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Old 02-17-2009, 01:01 AM   #1
Hog-I
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Default True Brew kit--partial boil?

Long time lurker, first time poster. Finally decided to jump in and got the equipment for doing full boils (propane burner, 7.5 gallon SS pot).

I've searched this site for about an hour now and have found conflicting answers for my question.

For my first brew, I bought a True Brew ingredient kit for a Brown Ale. The instructions say to brew 1 to 1.5 gallons of water, add the ingredients, then brew for 20-30 minutes.

The ingredients are: Unhopped Dark Malt Extract -- 1 can
Dark Dried Malt Extract -- 2 lbs
Malto-Dextrin -- 8 oz
Hop pellets -- 1 oz

The instructions say to add ALL of these ingredients as soon as the boil begins and to boil for only 20-30 minutes.

After reading this site for months, I understand that the consensus is that full boils are usually better. But these instructions call for a partial boil.

So, should I follow the instructions and do a partial boil? Or do a full boil? Is there any harm in doing a full boil? I've also read on here that the instructions in these kits are oftentimes wrong.

Thanks, guys. Great site. I can't wait to get started.

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Old 02-17-2009, 01:57 AM   #2
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I'd stick with the recipe for the kit. Some points to consider......

Full boils will make hop utilization less
If you only boil for 20 min then you will not get the hop bitterness
No need to boil the extracts for an hour -- general consensus is that they will start to scorch and be darker than desired

All that being said, I would think they would figure out the IBU's for the kit they supplied with the instructions they provide.

If it were me, I would : 1. do a partial boil like it calls for
2. Throw in a pound of extract and the hops and boil as high as I could
3. The last 10 minutes throw in the rest of the extracts.

4. -- Next time not buy a premade kit, but ask here, or check the recipe section here for a better and cheaper brown ale (or any other style you may like)


Hope this helps.....

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Old 02-17-2009, 02:00 AM   #3
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The only problem I see with doing a full boil in your situation is this:

You will need to cool down 5 gallons of hot wort. If you do a partial boil - it's pretty easy to add 2 or 3 gallons of cold water & get your wort down to 70 degrees or so in just 15-20 minutes. A 5 gallon boil will take much longer to cool down. I am figuring you don't have an immersion chiller yet, so even if you fill up the sink 3 or 4 times & drain the cooling water, changing out with cool water, it's going to take much longer to get down to pitching temp.

The good part about doing a full boil is that you should get better use of your 1 oz of hops - which seems light for an un-hopped kit, especially if they are only calling for a 20 minute boil. You don't mention what variety of hops you have, so it's hard to know exactly how many bittering units they are trying to get out of that 20 or 30 minute boil.

I'd say you're improving things by doing a full boil, and if you post the type of hops - someone can probably run your recipe in Beersmith or another software program & get a good idea of the IBU's ( bittering units) .

Start putting some ice cubes in the fridge & maybe even fill up some empty plastic soda or water bottles - it will help you with trying to cool down 5 gallons of wart in a sink.

Good luck.

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Old 02-17-2009, 02:22 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies. This is a great forum.

I actually do have an immersion chiller. I made it this weekend and tested it today. I tested it and to my surprise, it didn't even leak.

The hops are UK First Gold Hop Pellets -- 1 oz

I'd really like to do a full boil, since that's what I plan on doing for here on out. I read on another thread here that maybe a 25% reduction in the hops would be a good idea. Thoughts?

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Old 02-17-2009, 02:30 AM   #5
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I think this kit has something like 6 IBUs. You won't notice a 25% change in hops either way.

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Old 02-17-2009, 02:38 AM   #6
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I was surprised that this kit was so simple. I've been reading this forum for a while and was expecting to steep grains, make an initial hop addition, then the later ones. But with this kit it only has partial boil instructions, throw everthing in at once, and boil for twenty minutes.

It's probably best though, since it's my first and I have exactly zero actualy experience yet.

Next time though, I'll go with a recipe on here.

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Old 02-17-2009, 02:59 AM   #7
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When I plug your recipe into Beersmith (assuming the LME is a 3.3 lb can) I get an estimated OG of 1.041 with an IBU of 17 for bitterness. Seems that would put you on the side of slightly malty - which is probably what you want for a Brown Ale. If you want more hop bitterness - increase to a 30 minute boil which would bump you up to 21.5 IBU's.

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