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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Boiling
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:17 AM   #1
Koryb
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Default Boiling

Got a newbie question here for you all........

I have only brewed a couple of batches, so I am wondering why the kits start with 2.5gallons to boil, and then adding the remainder of the water after you chill the wort. Why can't you boil all 5 gallons at the same time, provided you have a large enough kettle? Plus wouldn't that solve the OG reading issues that some people deal with? Any input is appreciated.

Thanks

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:23 AM   #2
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You certainly can do a full volume boil on an extract brew. This will change some hop attenuation for low ibu beers, but for the rest, sure.

Better yet, follow the recipe, add dme as called for, and add the LME at flameout. It will be better.

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Old 04-25-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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Yes, if you have a large enough pot and a method to cool 5 gallons quickly (about 25 minutes or less) than a full boil is advantageous. I'm guessing the instructions for many extract kits assume that their average customer doesn't have the equipment to do a full boil. Don't underestimate how long it takes to cool 5 gallons of boiling wort. A wort chiller, or plate chiller are pretty much a necessity unless you're okay with using a very large ice bath and carrying a pot of boiling wort around.

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Old 04-25-2012, 03:14 PM   #4
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Most kits are not meant to wow you. The goal of a kit is to make things as simple as possible while still providing semi-decent results. Additionally, a lot of stores make a profit off of kits because it is an opportunity to clear their older inventory of less fresh ingredients. This explains why many kits often contain LME and pellet hops. LME spoils quicker and the quality of old pellets can easily be hidden as opposed to old leaf hops.

If you want a truly excellent beer, then implement a full volume boil and assemble your own recipe, or at least get advice about recipe building on this forum or in brewing books. There is nothing wrong with Extract beers, but I would only use fresh Extra Light DME as a base. I personally find Partial Mash - Brew in Bag brewing to be the easiest method whilst still providing excellent character and overall results. All-grain is a bit more complex, but not too much - You will save the most money in the long run, especially on ingredients, but the upfront equipment cost can be steep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koryb View Post
Why can't you boil all 5 gallons at the same time, provided you have a large enough kettle?
One thing you should realize is that evaporation occurs during a vigorous boil... usually at the rate of 0.75 to 1.25 gallons per hour of boiling time. So boiling 5 gallons would leave you somewhere around a 4 gallon batch.

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Originally Posted by Koryb View Post
Plus wouldn't that solve the OG reading issues that some people deal with?
It would be much easier to get right, but that is not to say that some brewers may still have problems reaching their target OG. Many factors come into play.
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:25 AM   #5
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As for now ( as I am still a rookie) I think I will keep it as simple as I can. However, the current batch I have in the fermenter, is one that I put together with hand picked ingredients, not from a kit. I like this method so far, but unfortunately I don't know the boil times. Is there a method to figure this out? Ad does it vary per different styles of beer?

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Old 04-26-2012, 05:51 AM   #6
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Koryb,

Keeping things simple is a good idea.

How big is your boil kettle?

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Old 04-26-2012, 06:11 AM   #7
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You can even start with more than 5 gallons since you will end up boiling off over a gallon or two during your 60 min boil. The main reason these kit instructions have you start with only 2.5 gallons is because they are assuming you might be a beginner and may only have a small brew kettle, like 4 gallons. Another main reason is trying to cool 5 gallons of hot wort without a wort chiller would take a long time!

Bottom line is they are just making it as easy as possible and they are assuming that you might not have all the brewing equipment an experienced brewer might have.

If you can do a full boil and cool it fast, that's the way to go!

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Old 04-26-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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The problem with kit beer instructions is they use the same instructions for different styles of beer. Use the instructions as guidelines and read up on how to brew that style. The older Jamil shows on the Brewing network are a good resource and well as this forum.

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Old 04-26-2012, 12:02 PM   #9
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Another thing to remember is time. Bringing 5+ gallons to a rolling boil on a kitchen stove will take some time, if at all.

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Old 04-26-2012, 12:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hwilshusen View Post
Another thing to remember is time. Bringing 5+ gallons to a rolling boil on a kitchen stove will take some time, if at all.
I think the average stove top will have serious problems bringing 5 gallons to a boil.
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