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Old 04-23-2012, 02:16 AM   #1
jpr210
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my father and i brew together and we have a back and forth argument over how much beer we are supposed to end up with per batch. all recipes we come across are for 5 gallons, but invariably we end up with a little less (~4.5 gal) every time due to boil off and such. so the question is, do we leave it at 4.5 gallons or however much it turns out to be, or do we top it up to 5 gallons?

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:18 AM   #2
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My personal philosophy is to brew to the post boil gravity and take what you get. I have found that adding an extra pound of extract to most recipes allows me boil an extra gallon and bottle/keg 5 gallons and still hit my post boil OG.

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:23 AM   #3
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The recipe should state the volume going into fermenter. It might not state how much you'll get into bottles, since there are a few factors that can change that. As a general rule, I plan to lose about 1/2 gallon to trub/yeast cake in my batches. Which is why I put 6.5-7 gallons into primary so that I get a solid 6 gallons out. You'll want to figure out what your boil-off rate is for your hardware, or get it so that you're boil-off rate is as the recipe has listed. It's usually easier to figure out how much you boil off in an hour than try to tweak it to boil off less (in your case).

This is another case where software can really help you out. You can enter in the parameters for your hardware set and have it adjust your pre-boil volume so that you hit the volume going into fermenter. With a few tweaks, you should be able to reach the desired amount.

It's also easier to do this when you're brewing all grain, IMO... I can add more volume to the recipe, then simply add more base malt to get my volume into fermenter, ABV level, etc. without issue.

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:28 AM   #4
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I will say that I use BeerSmith and it makes the adjustments SO much easier

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Something is always fermenting....
"It's Bahl Hornin'"

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Brite Tank/Lagering:
Kegged: Hefeweizen, Chocolate Hazelnut Porter, Kumquat Saison, Tart Cherry Cider, Belgian Tripel, Maibock Bock, Ommegang Abbey Ale Clone, Belgian Golden Strong, German Pils (WLP830)
Bottled: Belgian Quad (Grand Reserve), Derangement (Belgian Dark Strong)
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:41 AM   #5
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Funny... my brother and I went back and forth on this too.

For the first brew I won and we did not adjust for boil off. We got just shy of 4 gallons into bottles from the 5 gallons we started with. The resulting beer tasted great, so I felt validated.

For the second brew, we actually asked the guys at the LHBS and they were clearly in the 'adjust for boil-off' camp, so my brother won that round and we adjusted for boil-off on the strong ale that is currently fermenting.

Though I am a noob and you should probably not listen to me, my guess is that it doesn't really matter, so long as you know exactly what you did so you can repeat it if you wanted to.

Personally, I think my brother is going to win overall, because adjusting for the final volume is actually kinda satisfying to this type-A personality person. We even went so far as to measure out 0.5 gallon gradation marks onto our carboy to make topping off easy..

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:47 AM   #6
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I still say it's the post boil OG that's the driver....If the incorrect OG is in the fermentor (due to dilution) then you're not making the beer in the recipe any more.

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Kegged: Hefeweizen, Chocolate Hazelnut Porter, Kumquat Saison, Tart Cherry Cider, Belgian Tripel, Maibock Bock, Ommegang Abbey Ale Clone, Belgian Golden Strong, German Pils (WLP830)
Bottled: Belgian Quad (Grand Reserve), Derangement (Belgian Dark Strong)
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:49 AM   #7
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The key is OG. You need to adjust for that if you are trying for a style or to be consistent. We adjust volume when we add the yeast nutrient and Irish Moss with Boiling Water. There is very little boil off in the last 15 minutes. You do have to correct your reading for temp, but if you do it, you should hit your OG. We do 16 gallon All grain Batches, but after trub loss, we normally have 15 gallons.

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:50 AM   #8
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BTW We use Brew Math an Iphone app to figure temp correction and volume to add. It is A+

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:51 AM   #9
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Because everyone uses different equipment and will have a different boil off rate, I think the answer is what goes into the carboy. Otherwise there would be no standardization for recipes. But it's really whatever makes you good beer!

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verbhertz View Post
Because everyone uses different equipment and will have a different boil off rate, I think the answer is what goes into the carboy. Otherwise there would be no standardization for recipes. But it's really whatever makes you good beer!
The constant is the recipes OG, however you get there, that's the target.
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Something is always fermenting....
"It's Bahl Hornin'"

Primary:
Brite Tank/Lagering:
Kegged: Hefeweizen, Chocolate Hazelnut Porter, Kumquat Saison, Tart Cherry Cider, Belgian Tripel, Maibock Bock, Ommegang Abbey Ale Clone, Belgian Golden Strong, German Pils (WLP830)
Bottled: Belgian Quad (Grand Reserve), Derangement (Belgian Dark Strong)
On Deck:
My Site: www.restlesscellars.com
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