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Old 09-25-2011, 05:53 PM   #1
subliminalurge
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Default Changing up the extract process.

I just had an idea and was wondering if this would work. Since I've not read about it being done, I'm assuming there's a good reason for that.

My stove can only keep 2 or so gallons at a good boil, which means my wort in the boil is at a much higher gravity than the finished wort in my fermenter after I top up to 5 gallon batches.

It's easy to find many references to high gravity affecting hop utilization.

So here's my idea. I'm already pre-boiling my top up water and then chilling down to refrigerator temps anyway. A couple gallons of 35 degree top up water really helps with the chilling process.

Could I get better hop utilization by splitting my boil into two seperate 2 gallon batches? I would boil the top up water for the full 60 minutes following the regular hop schedule, cool, then refrigerate. The next day, do the full process, steeping, partial mash, etc... and full 60 minute boil with no hops, just the grains and extracts.

I would then chill that wort and top up with the chilled and hopped water. Plus about one more gallon of plain water.

My thinking is that by boiling the hops in plain water, I could get better utilization and simulate to some degree doing a full boil on the whole batch.

Would this work?

Would I be better off splitting the ingredients and doing two "full boils" at 2.5 gallons with all ingredients?

Or just stick with the usual way?

Just an idea, thought I'd throw it out there.

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Old 09-25-2011, 06:26 PM   #2
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Hmmm. I don't see why it wouldn't work to throw the bittering hops into the top-up water and boil for an hour. I would be curious about any flavor or aroma additions later in the boil, though. My instinct would be to save any late hop additions (planned for the last 20 minutes of the boil or so) and do those in the actual wort.

Might be worth trying just as an experiment...

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Old 09-25-2011, 07:08 PM   #3
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Well,on my 1st couple of brews,I made a "hop tea" in 2.5G of water at the beginning of the boil for 15 minutes. Then,remove the hop sack & proceed with my extract brew. Actually worked pretty good. But better control is had from partial malt addition for the hop additions imo.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TromboneGuy View Post
Hmmm. I don't see why it wouldn't work to throw the bittering hops into the top-up water and boil for an hour. I would be curious about any flavor or aroma additions later in the boil, though. My instinct would be to save any late hop additions (planned for the last 20 minutes of the boil or so) and do those in the actual wort.

Might be worth trying just as an experiment...
Yeah, I might give it a shot if I don't find reference to someone trying it and it not working. Will have to be down the road a bit. My next two batches were pretty pricy, and I'd rather do any experimenting on something a little less costly just in case it does turn out horrid.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:40 PM   #5
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Another thing you could consider since hop utilization is your main concern would be to hold back a portion of your extract and add it at the end of the boil.

Since you are boiling 2 gallons for a 5 gallon batch, add 2/5ths of your extract at the beginning of the boil and hop as usual. The remaining extract would be added to the boil the last 5 or 10 minutes, just long enough to make sure it gets well disolved/distributed and anything that might have been introduced with the extract is killed.

With this method, for the majority of the boil you are at your normal gravity so hop utilization should be normal.

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Old 09-25-2011, 07:53 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=Student7;3327949] The remaining extract would be added to the boil the last 5 or 10 minutes, just long enough to make sure it gets well disolved/distributed and anything that might have been introduced with the extract is killed.QUOTE]

Make sure to boild that extract for 15 minutes. IIRC, that is the generally accepted rule of thumb for pasteurization.

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Old 09-25-2011, 08:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Student7 View Post
Another thing you could consider since hop utilization is your main concern would be to hold back a portion of your extract and add it at the end of the boil.

Since you are boiling 2 gallons for a 5 gallon batch, add 2/5ths of your extract at the beginning of the boil and hop as usual. The remaining extract would be added to the boil the last 5 or 10 minutes, just long enough to make sure it gets well disolved/distributed and anything that might have been introduced with the extract is killed.

With this method, for the majority of the boil you are at your normal gravity so hop utilization should be normal.
Well, hop utilization is one goal, but as a whole the goal is to simulate a full volume boil without having to boil 5 gallons all at once but instead boiling smaller amounts one after the other. I'll be moving to full boils soon, but I've spent a bunch on gear lately so I need to slow down my beer spending for a bit. So the burner and pot to boil 5 gallons is going to have to wait a bit while I spend some cash on some other things to make sure the rest of the family stays happy.

I know a lot of people are big fans of the late extract addition, but it's never worked out for me. Maybe I'm doing it wrong but I'm convinced that it's because I'm missing the hot break on half of the fermentables. I've been brewing extracts for 6 years now and I never knew what people meant by "extract twang" until I tried a few batches with the late addition. Maybe it's not even extract twang that I'm tasting, but every batch that I've done with a late addition was just not something that I'd be proud to serve to a guest. Drinkable enough that my record of never having dumped a batch remains intact, but definitely nothing special. In fact I'm working on finishing off a keg of a wheat right now where I did a late addition, and while it's not a "dumper", I'm in a hurry to get it finished to free up the keg so I can have a better option on tap. There are some extra flavors in it, inappropriate to the style. In fact, the extra flavors are very similar to what wheat lme tastes like straight out of the canister (just diluted a bit).

I've read a LOT about doing the late addition, and the benefits, but in my experience it just leaves me with a finished product that I know isn't what it could have been.

So part of my reason for wanting to do two seperate boils for one batch is to make sure everything gets the full boiling time that it should. Both hops and malts. Basically I'm wondering if I can trade in time for spending cash on equipment. I'll spend twice the time (or maybe a little more) as I would to just do a full boil all at once. I know all about the "nothing comes for free" principle, but since I'm spending twice the time, I don't think "free" applies.

My big unknown, is if there is any significant interaction between the hops and the malt during the boil that I would be missing out on by taking this approach.
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