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Old 10-09-2012, 12:37 AM   #1
jgaepi
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Default Moved - Prob Wrong Spot

So I have made pumpkin ale 3 years in a row. But this year I made a few changes and in turn I had a few problems. This year I was working with my new Blichmann kettle. As opposed to boiling 4 gallons in my basic 8 gallon kettle, and having to top up at the end in my bottle, I was able to boil a full 5 gallons in my new 10 gallon. But I read that I should start with 6 gallons cause one gallon would boil off. Made sense. But at the end of my boil I had a full 6 gallons and so I had to dump one gallon. So I guess I essentially ended with diluted wort, right?

Second, I decided to use real pumpkin this year vice canned. Jeez that was a nightmware at the end. It was too thick and got stuck and I kept having to tilt the kettle to get it out. Should I use a grain bag in the future for the fresh pumpkin?

Last, I don't know if it was more wort, different kettle, etc but my basic copper wort chiller did nothing. I seriously took me 2 1/4 hours to cool it down. More than double using my old kettle. Should I step up my wort chiller?

Thanks for the advice.

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Old 10-09-2012, 01:47 AM   #2
pietro1022
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FWIW pumpkin itself does little or nothing to the beer. When mashed, it might give you a few gravity points, but will mainly give you protein (haze) and some pectins (more haze). A good 'pumpkin' ale can be made just with the right malts and spicing after fermentation. Plus, if you have a traditional mashing setup, it will usually cause a stuck sparge. But yes, if you want to add it, a grain bag should help.

I am really confused about your volumes. Are you telling me you DUMPED perfectly good wort just so you would be at your prescribed volume? We here @ HBT call that alcohol abuse :-). Are you sure your measurements were correct? In boiling any liquid for an hour, some of it will boil off. Not meaning to second guess you, but even if you had a low, gentle boil, some will still evaporate. I know the blichmann kettles are more narrow than others, which would REDUCE boil off, but it unequivocally would not eliminate it. Measure out half gallons at a time, dump them into your kettle, and mark off the kettle volume in half gallon increments (though I thought most blichmanns were marked)

With preboil/post-boil gravity, it helps to think in terms of gravity POINTS (ie the gravity without all the decimals and such). For instance, if you know you will boil off one gallon per hour with your system:

-you want to have 6 gallons of wort going in to the fermenter (to account for transfer, trub loss, etc. and wind up with 5 gallons in a keg or bottles) of a 1.060 beer (60 gravity points times 6 gallons = 360 total gravity points)
-you need 7 gallons pre boil (to account for the gallon of boil off)
-your preboil gravity needs to be 1.051 (360 TOTAL gravity points divided by 7 gallons = 51 gravity points)

The thought with this is the amount of FERMENTABLE MATERIAL in the kettle does not change once you are done mashing, but the volume does, unless you are adding sugar, malt extract, or another fermentable during the boil.

Was your immersion chiller leaking? Even if it was leaking, you would still have cooled it down quicker than 2 1/4 hours. Do you know what your groundwater temp was? I'm guessing it was something with flow rate of the chiller, exposure of copper to wort, or a leak.

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:50 AM   #3
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I started with 6 gallons. The blichmann has a liquid gauge. I added the malt extract and pumpkin so it took me to about 6.75 gallons (level). Seems I cooked off about .5 gallons. So ended with 6.25 gallons approx. I have 6 gallon better bottles, which i filled to around 5 gallons maybe a smidgen more. I couldn't overfill the better bottle. So I ended up with about a gallon of excess wort. It may be alcohol abuse but I frankly didn't know what to do with it. Before I would start with 4 gallons. So regardless of how much volume the malt added, I always had to top up. So I never really paid attention to the final wort amount. Until now. Cause I had excess.

The wort chiller def doesn't have a leak. But I was putting cool tap water out of my faucet through it. But ... I just bought a 1/6 horsepower submersible pump today. I did some research and it has good reviews. So I am going to run ice water through the cooper chiller and then should do the trick in under 60 min.

Next project is moving to all grain. I was happy with my little basic kettle and extract kits. But my burner broke. Bought a new burner and figured I would upgrade to the blichmann kettle. And now thinking all grain. Slippery slope.

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Old 10-09-2012, 08:59 AM   #4
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At least you know what your boil off rate is now. Next time you brew with everything in you want the kettle around 5.75 to 6 gal total.

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Old 10-09-2012, 12:32 PM   #5
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Also, changing the burner will affect the boil off, as well as the vogor of the boil. Next time you can turn ub the burner a tad to increase the boil off or start with less water.

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Old 10-09-2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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So weird...

If you do the pre-chiller thing, that should take it down to pitching temps in under 1/2 hour. What thickness if the copper pipe on your IC? Did you buy it or build it?

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Old 10-09-2012, 09:11 PM   #7
jgaepi
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Bought it from Williams. Part of this set: http://www.williamsbrewing.com/COMPL...TTLE-C291.aspx
I was tempted to upgrade to the chillzilla or a plate chiller. But then I bought submersible pump and ice water.

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