Pre-boil vs post-boil volume

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nickmv

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Let's discuss.

I've noticed that over my 3 yrs of brewing, that I can get all kinds of results when it comes to the volume of wort I put into my carboy. A 5.5gal batch can result in anywhere from 5.75 gals to 4.75 gals after the boil.

Does anyone else experience this with their brewing? I know there's a ton of factors that come into play with brewing (hops, boiloff rate, etc), but I try to maintain the same methods per 5.5 gal batch (7.04 gal pre-boil volume). It just seems like the boiloff can really vary, but I don't think there's much I can do about that.

Anyone else have these "issues" (if you even wanna call it that)?
 

bobbrews

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Take better notes and use the same equipment. Measure in quarts or liters... not both. They are slightly different, but it adds up. Record your start volume and end volume, then your batch volume. Record how much water is retained by the grain and the hops. Using less extract than you did last time can also displace less water that you had not initially accounted for. Other factors like humidity or lack thereof you cannot really control.
 

joyceman

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Im pretty much the same, although I tend to overcompensate and have biggger batches than expected.

Im still extract brewing and when doing late additions, Ill always underestimate how much water ill need to clean out the extract containers. It kills me to leave any extract in the can/bag/milk carton and I try to squeeze out very drop, only to discover I used a 1/2 to full gallon of water more than I should.

The only issues I have with an overly big batch is that it is harder to organize them when using 24-25 count cases or milk crates. I end up with a sixer of loosies hanging around.
 

AmandaK

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Why can't you control the boil off? I monitor my volume throughout the boil to make sure I'm at the right boil vigor to get to where I want to go.
 

MalFet

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I think this kind of thing is ultimately uncontrollable. My boiloff varies from 2qt/hr to 6qt/hr, depending on weather conditions I guess. Identical equipment, similar recipes, etc.

It's never really been much of a problem, though. I just assume the low end and then keep a gallon of water on the stove and top off periodically if I need to. That or tweak your burner power midstream.
 
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nickmv

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Why can't you control the boil off? I monitor my volume throughout the boil to make sure I'm at the right boil vigor to get to where I want to go.
It has nothing to do with that. I control the burner just fine and get a nice slow boil that isn't too crazy, but isn't too light. In other words, it doesn't cause foamovers, but isn't weak by any means either.


What I'm getting at is that regardless of that, what I end up with can vary wildly, even without hop variations. I don't know if it's the humidity or what, but I follow the same processes each time. I recently started going with 6 gal batches so that at worst, I'm left over with a few pints worth of wort that I etiher ferment in growlers, or just toss out.
 
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nickmv

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I think this kind of thing is ultimately uncontrollable. My boiloff varies from 2qt/hr to 6qt/hr, depending on weather conditions I guess. Identical equipment, similar recipes, etc.

It's never really been much of a problem, though. I just assume the low end and then keep a gallon of water on the stove and top off periodically if I need to. That or tweak your burner power midstream.
Finally, confirmation of what I thought. Sounds like weather can really affect the outcome of your beers. Glad to hear this.




Take better notes and use the same equipment. Measure in quarts or liters... not both. They aren't slightly different, but it adds up. Record your start volume and end volume, then your batch volume. Record how much water is retained by the grain and the hops. Using less extract than you did last time can also displace less water that you had not initially accounted for. Other factors like humidity or lack thereof you cannot really control.

All those that you mentioned don't apply or are already in place with my processes, minus the weather. I do AG brewing, so no extract here, and I use same equipment and processes each time. Sounds like weather truly is a factor, as I mentioned in my reply to the first quote.
 
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nickmv

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I assume it's weather, but I have no idea. Like I said, it's easy enough to fix that I've never really given it much thought.
Yeah, I'm the type where if I have a tad bit of wort left over, I don't sweat it, and usually will pour it out, depending on how much is left.

On Monday I had 1/3 of a gallon so I used some growlers to hold that.
 
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