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How do you feel about topping up?

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Soulive

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I'm going to brew AG on my stovetop. I'm decreasing my batch size to 4 gallon and boil volume to 5 gallons. After the boil I plan on topping up to 5.5 gallons with spring water. That would mean adding 1.5 gallons of water. Beersmith shows that the numbers will be the same as if I did my normal boil size. Bad idea?
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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You will have to calculate a higher gravity wort in the 4 gallon post boil that can be thinned out to reach your target OG after adding your top up water.

I am sure these calcs can be done but it sounds overly complicated to me. Most stoves can boil a full 6g, it just takes a bit longer.
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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Boerderij Kabouter said:
You will have to calculate a higher gravity wort in the 4 gallon post boil that can be thinned out to reach your target OG after adding your top up water.

I am sure these calcs can be done but it sounds overly complicated to me. Most stoves can boil a full 6g, it just takes a bit longer.
Yeah you're right, I forgot to mention that. I am doing a more concentrated wort and I've accounted for the dillution...
 

DeathBrewer

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i usually top off my batches at my apartment. my stove won't boil more than 4 gallons very well, so i split my AG between two pots and split the hops accordingly...i still usually end up about a gallon short. adding water helps cool the beer down to the temp i want, too, since i can't use my wort chiller in the apt.

all the beers i've made this way have turned out fantastic. but i have good water...i actually just use my tap water (might not be the best idea for everyone.)

with promash, i just put the batch size as 5.5 gallons...your calculations are based on the total size...the boil-down doesn't really matter for gravity...just hop utilization. you may get more carmelization as well.
 

jzal8

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I do AG in my kitchen these days as well, but can only do partial boils on my stove.

I also can only do four gallon boils on my stove, so in beersmith I set the boil volume to 4 gallons and my batch size to 5.2 gallons. So after I cool the wort and add it to the carboy, I just top up with two gallons of poland spring water.

It works out perfectly and I have been consistantly been hitting my target og's.
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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jzal8 said:
I do AG in my kitchen these days as well, but can only do partial boils on my stove.

I also can only do four gallon boils on my stove, so in beersmith I set the boil volume to 4 gallons and my batch size to 5.2 gallons. So after I cool the wort and add it to the carboy, I just top up with two gallons of poland spring water.

It works out perfectly and I have been consistantly been hitting my target og's.
Cool, thanks for that tip. I didn't realize I could plug it in that way. It looks like its accurate...
 

Bobby_M

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Surely you have a secondary pot that can handle 1.5 gallons of wort. It just seems like a waste to me to leave sugar behind in the MLT that could be a part of your "makeup water".
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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Bobby_M said:
Surely you have a secondary pot that can handle 1.5 gallons of wort. It just seems like a waste to me to leave sugar behind in the MLT that could be a part of your "makeup water".
I actually don't have another pot that's big enough, we're working on that though (bridal shower). How would I be leaving sugar behind though? My pre-topping up gravity will be in the mid 1.060s. For the 5 gallon boil I'm using 6.25 gallons of water. What am I not seeing?
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Why not do a full AG with a minor twist like bobby is suggesting. Sparge your first 2 gallons into a first pot (you could purchase a super cheap pot for this), cover, and set aside. Collect remaining 4 gallons into your brew kettle and boil away like normal. This second pot will be filled with a lower gravity wort and you will get better hop utilization. With 20 minutes left in your boil, put the first pot with 2 gallons high gravity wort on the stove and boil to sanitize it and hopefully hit some hot break. Cool both, recombine, and pitch yeast.

This would be a more efficient use of your grains and would probably work out quite well.

Just an idea though, do what you will.
 

Bobby_M

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Soulive said:
I actually don't have another pot that's big enough, we're working on that though (bridal shower). How would I be leaving sugar behind though? My pre-topping up gravity will be in the mid 1.060s. For the 5 gallon boil I'm using 6.25 gallons of water. What am I not seeing?
Think about the 1.5 gallons. In your method, you're adding that to the batch at 1.000. If you run that same amount of water as sparge water, it would at least come out of the MLT at 1.010, probably more. It's a loss of efficiency to ignore it. That is, if you've pretty much dialed in what your efficiency normally is, you really need to drop it down in this case.
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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Bobby_M said:
Think about the 1.5 gallons. In your method, you're adding that to the batch at 1.000. If you run that same amount of water as sparge water, it would at least come out of the MLT at 1.010, probably more. It's a loss of efficiency to ignore it. That is, if you've pretty much dialed in what your efficiency normally is, you really need to drop it down in this case.
I see what you mean now. You know what, I'll just boil the full volume. The pot I bought from you is 7.5 gallons. I'll just do a 5 gallon batch size with a 6 gallon boil. It'll take a while with my stove but whatever. 1.5 gallons is enough headspace for me...
 

cd2448

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Soulive said:
I actually don't have another pot that's big enough, we're working on that though (bridal shower). How would I be leaving sugar behind though? My pre-topping up gravity will be in the mid 1.060s. For the 5 gallon boil I'm using 6.25 gallons of water. What am I not seeing?
you were saying 5 gallons boil, 4 into the fermentor, 1.5 top up - or are these figures for a "normal" batch?

the diff as i understand it is that you actually have to increase the grain bill to get the same OG in the fermentor - because you only boil the first 5gallons of wort, not the full optimal amount of wort for a given grain bill. in a normal batch, all sparge water brings something to the party, even the last runnings. but you can't make use of that sugary goodness because you're limited to 5 gallons in the boil.

i asked about this once too, it basically will come down to some dismal efficiency. or you could possible to two batches back to back...

edit: bobby_M explained it better and a bit quicker!
 

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Soulive said:
I actually don't have another pot that's big enough, we're working on that though (bridal shower). How would I be leaving sugar behind though? My pre-topping up gravity will be in the mid 1.060s. For the 5 gallon boil I'm using 6.25 gallons of water. What am I not seeing?

I found a great selection of 2 gallon stainless pots at my local Value Village (second hand store) for about $6 each. I'm going to pick up a couple more the next time I go back ... so I can start thinking about doing AG in several pots myself... I figure I need a couple of smaller pots regardless, to be a hot liquor tun to hold the first runnings while the sparge water is in the brew pot...and also some to do more sparge water...then to use to be able to boil 7-8 gallons down to the 5 required for the batch...
 

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Soulive said:
I see what you mean now. You know what, I'll just boil the full volume. The pot I bought from you is 7.5 gallons. I'll just do a 5 gallon batch size with a 6 gallon boil. It'll take a while with my stove but whatever. 1.5 gallons is enough headspace for me...
Yup, I've done it in that pot with no boilovers.
 
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