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Old 08-07-2009, 08:44 AM   #1
jereme
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Default to brew more or not to brew more...that is the question

i'm doing my first brew tomorrow and i have purchased an american light kit made by brewers best. the directions call for boiling 2 gallons of water to begin and mix the ingredients. i've read that by boiling only small amounts you get a thicker boil and more chance of scorching i believe. i have made an immersion chiller out of 50ft of 3/8 copper so i think it would be enough to cool a 5 gallon boil but am not sure if i should boil the whole amount or not for a thinner boil.
any help?

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Old 08-07-2009, 09:33 AM   #2
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You are better off going with the larger boil amount as long as you have aboil kettle to support it. Remember to give yourself at least 1 gallon space in the kettle to help avoid boilovers. You will as you said avoid scorching. Also if you are adding hops you will get better bittering utilization out of them. If the kit is pre-hopped extract I don't think it will affect your hop flavor.

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Old 08-07-2009, 09:48 AM   #3
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Well I disagree with zen on this one....if you don;t have the means to chill a larger amount rapidly (under say 45 minutes) you are better off boiling the largest amount you can reasonably handle and chill to pitching temp, In my case before I bought a chiller that I could use both on the stove and on my turkey fryer kettle I could get 2.5 gallons of wort from boiling to high 70's in a decent amount of time.

I could get it down to that temp in about 1/2 hour in my sink using 2 bags of ice and water.

As good as a larger volume boil is for extract batches (for all batches actually) you don't want to be sitting at 90 minutes and your wort is still in the 120 degree range.

Plus do you know if your stove and pot can handle larger volumes of liquid going from cool to boil and maintaining boil for an hour? On my electric stove it usually takes nearly an hour to get 4 gallons of wort to near boiling as it is.

If this is your first batch I would follow the boil amounts called for in the BB recipe...the recipe is balanced out in terms of hop utilization and things like that, and rather than adding another variable and strying too far off recipe (You will have enough to "worry" about) those recipes are nearly full proof.

and BB's are NOT pre-hopped kits like zen assumes.

This is the first I assume of many brewing adventures...you don't have to go off the reservation whole hog and follow all the suggestions you find on here the first time....just the onese involving patience, relaxing, not relying on an airlock and using your hydrometer.

Once you address the chilling and boiling issues then you can go to bgger boils.

To avoid scorching on this batch, take the pot off the heat when you are adding the extract and stir stir stir to keep the extract from falling to the bottom and scorching.

Have fun

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Old 08-07-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:11 AM   #5
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jereme -
If you have tested you chiller and there are no leaks and you get good flow through it I'm pretty certain you can chill 5+ gallons quick enough.
By doing a full boil you get more from your hops, the lower gravity allows for more diffusion, and less chance of scorching as you pointed out.
I agree your limitations are the pot size, heating ability, and being able to get it down to pitching temperature quickly.
Even with a full boil, remove it from the heat before adding extract until it is well mixed.
There are threads here on improved stove top brewing, I use tin foil and reflectix(sp?) to insulate a 7.5 gal aluminium pot and it works, it just does take time to bring up to a boil.
Of course, being a guy the answer is always go big, so if you can do it, give it a shot. But if this is your first beer, I would also caution on not overstepping your comfort zone, just to limit the amount of "Oh my God, did I just ruin my beer" postings.
Relax, and welcome to homebrewing.

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Old 08-07-2009, 10:29 AM   #6
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The last few kits I've done I've disregarded the amount they tell you to boil and have done full boils. You still need to follow the standard precautions though... remove from heat when adding the extracts, watch for boilovers, etc. 50' of 3/8 copper should be enough to cool 5 gal in a very short time. I made mine with about 35' of 1/2" soft copper tubing, and I just cooled my last batch in about 5 min sitting the pot in a bucket of ice water and my chiller.

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Old 08-07-2009, 12:41 PM   #7
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Oh my bad..I missed the part that said you had made a chiller...At 5:30 in the morning I'm not quite awake...I thought you said you hadn't made one yet.

Sorry, if you CAN chill and your stove can handle a larger volume boil...You want to the biggest size you can handle.

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Old 08-07-2009, 05:30 PM   #8
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just wanted to thank everyone for their good, sound advice. i think i'm going to go ahead and do the 5 gallon boil. i'll be using a 7.5 gallon 18/0 stainless steel pot and a propane burner on a double burner stove top for canning.
thanks again for the info

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