale S-04
Your beer will thank you for it. Yooper summed it up really well in her post above, it's the wort that is affected by the smaller boil, larger boil = less darkening, caramelizing, etc. As far as hops go, the difference will be minimal, but the overall brew will benefit from the larger boil.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:41 PM   #20
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Isn't there something to be said about steeping grains too here?
I don't have the exact thread (threads?) bookmarked, however, I have seen Yooper suggest about 1.25G per pound of grains. If you use too much water, it throws off the pH and ultimately the flavor. I'm sure Yooper or someone more experienced can explain this more thoroughly, but that is my understanding.

Point being: If you do decide to do a larger boil, you will still want to steep the grains in a smaller volume of water, then combine everything when you add in the fermentables, hops, etc...
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