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I can't full boil an all grain

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ErieShores

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I'm planning on using BierMunchers Centennial Blonde recipe using DeathBrewer's tutorial. The problem I am going to have is that I only have two 5 gallon brewpots. I don't want to cut the water amount and decrease my efficiency but at the same time I don't want to not have room to add the mash and sparge together. I've read somewhere on these boards that I could do a double boil and split the hop additions or is there a better way? I'm worrying myself sick over here...
 

ShaneKasey

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Some people split the boil into two separate pots, until they get one bigger pot. And there is nothing wrong with that, splitting the hops between the two pots is a great idea, just try to get the same amount of volume into each pot,

I wouldn't worry about it one bit. My friend, just relax, and have a home brew.

And shoot for 3 gallons in each pot at the beginning of the boil.
 

lenbone

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You could just brew the recipe at a higher gravity and add water to dillute it down to the correct gravity you are tyring to get.
 
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ErieShores

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Thanks Shane! I read that book too but I find it difficult to not freak when you are talking about hours of time and the price of ingredients too. I found boiling times in the thread for a 3.25 boil. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f66/ce...-grain-5-10-gall-42841/index5.html#post564914
the recipe calls for .25 at 60 and 45 so...
I should simply split .25 Centennial into both pots at both times and do the same with the cascades?
 

jaobrien6

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You could just brew the recipe at a higher gravity and add water to dillute it down to the correct gravity you are tyring to get.
The problem with that plan is with only 4 to 4.5 gallons of mash plus sparge water, the efficiency is going to be poor. This is why the 2 pot method is a better idea.
 
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ErieShores

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Don't I need to use the appropriate amount of water to mash and sparge? Roughly 6.5 gallons lenbone?
 

Gwitz

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My very first AG i only had 2 4 gallon pots at my disposal, i split the batch and hops between them. Worked awesome except i ended up with only 4 gallons.
 

david_42

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Don't short on the sparge water. You can split the bittering hops, but you don't need to worry on the flavor/aroma adds. If you have to boil one pot, then the other, I'd do the flavor/aroma in the second pot.
 

Revvy

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The problem with that plan is with only 4 to 4.5 gallons of mash plus sparge water, the efficiency is going to be poor. This is why the 2 pot method is a better idea.
I disagree. I do it a lot in the winter when I can't brew outside. I use a pre-boil gravity of 3.5 gallons boiled down to 2.5 and topped off with 2.5, and I've never had an issue with efficiency whatsoever. I use beersmith to calculate everything then use their "dillute with water" calculator and hit my numbers all the time. A recipe calculated in a program like beersmith that takes into account for boil size will tell you how much grain you need to achieve whatever your set efficiency is.

The only thing I account for is hop efficiency. I up my hopbill by about 18%.

I've done everything from IPA's to really light lagers this way and have had some great beers come out of it. My Wit and my Vienna Lager made this way have both placed in comps.

So I don't agree with your assertion that it's a flawed way of doing things.
 

jaobrien6

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So I don't agree with your assertion that it's a flawed way of doing things.
Well, I concede that you have quite a bit more experience brewing than I do. I have done this before, using only about 4.5 total gallons because of the pot I had available, and my efficient was poor. I know there are lots of things that contribute to efficiency so maybe I misjudged what was at fault in that batch.

So are you suggesting that the only reason at all to mash and sparge with the full and recommended amount of water is for hop utilization?
 

sagnew440

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I agree with Revy, I've been doing 3.5-4gal all grain and just doing a 2.25 gal boil and topping up without any efficiency problems. I normally mash [email protected] though.
 

Revvy

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So are you suggesting that the only reason at all to mash and sparge with the full and recommended amount of water is for hop utilization?
I'm not suggesting anything. I'm just saying that if one is doing a high grav wort dillution to 5 gallons (which really isn't much different that topping off in an extract batch, except we are mashing our own extract) it's a good idea to overcompensate for any loss in hop utilization.
 

Revvy

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I agree with Revy, I've been doing 3.5-4gal all grain and just doing a 2.25 gal boil and topping up without any efficiency problems. I normally mash [email protected] though.
+1, I tend to mash for 90 minutes, and usually the same 155ish as the recipe calls for in beersmith.

You could also just scale down the recipe to what will fit your system.
That's what I did for years until I started playing around with this 2 years ago. Making 2.5 gallon batches. But one day I was talking to my buddy who owns my lhbs, and he suggested I start playing around this way, and it's worked. I still do experimental batches in 2.5 but it's nice to have some of my standard beers, like IPAs, Cream Ales, Wits, and my Vienna Lager in my usual 5 gallon batches year round, even if I can't full volume boil them in the winter.

People for years have said you can't or shouldn't do all-grain in anything but a full volume, boil for all manner of assumed reasons, but like so much in brewing, the reality often is different from the common wisdom. There's at least two of us in this forum that have had good experience with it.

I'm not saying it's the best way to do things, a full volume is always the best way to go. But personally I'd rather do a 5 gallon dillution AG then to split my batches into two pots on my stove. But that's my preference.
 

jaobrien6

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I'm not suggesting anything. I'm just saying that if one is doing a high grav wort dillution to 5 gallons (which really isn't much different that topping off in an extract batch, except we are mashing our own extract) it's a good idea to overcompensate for any loss in hop utilization.
Ok, then let me re-phrase. Why would you ever do a full boil if your experience shows you that it works just as well to do an all-grain partial boil?

I'm not saying it's the best way to do things, a full volume is always the best way to go. But personally I'd rather do a 5 gallon dillution AG then to split my batches into two pots on my stove. But that's my preference.
Again, why? I'm not trying to be difficult here, I'm trying to learn and this seems contradictory to me. If you've made award winning beers doing the partial-boil, top-off all grain method, why would you ever bother with a full boil? How's it "the best way to go" if the alternative works fine?
 

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