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shulerd 06-14-2009 06:53 AM

What should wort look like after boiling?
I just finished boiling my first wort and had a very robust boil with 2 gallons of water for a summer ale. What should my wort look like after boiling? Mine looked like brown sludge and I'm concerned I had too much heat and it boiled off too much water. Once it cooled, it was like a molasses sludge but looked better after I added about 4.75 gallons of water to get back up to 5 gallons of liquid.

Does anyone have a picture they can post? Thanks!

Nurmey 06-14-2009 07:04 AM

Welcome to HBT!

I'm not surprised your wort looked like molasses sludge if you had to add 4.75 gallons of water to top off. I have no idea what a boil that small will do but it probably will produce beer. How long did you boil it and what kind of kit was it?

To answer your question, wort is not particularly pretty nor is fermentation.

Chadwell 06-14-2009 11:51 AM

Hmm...I am with Nurmey; adding 4.75 gallons is quite a lot...you lost a lot during your boil, for sure. I do 2 gallon boils and I typically lose somewhere around .5 gallons. I have one picture, which I have linked below. It was a Belgian Witbier I was brewing, so not much different in appearance than a Summer during the boil. I'd say this was around halfway through the boil after adding the extract. Not the greatest pic, but hope it helps for now until someone posts a better one. It really shouldn't thicken up much -


Did you happen to check the temperature during your boil? Seems you may have boiled too long or at too high a temp.

snailsongs 06-14-2009 11:55 AM

How much water did you have mixed with your extract before the boil? Were you trying to do this in an average sized pasta pot or something?

I would recommend you do some reading at John Palmer's excellent site, and of course here too, and I'm guessing but it sounds like you need to find a large (4-5 gallon minimum) dedicated pot for brewing so you can boil atleast 2-3 gallons of liquid at a time. good luck.

WilliamstonBrew 06-14-2009 02:21 PM

I do 1-1.5 gallon boils (which totally sucks, but it's limited by my equipment) and the resulting wort I wouldn't call sludge, per se, but it is thick. It's probably the consistency of whole milk and is very very dark. Even when I add it the the rest of my water it's still been pretty dark, but the results (two American ale's and a hefeweizen so far) turned out FANTASTIC.

Small boils aren't ideal but they work. My only advice is to watch the temp like a hawk. After you add the extract(s), start the heat back at medium. I maintain a moderate boil at the 5/10 setting on the stove top.

chemman14 06-14-2009 05:46 PM

what is the ideal temperature to boil at?


I had the same problem with my first brew. Next time im going to boil 3 gallons and add water as it evaporates. Is there an ideal temperature to boil at? I just had my stove on high the whole time.

Yooper 06-14-2009 05:54 PM


Originally Posted by chemman14 (Post 1380297)
what is the ideal temperature to boil at?

It boils at whatever temperature it boils at. I think it's like water- it boils at different temperatures depending on where you live, but it's 212 F at sea level. At my house, it's more like 208 F.

You want a rolling boil. It doesn't have to be any more vigorous than "rolling boil", though. More vigorous than a simmer, definitely. The actual temperature that it boils at is not a consideration, though.

chemman14 06-14-2009 05:57 PM

so 215 wasnt too hot?

Yuri_Rage 06-14-2009 06:00 PM

There is only one temperature at which water boils: 212 F (minus about 2 F for every 1,000' of elevation above sea level). If your thermometer read 215 F, you need to calibrate it.

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