diluting 5 gallon batch to 10?

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Formito

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Hey all,
I was thinking of making a simple cream ale(5.25 gal batch recipe,75% eff):
4# pilsen
4# pale
1# flaked corn
1# corn sugar
.5 oz saaz at 60
.5 oz saaz at 2
and just doubling the bill to make a concentrated wort that I could dilute into 2 5 gallon batches after the fact. I'm using this as a time saver but I figured I could also compare yeast strains this way.

My question is: do I lose anything doing this in a 5.25 gallon boil and watering it down? I don't have a 15 gallon kettle(yet) so I wanted to give this a try.
 

jeffjm

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You might need to adjust your hopping a little to account for lower hop utilization in a denser wort. And obviously, have your dilution water boiled and cooled ahead of time.

I've heard of people diluting a high-gravity batch from time to time, and I don't recall ever hearing of any other problems with it.
 

wilserbrewer

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With only half the total water, your efficiency will likely suffer a lot! Basicly you will not have much if any sparge water to rinse the grain. Not saying it can't be done, but plan on very low efficiency.
 
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Formito

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Well, most of the time my efficiency floats between 67-77% so I was hoping that I could still lock in a reasonable extraction of a concentrate around 1.080 at the low end. Thats what Beersmith is telling me anyway. It shouldn't be too hard since the original recipe gets about 10 pts from table sugar also.
 

BryanJ

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Try a longer boil, it will give you some extra water to sparge with to help with any eff problems that might arise. You should be fine, its a relatively small grain bill. As stated before hop utilization would be the only thing I would look into for this batch.
 
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Formito

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I am planning on doing a 90 minute boil but I was hesitant to go any longer to avoid darkening it too much or producing off flavors. I am also limited by a 30 qt kettle. Am I wrong in thinking that?
 

Daver77

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I thought I heard from a guy who works at budweiser say that that's how they make their beer. Highly concentrated wort then they cut it with water and that's why their beer is so consistent.
 

carp

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Try a longer boil, it will give you some extra water to sparge with to help with any eff problems that might arise. You should be fine, its a relatively small grain bill. As stated before hop utilization would be the only thing I would look into for this batch.
I don't know that it makes sense to boil water away just to add it back. You're not gaining anything in terms of concentration.

Anyway I think his kettle is the limitation - it won't hold 'extra' water.

In any case, he could sparge enough to fill the kettle (allowing necessary space to avoid) boilover, boil for 60 or 90 or whatever. Say this results in 6.5 gallons, he only needs to add 3.5.
 

BeerLogic

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There is one reason to do this: High gravity wort boils at a slightly higher temperature, so you get more Maillard flavors in a diluted concentrated wort boil than you would with a full batch boil. I actually do this intentionally for regular 5 gallon batches to get that extra malty long boil flavor.
 

carp

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There is one reason to do this: High gravity wort boils at a slightly higher temperature, so you get more Maillard flavors in a diluted concentrated wort boil than you would with a full batch boil. I actually do this intentionally for regular 5 gallon batches to get that extra malty long boil flavor.
That is interesting and useful info, still not sure how it helps the OP, since it seems his main constraint is size of boil kettle.
 

BBL_Brewer

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As stated above, it will definitely hurt your efficiency. Collecting more spage and boilling it off only to add more water at the end is just ridiculous. Not really economocal and not going to save that much time. You're better off staggering two batches into brew day. If you can time your second mash so that you're drained and ready to boil as soon as your first batch is pitched, then the only extra time you're adding is the time it takes to boil and cool your wort and pitch the yeast. That's what I would do anyway.
 

BrewMU

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Hop utilization will be lower - you'll have to adjust your hop schedule if you want it to taste the same.
 

H-ost

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Get a bigger Brew Kettle and it will solve everything. Check on Craigslist for some Sanke kegs, I find them in my area for around 30-40$ often.
 

frod1963

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What size is your current kettle? I did something similar with a blonde ale recently. I have a 10 gallon blichmann and designed the recipe for 7 gallons which gave me like 9.5 gallon pre boil for a 75 minute boil. I then boiled and cooled like 3 gallons of water and split the batches into two fermenters only having to dilute with 1.5 gallons into each fermenter. I then dry hopped the kegs differently and it worked awesome. I was using my harvested Galena and Centennial and some extra yeast laying around so I wasn't all that worried about trying this out. Both beers have great body and mouthfeel with good hop flavor and aroma. I didn't use gelatin so the beer hasn't cleared super fast yet.

image-1524298775.jpg
 
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Formito

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My kettle right now is only 30 qt so I have limited work space. Im going to try this anyway, just for the hell of it to see what happens. If I can finish with a gravity around 1.045-1.050 for each half then I'll consider it a success. Time is my real issue here so I can drop some efficiency if it means a quicker day. Im planning on triple sparging and boiling off an hour or so extra to reduce it. I"ll prolly only leave about an inch of headspace during the boil as well to maximize volume. Wish me luck
 
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Formito

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So. It's done! I ended up with about 6 gal of wort so I only had to top off with 2 gallons of water on each. Reminds me of extract brewing actually. Anyway, each batch ended with a gravity of 1.050 which gave me an efficiency around 60% I believe. I also added 0.25 oz centennial at 60 min for a lil extra hops kick. I've had a few batches on my all-grain path end up with sub-60% efficiency so I would call this a success comparatively. even though im usually finishing around 67-77 %, losing a bit to save 6 hours is definitely worth it to me.
 
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