How much water do you start with?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

ChadS

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
I do extract brewing and make 5 gallon batches on average. I have a 10 gallon brew bucket with a thermometer built in, but it only reads if i can fill the bucket with around 4 gallons of water. In all my kits, they say to add 2.5 gallons of water and then add your grains, etc. Why only 2.5 gallons? Can I not just go ahead and add 4 or 5 to start with and steep my grains in it?
 

Dgallo

If you ain’t first, you’re last Ricky Bobby
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
3,402
Reaction score
5,246
Location
Albany
I do extract brewing and make 5 gallon batches on average. I have a 10 gallon brew bucket with a thermometer built in, but it only reads if i can fill the bucket with around 4 gallons of water. In all my kits, they say to add 2.5 gallons of water and then add your grains, etc. Why only 2.5 gallons? Can I not just go ahead and add 4 or 5 to start with and steep my grains in it?
Your kits are for half boils and then you top off to full volume. it also cools your wort to pitching temps you when adding the cold water. Its to help beginning brewers be able to boil on the stove top so they don’t need to get extra equipment right away and will have more money to buy more of their kits lol.

You can do it full volume. Start with about 6-6.25 gallons of water and this will give you right around 5.25 gallons after absorption from the specialty grains and boiloff
 
Last edited:

Alex4mula

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
380
Reaction score
158
What Dgallo said. You can do full volume boil and all I read seems it is a little better that way. The water depends some on your equipment and also how long you boil. After 6 brews with 60min boil I figured I need about 6.5 gal when the kit has a bigger steep grain bag to get me 5 gallons at carboy. But I loose some on my Mash&Boil kettle, lines, pump and plate chiller. If you cool with an immersion chiller and pour directly from kettle to carboy then the loss would be less. So probably 6gal would be a good ballpark to test next time.
 

NGD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
716
Reaction score
632
Most starter extract kits come with a 5 gallon pot. 2.5-3 gallons is about all you would want to boil in it. As Dgallo pointed out, its much easier to do a partial boil on a stove and add water to hit your gravity and quickly cool your wort down at the same time.

To answer your 2nd question, you absolutely can do a steep/boil with full volume. I still have a 5 gallon pot but I typically start with 4 gallons. I have to watch my boil like a hawk to avoid a boil over though.

If you do full 60min boils, then you can take Dgallos advice and start with 6-6.5 gallons and run your brew as usual. Your gravity post boil will depend on how vigorous your boil was and humidity. Simply put..if you don’t boil enough off, your gravity will be low.

Since your doing extract, another suggestion would be to start with 5-5.5 gallons, cut your boil time to 30-45 minutes and condense your hop timing. Since extract is condensed wort, your essentially just reheating leftovers. Since you wouldn’t recook leftovers..why do that with extract? You can add a little volume back if to hit your gravity and help cool your wort at the same time.

Of the one recipe I’ve done multiple times, going to a 30 min boil was a nice time saver. It lightened up the SRM and I couldn’t tell a difference in flavor. Granted its a belgian so perhaps something like an IPA might be noticed more.

Give either method a shot and report back your experience. It could help other brewers in the future.
 

wepeeler

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 31, 2018
Messages
540
Reaction score
386
Location
CT
I started with extract, and one reason for 2.5 gallon batches is cooling the wort after the boil. It takes forever to cool 5 gallons in an ice bath in the sink, whereas you can cool 2-2.5 gallons relatively quickly ie 20-25 min. Then add the top up water to reach volume/pitching temp. Another reason not to boil 6+ gallons of extract on a stove is boil over. Unless you use fermcap, boiling 6 gallons of wort in a 10 gallon pot will cause a boil over. Yet another reason for a partial boil is the time it takes to boil 6+ gallons on a stovetop. Unless you have some high powered stove, it'll take over an hour to boil that much water.
 
Top