90min vs 60 min boil - from a practicality standpoint

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slurms

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I understand the whole thing with 90 min boils: DMS for pilsner, greater hop utilization, concentrate wort for higher OG, yadda yadda...

I do BIAB and boil on propane, focus mostly on APA/IPAs. To me, I can just add some more grains to the mash to get my OG. Use higher AA hops at 60 mins to hit my IBUs. These options seem to be a bit more practical than using another half hour's worth of propane during the boil and lengthening the brew day.

Recently came across a Sierra Nevada pale ale clone recipe that called for a 90 min boil (which got me thinking about this). Is there any reason that I'm missing that the longer boil would be beneficial for these types of beers? I'm all for doing what's right for the beer. But I also don't want to do something for the sake of doing it with no real reason/benefit behind it.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Not looking for the "do what works for you" type of reply, just more curious about any potential benefits I'm missing.
 

Sammy86

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The 90/60 boil debate has been raging since the early 2000's. The argument began at least IMO from traditional brewing methods from Germany that called for extended boils due to under modified grains.

While many will tell you, including myself you can get away with 60 minute boils for Pilsner malts the benefits of extended boils are what you already mentioned.

Higher OG, more hop utilization, extended boil off rate, etc.You can't get that dark, malty character of a 90 minute boil with a 60 at least IMO.

As with much in brewing there is more than oneway to skin a cat. So depending on the author of the recipe you are following maybe their need for the 90 minute boil isnt the same as your need/want.
 
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slurms

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You can't get that dark, malty character of a 90 minute boil with a 60 at least IMO.
That's true. That one didn't cross my mind. Though, you think that would benefit a hop-forward beer or would the hops overshadow any additional malty/rich flavor you get from the longer boil? Could help round out the flavor, but I don't have experience comparing the boil lengths. I can, however, see how it can benefit other, malt-forward style beers.
 

Sammy86

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That's true. That one didn't cross my mind. Though, you think that would benefit a hop-forward beer or would the hops overshadow any additional malty/rich flavor you get from the longer boil? Could help round out the flavor, but I don't have experience comparing the boil lengths. I can, however, see how it can benefit other, malt-forward style beers.
When doing a 90 minute boil you don't have to add hops at 90, you can wait and start at 60 like normal. For example, when I did my first German Pils, I did a 90 minute boil and had my first addition at 60.

As long as you hop ratio is within style guidlines or whatever you're shooting for you should be good to go.
 

Jim R

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I am not an expert but after studying boil time data some I have concluded that this isn't something worth spending much time worrying about. I doubt you could tell the difference in your final beer with a 60 vs 90 min boil in the vast majority of your beers (and maybe all of them). For me, it isn't worth extending my brew days another half hour (plus burning more propane) just to boil longer. It is even possible that one is better off trying to achieve a more vigorous boil than worrying about boil times although that is even debatable. You may very well be better off spending your energy studying other aspects of brewing (recipes, water management, etc.). On the other hand, if I spent money on a tested recipe that specifically called for a 90 min boil, I would probably take the time to do it.
 
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ihavenonickname

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I don’t think there is real benefit beyond fractions of improved efficiency from malt and hop and color change, all of which can be adjusted for.

I now routinely use a 40 minute boil. Motivation is just a time and effort saver. looking at hop utilization curves this is where they level out, so diminishing returns after that. I always make slight adjustments to bittering additions and ill lose a few efficiency points. Worth the time save for my life. Not worth it for commercial breweries that have to consider low profit margins.

edit grammar
 
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BrewnWKopperKat

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Thanks @slurms . Good to know we're thinking about the same (or at least similar) recipes.

For my BIAB APA/IPA recipes, I'm generally using a 45 min mash with a 30 min boil. These are WC style beers (hop forward, malts in the supporting role). I also have a SNPA "clone attempt" recipe (60 min boil) that comes out good (but at the moment, not the same as SNPA).

For my darker (mainly browns and porters), I feel I get better results with 60 min mash and 60 min boil. Here's an example where I found that longer boils to be helpful. A while back, I brewed Jamil Zainasheff's "Evil Twin" (a darker amber ale) as a 20 min boil (since the 1st hop addition was @ 20) and as a 60 min boil (followed the recipe). While it wasn't a side-by-side comparison, I did enjoy the 60 min boil more.

So for me, APAs/IPAs generally get a 30 minute boil, and there's benefit to boiling my darker styles longer. If there is a substyle of APA/IPA that is slightly more "balanced" towards malts, then a 60 minute boil may be helpful to me.

I'll suggest trying a couple of recipes with 60 minute boils. If the results are good, @ihavenonickname 's experiences with a a 40 minute boil could be a good second step to consider. As I moved away from 60 minute boils, I tried some 45 minute boils and got good results.
 
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CascadesBrewer

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I have started to move my hoppy beers (IPA, Pale Ales, Hazies) to 30 minute boils. I have not seen any downside yet. The amount of hops needed at 60 vs 30 to hit an calculated IBU target is tiny! I rebrewed an IPA today where the prior batch was a 60 minute boil, and I had to add an extra 0.1 oz of Columbus to hit the same IBUs.

About 1.5 years ago I did a number of single grain samplers batches (mostly 1 gallon batches). They all were made with 30 minute boils, including the Weyermann Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner. If there was DMS, I did not detect it and the dozen or so people at my homebrew club did not detect it.

I currently have 2 more 1 gallon single grain batches fermenting. Another using the last of my Weyermann Pils and one using my new bag of Avangard Pils. We shall see of there are any issues.

My understanding is that a commercial brewery might boil off 10% of the wort with a 90 minute boil where a 5-gallon homebrewer often boils off 20% with a 60 minute boil. I am not sure it is an apples to apples comparison.

I still do 60 minute boils for some styles. This is mostly because I have not tried 30 minute boils and I have some concerns/questions about hop character differences with 30 vs 60 minute boils. Even for something like Porter or Dubbel I am adding some late hops that would likely cover up any differences.

I have only done 120 minute boils a couple times (once for a Quad and once for an Imperial Stout). I do feel that a longer boil can add some mouthfeel and complexity to those styles, but I could be wrong.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale recipe


Calls for whole hops. Remember, if using pellets, to adjust accordingly.
 
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For my BIAB APA/IPA recipes, I'm generally using a 45 min mash with a 30 min boil. These are WC style beers (hop forward, malts in the supporting role).
Interesting, nearly cutting everything in half. Is there any discernable difference between this a 60/60 mash/boil? I tried something like this with one gallon but it was a s-show before I knew what I was doing.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Is there any discernable difference between this a 60/60 mash/boil?
I haven't done a true side by side comparison (60/60 vs 45/30).

A couple of years ago, when people were talking a lot about faster brew days, there was discussion around 20/20 mash/boil. I didn't try it enough to know if it worked for me.
 

dmtaylor

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DMS is traditionally one of the big reasons for longer boils, but the thing is... with modern malts and with our little homebrew size batches, it just isn't as big of a problem as tradition makes it out to be. We can boil off the precursors quickly and easily. We don't have a lid on our boil. It's not an issue for most people. I tried to get DMS in a pilsner on purpose one time and succeeded, by putting a lid on it, boiling for a very short time, etc. But others in my club couldn't even detect it.

If I'm right, and DMS is not a problem anymore, then the only reason for an extended boil is to concentrate the wort. And this would be done for high gravity beers of say >1.080 where it can be very difficult or impossible to hit your OG without a long boil. For these I plan on boiling for about 2 hours, so in addition to using a lot of extra grain, I sparge a whole lot extra. This way I can get my OG of 1.110 or whatever I want in between.

However, these days, others and I have been moving towards shorter and shorter boils. I'm beginning to experiment with 30-45 minute boils, and haven't noticed any problems at all. Indeed, it is very easy to compensate for IBUs and OG by using a tiny bit less hops and slightly more malt, without affecting flavor really. And save a few minutes on brew day. The long brew days can be tiresome at times. Why not just mash for 45 minutes and boil for 30-45 minutes? Give it a try, you might love it.

Cheers.

P.S. I did not read anybody else's responses until after I wrote mine. Sounds like we're consistent!
 
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MikeCo

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I’ve been thinking about doing shorter boils for a while too and finally did a saison with a 30 minute boil. The hops I used were about 12% AA, so it made it easy to get the right bittering with a reasonable amount of hops. The beer is light in color, but tastes great. My brew day (BIAB) from heating strike water to pitching yeast was 3.5 hours. I will likely be doing 30 minute boils more often for some styles.
 

Beermeister32

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I usually boil 60 minutes. If I’m doing Pilsner malt, I bump it up to 90 minutes. I did get DMS on a 60 minute Pilsner boil once, seems like cheap insurance at this point. Especially if you are getting unknown Pils malt at the local home brew store.
 

VikeMan

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The 90/60 boil debate has been raging since the early 2000's. The argument began at least IMO from traditional brewing methods from Germany that called for extended boils due to under modified grains.
I haven't seen anything scholarly that supports undermodified malts leading to more DMS. I have seen Scott Janish say it in passing in a blog post (without support). I have found one paper suggesting the opposite, i.e. that DMS precursor can be limited by producing malts with low modification. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/j.2050-0416.1976.tb03768.x

Degee of kilning, OTOH, is a well known factor. More kilning = less precursor. And I believe that's really where the "90 minutes for pilsner" rule of thumb originated.
 

bwible

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You can't get that dark, malty character of a 90 minute boil with a 60 at least IMO.
Melanoidin malt is a cheat for this. But it adds siginificant color so it’s really not useful for beers you want to be a super light color. Works well in octoberfests and darker beers.
 

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I was doing 90 minute boils with 5 gallon batches. Now that I am doing 10 gallon batches and reflowing my brew day, I am cutting back to 75 minute boils. I am also working towards electro etching my kettle for quantity marks so I can better observe/document my boiloff rates. My first 10 gallon batch ended up being just about 9 gallons because I didn't have adequate preboil quantity and then did a 90 minute boil. Lesson learned.
 

RM-MN

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On the other hand, if I spent money on a tested recipe that specifically called for a 90 min boil, I would probably take the time to do it.
Yes, once.

I have started to move my hoppy beers (IPA, Pale Ales, Hazies) to 30 minute boils. I have not seen any downside yet.
The only downside I see is less time to drink beer but since I never drink while brewing there is no downside for me.

Interesting, nearly cutting everything in half. Is there any discernable difference between this a 60/60 mash/boil?
Yes, you get an extra hour to do something else.

I did get DMS on a 60 minute Pilsner boil once,
Some people have different sensitivity. You may be able to taste it when nobody else does. You also may have fooled yourself because you expected to taste it and so you did.
 

bwible

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My first 10 gallon batch ended up being just about 9 gallons because I didn't have adequate preboil quantity and then did a 90 minute boil. Lesson learned.
You can always adjust your final volume up with water before pitching yeast. Assuming you have the correct gravity. For example if you were aiming for 10 gallons at 1.050 and you came up with 9 gallons due to pre-boil volume, then your gravity should also be high. If your gravity was say 1.056 then you’re golden. Just add 1 gallon of water before pitching yeast and you have your 10 gallons at 1.050.

Its all gravity points. 10 gallons x 50 (1.050) = 500 points. 9 gallons x 56 = 504. You’re right there.
 

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More of a related question to the shorter mash/boil time. Do you need to make any special adjustments in BeerSmith when crafting the recipe, or does software automatically adjust when you change the mash and boil times?
 
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More of a related question to the shorter mash/boil time. Do you need to make any special adjustments in BeerSmith when crafting the recipe, or does software automatically adjust when you change the mash and boil times?
Just put in what you plan on doing. For boil time, the program/s will calculate total water boiled off based on boil length and boiloff rate. Mash time, not sure if BeerSmith does anything with that, but BrewCipher accounts for wort fermentability using mash time. I guess just one thing is to make sure you adjust your hop addition times to account for the shorter boil.
 

InspectorJon

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So there seems to be a limit around 1 quart per pound of grain for mashing. Even using only first runnings it seems one has to do a long boil to get to high enough gravity for some imperial stouts or barley wines. If one wants all grain and does not want to use extract or sugar a long boil seems like the only way, unless I’m missing something.
 

VikeMan

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So there seems to be a limit around 1 quart per pound of grain for mashing. Even using only first runnings it seems one has to do a long boil to get to high enough gravity for some imperial stouts or barley wines. If one wants all grain and does not want to use extract or sugar a long boil seems like the only way, unless I’m missing something.
I'm not sure what you mean by "a limit around 1 quart per pound of grain for mashing", but a bigger mash tun and more grains can get you higher gravities without needing to boil longer, or add extract or sugar. Mash efficiency does (all else being equal) decrease as the grain bill gets bigger, but if you have the space and the grains, you can overcome that.
 

bwible

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So there seems to be a limit around 1 quart per pound of grain for mashing. Even using only first runnings it seems one has to do a long boil to get to high enough gravity for some imperial stouts or barley wines. If one wants all grain and does not want to use extract or sugar a long boil seems like the only way, unless I’m missing something.
I generally mash 1.5 qts per pound. You are right, it’s harder to get a high gravity for barleywine than just to do your regular mash for your regular beer. I usually aim for 1.090 for an English style barleywine, 1.100 for an American style.

I think this would need something like 15 or 16 pounds of grain for my usual 3 gallon batch. My Anvil 6.5 has an 8 lb capacity and my 5 gallon cooler mash tun maxes out at about 11.5 pounds. So I am not opposed to adding some extract for additional gravity when making this kind of beer. Or even some corn sugar. Corn sugar is not always evil, it works in beers with this high of a gravity to lighten it up some. 1.100 all grain is pretty thick. I just don’t use extract as the majority of the gravity for a barleywine.

Long boils are great when making a Wee Heavy. You’re looking for more of that carmelization. One tip is to also pull about the first half gallon of the first runnings into a seperate pot and boil that down to about a quart and then add it back to the kettle.
 
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InspectorJon

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I'm not sure what you mean by "a limit around 1 quart per pound of grain for mashing", but a bigger mash tun and more grains can get you higher gravities without needing to boil longer
If I put 100 lbs of grain in a big mash tun and 100 quarts of water (1qt/lb) I would get more wort but not higher gravity. To get higher gravity I would need to use less water in the same amount of grain right? 1 qt/gallon is some pretty thick mash. At some point the grain will just absorb water and not give it back any wort. How thick can one really mash?

I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just wonder how they used to do it before extract.
 

bwible

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If I put 100 lbs of grain in a big mash tun and 100 quarts of water (1qt/lb) I would get more wort but not higher gravity. To get higher gravity I would need to use less water in the same amount of grain right? 1 qt/gallon is some pretty thick mash. At some point the grain will just absorb water and not give it back any wort. How thick can one really mash?

I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just wonder how they used to do it before extract.
Parti-gyle. The first runnings are thicker. Breweries with larger mash tuns are on a much larger scale and can collect more of the thicker first runnings than we can with our little mash tuns.

As I read it, they would make 3 beers from the same mash. The first runnings would make the strong beer. They stop collecting first runnings at a certain point and then collect the second runnings, which would make an average beer. Then they would rinse the grain and collect the third runnings to make a small beer. Fuller’s still does parti-gyle and blends different runnings to make different beers today.

 
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Bassman2003

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I have been changing and learning a lot regarding the boil - length, intensity and the overall role it plays. Overall, shortish and low intensity is where it is at. There are a lot of homebrew dogma sticking points like the need for a vigorous boil or 60min vs 90min & DMS. Basically my view is that the boil damages the wort, so you want to limit that damage. If you boil the snot out of wort for 90 minutes, there is nothing magical that will happen other than beat the wort up by overexposing it to thermal load.

DMS is a tricky topic as many do not even taste it. But, a lot of the threat of DMS is taken away with sound process leading up to and after the boil. I would recommend research on the entire chain of SMM formation through DMS as it is not really what I came to learn over the years in the homebrew world. Basically, DMS is not an issue in a 60 min boil. Dimethyl Sulfide

A lot of the folks on podcasts are pointed towards the commercial world, so their practices are not on the same scale as homebrewers. Boiling is an area where we have an advantage in not needing so much energy. So my advice is 60min and aim for ~5% - 8% evaporation. And chill as quickly as you can.
 

CascadesBrewer

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More of a related question to the shorter mash/boil time. Do you need to make any special adjustments in BeerSmith when crafting the recipe, or does software automatically adjust when you change the mash and boil times?
I don't do 30 minute mashes myself, but I have seen evidence that might mean a few points lower efficiency. If you normally get 75% efficiency, but the short mash drops you down to 73%, you would have to update that value in the software.

As long as you have the boil off rate set as a "per/hr" rate (vs a fixed amount) then BeerSmith calculates the boil off rate and reduces the calculated strike water volume. Note that it does not stop you from entering hops with a "60 minute boil" even though you are only going to boil for 30 minutes.

Moving to a 30 minute boil reduces the amount of strike water which could (should?) lower my efficiency a little. I have not noticed this. It could be that with full volume mashing BIAB, the slight difference in water does not have an impact. Or it could just be small enough that I don't notice. I could see this having more impact with a fly sparge process.
 

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I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just wonder how they used to do it before extract.
I am not sure what the max gravity value for runnings from an all-grain batch would be. I would be curious what would come out of a no-sparge 1 qt per lb mash.

I did a full volume mash BIAB for a Barleywine and came in at 1.100. I brewed a 1.118 Imperial Stout with BIAB plus a sparge step. I think both of those batches were 60 minute boils with a 1/gal per hour boil off rate. I calculated the Barleywine to be 1.8 qt/lb (so fairly thin) with around a 70% overall efficiency.
 

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If I put 100 lbs of grain in a big mash tun and 100 quarts of water (1qt/lb) I would get more wort but not higher gravity. To get higher gravity I would need to use less water in the same amount of grain right? 1 qt/gallon is some pretty thick mash. At some point the grain will just absorb water and not give it back any wort. How thick can one really mash?

I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just wonder how they used to do it before extract.
Yes, you'll use less total water per pound of grain, causing mash efficiency to drop with each increase in grain bill size. But as that happens, OG is still increasing. The magic behind this is that all of your lautered sugars/dextrins are going into the same volume of wort. And that wort volume is always a part of your total water volume.

I would recommend experimenting with @doug293cz's spreadsheet if you need a demonstration.

ETA: I make no claims as to overall cost effectiveness. Just talking theory. Also, yes, you'll reach a point where the thickness of the mash becomes a problem. But you can reach RIS/Barleywine OGs before that happens.
 
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doug293cz

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Yes, you'll use less total water per pound of grain, causing mash efficiency to drop with each increase in grain bill size. But as that happens, OG is still increasing. The magic behind this is that all of your lautered sugars/dextrins are going into the same volume of wort. And that wort volume is always a part of your total water volume.

I would recommend experimenting with @doug293cz's spreadsheet if you need a demonstration.

ETA: I make no claims as to overall cost effectiveness. Just talking theory. Also, yes, you'll reach a point where the thickness of the mash becomes a problem. But you can reach RIS/Barleywine OGs before that happens.
The spreadsheet.

Brew on :mug:
 

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I am not sure what the max gravity value for runnings from an all-grain batch would be. I would be curious what would come out of a no-sparge 1 qt per lb mash.

I did a full volume mash BIAB for a Barleywine and came in at 1.100. I brewed a 1.118 Imperial Stout with BIAB plus a sparge step. I think both of those batches were 60 minute boils with a 1/gal per hour boil off rate. I calculated the Barleywine to be 1.8 qt/lb (so fairly thin) with around a 70% overall efficiency.
The max pre-boil SG for a no-sparge mash @ 1.0 qt/lb mash thickness, 1.037 average potential, 4% grain moisture, and 100% conversion efficiency is 26.9°P or 1.1147 SG.

Brew on :mug:
 

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CascadesBrewer

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The max pre-boil SG for a no-sparge mash @ 1.0 qt/lb mash thickness, 1.037 average potential, 4% grain moisture, and 100% conversion efficiency is 26.9°P or 1.1147 SG.
Interesting. It is a little lower than I would have guessed, but it makes sense. So really, anything above 1.110 will require a boil to concentrate the sugars, or an addition of sugars.
 

VikeMan

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Interesting. It is a little lower than I would have guessed, but it makes sense. So really, anything above 1.110 will require a boil to concentrate the sugars, or an addition of sugars.
Luckily, most worts are boiled, so it's not like something special necessarily has to be done. With @doug293cz's no sparge, 1 qt/lb, max conversion example, 6 gallons @ 1.110 boiled down to 5 gallons (fairly average boil off, I'd say) becomes 1.132 post-boil.
 
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