full boil 5gal boil vs. partial boil (2.5 gal and less) - Home Brew Forums

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Old 12-26-2013, 10:02 PM   #1
Dec 2012
Asheville, NC
Posts: 20

What are the benefits and cons of each. Thanks!

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Old 12-26-2013, 10:17 PM   #2
CA_Mouse's Avatar
Jan 2013
Riverside, Califiornia
Posts: 1,919
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Full boil offers better hop utilization than a partial brew. Downside is that it requires a kettle able to hold 6+ gallons of wort to boil in.

A partial brew requires a higher amount of hops to get the same level of IBUs into your beer. Upside is that you don't need more than a 4 or 5 gallon pot to boil in, since you are adding clean water after the boil to get to your target Final Gravity.

Additionally, All Grain versus Extract can have an impact on your brewing as well. Not all Extracts are created equal and most people do not get a low Final Gravity using LME/DME (lowest I got using LME/DME was about 1.018, All Grain I've gotten as low as 1.007).

YMMV in any case.
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:51 PM   #3
Captain Damage
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Apr 2008
Lowell, Massachusetts
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You get lower incidence of Maillard reactions with a full boil, so you won't keep overshooting your target color and less of a "cooked" flavor.
Stop using so much caramel malt. Your beer will thank you.
(yes, Carapils is a caramel malt...so is Special B)


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Old 12-26-2013, 11:10 PM   #4
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Feb 2011
Pittsburgh, PA
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Partial is faster, takes less time to cool, and Smaller pot is easier to clean. You can end up with darker beers, can't do all-grain well and need to use more hops to get the same result.

I think the other guys covered full boil.

Full boil pot also gives you the option of biab.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:55 PM   #5
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Nov 2009
Houston, Texas
Posts: 909
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I do have a big enough pot for a full boil, but I did partial with my first brew this week because...
  • That's what the recipe called for.
  • I don't know if my electric range has enough power to boil 6+ gallons of wort.
  • I don't have a wort chiller, so the addition of 2+ gallons of cold water allows for a quicker cool down to pitching temps.
  • I don't understand how to get the precise volumes that some of these full boil recipes call for pre-boil.

I'm looking at one now that calls for 6.57 gallons pre-boil. WTF! How am I supposed to get that kind of precision?

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Old 01-03-2014, 09:24 PM   #6
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Jul 2010
SF Peninsula
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You don't have to sweat it that much. Assuming you don't have a sight glass I would get a stick or spoon and mark out the quart measurements between 5-7 gallons for your pot, then eyeball from there.

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