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Old 01-19-2009, 05:16 PM   #1
RyanT
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Default a question about boil size and flavor

I brew in the partial-mash style. My brew pot is 3 gallons, so I end up doing the boil in about 2.5 gal of water, cool it down, then add the 2.5 gal of wort to the fermentor, and top off with enough clean water to get me to 5 gallons.

Does it matter that I only create 2.5 gallons of wort (as opposed to other people that boil 5 gal of wort)? Do you think I should get a bigger pot? I'm not really of the mind to buy one unless you guys think it will make a difference in quality or taste.

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:24 PM   #2
Madman
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There is a difference, and it is much debated. The FAQ has links to two great threads on the subject under General Questions.

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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I also brew partial mash starting with liquid malt extract, most of the time at least. I have brewed dozens of batches.

The only significant drawback that I am able to ascertain is that, when brewing a beer that is supposed to be pale, there is greater carmelization of the wort in the brew pot due to the higher concentration of sugars, leading to a somewhat darker appearance than one might want for a pale beer.

It does depend on the water you have available however. I happen to have a private well so I have a source of chlorine-free, sanitary, cold water. If you have city water then you might want to take steps to get the chlorine out of it, or you'll end up with chlorophenols which adversely affect the aroma.

With a full-mash boil you not only need a bigger pot, you need a larger heat source. Ideally that's a freestanding burner used outside, although if you can place the pot across two burners on a kitchen stove that can be made to work too. Also, you then need a wort chiller.

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:36 PM   #4
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The late extract addition method yields very similar, if not identical results to a full boil - I would look that up and try it if you don't want to upgrade your equipment.

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:51 PM   #5
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thanks for the help. looks like i should try to find a bigger pot.

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Old 01-19-2009, 09:06 PM   #6
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I've made a lot of great PM beers with only a 3 gallon pot - I start the boil with only the mash runnings plus maybe a cup of extract, then add the rest of the extract in the last 10 minutes. Late extract addition not only gets you a lighter color and less carmelization, but I also get better efficiency from the early bittering hops additions. Plus being able to add 2.5-3 gallons of pre-chilled top off water means my wort is cool and ready to pitch very quickly, I don't need a chiller and the top-off water provides the aeration (I use gallon jugs of drinking water and shake them up). I do cool the pot with a water bath in the sink for about 10 minutes first.

I think it mixes better if you put most of the cold top-off water in the fermenter first, then dump the boiled wort on top of it.

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