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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Is boiling all five gallons neccisary?
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
nickwin
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Default Is boiling all five gallons neccisary?

I have a LD Carlson "Hop Nog" beer kit that I was planning on brewing this weekend. I was planning on getting a big 9 gallon pot yesterday so I would be able to boil all 5 gallons, but I didn't have time. Right now I have a 5 gallon pot that I can only boil about 2-3 gallons in. I want this beer to turn out as good as it can, should I wait until I have the bigger pot so I can boil the whole thing at once, or is it alright to just boil 2 or 3 gallons, than add tap water to the fermenter to make 5 gallons? If its likely to make a difference I will probably just wait till I have the bigger pot.

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Old 10-25-2008, 09:38 PM   #2
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I generally boil 2.5-3 gallons then top off with cold water to 5g, you will have to worry about wort caramelization and may want to look into doing a late extract addition to alleviate that but if not it is fine.

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Old 10-25-2008, 09:40 PM   #3
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The problem with a smaller pot is hop utilization. Wait until you have a bigger pot. I would buy a 15 gallon pot so that if you decide to brew bigger batches, you can. Larger pots also have other benefits such as a larger diameter for better heat distribution, less tendency for a boil over.

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Old 10-25-2008, 09:44 PM   #4
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You will have to use a bit more hops to get the full utilization that you would have under a full volume boil, but it isn't a huge difference. Soing a late extract addition will lower your boil gravity and will improve the utilization, although I am not sure of those will equal each other out or not.

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Old 10-25-2008, 10:30 PM   #5
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The other thing to consider is if your stove or burner actually will boil 6 gallons. Most stoves won't- so many people do 2 or 3 gallon boils.

What you can do is just not put all of the extract in at the beginning. Put one pound of extract in your boil, and add the hops as usual. Then add the rest of the extract with 15 minutes left in the boil, and finish as usual. This will get you pretty close to the results you'll have with boiling the entire volume.

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Old 10-25-2008, 11:03 PM   #6
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I have a nice big propane burner, so boiling 5 gallons shouldn't be an issue. I am more concerned about how it will affect the beer. This will be my third batch, and I've used 2-3 gallons boils for all of those and they turned out pretty good, but I'm just wondering if it would be even better if I boiled the whole thing. How much of a difference does it make?

It wouldn't be such an issue, but I've got this weekend off, and I'm busy for the next two or three, and I can't get the bigger pot until Monday

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Old 10-25-2008, 11:14 PM   #7
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I usually do about a 3 gal boil and then top up.
You should be fine doing that.
Just add most of your extract at the last 15 minutes of the boil, that way the hop utilization should be better.
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickwin View Post
I have a nice big propane burner, so boiling 5 gallons shouldn't be an issue. I am more concerned about how it will affect the beer. This will be my third batch, and I've used 2-3 gallons boils for all of those and they turned out pretty good, but I'm just wondering if it would be even better if I boiled the whole thing. How much of a difference does it make?

It wouldn't be such an issue, but I've got this weekend off, and I'm busy for the next two or three, and I can't get the bigger pot until Monday
I think a full boil does give you better beer, but the late extract addition does a nice job of mimicking the full boil

If your recipe is designed for a 2-3 gallon boil, though, you'd have to adjust the hops when you do late extract addition or a full boil. When I did my Dead Guy clone as a full boil the first time, I didn't take hops utilization in a full boil into account and it sure seemed bitter! After putting the figures into brewing software, I saw that it was actually about twice as many IBUs as when it was a partial boil. (It went from 15 IBUs to 30 IBUs, just by doing a full boil).

You can either post your recipe and we'll help you with the math, put the recipe into some brewing software yourself, you do a "quick guesstimate" and lower your bitter hops addition by approximately 25% if you do the full boil or add the extract late.

Since you want to brew this weekend, I'd brew with the smaller boil, reduce the bittering hops 25%, and add the extract late. You can always do a full boil on the next batch!
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:17 PM   #9
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Great advice, Yoop. I think I'll try that on my next batch instead of doing a 4 gallon boil.

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Old 10-25-2008, 11:20 PM   #10
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I've done everything from 2.5 gallon boils on the stove to 6.5 gallon boils in a 7 gallon pot and I now have a 15 gallon pot. I have yet to do a 10 gallon batch, but I have the capacity, and in the mean time my 5 gallon batches are able to get a great hot break and steady rolling boil without fear of a boil over. Before you think that a pot this big has to cost a fortune, mine is aluminum and was $63 plus shipping. That may be more than an extract brewer who isn't very serious wants to spend, but it is good information to know if (when) you decide to get more serious.

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