Full Vs. Partial Boil

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RIBrew

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Hi Everyone,

New to the sight and just put my wort into the primary last night. I did a clone of Magic Hat #9. We are having a baby and my wife asked for an apricot beer since we use apricot oil on the baby's skin.

When I started reading, I came across full and partial boil methods. I tried to find a thread that answered my question, but was having trouble.


Do I need any extra equipment aside from another (larger) pot to boil the wort in?

When doing a full boil how much do the steps really change?

If my questions don't make sense, please let me know and I'll try to reword them. I'm also not so up on the "home brew" lingo so please excuse me if I ask for clarification.

The Magic Hat clone will be my 3rd attempt at brewing. My first two turned out really well. I did a double IPA, and a clone of Long Trail Double Bag.

Next on my list is a Coffee Stout. Something really high Powered. Or maybe a clone of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Stout. I want to try it as a full boil because I've never tried it before.

I'm working with the basic brew kit from Northern Brewer making 5 gallon batches.

Thanks in advance for the help.

-Mike
 

Yooper

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Welcome to HBT and welcome to the obsession!

For a full boil, all you need is a minimum of a 30 quart brewpot (bigger is better, though) and a way to bring up 6 gallons of wort to a rolling boil. Some can do it inside on their stoves (I can) but most people use an outdoor burner, like a turkey fryer burner or cajun cooker.

You'll also need a way to cool the wort. In a smaller partial boil, you can chill the brewpot and then add cool water to get you to 70 degrees. In a full boil, it would take way too long to cool 5 gallons of boiling wort. Most of us have a wort chiller of some sort, usually an immersion chiller.

One last thing you'll need is a way to aerate the wort, since boiling drives off the oxygen that the yeast use. I use an aquarium air pump and diffusion stone, some use o2 set ups, and some of us stir and shake.

There are some definite advantages to a full boil that make these investments worthwhile- I think less carmelization of the wort and better tasting beer. You also get better hops utilization, so you may be able to reduce your bittering hops.

Still, you can make fine beer with a partial boil too, so no reason to change unless you want to.
 
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RIBrew

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Thanks for the heads up.

I think I've got me wife talked into buying a turkey fryer set up, so it looks like that will be my way to heat the 5 or 6 wort. As for chilling, I have a pretty big utility sink that I've been using to chill my wort now in an ice bath. If I could fit my pot into it, would an ice bath still work? If not, could you recommend a chiller to me?

Also, is there a thread or sticky that lays out a step by step plan for doing a full boil?

I've never heard of the aeration before. When do you use the aerator? And for how long?

Lastly, any favorite coffee stout recipes? I've looked at the recipe section, but was looking for some personal favorites.

Thanks,
Mike
 

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Thanks for the heads up.

I think I've got me wife talked into buying a turkey fryer set up, so it looks like that will be my way to heat the 5 or 6 wort. As for chilling, I have a pretty big utility sink that I've been using to chill my wort now in an ice bath. If I could fit my pot into it, would an ice bath still work? If not, could you recommend a chiller to me?

Also, is there a thread or sticky that lays out a step by step plan for doing a full boil?

I've never heard of the aeration before. When do you use the aerator? And for how long?

Lastly, any favorite coffee stout recipes? I've looked at the recipe section, but was looking for some personal favorites.

Thanks,
Mike
I'm not a coffee or stout fan, so I'll let someone else advise you on that!

I don't think you'd get good results at all with chilling 5 gallons of boiling wort in an ice bath. I use a copper immersion chiller, 25 feet of cooper tubing that hooks up to my sink (and/or garden hose outside) and chills 5 gallons of boiling wort in +/- 20 minutes. Here's what they looks like:
NORTHERN BREWER: Wort Chillers

We don't have a step by step for doing a full boil, but it's really easy. All you do is add more water after steeping the grains to get up to your boil volume (whether the boil size is 3 gallons or 5.5 gallons, that is the same). You may want to post your recipe before beginning, though, if the recipe is designed for a partial boil as many extract recipes are. Or, you can download some brewing software (Beersmith has a free trial) that can help you adjust the hops. If you don't have the software, one of us will be glad to do it for you.

Aeration is important in brewing. The yeast use oxygen to reproduce, before getting down to the business of fermentation. I use an aquarium aerator, some use oxygen set ups, others shake and stir until the wort is foamy. Some also strain the wort going into primary, with a sanitized strainer, so that it helps to aerate and splash the wort while straining out the gunk. I don't strain often, so I splash and pour the cooled wort from the fermenter. I then run the aerator for 20-30 minutes and then pitch my yeast.

Full boils are basically the same procedure as partial boils, just with more wort. Aside from needing to aerate it and chill it, it's the same procedure.
 

Jonnio

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I agree with Yoop, I wouldn't try and cool full boils down with ice - for two reasons. One I think it might take a little too long, and two, the bigger your sink the more ice its going to take and before too awfully long you will have spent more money in ice than you would on a copper wort chiller. If you are DIY inclined you can make one fairly inexpensively. I did one that is able to cool 10 gal batches, so it went up in cost a little, but it was still only about $80 for a large diameter 50' chiller.

Also, keep in mind that a full boil is going to be more than 5 gallons for a 5 gallon batch. You will need enough in the pot at the start to have 5 1/2 or so gallons left after 1 hour of boiling.
 

Grinder12000

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You CAN do a full boil by doing two 1/2 boils - then use both sides of the sink to cool the wort. Tha advantage is you get full hop utilization whear as you lose about 50% of your IBUs (hops) by doing a partial boil and diluting at the end.

You need to aerate a full boil because boiling takes out all the O2 which yeast NEED. Partial boils it's "ok" because 1/2 the water still has O2.

A chiller costs about $60ish to buy - well worth it.

Full boil you really want at least an 8 gallon pot.
 
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RIBrew

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So it sounds like a bigger pot and a chiller may be in my future. Although, two partial boils and then mixed together might be cheaper for me as I'd only need to buy another pot. Would I have to do the boils at the same time? I might have trouble chilling them both as I have a single utility sink.

Does anyone have a link to a recipe and step by step guide for a full boil coffee stout? I would really like to follow a recipe and step by step directions for my first shot at it.


Thanks again everyone. I'm off to spend some time researching terms like mash, IBU, etc. Don't laugh, I've only ever followed recipes for my home brews in the past.
 

Jester369

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It's not a full boil (but could be adapted by adjusting the hopping,) but Walker-San's espresso stout was fantastic.

EDIT: Here is a link to the recipe.
 

cmgray

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Another difference between partial and full boils is that since you're not topping off (at least ideally you wouldn't be), you need to consider boil-off.

If you start with 6 gallons of wort in the pot and over the course of the 60 minutes, you boil away 1 gallon of water, then you'll end up with 5 gallons of wort to put in your fermentor. This also concentrates the sugars so if you're watching your gravity readings then your gravity after boiling will be higher than before boiling.

But take it slow and you can learn all of these nuances as you do more and more batches, don't have to learn it all at once!
 
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