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Can I use more water at the start?

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xQuestx

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My west coast IPA recipe calls for using 2.5 gallons at the start for a 5-gallon batch. Can I just start with around 5.5 gallons, so I end up with 5 gallons at the end to keg instead of adding water later? I'm going to be using a 7.5-gallon kettle. Can I use beersmith to plug this recipe in and figure out what's needed to be changed, if anything? Thanks.
 

hottpeper13

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Sounds like your brewing an extract beer, so no grain absorption. If I want 5 gal in bottles or kegs my preboil volume is 7 gal. I boil off 1 gal and leave ~1/2 gal of trub in BK and ~1/2 gal of trub and yeast in fermenter, that leaves 5 for the keg. Those instructions are geared towards begginers with minimal gear and maybe a small pot. You can always do a full boil,you just need to know your boil off rate.
 

Jag75

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If you know your boil off rate sure , but if this is an extract kit make it easy on yourself. I dont know what you have equipment wise except for the 7.5 g kettle. You might have a really nice chiller, however I'd boil with with 3 gallons and use 2 gallons of chilled bottled water to top off . Imo that was the easiest and quickest way when I brewed extract.
 

cactusgarrett

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You can use the full amount, but as Jag said, the trouble might outweigh the benefits. Some people argue that full batch brewing (as opposed to "dilute to volume") is better quality, but that's typically in terms of all-grain brewing, not extract. If you do go the full volume route, as Jag mentioned, you'll need a practical method of quickly chilling that much wort (unless you're doing no-chill brewing - different discussion).

Off topic, but one thing you can immediately do to improve the quality of your extract batches is to add 5-10% of your extract for the full boil duration (for hop utilization purposes), then add the remaining extract at the last 10min of the boil. This prevents wort darkening and flavor changes. This process will improve your extract brews more than using full volumes of water.
 
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xQuestx

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Thanks for the help, guys. I did buy a 50' copper chiller, so I have a way to cool it off faster. I'll have to look into it more and decide what I want to do. Thanks for the extra tip, cactusgarreett.
 

MikeCo

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Another factor to consider is hop utilization. The final bitterness will be different when doing a full volume boil vs partial boil and adding top up water. BeerSmith will calculate bitterness for both methods, but you will likely need to reduce the hop additions for the full boil to get the target bitterness for the kit if it assumes a partial boil.
 

kartracer2

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Hi all,
So what you folks are saying is that even if I could do full boil extract, it would be better to do partial, late addition extract and top off?
(we need an acronym, I'm going with "PLETO". Your saw it here first) :ban:
I do PLETO now and quite happy with the method but strangely enough I was thinking about this very thing before I saw this post. My reason for the question was purely for color reasons.
Not trying to hyjack just thought it would fit in.
Cheers :mug:,
Joel B.
 

MikeCo

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I don't think it's necessarily better to do a partial boil. You just need to make sure you have a large enough kettle and enough heating power to bring the larger volume to a boil. It will take longer to heat the larger volume, but you will get better hop utilization and less darkening/caramelizing. Chilling will take longer for the full voulme boil. When I was doing extract, I always did full volume boils to reduce the darkening and get more out of the hops.
 
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