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Old 07-29-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
PassThePint
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Default Boiling... 3 batches in and still wondering

My 3rd batch (a porter) is bubbling away in the chest freezer and I'm still struggling with how to boil my beer. I can't seem to figure out the level of boiling (which seems so simple) - simmer or hard boil or somewhere in between. The reason why I'm asking is I've never seen any "hot break" and both beers I've brewed before required gelatin to be added to get it to clear.

For my first two beer batches, I got it up to boiling, then let it simmer/boil, stirring occasionally. For the porter, I boiled it like crazy, fighting foam ups and constantly adjusting the temp. The two other guys brewing with me (we have 3 turkey fryers going at once), did the same thing and had black flecks show up in their beer, which I assume is not a good thing (there may be black flecks in the porter, but who could tell??). Is there any tips/tricks to boiling as I feel like I'm either burning or under cooking my beer?

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:03 AM   #2
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This is how I get mine boiling. You certainly want more than a simmer.

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:07 AM   #3
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If you're extract brewing, you're not going to see a hot break as it is usually described because it's already happened in making the extract. That might contribute to your confusion.

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:46 AM   #4
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I had some black flecks in my first and only batch so far. I'm gonna assume its because there was some charring of something on the bottom. I had some minimal burnt residual on the bottom of the pan. At first I thought it was some black patent but when I went to clean the pan I saw it. I have one of the granite canning jar pans as my brewing pot and it has the wavy bottom and I didnt stir well enough I think. Im a noob. I plan on bottling that batch tomorrow but I have had a similar experience. i may or may not be right though. If it tastes burnt Im gonna name it "smoked red ale" lol.

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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Regarding clearing of your brew, have you used Irish Moss or Whirlfloc tabs in your recipe?

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebben View Post
Regarding clearing of your brew, have you used Irish Moss or Whirlfloc tabs in your recipe?
My brews are all extract w/steeped grains - I use a whirlfloc tab at 15 minutes to flameout on all my brews and they have all been very transparent.

...except the porters and stouts of course.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:37 PM   #7
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Just so the wort is turning over -- in other words, if the surface of the liquid is not flat -- that's all the boil intensity you need.

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Old 07-29-2009, 04:55 PM   #8
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The black flecks are scorched wort- not a good thing, but not the end of the world. The sugar in the wort carmelizes- just like what happens when you burn a marshmallow over a fire- and turns black and bitter. If you're getting this and using a gas stove or burner, you're running it too hot.

I run a pretty vigorous boil, but not to the point of scorching the wort. I live in Colorado, so water boils at a lower temp up here. I figure I need to run it a little hot. I may be totally wrong on that assumption though.

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Old 07-30-2009, 12:07 AM   #9
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I haven't used Irish Moss or Whirlflock tablets in any of my brews. I did just order some whirlflock tablets after reading rave reviews on this site.

One more question...How do people handle straining pellet hops or do you just leave them in? The guy at the homebrew store said he just leaves them in, but I'm afraid that every beer I brew will get wicked hops taste (I'm not a huge hop head...).

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Old 07-30-2009, 12:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PassThePint View Post
I haven't used Irish Moss or Whirlflock tablets in any of my brews. I did just order some whirlflock tablets after reading rave reviews on this site.

One more question...How do people handle straining pellet hops or do you just leave them in? The guy at the homebrew store said he just leaves them in, but I'm afraid that every beer I brew will get wicked hops taste (I'm not a huge hop head...).
Your choice on the hops. They'll be spent after the boil so don't worry about leaving them in. You could use a big strainer when transferring to a bucket, a funnel with a strainer into a carboy or build yourself a hopbag Hop Bag - Home Brewing Wiki to contain them in the boil. Leaving them in will just give you more gunk, but it's not a problem.
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