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Old 06-06-2009, 08:41 AM   #1
daveotero
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Default Full boil in a 5.5 gallon pot?

Alright, I'm still fairly new to all this (about to bottle my first batch and brew my 2nd and 3rd )

I'm planing a Stone IPA clone next and all the partial boil hop utilization issues between the increased gravity and dilution from top off is driving me nuts. What about attempting a 5 gallon boil with a little fermcap? I could keep another pot of water boiling at the same time and keep topping off every 15 min or so. What do you guys think?

I would love to go with a turkey fryer, but at this point it's not a possibility.

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Old 06-06-2009, 09:22 AM   #2
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With fermcap I can boil five gallons in a six gallon pot without any near risk of boilover, but at if I had a 5.5 I'd really feel I was cutting it close. I'd suggest going more with 4.5 gallons and then adding a little more if you're comfortable with the space you have.

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Old 06-06-2009, 03:56 PM   #3
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If you really want a full boil, just make a smaller batch. I do 3 gal. AGs on my stovetop w/ a 5.2 gal. kettle.

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Old 06-06-2009, 06:32 PM   #4
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I use a 22-qt stockpot that I fill to within an inch or so of the rim for my beers. Defoamer 105 (similar to Fermcap-S) makes sure that it won't boil over. You still have to keep an eye on it as the hot break develops and when you add hops.

You don't quite get 5 gallons in there, but it's pretty close (I end up with just under 4 gallons post-boil, with most trub left behind in the kettle). So you'll still need to top up a little bit, but the difference in hop utilization is fairly small.

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Old 06-06-2009, 10:54 PM   #5
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I agree with ArcaneXor. I have a 5.5 gallon pot and I estimate that I boil about 4.75 gallons. I'm not as risky as ArcaneXor, so I usually keep it about 3 inches below the top . By the time is all said and done, I top off with about three quarters of a gallon for a 5.5 gallon batch.

ArcaneXor is right that the utilization difference is small. Just use more.

Let us know how it goes.

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Old 06-06-2009, 11:03 PM   #6
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I will. Hoping to brew tomorrow. Just tested my stove with water and I'm able to get a solid boil with about 4.75 gallons. After trying that I think 5 gallons, even with the fermcap would be pushing it.

Will I gain anything by topping off with boiling water throughout the boil? I want to capture every single bit of hoppy goodness I can

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Old 06-06-2009, 11:06 PM   #7
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Don't take any advice from me since I'm new, but I just made my first brew in a 5.5 gal pot today. Filled it with about 4.5 gal and had to top off after the boil with somewhere around a gallon to get the 5 gal mark.

Worked pretty well, although it did take a while to get it up to temp. Only time will tell how it actually turns out, but doing about an 80% or so boil wasn't too bad with the 5.5 gal pot other than the initial lead time needed to get things cooking.

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Old 06-06-2009, 11:21 PM   #8
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I don't top off with boiling water throughout since I'm afraid to slow my boil down. If you're confident that you'll still have a furious boil when topping off, then I don't see a reason not to. Remember that if your boil slows down, you'll also lose some isomerization.

Just a tip if your stove is a fairly weak electric like mine. I need to have my pot covered about 80% to get a good boil. Be careful that your pot isn't covered too much since the dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is being released in the steam. DMS can impart a creamed-corn smell or the taste of cooked vegetables to your beer.

How much is too covered? I don't know, but I usually try to strike a balance between a good boil and an uncovered pot.

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Old 06-06-2009, 11:32 PM   #9
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I'm assuming you're doing extract or at least partial boil? You can get rid of your utilization issues if you do a late extract addition. I just ran an Arrogant Bastard clone through beersmith and converted it from an all grain to a partial mash. When I first put everything in and adjusted the grain down and added LME to replace it, it gave me half the IBUs. Instead of adjusting hops, I made the LME a 10 minute addition and it brought the IBUs right back where they should be with the same amount of hops.

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Old 06-07-2009, 02:04 AM   #10
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If you are planning on a 5 gallon batch, you can't do a full boil in a 5.5 gallon pot.

For a 5 gallon batch I want to end with 5.5 gallons. I expect a 1 gallon boil off in an hour to 90 minute boil. That means I'm starting with 6.5 gallons in the pot, and I do this in an 8 gallon pot and it's ok with no baby laxative added. I'd prefer at 10 gallon kettle, but 8 has worked with no boil overs.

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