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Old 07-01-2009, 04:06 PM   #1
Palefire's Avatar
Jun 2009
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Hi all - long-time lurker, first-time poster. This site has been an amazing resource!

Anyway, I have a question about adding H2O to the brewkettle while boiling. I currently use DB's PM method (and Flyguy's $3 autosiphon, and a host of other techniques learned from trolling HBT; but that's a different story), and do my boils in a 5-gallon pot. My stove is pretty powerful and I can get 4-4.5 gallons to a rolling boil without too much difficulty.

My question is this: during the course of 60-min boil, I usually end up boiling off close to a gallon. Might it be worth it to keep a second pot of boiling water on the stove (or even a tea kettle) which I use to add boiling water to the boiling wort? People here generally seem to endorse full-boils over partial-boils - might this be a good way to better approximate a full boil? i.e., if by 40 minutes I've boiled off 3/4 of a gallon of liquid, would I be helped by adding 3/4 of boiling water to the BK for the last 20 minutes of boiling, especially if I can do so without disturbing the boil in the BK? Then after the wort is cooled I'd only have to top off with a gallon or less of cold H2O, rather than 1.5-2 gallons.

My thinking is that this might help with hop utilization, caramelization, etc. Just a thought. What do people think?

Thanks in advance for help!

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:00 PM   #2
Mar 2009
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if your already boiling 4 gallons your utilization of hops should bee good. i would suggest only adding half your extract (assuming that's what your using) at the beginning then add the rest at knock out to pasteurize it. this lower boil gravity will help with your hops utilization and cut down on the caramelization of the wart. then i would do the typical cool the wart then top off with how ever much water is needed to get up to 5 gallons.

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:01 PM   #3
May 2007
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We're talking extract, right? I think a simpler approach would be to do extract additions late in the boil. That will maximize hop utilization and help keep the wort light in color. Good brewing software will help you make the hopping adjustments.

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:08 PM   #4
Catch-22's Avatar
Apr 2009
Stansbury Park, Utah
Posts: 279

Doing partial boils adds to a carmelization that is generally unwanted. If you can't do a full boil then late extract additions are the best method to ensure little carmelization and to make sure the proteins that aid in head retention are not "boiled" away.

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Old 07-01-2009, 05:24 PM   #5
ifishsum's Avatar
Aug 2008
Portland OR
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The early (bittering) hops additions will be the ones most affected by gravity as far as utilization - with a full boil you would be starting out with 6-7 gallons and then boiling down to 5. You're starting the boil with a lower gravity wort, so I don't think adding water after 40-45 minutes is really going to accomplish much IMO - I've tried the same thing and it just didn't seem to make much difference. Furthermore I had less top-off water to help cool the wort.

I currently make all of my beers as a PM, and I also pretty much follow DB's methods. What I do to get better utilization and more closely simulate a full boil is to perform my mash and sparge, then start the boil with only the collected wort from the PM. This usually gives me a similar wort gravity at the beginning of the boil to what I would have with a full boil. Add hops per schedule, waiting to add the extract until the last 10 minutes or so. That avoids the carmelization and darkening issue. This technique has worked very well for me. FWIW I'm usually mashing about 5 lbs of grain and boiling 3-3.5 gallons. If your PM is much smaller than that you may want to add at least a little extract at the beginning.
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