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Old 06-08-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
Polarbear02
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Default First Timer :can I brew a full boil (5 gal) wth a BB 2.5 gallon brew kit

Hello All:

I am ready to brew my first batch of beer, however, I've been reading and everyone reccomends a full boil whenever possible. My questions:

Everything I've read indicates I'll need to adjust the hops from the recipe. I am using a Brewers Best kit for their Imperial Pale Ale. What modifications do I need to make to the recipe to do a full boil?

Is 6 gallons enough to start the boil or should I up it to 6.5 (I am using a 30qt. container)?

Finally, am I getting too complicated for my first time? Should I simply follow the recipe and go with 2.5 gallons?

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Old 06-08-2011, 04:31 PM   #2
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Follow the recipe and learn the process of brewing first.

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Old 06-08-2011, 05:04 PM   #3
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I think you're confused about what "full boil" means.

It doens't mean 5 gallon boil, it just means that the entire batch is boiled at once. Doesn't matter if it is 1 gallon or 100. Full boil just indicates that you didn't boil part of it, then top it off with water.

ps - What he said ^

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Old 06-08-2011, 05:11 PM   #4
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Since this is your first brew, follow the recipe exactly just to get how things are done. Then you can start messing with the recipe.

As the previous poster said a full boil just means you boil the full amount of water. A full boil 5 gallon batch you would boil starting with 6+ gallons. A 2.5 gallon batch full boil you will do a full boil with 3.5+ gallon boil.

Once you start messing around with the recipe it will be good to get software to help you calculate everything. It can be done manually but there are a lot of calculations that go into brewing.

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Old 06-08-2011, 06:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarbear02 View Post
Hello All:

I am ready to brew my first batch of beer, however, I've been reading and everyone reccomends a full boil whenever possible. My questions:

Everything I've read indicates I'll need to adjust the hops from the recipe. I am using a Brewers Best kit for their Imperial Pale Ale. What modifications do I need to make to the recipe to do a full boil?

Is 6 gallons enough to start the boil or should I up it to 6.5 (I am using a 30qt. container)?

Finally, am I getting too complicated for my first time? Should I simply follow the recipe and go with 2.5 gallons?
For your first few batches, get the process down, and follow the recipe. I'm bottling the same brew this weekend. supposedly it tastes like Stone's Arrogant Bastard, I hope so. This is a relatively high gravity brew, so it may take some time to condition. I would brew a lower gravity brew as soon as possible, so that you're not waiting too long to enjoy your homebrew. Good luck
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:47 PM   #6
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Yea the full boil volume will just reduce the gravity of the boiling wort so you will get higher alpha acid utilization from the hops so it will be more bitter if you do a full volume boil vs partial volume. You can easily use online calculators to adjust your hop additions as long as you know the amounts of everything in the kit, malt and hops, and a scale. I personally like full boils just for being easy to do/not having to boil water/get bottled water to top off the fermenter afterwards. Like the other guys have said, get your process down first with a beer that has already been planned out for you... sanitize. Ive yet to have an infected batch, knock on wood, but as long as you end up with a clean beer, its going to be good either way!

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Old 09-16-2012, 03:11 PM   #7
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I wouldn't shy away from a full boil if you have the ability to do it. That would mean a pot large enough, a chiller of some sort and a burner that will get +/-6 gallons of wort to a rolling boil.

Most first time or early brewers don't have those items and the partial boil will work well.

As far as hop utilization, if you do the full boil, just reduce the bittering hop by about 20%

I feel that anytime you can do a larger boil, your beer will benefit from it.

One last thing, only steep your grains in a smaller amount of water and then add the runnings to the total water amount.

Either way, brew and have fun with it.

Bull

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Old 09-16-2012, 03:49 PM   #8
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Actually, it's been recently (2008) shown that wort gravity does NOT impact hops utilization so I wouldn't even bother reducing/adjusting any hops. John Palmer himself says he "got it wrong" in How To Brew.

A full boil makes better beer, and there is nothing more difficult about doing it if the brewer has a way to boil that much wort, and to chill that much wort. I see no advantage to following the directions and only boiling 2.5 gallons if the brewer has the ability to do a full boil.

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Old 09-16-2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guerrilla
Yea the full boil volume will just reduce the gravity of the boiling wort so you will get higher alpha acid utilization from the hops so it will be more bitter if you do a full volume boil vs partial volume.
This has been way overstated overestimated in the past, so I don't blame you for this. But recent research is consistently finding that hop utilization is pretty negligibly affected by wort gravity. The difference only really becomes a factor for really bitter beers (IBUs exceeding 120, as that's pretty much the ceiling.)

So if a 5 gallon batch is supposed to have 60 IBUs, then the minimum boil size (finished) should be half that, as that would equal 120 IBUs. If it's supposed to have 40 IBUs, then the minimum boil size should be a third of that (1⅔ gal). Looked at it the other way, if you can only do a 2.5 gallon (finished) boil, you're kind of limited to 60 IBU beers and under... Though in practice, a beer that's supposed to be 70 IBUs could be brewed and seem pretty much the same to everyone.

So adding more hops to make up for utilization will NOT accomplish what you want, as a wort under 120 IBUs will simply *increase* the bitterness, since you're using more hops and the utilization will remain the same. However, the most significant thing to note here is that even when utilization IS affected (due to that 120 IBU ceiling), adding more hops cannot make up for it, because the beer is already saturated, so the extra hops would be useless. In other words, there is no situation where more hops should be added to account for a partial boil. None.

But that's not to say that a brewery who can only do 2.5 gallon boils can't have more than 60 IBUs in their 5 gallon batch. There are two ways to address this. Boiling your top up water with the extra IBUs needed (perhaps the day before) will allow one to make a more bitter beer. The other (easier) option is to simply buy isomerized hop extract, and use it as needed.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper
Actually, it's been recently (2008) shown that wort gravity does NOT impact hops utilization so I wouldn't even bother reducing/adjusting any hops. John Palmer himself says he "got it wrong" in How To Brew.

A full boil makes better beer, and there is nothing more difficult about doing it if the brewer has a way to boil that much wort, and to chill that much wort. I see no advantage to following the directions and only boiling 2.5 gallons if the brewer has the ability to do a full boil.
Would have beat you if my post wasn't so long, or if I didn't type it from my phone

I agree that he might as well do full boil if he has the equipment. To me, that means a large enough pot, a burner capable of strongly boiling 6 or more gallons, and some sort of chiller... no chill is an option but I'm really not a fan of how it affects the beer, and would recommend sticking with topping it off with cold water instead.

But if he has a chiller, he can do a full boil and make better beer. It doesn't make things more complicated for a new brewer. It's the same amount of steps, trading topping off for chilling. People always make things sound way more complicated to new brewers than they really are (especially going AG), and though I agree that focusing on process is important for beginners, this is really PART of the process, and IMO the way to accomplish it is to stick with simple, proven recipes.
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