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Old 04-07-2012, 10:41 PM   #1
the75
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Default Making 5 gallons - 2 gallons wort or 5 gallons?

(Beginner Alert)
I've noticed that some brewers boil & malt all 5 gallons of water at once, while others boil 2 gallons of water & malt, then mix in the other 3 gallons of water later. What are the advantages & disadvantages of either side?

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Old 04-07-2012, 10:44 PM   #2
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(Beginner Alert)
I've noticed that some brewers boil & malt all 5 gallons of water at once, while others boil 2 gallons of water & malt, then mix in the other 3 gallons of water later. What are the advantages & disadvantages of either side?
Ideally, all 5 gallons would be boiled at once. But many people have pots that are too small, or stove tops that won't boil 5-6+ gallons of wort. If that is the case, they do a partial boil of all that they can and add water at the end. That's better than not being able to brew at all, and it can still make good beer. Almost always, though, the beer is better with more wort boiled and less top off.

Another issue may be trying to chill that much wort! It's pretty easy to chill a 2.5 gallon pot of boiling wort in the sink with an ice bath but it's not so easy to do it with 5 gallons of boiling wort. Sometimes that is why some brewers have to do smaller boils.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:47 PM   #3
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Yes. A partial boil (boiling 2-3 gallons then adding the rest of the H2O in the fermenter) will usually result in darker than intended wort. This is due to the sugars caramelizing during the boil due to a higher concentration.

A full boil results in less caramelization and lighter wort.

It's less expensive to do partial boils because of the equipment costs. If you are doing extract brews it is perfectly fine to do a partial boil. If you want to do all grain it becomes necessary to do full boils due to the collection of your wort from the grains.

Hope this helps.

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Old 04-07-2012, 10:47 PM   #4
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Then reason many brewers top off is because they're boiling on the stove and it can only handle a limited volume easily. So they top off after. Many brewers then step up to a turkeyfryer or some other means of boiling the fuller volume.

This is a good discussion on the wherefore and the why's of it. If a full boil is possible, DO IT!!

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Old 04-07-2012, 10:48 PM   #5
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Splendid! I appreciate your help. I shall boil all 5!
I just got my kit yesterday & am preparing to give this thing a go. This will certainly not be my last question ahead of my brew day....

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Old 04-07-2012, 10:52 PM   #6
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Its not just 2 or 5.
If you can't boil 5 but can boil 3 to 4, do it.

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Old 04-08-2012, 12:41 AM   #7
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Why not split the ingredients in half and do 2 boils of 3 gals each. That's what I do to get a full boil, well worth it.

Oh wait, that's what I used to do, SWMBO get me a 32Qt S/S pot and burner for my BDay, my kids got me the propane tank. I'm set now to do a true full boil.

Toy4Rick

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Old 04-08-2012, 01:16 AM   #8
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Splendid! I appreciate your help. I shall boil all 5!
I just got my kit yesterday & am preparing to give this thing a go. This will certainly not be my last question ahead of my brew day....
One thing to be aware of here. Your hop profile will change significantly with a 5 gallon boil. The kits are usually designed for a 2 1/2 gallon boil and have tailored their hop inclusions in the kit to accomodate that. If you are brewing from kit and it calls for 2 1/2, use 2 1/2.
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:19 AM   #9
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One thing to be aware of here. Your hop profile will change significantly with a 5 gallon boil. The kits are usually designed for a 2 1/2 gallon boil and have tailored their hop inclusions in the kit to accomodate that. If you are brewing from kit and it calls for 2 1/2, use 2 1/2.
This.

Unless it's an IPA that can handle being extra bitter, stick to 2.5-3.5 gallons. The hops impact a ton more bitter flavoring on the beer when you do a 5 gallon that it's very noticeable in almost any beer. Most things i've read say cut down the hops by 30% if doing a full boil vs a 2.5 gallon. Since I never plan on saving hops, I just usually do the 3 gallon boil and call it good.
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Old 04-08-2012, 03:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by barneygumble View Post
One thing to be aware of here. Your hop profile will change significantly with a 5 gallon boil. The kits are usually designed for a 2 1/2 gallon boil and have tailored their hop inclusions in the kit to accomodate that. If you are brewing from kit and it calls for 2 1/2, use 2 1/2.
Great information! I just read the instructions with the kit & it looks like I'll be doing a smaller boil. Thanks.
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