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Can I Boil Too Hard?

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I brewed up 2 separate 5 gal batches of Ed Wort's Bavarian Hefeweizen. Both were done with the same grains. Old unmilled but dry and clean Wheat & Pilsner. The grains were some I received in a deal with other stuff, and of unknown age. Probably a few years old. But they looked and smelled fine.

Anyway, I used them in 2 separate batches made a couple weeks apart. With the same recipe. They were both kegged and put into my Kegerator. And both have the same taste. Not a good taste, not undrinkable but not good. Mostly a bad smell that I can't get past. I considered infection, but the beer looks OK and is drinkable. Just not real good.

Could I be boiling too hard causing an off flavor? There has never been any burned spots in the bottom of my 10 gal Megapot. And I have not noticed this flavor in any other batches. My guess is that the grains were just old and caused the flavor, but thought I'd ask before my next round.

As an FYI, I knew going in not to expect much out of these grains. So not overly concerned about these. But if I need to change my procedure I'd like to know.

I used Wyeast Labs #3068 yeast in both.
 

bluehouse

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For some reason the title of this thread is funny to me. I don't know that I have the answer it just made me laugh.
I think your grain is old. and for some reason thats funny.
 

ifishsum

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AFAIK, you can't boil too hard (unless you constantly boil over of course). You'll just lose a bit more to evaporation but I don't think it hurts anything, in fact a fast vigorous boil is considered to be a good thing.
 

RobBug

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Boiling hard or boiling "soft" should not have much affect. Your heat added is all getting transferred to the water which will steam off faster or slower depending on how much heat your applying. When adding excessive amounts of heat (heat flux aka high BTU transfer) you get boil overs due to water vapor interacting with the sugars in the wort. The temperature will remain the same throughout as long as your not pressurizing your wort (clamping down a cover on the pot). So with all that mumbo jumbo I would definitely point the culprit to the grain age. Try the batch again with freshly purchased grains and see if it changes.

Rob
 

oloroso27

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Interesting question.....I had read in a different thread that boiling "too hard" can cause off flavors, but never did hear an answer as to what they actually would be. Has anyone else heard this?

I am curious though, b/c I keep getting about a 25% evaporation rate per hour, which forces me to add about a gallon of water at the end of each boil to bring things down to my target gravity. My beers are tasting good though, so I guess I should keep doing everything the same? Is this high an evaporation rate abnormal? I'm using a 10 gallon stainless pot, a bayou classic burner, and blue rhino gas. The temp out here has been 30-40 degrees during each brew.
 

brrman

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Listening to one of the Brew Strong shows I Jamil and John Palmer agree that, yes, you can boil too hard if your not looking for the extra melanoidins an overly strong boil will cause.

Check it out:
Brew Strong - Melanoidins

They also touch on the high evap rate in that very episode. Some reader mail addressed it.
 
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