I'm a new brewer, starting my 2nd batch..a dark wheat beer using some smoked malts. It will be a 2.5 gallon batch (due to my slow-a$$ boiling electric stove). My recipe is scaled down for exactly half of a 5 gallon batch. I've done a lot of searching on this topic, but I still have a couple questions:
-How much water should I use for my boil? 1.5gal for the boil, or maybe 2 to compensate for boil-off, then top off to 2.5 gal after?
-I've read suggestions about adding some or most of the malt extract later in the boil as opposed to all of it at the beginning with a small batch. I know this can affect hops utilization and residual sweetness. Can anyone give me advice on how much to add and when in order to prevent the malt from scorching and to make a balanced beer?