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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > partial vs full boil
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:21 PM   #1
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Default partial vs full boil

I have a 5 gallon kettle. My last (and first) brew, I just followed the instructions and boiled 2.5 gallons of water, and went from there (add ingredients, hops, etc.). Then of course, after dumping in a fermenter, bring that amount to the full 5 gallons.

On my next batch, could I just go with a higher amount of water? What's the most some have done with a 5 gallon kettle? Could you do 3.5 gallon, 4 gallon boil in a 5 gallon kettle? I know the more you go, the more chance for a boil over. I kept a spritzer bottle of filtered water nearby during my last brew session and didn't hardly see that huge of a boil over threat (that I can remember).

So is the risk of a bigger partial boil worth considering if you know you're going to be diligent throughout the entire boil process? Will the gains be worth a better looking beer?

Just thinking out loud here.

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Old 08-31-2012, 11:40 PM   #2
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I have a 5 gallon kettle. My last (and first) brew, I just followed the instructions and boiled 2.5 gallons of water, and went from there (add ingredients, hops, etc.). Then of course, after dumping in a fermenter, bring that amount to the full 5 gallons.

On my next batch, could I just go with a higher amount of water? What's the most some have done with a 5 gallon kettle? Could you do 3.5 gallon, 4 gallon boil in a 5 gallon kettle? I know the more you go, the more chance for a boil over. I kept a spritzer bottle of filtered water nearby during my last brew session and didn't hardly see that huge of a boil over threat (that I can remember).

So is the risk of a bigger partial boil worth considering if you know you're going to be diligent throughout the entire boil process? Will the gains be worth a better looking beer?

Just thinking out loud here.
Yes, the more you can boil the better the beer. It will be "cleaner" and less cooked extract taste-y if that makes sense. My recommendation is to boil as much as you possibly can, whether it's 3, 3.5, 4 or even 5 gallons. Some people don't have strong enough burners to boil that much wort (like on a kitchen stove) and some people may not have a good way to chill that much wort. But if you can- do it!

A couple of other things you can do to help with the flavor if you are limited by boiling sizes- one is to add half of the extract near or at the end of the boil instead of at the beginning. That helps alot with reducing maillard reactions (carmelization type reactions). It also means a less extract-y taste in the final beer. The beer will be lighter colored, as extract tends to darken in a boil, especially a smaller boil.

A great combo would be to boil 4 gallons, and add at least 1/2 at of the extract near the end of the boil. That would work great, and you could probably swing that in a 5 gallon pot, if you watched it carefully.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:47 PM   #3
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Thanks Yooper! I may try that.


So there is nothing wrong with adding the last half of my extract at the end of the boil? Does it matter if the extract is liquid or dry? I have it in my head the whole thing needs to have a 60 minute boil.

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Old 09-01-2012, 12:03 AM   #4
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Thanks Yooper! I may try that.


So there is nothing wrong with adding the last half of my extract at the end of the boil? Does it matter if the extract is liquid or dry? I have it in my head the whole thing needs to have a 60 minute boil.
Well, your wort needs to boil for 60 minutes- but it doesn't have anything to do with the extract. The extract has already been processed by the maker, so it doesn't need a boil.

What does need a boil, though, are the hops. The bittering hops' oils will isomerize during boiling and it takes a long time to extract all their bittering. 60 minutes is usually about the right amount of time- longer gets a bit more bittering, but not that much- so the wort is typically boiled for 60 minutes to get the bittering out of the hops. Later hops boil less time, of course, for flavor and aroma additions.

If I had a recipe that had both LME and DME, I'd make sure to use the LME at the end, as I think it darkens more than DME. Either way is fine, though. I'd probably use 1 pound of extract per gallon for the boil (so, if you have two gallons of water to boil, use 2 pounds of extract), and the rest of the extract at flame out.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:26 AM   #5
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And don't forget to turn off your burner while stirring in the rest of the extract. It can burn amazingly fast.

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Old 09-01-2012, 01:54 AM   #6
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For me when I brew with extract I split everything in half and brew 2 half batches. Yes it makes my brew day longer, however I get the benefits of a full boil

Rick

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Old 09-01-2012, 02:32 AM   #7
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If I had a recipe that had both LME and DME, I'd make sure to use the LME at the end, as I think it darkens more than DME.
LME also dissolves much more easily than DME, so you aren't stirring chunks at flameout. I found that out the hard way when making a barleywine and I stirred in half my body mass in DME at flameout. That's just me, though, and I'm a n00b.
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Old 09-01-2012, 02:36 AM   #8
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Some great advice. Thanks everybody!

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Old 09-02-2012, 06:05 AM   #9
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This helped me out a LOT! I bought an 8gal kettle and I plan on doing my first batch ever tomorrow. I am super excited. I just wasnt really sure how much to actually boil. And I just got a wort chiller from a guy at work. So that should help a lot with my cooling. Im looking at doing a full boil. As long as I can actually get it to boil haha. That a lot of water to boil.

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Old 09-02-2012, 02:05 PM   #10
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Do a test first and make sure that you can get straight water to a boil. make sure that you can get a vigorous rolling boil.

I would start with 6 gallons in your 8 gallon pot and watch it like a hawk. You might still have to top up a little to get to 5 gallons after the boil.

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