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Dissolving DME in cold water to scale up recipe

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Penghu Brews

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Hello everyone. New brewer here (well, on my fifth batch of the summer and totally addicted!) This forum has been a huge help to me and so here I am with my first post. Please be gentle!

I've so far been doing 1 gallon batches from extract (light DME) and experimenting with different recipes, trying to create a tasty IPA that I can then scale up. Well, I think I've hit upon a winner and now I want to produce a little more than my usual five large bottles (a lot of work and time for so little beer!).

However, I'm working in a small kitchen with an underwhelming burner and no wort chiller. Boiling 2 gallons of water to produce one gallon of wort and then using an ice bath (in my sink) to bring temp down to 65 is no problem but producing 2 gallons this way is unfeasible. My gas hob couldn't keep a boil going and there's no way I could chill that much wort in my sink.

So I'm thinking I "half and half" it. Brew a gallon of wort following my normal hop schedule -60min boil adding dme and hops at start, middle and end- and in the meantime mix DME with 1 gallon cold (pre-boiled) water in my sanitized fermenter. Then, after chilling boiled wort in ice bath, add to the fermenter and Voilà! 2 gallons of wort. Aerate and pitch yeast as normal.

Will this work? Will the DME dissolve in cold water? Are there any problems I might create with this method? Or does anyone have a better suggestion how I can scale up my extract recipe without a wort chiller? I really appreciate any and all suggestions. Cheers!
 

Miraculix

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Dry yeast doesn't need aeration.

You can brew a hop tea in plain water instead of wort. You need just one or two litres for this as plain water can dissolve way more ibus than wort. Also maybe not boil the hops for 60 minutes but only ten to extract more flavor which would boil off during the long boil otherwise.

You will need to recalculate the amount of hops used, but that's easy using the brewer's friend ibu online calculator. Just be sure to insert 1.0 as your boil gravity if you only use water and not wort.

Your plan of action could be boil the calculated hops in water, remove the hops and turn off the heat. Insert the dme, stir, mix with the remaining volume of water in the bucket, wait till it's cool enough to pitch the test (you could have chilled the water before to speed up the process), pitch it!
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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So I'm thinking I "half and half" it. Brew a gallon of wort following my normal hop schedule -60min boil adding dme and hops at start, middle and end- and in the meantime mix DME with 1 gallon cold (pre-boiled) water in my sanitized fermenter. Then, after chilling boiled wort in ice bath, add to the fermenter and Voilà! 2 gallons of wort. Aerate and pitch yeast as normal.
Personally, safe cooking / brewing includes pasteurization of the DME.

I really appreciate any and all suggestions.
Buy equipment (induction cooktop?) to brew larger batches.

How to Brew, 4e describes a "stove top brewing" process generally referred to as "partial boil with late extract additions". For a 5 gal batch, boil 2.5 gal of water with 1/2 the DME/LME. At the end of the boil, add the remaining water and DME (achieves pasteurization and helps with cool down). Additional details can be found in the book. Note that this approach, done correctly, is not a concentrated boil - as only 1/2 the DME (in 1/2 the water) is used at the start of the boil.

There is an interesting variation on the "Texas Two Step" (boil two smaller batches, add each to the fermenter) can be found here (link).
 
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Penghu Brews

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Thanks for the speedy replies chaps.

Miraculix, dry yeast doesn't require wort to be aerated? I was under the impression all yeast needed oxygen during respiration phase. Or are you saying because it is sprinkled on top and not mixed in it has access to oxygen already? That would certainly save my arms a lot of shaking but all the recipes I've seen so far specifically instruct me to shake for at least a minute in fermenter to aerate.

Unfortunately, waiting for wort to cool isn't really an option in my climate because it's so damn hot. 35C with 80% humidity. So an ice bath is still going to be necessary to cool the hop tea and only then can I add the rest of the water and dme. But I get your point about not needing to boil the dme and just go with hop tea.

With regard to the hop schedule... Normally with my one gallon batches I do a 60min boil adding 7g at start for bittering, 7g at 30mins for flavour, 7g at 15 mins and 7g at 5mins for flavour/aroma. This has so far produced a really nice, flavourful IPA with just the right bitterness for me.
 
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BrewnW, thanks for your suggestions. Pasteurisation was one of my concerns with my proposed method. Unfortunately, much as I'd love to throw money at my problem and upgrade my equipment, present circumstances (read "wife") won't allow. :) Main problem is not the boil, which I could overcome by using two pots, but the cool down. It's really hot where I live, and cooling a gallon to 65C requires holding it in an ice bath (with a ton of ice) for nearly half an hour. With 2 gallons or more, I don't know how I'd achieve this. That's why I'm considering using cold water in the fermenter to mix half/all dme and then adding the boiled wort/hop tea to it after cooling.

Do you think I run a serious risk of contamination this way? Is the dme likely to harbour bacteria?
 

NGD

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A few suggestions based on my experience as an extract brewer.

Take 1/3 to 1/2 your water volume and boil it ahead of time for 10 minutes. Cover and let cool to room temp then put in fridge if space allows. If your buying bottled water that’s reliable then skip the boil and go straight to fridge the day prior to brewing.

Use half the extract your recipe calls for during boil. At flame out add the rest and stir like crazy for a minute or two.

You don’t need to boil for 60 minutes. 20 is more than enough. Try to adjust your hop schedule for a condensed boil. Also you need not have a roiling boil. A simmer is fine.

Add cooled water. It should get you closer to temps faster than just an icebath.


.
 
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That's a good idea. Adding cold water will definitely speed up the cooling.

There seems to be a lot of controversy on hop schedules. A lot of stuff I've read suggests hops boiled for an hour will provide bitterness, while hops boiled for only 20 mins will provide flavour only. Would you agree with that? I am partial to a somewhat bitter IPA so I normally do a quarter of my hops for 60mins and add the other 75% at various stages in the boil for flavour and aroma. Is there a downside to a longer boil, beyond the caramelization and darkening of the beer? I don't mind that as I start with a very light DME and the colour of the beer is usually pretty close to what I like. Here's a pic of my last brew.
 

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Do you think I run a serious risk of contamination this way? Is the dme likely to harbour bacteria?
No need to answer these questions. Add the DME at the end of the boil, then top off with chillled water. This is part of the "stove top brewing" process (chapter 1) in How to Brew, 4e.

As for boil times, bittering/aroma from hops, web search on
  • "15 minute pale ale"
  • basic brewing radio "hop sampler"
kveik yeast may also be of interest with warmer ambient temperatures.
 

NGD

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A lot of stuff I've read suggests hops boiled for an hour will provide bitterness, while hops boiled for only 20 mins will provide flavour only. Would you agree with that?
True, you won’t get full hop utilization at 20 minutes. You do get quite a bit though. You also get higher utilization if you have a higher water to fermentable ration. So say you do only 1/4 DME at the start. I frequently do 20 minute boils and have no issues get ting a bitter IPA.

Is there a downside to a longer boil, beyond the caramelization and darkening of the beer? I don't mind that as I start with a very light DME and the colour of the beer is usually pretty close to what I like.
Besides more boil off, sitting around a hot, humid burner for longer and wasting more time? Not that I can think of really with the exception that caramelization can lead to flavors you may not want in an IPA.
Think if DME as reheating leftovers. You don’t recook the entire dish. You just want to warm it up. The instructions included with kits are usually quite dated and are designed to give consistent, repeatable results across a wide range of brewing from extract to all-grain. Every homebrew shop wants you to go all grain b/c thats where the money is. If you enjoy 60 minute boils then go for it. Myself and others have found its not needed. Plus you could brew 2 beers in nearly the same time it takes to brew 1.

@BrewnWKopperKat suggestions are great. I also highly recommend trying kviek if you don’t have good temp control. Those Norwegians and Lithuanians have awesome yeast.
 

BrewingAroundtheRrealm

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From my experience, DME does not dissolve in cold water. Even warm water isn't going to do it. If you wold like to see what happens when You add water to DME take a look at one of my videos starting at 2:52


That was only the third brew I had ever done and the first using a large quantity of DME. Adding the water to the DME in a separate pot caused the DMS to clump.I eventually had to boil the DME to get it dissolved. It would have been easier had I just put in directly in to the kettle.

The better option is to add the DMS to the kettle. Then once it's chilled, top off the fermenter with the correct amount of water to reach final volume.

I hope that helps.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Adding the water to the DME in a separate pot caused the DMS to clump
I've found that DME dissolves in cold water when using a wire whisk. Add the water to the kettle; then slowly pour the DME into the water, using the whisk to prevent clumps.

"Kiss those DME clumps goodbye" shows another technique,

Water heats faster than wort. One gets a slightly shorter brew day by adding the DME just before the boil (or at ~ 150* F to approximate first wort hopping).
 
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BrewnW...

I did as you suggested and googled 15 minute pale ale. From what I read, it seems people are saying you simply double or even triple the hops if you're doing a 15 minute boil, in order to achieve the same bitterness as a 60min boil but more front loaded flavour. Is this something you concur with? If so, my next question is... why would I buy twice the amount of hops to save myself 45 minutes boiling? I'm getting good results with 1oz hops per gallon of wort. I'm still not sure what the main advantage of shortening my boil time is.

NGD, funnily enough I actually quite enjoy the boil and adding different hops at different intervals... Makes me feel like an alchemist :) So far I haven't noticed any caramelization flavours or issues from my 1 hour boil but I will try a shorter one at some point out of curiosity. Time is not an issue for me on Brew Day, actually it's the only time I get left alone for a couple of hours haha. But I take all your points that it's not strictly necessary on board.

I think I'll try the suggestion above of adding chilled water to my wort to top up to desired volume, rather than my original idea of mixing cold water and DME in the fermenter. Speeding up my cool down is definitely something I'm interested in and that way I can avoid problems getting DME to absorb. Thank you all for the help.

A further question regarding boiling DME as opposed to adding at flameout or mixing with cold water. If it isn't boiled there won't be a hot break. Does this have implications for beer clarity and haze? How important is the hot break?
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Not directly related to the current topics, but always worth mentioning:

Tips and Tricks for Brewing Excellent Extract Beers at Home
BrewnW...

I did as you suggested and googled 15 minute pale ale. From what I read, it seems people are saying you simply double or even triple the hops if you're doing a 15 minute boil, in order to achieve the same bitterness as a 60min boil but more front loaded flavour. Is this something you concur with? If so, my next question is... why would I buy twice the amount of hops to save myself 45 minutes boiling? I'm getting good results with 1oz hops per gallon of wort. I'm still not sure what the main advantage of shortening my boil time is.
I suggested those two processes ("15 min Pale Ale" and BBR's "Hop Sampler") as each is a 'single voice' offering insights into hop bitterness and aroma for shorter time periods. I have made good beer using each of these techniques.
A further question regarding boiling DME as opposed to adding at flameout or mixing with cold water. If it isn't boiled there won't be a hot break. Does this have implications for beer clarity and haze? How important is the hot break?
Rather than adding the DME at "flame-out", one could add it 10 or 15 minutes before "flame-out". With this change in the proposed process, we're back to the "stove top" brewing process that talked about in chapter 1of How to Brew, 4e (with many additional details in the next seven chapters). And "stove top" brewing was one of my initial process suggestions.

One can also find highly regarded brewers who will suggest a full volume boil for absolute best results. Which would bring us back to one of my other initial process suggestions.

It's your beer, you get to decide how to brew it.

Most people would likely start with the "stove top" brewing approach: have the water/wort at start of boil, the rest at the end (either added late enough to pasteurize and/or added 10-15 minutes before end of boil to get a hot break).
 

Miraculix

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Thanks for the speedy replies chaps.

Miraculix, dry yeast doesn't require wort to be aerated? I was under the impression all yeast needed oxygen during respiration phase. Or are you saying because it is sprinkled on top and not mixed in it has access to oxygen already? That would certainly save my arms a lot of shaking but all the recipes I've seen so far specifically instruct me to shake for at least a minute in fermenter to aerate.

Unfortunately, waiting for wort to cool isn't really an option in my climate because it's so damn hot. 35C with 80% humidity. So an ice bath is still going to be necessary to cool the hop tea and only then can I add the rest of the water and dme. But I get your point about not needing to boil the dme and just go with hop tea.

With regard to the hop schedule... Normally with my one gallon batches I do a 60min boil adding 7g at start for bittering, 7g at 30mins for flavour, 7g at 15 mins and 7g at 5mins for flavour/aroma. This has so far produced a really nice, flavourful IPA with just the right bitterness for me.
That's right, yeast needs oxygen to produce sterols, if I remember the name correctly, and those are needed for the cell walls.

However, dry yeast is packed with sterols, at least this is what fermentis says, and has enough of it for multiple cell divisions.

Liquid yeast on the other hand, does not!

We had some lodo guys here testing not to oxygenate their low oxygen wort prior to pitching dry yeast and it fermented just as normal as it would with oxygen added.

Also this rehydration thing seems to be debunked as well, so for me it is directly from the pack into the non oxygenated wort.
 
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Steveruch

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A further question regarding boiling DME as opposed to adding at flameout or mixing with cold water. If it isn't boiled there won't be a hot break. Does this have implications for beer clarity and haze? How important is the hot break?
I've been doing a bunch of no-boil extract batches, see Last Drop in the current Zymurgy. I also have a no-boil Last Drop piece scheduled for the Nov/Dec issue.
I've noticed some haze issues at first, but after a couple of weeks in the fridge that starts going away.
 

NGD

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Edit: Ffs, didnt see Steves reply above.


NGD, funnily enough I actually quite enjoy the boil and adding different hops at different intervals... Makes me feel like an alchemist [emoji4] So far I haven't noticed any caramelization flavours or issues from my 1 hour boil but I will try a shorter one at some point out of curiosity. Time is not an issue for me on Brew Day, actually it's the only time I get left alone for a couple of hours haha. But I take all your points that it's not strictly necessary on board.

I think I'll try the suggestion above of adding chilled water to my wort to top up to desired volume, rather than my original idea of mixing cold water and DME in the fermenter. Speeding up my cool down is definitely something I'm interested in and that way I can avoid problems getting DME to absorb. Thank you all for the help.
Absolutely. My suggestions are just that. Figure what works best for you. Some days I do partial boils and add LME/DME at the end then hit it with bottled, nearly frozen RO water. Other days I do close to a full boil (only have a 5gal pot so 4.5gal simmer) and use my immersion cooler to chill down. Either way I get beer and have fun.

I forgot to include this yesterday. Not sure how accurate it is but I’ll leave it for slmeone else to discuss http://realbeer.com/hops/research.html


A further question regarding boiling DME as opposed to adding at flameout or mixing with cold water. If it isn't boiled there won't be a hot break. Does this have implications for beer clarity and haze? How important is the hot break?
Good question. I’ve wondered the same thing. I haven’t tried mixing DME in cool water yet due to the fact it appears quite difficult to get a proper mix. Often when I first add DME, its after a steep so my water is already 130-150F. At the end of boil, the water is still >190 and you will see a hot break occur. Would also like to know if anyone else has given it a try and how is the outcome.
 
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BrewnWKopperKat

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I forgot to include this yesterday. Not sure how accurate it is but I’ll leave it for someone else to discuss http://realbeer.com/hops/research.html
It's the equations and utilization table for estimating IBUs using the Tinseth method. According to How to Brew, 4e (p 81), the article is from 1995. More details in How to Brew, 4e (and I won't retype those details here).
 

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I brew the 15 minute pale ale in the 3 gallon batch that they do on basic brewing tv. You can look at the recipe from stevesbrewshop and/or watch the video. It was the first beer I brewed and I have repeated it. I love it and it is a tasty beer. Used my wife's 5 gallon stock pot so no boil over worry. I cooled in an ice water bath and then top off water from the fridge into the fermenter which cools it down to pitching temp.
This may give you the idea on how to upscale your recipe easily.
 

Saunassa

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Btw, I used same recipe instructions to do a smash beer using my homegrown nugget hops and gold pils DME scaled for a 1 gallon size. Swmbo liked how the hops came through and how clean it tasted.
 
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