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Old 04-07-2010, 03:01 AM   #1
mendozer
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I recently did my PM and it looks like its going good. I was just curious if it REALLY matters how much water you start with (for the steeping, extract dissolving, and boiling).

I do 4 gallon batches and I started with 3 gallons. I added 1 gallon cold water before pitching. Would it make a difference in OG if I used 2 gallons at first?

 
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:12 AM   #2
whatisitgoodfor
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For any mashing, you'll want to control your mash density so that the enzymes are at an appropriate concentration for good conversion.

Also, the more you boil, the higher your hop utilization.

Other than that, how much water you use is largely irrelevant. I am curious as to what you mean by starting with 3 gallons and adding 1 to make 4. Between boil off and grain adsorption, you should be losing 1.5 gallons or so.

 
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:46 AM   #3
mendozer
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Well to the 3 gallons I added 4.5 lbs of malt extract so that automatically increased my pot's volume. I guess it boiled back down to 3.

How does the volume affect hop utilization during the boil?

 
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:52 AM   #4
whatisitgoodfor
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The less stuff dissolved in the water during the boil, the better of a job it will do at dissolving more of the bittering compounds from the hops.

So 4 gallons of 1.020 wort will end up more bitter than 2 gallons of 1.040 wort if the same amount of hops is added.

 
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:06 AM   #5
mendozer
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Ok good. since I don't use really bitter hops (i stick to aroma varieties) I'll use higher volumes of water.

 
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:21 PM   #6
SumnerH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatisitgoodfor View Post
The less stuff dissolved in the water during the boil, the better of a job it will do at dissolving more of the bittering compounds from the hops.
That's not true. Alpha acid extraction is independent of wort gravity. Lots of brew books (and pretty much all of the IBU estimation formulas used by home brewing software) get this wrong.

see http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/adding-extract-172141/ for references.

Quote:
So 4 gallons of 1.020 wort will end up more bitter than 2 gallons of 1.040 wort if the same amount of hops is added.
That's basically true in the simple case (both are all-barley in a similar geometry pot).
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:36 PM   #7
mendozer
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wow that thread was full of information. a lot of stuff that's good to know. thanks for that. i took away that water doesnt matter too much. From now on for partials, i'll use half of my volume (start with 2 gallons and add to 4 later). I don't like bitter beers so mine won't go over 35-40 IBU so hop saturation shouldn't be an issue for me

thanks

 
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:18 PM   #8
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You can boil however much you need to. But keep in mind that you'll still mash with 1.25-1.5 quarts of water per pound, and then sparge up to the boil volume. You won't want to mash in 3 gallons.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:07 AM   #9
mendozer
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isn't mashing only for all grain? I was doing that before, but I'm not advanced enough for that. for partials, I just steep then add extract and boil.

 
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mendozer View Post
isn't mashing only for all grain? I was doing that before, but I'm not advanced enough for that. for partials, I just steep then add extract and boil.
No. If you're steeping grains, if they have any base malt at all, you must mash them. If you're doing a partial mash, then you're not steeping.
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