I recently picked up a new SS pot that let's me do a full 5 gallon boil. Feeling pretty confident as a new brewer with 3 whopping good extract-based brews under my belt with partial boils, I set off to brew AHS' Blue Moon clone this evening as a full boil. AHS' instructions only have a 30 minute boil specified (unless I read the instructions wrong) - 2 hop additions, one at 30 minutes and one at 5 minutes. First, my observations, then questions:
* It took a while to get to 155 degrees to steep the specialty grains on my gas stovetop with 2.5 gallons, even on my "power burner"
* It took forever to get to a boil after steeping the specialty grains to the point where I could add the LME
* It took an obscene amount of time to return to a boil after adding LME
* I never got a rapid boil - just a gentle, light rolling boil
* I never had a major boil flare up when adding hops or anything - is that normal with this high volume of wort and light boil?
* Is a rapid/hard boil critical to the "hot break" occurring?
* Is a rapid/hard boil critical to hop utilization?
* I actually boiled 5.5 gallons and ended with about 4.5 - I topped off slowly and took gravity readings while topping off - I hit the target gravity at just shy of 5 gallons - where the recipe called for topping off to 5.25 gallons - is this an artifact of the full boil? I left it at just under 5 gallons.
* Next time I'm using my turkey fryer burner outside
* wort chillers are amazing - I picked up a 20 foot coil, which looks pretty meager, but it still managed to cool the wort in about 15 minutes - winning!
* This brew already smells and tastes awesome!
"Beer, if drunk with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health" Thomas Jefferson