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Old 03-05-2011, 02:49 PM   #1
Burkhardt
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Default True Brew Kit - Brewing Water Level

True Brew Kit - All Malt Amber Ale

Instructions call for just 1-1 1/2 gallons of water in the brew pot. Seems very minimal compared to the 3-gallon level commonly practiced. It seems like I'll be brewing a concentrate to be diluted with 3-4 gallons of water in the fermenting bucket.

Does the water volume used during the boil process really matter? Should I ignore the instructions and go with a 3-gallon boil?

This is a total newbie concern, but any advice is appreciated.

- Burkhardt

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Old 03-05-2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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Not really familiar with the true brew kit, but do keep in mind that even if you start out with 3 gallons, some of that will boil off and you won't have 3 gallons when you're done.

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Old 03-05-2011, 03:24 PM   #3
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My first 3 batches were True Brew and they turned out great. I didn't have a big pot so I used between 1.5 and 2 gallons for the boil. It'll turn out just fine! Good luck!

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Old 03-05-2011, 03:35 PM   #4
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Doing a larger boil should result in a better beer, but be aware of the following:

1) You might want to adjust the hops to account for different utilization in the less concentrated boil - you'll want to use less hops
2) It will take a little longer to get it to boil, but 3 gallons is not that big (compared to a 6-7 gallon initial volume on a 5 gallon full boil)
3) It will take a little more time to cool, but again 3 gallons is not that big of a deal. You'll likely end up with something near 2.5 gallons if you start with 3.

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Old 03-05-2011, 03:38 PM   #5
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Regardless of the outcome with the True Brew Kit, this is a good question I would like to hear more about. Like the other day I added another pound of DME to an IPA kit and wondered if I should have added additional water. It seems that your boil volume would only affect the specific gravity of the boil (pre-top off) as the mass of the ingredients remains unchanged, only more concentrated/diluted. Then the only other effect would be the energy difference required to boil the additional/less water. But what does all this mean if anything on the quality of the product.

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Old 03-05-2011, 04:05 PM   #6
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My understanding is like this. I think you can find all of this info in the online version of "How to Brew"...

The more concentrated boil favors or increases the rate of some chemical reactions that can lead to off flavors. I know that's pretty vague, but it is commonly accepted.

Also, higher concentration of sugars in the boiled wort interfere with hops utilization. So, higher concentrated boils require more hops to do the same job.

You can probably find more info on here by searching for "full boil". Full boil is on the extreme end and requires no topping off with cool water. It is pretty much required when doing an all grain batch, but also possible for an extract batch if you've got the right equipment. For instance, many household stove will either require tons of time to get 5+ gallons to a boil or can't do it at all. Also, you'll need a boil kettle capable of holding probably at least 8 gallons. Also trying to quick-cool 5+ gallons of wort with an ice bath is more difficult. A chiller is recommended.

Another technique, done for similar reasons, is late extract addition. It's usually done with LME. Basically you add most or even all of your LME in the last 15 minutes.

Any adjustments in boil volume or time at which extracts are added should be accompanied with an appropriate hops correction.

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Old 03-05-2011, 04:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blugrazz View Post
Like the other day I added another pound of DME to an IPA kit and wondered if I should have added additional water.
I wouldn't sweat it over 1 lb of DME.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blugrazz View Post
It seems that your boil volume would only affect the specific gravity of the boil (pre-top off) as the mass of the ingredients remains unchanged, only more concentrated/diluted. Then the only other effect would be the energy difference required to boil the additional/less water.
That's correct.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:55 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. This is an interesting topic to continue exploring.

I ended up using 1-1/2 gallons of water for the boil. Mixed in 1 can hopped amber malt extract, 2 lbs light dried malt extract, and 1 oz hop pellets. All seemed to dissolve fine, then 30 min boil. Poured this into fermentation bucket that already contained 3 gallons of pre-boiled water. Topped off with about little more than 1/2 gallon of additional pre-boiled water. BG 1.042

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Old 03-07-2011, 12:07 AM   #9
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Great! Probably the most important factors now are just being patient and controlling fermentation temps. Even if the kit says fermentation is done on a fixed time scale (like 7 days or less) - don't believe it! Use your hydrometer to be sure. And you'll get better results if you let it go for at least 2 weeks, even if FG stops changing before that point (which it likely will). Know your yeast. Lookup the optimal temp range and if you can, stay on the mid to lower end and you should be good.

Good luck!

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