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Old 01-20-2012, 04:29 PM   #1
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Default What's more important to hit: boil time or post-boil volume?

I ran into this problem in my first brew (and don't want to repeat it). I had a tough time with my boil. I never really achieved that "rolling boil" consistently. I pretty much stuck to the 60 minute boil, although I kept it a few minutes longer with a good boil to finish everything off.

My post-boil volume -- while I didn't measure it -- wasn't what it should have been. So it made me think: What's more important in the process, boiling for the time suggested or hitting the post-boil volume?

Maybe it's a wash, but I'd love to hear what people think on this matter. (Even though I think we all know the right answer: hit both.)

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Old 01-20-2012, 04:34 PM   #2
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Neither. OG. Which probably falls under your volume choice.

Best way to boil is with a refractometer handy. Boil until the gravity hits your intended OG.

Hop additions are a bit tricky here, but there are ways to make that work. I do it this way every time.

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Old 01-20-2012, 04:35 PM   #3
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That's hard to say since they are both pretty important (as you mentioned). If you boil longer though, you will increase your IBU's. You should try to keep really good notes on your volumes so that you can start to hone in on your boil off rate. This will let you adjust for your future batches. I've got mine dialed in pretty good, but if anything, I prefer to boil off more, rather than not enough. This way I can do a quick calc and just add a bit more water rather than having to boil longer.

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Old 01-20-2012, 04:39 PM   #4
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This is one of the reasons I still use a hops bag, even though I now have one of those fancy Blichmann hop stopper thingys. If I reach 60 minutes and I'm still not at my target gravity, I just pull the bag out and keep boiling.

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Old 01-20-2012, 04:39 PM   #5
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Let me throw out this question and it may be ridiculous but I will anyways. I spend so much time worrying about my OG and FG. How important if this to the process of any brew? Just wondering if I spend too much time pulling gravity readings is it as important as we think or will the final product taste just as good?

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Old 01-20-2012, 04:43 PM   #6
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The OG and FG make a big difference; I would say moreso for the FG. If you are within a couple of points either way, it's probably not as big of a deal, but you can certainly taste the difference between a 1.010 FG beer and a 1.015 FG beer.

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Old 01-20-2012, 04:46 PM   #7
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Gravity is very important if you are wanting to replicate recipies and be able to brew it consistently. It can through off the balance and mouthfeel of the beer. If your off by a point or two here and there it's probably not going to make a huge difference, especially if you are just starting out. For me, part of the fun is trying to hit all my numbers dead on, especially when I am replicating a recipe. I also try to keep a couple bottles of the last batch on hand to do a side-by-side comparison.

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Old 01-20-2012, 04:59 PM   #8
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Yeah I see the point about replicating a recipe. I try so hard to hit these numbers and when I can't I don't know what to do to get there.

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Old 01-20-2012, 05:07 PM   #9
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Knowing the numbers does nothing to affect making beer. They are necessary for replicating the recipe.

Understanding what you need to do make sure you hit those numbers just comes with knowing your equipment, process, and recipe. It all comes with time and practice.

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Old 01-20-2012, 05:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidLunch5211 View Post
Yeah I see the point about replicating a recipe. I try so hard to hit these numbers and when I can't I don't know what to do to get there.
If it looks like I am going to be off I use the calculators in beersmith. If my gravity is high, add water. If it is low, I can add some DME. There are probably some calculators online if you search for them. Since I know what my boil off rate is, I check the gravity at the beginning of the boil so I can predict what it will be post boil. This allows you to adjust before your boil is finished. Like mentioned above it's important to get to know your process and equipment, and to be consistent, which all comes with experience. Just keep brewing and you will start to dial in on your numbers.
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