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Old 09-23-2006, 03:27 AM   #1
Vagrant
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So today I jumped on the band wagon and brewed Cheesefood's Caramel Cream Ale. I've only used LME thus far. I decided against going with my LHBS's LME and stick to the recipe with some brewer's gold DME and some Munton's Wheat DME (Oddly [luckily?], these were the only two DME my LBHS had in stock). I put one pound of DME in, just straight from the bag and it was kind of clumpy. I put the rest of the DME a pound at a time in a mixing bowl, poured some of my steep water into the mixing bowl, and used a beater to mix it in with the water. This eliminated the clumps, but put a huge head on my wort even before I started boiling it. Needless to say, right when my wort hit boiling, I boiled over instantly.

I took my chances and brought it to a boil again, but this time, immediately put my first hops in thinking that the oils would reduce the head in the stock pot. It seemed to, and I continued on.

My question is.. Why did I have such bad luck with the DME? I noticed even without the "beat" version of my DME (straight from the bag), it started putting foam on top of my boil. Is this normal? I didnt fill my pot any more water than I usually do with LME and it went from hot to boil over in like 2 seconds. No crap. Was it dumb of me to use the beaters on the DME? What'd I do wrong?

Nobes

 
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Old 09-23-2006, 04:07 AM   #2
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I've done 4 DME batches(and one LME) so far and haven't had the boil-over problem.The ones i've done have been just a huge bag of DME and i just dumped the whole works in and stirred like crazy.The only near boil-over was from filling the brew kettle too full.As far as foam goes,i had the same amount(say 1/4" high over maybe 1/4 of the boiling surface)on all the batches so far.I keep a pretty hard boil going also.Maybe the beater thing was a bit much.In any case,i bet it turns into great beer.Brew on!

5 batches in various stages

 
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Old 09-23-2006, 04:22 AM   #3
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Why do you think something went wrong? Sounds pretty normal to me. Your ability to manage boil overs do improve with time... kinda figure out how to not have one or when you are about to have one. How big is your brewpot?
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Old 09-23-2006, 04:29 AM   #4
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I'm using a 16qt brewpot right now. I've made other batches fine. The DME just seemed to react different than the LME I'm used to when boiling it. IE, produces a thick foam on top even before boiling. That's never happened with my LME.

 
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Old 09-23-2006, 02:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobes341
I'm using a 16qt brewpot right now. I've made other batches fine. The DME just seemed to react different than the LME I'm used to when boiling it. IE, produces a thick foam on top even before boiling. That's never happened with my LME.
That's funny, because I've experienced the exact opposite. I've only brewed two batches, both in a 16qt pot also. The first was exclusively LME, and I came very close to boiling over. This was in a 2 gallon boil. My last brew was all DME, along with hops and steeping grains before the boil, in about 2.5 gallons, and it didn't come close to boiling over. The hot break got active in the middle of the pot for about a minute, then all was well. I had a little activity when adding the boiling hops, but again, nothing major.

I really expected boilovers, with the larger boil size, and the addition of hops. Just goes to show that you never can tell...

 
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Old 09-23-2006, 02:54 PM   #6
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I only use DME to make starters. I bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, add the DME and stir well till it is dissolved, and then apply heat to bring it back to the boil. You still need to keep an eye on it for a few minutes. If it starts foaming, either hit it with some water from a spray bottle, or turn off/down the heat. The foam dissipates after a few minutes, and you need not worry about boil overs any more until you add the hops. This can also cause boil-overs which can be prevented in the same way.

-a.

 
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Old 09-23-2006, 03:01 PM   #7
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LME or DME is regardless.... 16 quarts is a VERY small pot for a brewkettle. You seem to be doing what you need to do though. Sit there and watch it and get ready. By turning down the heat, removing the pot.... some spray water on it, the boil over will drop. Again this sounds pretty normal. With a 16 quart pot you are just challenged at controlling them.... which would also be normal.
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Old 09-23-2006, 05:41 PM   #8
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The "boilover" is essentially oxygen being boiled out of the water.

When you whipped up the "DME tea" you added a ton of air that needed to be boiled out.

I use a gas stove so when the level rises I just slide my pot off of the heat, or at least most of the pot off the flame. As the level subsides I slide it back onto the burner...repeat process as often as necessary...
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Old 09-23-2006, 07:24 PM   #9
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Sweet, thanks for all the input.

 
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Old 09-23-2006, 07:42 PM   #10
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To prevent DME clumping up, add it to warm water(not hot or boiling), before bringing it to the boil. No need for the beater.
Add the hops as the wort comes to the boil and during the hot break/boil over, stir the foam back in gently but briskly, only add the odd drop of water if it is in danger of going over the top. This is an important part of the boil, try not to subdue it too much.
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