Increasing concentration of wort

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sampsonh

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I have a friend who loves the beer I make and has asked me to make him some for his wedding. It doesn't have to be masses but at the mo I only make 5g batches. I like small batch usually as I can make lots of different styles so don't really want to invest in lots of extra kit.

I want to know if I can make a really thick mash to get a really high pre boil gravity then boil to make 5g of really concentrated wort which I can then dilute.

This may be common practice but I haven't found any info on it. And directions/links /calculators much appreciated.
 

John Eberly

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Assuming you are doing all grain it seems like you could plan for a 5 gallon mash with an OG of 1.100 - 1.25. This could be diluted down to three or maybe four "session strength" batches of 1.035 or so.

Boiling at that concentration would require careful hop calcs because your hop utilization would be quite low.

It seems like you'd want to dilute it right after the boil so you'd need three or four buckets to ferment all of it at once.

I question whether this would be easier than making separate batches. Maybe it would save time and boil energy, but it would require more hops.

You can certainly use this approach, it's pretty much like concentrated wort boiling with extract.
 

chickypad

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That BYO link is about partigyle, where you collect first runnings for one beer and second runnings for second, smaller beer, and so on. I think you're asking about something different, i.e. just topping off a single mash/sparge with water after the boil. I do it not uncommonly, topping off 2.5 gal batches to 5. As John pointed out above you need to account for hops - when you plug it into software just make sure you've entered in correctly the final batch size (after topping off) and actual boil volume. One other thing is that you probably want to adjust your usual efficiency down a bit to account for the thick mash/high gravity wort.

Another thing you could do if you're set on just brewing once is to make this a partial mash. So 5 gal concentrated wort, top off with water and DME at the end to get even more volume finished from your single mash.
 
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sampsonh

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Thanks Chickypad- this was exactly what I was after. I am making the incredibly popular centennial pale ale that is on these forums so it is only a %4- I was hoping that this would be achievable in a concentrated form. Thanks for the point about the mash efficiency. Would you add a little extra grain or would that only make the efficiency problem worse?
 

Revvy

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I explain how to do it here.... You'll have to play with beersmith and scale everything to do 10 gallon batchs from 5 gallon concentrated wort... The biggest problem will be mashtun or however you mash your grains size.

Have fun doing what armchair brewers are so "positive" won't work, or is SO DIFFICULT that you should just make two batches. :mug:

(It's usually folks who've never even tried it who give the answers that it's "So hard" or "inefficient." That's what software is for. ) :)
 

chickypad

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Thanks Chickypad- this was exactly what I was after. I am making the incredibly popular centennial pale ale that is on these forums so it is only a %4- I was hoping that this would be achievable in a concentrated form. Thanks for the point about the mash efficiency. Would you add a little extra grain or would that only make the efficiency problem worse?
I don't know what your set up is, with the larger grainbills I think it's primarily lauter efficiency that suffers since you are doing a proportionately smaller sparge. If you're only doubling the volume and targeting a 4% beer though that should be pretty easy - maybe like 1.085 or so to start? I find I lose just a few efficiency pts on beers in that range, but maybe up to 8-9 pts with really high gravities. I just account for that when making the recipe - so yeah, adding a bit more grain if needed.

Like Revvy said, I find the topping off method super simple and a very easy way for me to get a bigger batch without pulling out my larger rig. Also helps with chilling!
:mug:
 

65C

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if you're doing it for a high pressure gig - you may be better just sticking to what you know works - even if it means putting some hours in

outside of beer - I would never push something new procedure out on a critical date
 

Revvy

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if you're doing it for a high pressure gig - you may be better just sticking to what you know works - even if it means putting some hours in

outside of beer - I would never push something new procedure out on a critical date
It's not rocket science, it's EXACTLY what ever extract homebrewer does everyday, EXCEPT, we're making the concentrated extract.

It's not some big complicated thing, the people who think it is, honestly have never tried it- they're just repeated the same old chestnuts they've heard repeated by other people who have never tried it. It's typical armchair quarterbacking by people who just might be afraid that something they've believed in may be wrong.

My god... I'm a total idiot, especially where math is concerned and by simply observing and understanding what extract brewers do, and punching a bunch of numbers into beersmith, and then testing it proved it was right and was easy.

It's basically just bothering to understand basic brewing.

For example on here there are quite a few panic new brewer threads because they read the gravity and ibus of, for example of a single can of coopers extract, the numbers are extremely high... but those are the numbers of the soupcan sized of extremely concentrated extract... just like if you cook and boil down gravy til it's really thick... everything is CONCENTRATED.... but then when you do the math, which you can do EASILY by plugging the numbers into the same dillution tool on beersmith, and dillute those 12 ounces and whatever the million OG and IBUS whatever 5 gallons - 12 ounces is... and MAGICALLY through science the OG and IBUS of the beer now becomes what it should be.

The principle is simple... Boil down volume and concentrate the wort, the gravity shoots up by exactly the amount that if you then added the missing volume of water boiled away back, in the gravity goes back to.

Miscalculate you final boil volume by too much and maybe end up with 5.5 gallons of your ag recipe your gravity will be lower whatever the dillution ratio is.... so then if you boil the wort carefully and concentrate the wort that tiny amount by evaporating away that half gallon of water... and the gravity is then what it should be.

So then understanding this principle and doing what I showed in my post I linked to you just let beersmith do the recipe math for you. Telling you what your recipe need to hit your numbers....

Seriously it's not hard... there's hundreds of thread on here where people do it all the time....

It's not something that "someone under pressure shouldn't do because the world will come to an end." It's EXACTLY what someone who's trying to make twice as much beer because he's pinched SHOULD do.. because it's not hard..... and for those who bother to try it, instead of just "opinionating" without ever having done it, they find out it works.

Hell, I'm even overcomplicating it by punching numbers and explaining things... All he needs to do is double his recipe, and toss a few extra hop pellets or cones in his additions, top off his fermenter after with 5 gallons more of water... and bob's your uncle.. and I know from experience from entering contests with beer judges and having commercial brewing buddies who drink my beers all the time, no one's going to be able to tell the difference.
 

65C

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It's not rocket science, it's EXACTLY what ever extract homebrewer does everyday, EXCEPT, we're making the concentrated extract.
this is the thing - we build very public stuff - 25 years of building that kind of stuff has taught me to not mess with the normal plan just before an event

it may be a completely obvious and clear change to the plan - but it may also have some unforeseen impact that is equally as obvious but it wasn't a good day for making obvious mistakes

anyway that's just my 2¢ - from many very public fk ups - you mess around with the normal plan on days that don't matter
 

doug293cz

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I ran a couple of simulations. First to make 5.5 gal (post boil) of 1.080 OG wort that could be diluted to 11 gal of 1.040 wort. Then to make 2X 5.5 gal of 1.040 wort. The assumptions were:
100% conversion efficiency in the mash
Optimal single batch sparge
0.12 gal/lb apparent grain absorption
0.75 gal boil off​
The high OG batch requires 16.26 lbs of grain and has a 76.4% lauter (and mash) efficiency. The low OG batches require 6.52 lbs of grain each, or 13.04 lbs for 2 batches, and have a lauter efficiency of 92.3%.

Higher OG worts definitely have lower lauter (and thus mash) efficiencies than lower OG worts. They may also have lower conversion efficiency, due to the thicker mash, which will lower mash efficiency even more than just the lauter efficiency loss. Lauter efficiency suffers with larger grain bills because a larger fraction of the total wort is absorbed by the grain bed, so a larger fraction of the sugar is kept out of the BK.

Brew on :mug:
 
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this is the thing - we build very public stuff - 25 years of building that kind of stuff has taught me to not mess with the normal plan just before an event

it may be a completely obvious and clear change to the plan - but it may also have some unforeseen impact that is equally as obvious but it wasn't a good day for making obvious mistakes

anyway that's just my 2¢ - from many very public fk ups - you mess around with the normal plan on days that don't matter
I agree. I wouldn't brew for someone else's wedding unless I had made the same recipe (including process, volume, etc.) before....
 
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sampsonh

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Thank you for all the input guys- I can see this issue is a little contentious! I told my friend that I would make him a few beers so I don't feel under any pressure to make incredible beers- if it ain't good I won't tell him I made it!

Will let you know how I get on...
 
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