4 gallon batch with smaller boil - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > 4 gallon batch with smaller boil

Thread Tools
Old 11-16-2012, 07:18 PM   #1
Mar 2012
York, PA
Posts: 39

This may have been covered plenty of times before, but my search-fu is failing me.

I am new to brewing and wanted to step my game up from the Mr. Beer to working with Extract brewing. The only things I am not clear on is if I can boil a smaller amount of water, due to pot size restrictions?
Essentially what I am looking to do it make a 4 gallon batch, but figure out how much water I would need to boil. Would buying the ingredients for a 4 gallon batch and then boiling in 2 gallons of water work out for me? So boil 2 gallons of water for all the extract and hops adding and then add 2 gallons of water to it in the fermentor?

Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2012, 12:42 AM   #2
jwalk4's Avatar
Jun 2012
London, Ontario
Posts: 954
Liked 163 Times on 132 Posts

Yes, it can work. But IMO partial boils are inferior to full.

Some people argue the about hop utilization being better in full boils over partials but I've never noticed a difference.

Also "In a partial boil, you can tend to have a "cooked extract" taste due to the maillard reactions (similar to caramelization). The wort will also darken. One way to counteract that if you have to do a small boil is to add the majority of the extract late in the boil, or even at flame out. That will leave it lighter colored, and with less maillard reactions." - Yooper

Remember too that you'll have to account for 1 gallon of boil off at least for a 60 minute boil. So, to get 4 gallons of beer (2 gallons boiled water + 2 gallons tap or bottled water), you'll need to be able to boil 3 gallons of water and watch for boil overs!
Fermenter 1 - Vienna /Saaz SMaSH
Fermenter 2 - Dry as a bone
Drinking - various craft brews, Tiny Bottom PA
Beer styles I'm trying to nail down: APA, Porter, Mild, Amber, & Something Yellow and Fizzy.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2012, 05:49 AM   #3
Aug 2011
Boise, ID
Posts: 100
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

The Mr Beer to extract set can be a fun one. Partial boils do work if that is what you have to work with. Have you considered doing 1 gallon all grains? Brooklyn Brewery has a bunch of 1 gallon all grain kits you can do with a 2 gallon pot and a fine mesh strainer. Also you can do Brew In A Bag set ups. I did what you are saying and I made some decent brew, but when I switched to all grain the taste was significantly better ever since. Hope this helped


Up Next: Dopplebock
Primary: European IPA
Secondary: Empty :(
Keg: Pumpkin Amber Ale, Skeeter Pee(why not?)
Conditioning: Cherry Canadian Blonde, Belgian Abbey Ale

Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2012, 02:00 PM   #4
jmprdood's Avatar
Nov 2011
, Home is Spokane WA
Posts: 585
Liked 21 Times on 21 Posts

OP - it'll work just fine, been doing it that way for years. Full boils seem to be the preference, but not all of us have the space or equipment to pull them off. Partial boils and topping up will make very good beer. Just read up on late additions of the extract, maybe doing some steeping of specialty grains and adding additional hops throughout the boil. The sky is the limit.

If you're stupid, you have to be tough.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2012, 11:31 PM   #5
Mar 2012
York, PA
Posts: 39

Ok this is all very interesting. Well in my quest here at home in pulling equipment together I have found that my pot will only boil 1.5 gallons safely.

Now from what I am being told here this is no way I can do that because I would only end up with .5 gallons left... To the store to pick up a bigger pot, might as well get one that can do bigger boils!

Thanks all!

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
AG with a 4 gallon boil but a 5 gallon batch size Skelator All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 31 01-18-2017 04:07 PM
All Grain with only a 3 gallon boil for a 5 gallon batch???? cbsdaddy All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 8 04-15-2011 02:08 AM
20 gallon Batch in a 10 gallon Boil? SpottedDogBrewing All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 4 10-05-2010 08:54 PM
Smaller batch in 5 gallon primary? ericm General Beer Discussion 2 01-31-2009 06:12 AM
Can I make a smaller batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy? BoxerDog Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 2 04-02-2007 06:16 PM

Forum Jump