Question on water amounts

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Kawachs

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Hello again,

So, we have brewed a total of 3 - 5 gallons and 1 - 1 gallon. So, on the 5 gallon, the directions typically state to start with 2.5 gallons (or there abouts) of water and then add the rest of the water at the end to get to 5 gallons. My questions is, is it better to go that route (half now, half later) or do the full 5 gallons to start with and then add what is lost in the process at the end before transfer? We have done both ways, but was curious what all of you suggest.
TIA!
 

VikeMan

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My questions is, is it better to go that route (half now, half later) or do the full 5 gallons to start with and then add what is lost in the process at the end before transfer?
The latter is the better of the two. But the best way (assuming a big enough kettle and heat source) would be to put all the water in the boil, so that you end up with 5 gallons at the end of the boil (without having to top off).
 
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My questions is, is it better to go that route (half now, half later) or do the full 5 gallons to start with and then add what is lost in the process at the end before transfer?
A good answer depends a number of things that are currently missing.

Are you currently brewing using kits? If so, which ones?

If you are brewing with DME/LME (aka "extract") kits there are two good approaches. The 1st is "partial boil with late additions". The other is a "full volume" boil. (details in How to Brew, 4e chapters 1 & 9). Note that there are limitations on "partial boil with late additions" (for example, double/triple IPAs probably can't be brewed this way).

If you are brewing "all-grain" (BIAB, ...), you will want to do a full volume boil. Consider adjusting your equipment to brew 5 gal batches or adjusting your batch to match your equipment.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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Hello again,

So, we have brewed a total of 3 - 5 gallons and 1 - 1 gallon. So, on the 5 gallon, the directions typically state to start with 2.5 gallons (or there abouts) of water and then add the rest of the water at the end to get to 5 gallons. My questions is, is it better to go that route (half now, half later) or do the full 5 gallons to start with and then add what is lost in the process at the end before transfer? We have done both ways, but was curious what all of you suggest.
TIA!
Sounds as if you are describing a kit and a concentrated boil. Most kits don't expect the brewer to have a brewpot/kettle large enough to do a full wort boil. The kits expect us to use, for the most part, whatever we have on hand. Example, a crab pot, a large stock pot, etc. Hence, the concentrated boil.

Please note, if using a kit and doing a full wort boil, adjust the hops. The concentrated boil needs more hops to achieve the desired IBUs, whereas the full wort boil doesn't need the same amount of hops as was used in a concentrated boil. What I'm trying to write is if the kit ingredients are used in a full wort boil then the IBUs may be higher than desired.
 

Jim R

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For a new brewer, the best advice of all is to just spend $16 and buy the latest edition of John Palmer's How to Brew book and spend a week or so studying this book. You will quickly learn most of what you need to know to answer your questions about extract brewing, partial boils and most of the other basic concepts. Otherwise, you are just kind of flailing along gathering little bits of information slowly from kit instructions. Instead, you could read one book and be really smart a week from now.

 
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Sounds as if you are describing a kit and a concentrated boil.
Kits that use a 60 minute concentrated boil are generally regarded as a "bad idea" [*]. How to Brew, 4e, chapter 9 offers an explanation.

Half the water at the start of the boil could also be a "partial boil with late additions" process (aka 'stove top' brewing). As I noted in #4, good kit instructions can use either a partial boil (with late additions) or a full boil to brew a good beer.

---------------------------

[*] If one wants to discuss concentrated boils with 'extract', please start a new topic.
 
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Kawachs

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[/QUOTE]

Additional notes:
We are using kits, not "all-grain" and we don't have limitations on pot size. We have all the necessary equipment for brewing. Just curious if full is better than partial. We ran into one instance where a method the directions wanted us to do was outdated. Just looking for feed back. I will look into getting the book. Thank you guys again for the feedback.
 
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Just looking for feed back.
Kits that use partial boils (half water / extract at start of boil and half at the end) should have been designed to produce a good result. Same for kits that use a full boil (all the extract at start of boil). No need to adjust hops when following the kit instructions.

If you choose to continue brewing with extract, but want to move away from kits, the idea of a shorter boil time becomes interesting. Check out American Pale Ale - 15 Minute Cascade Pale Ale and No-Boil Recipes! New for 2019!

If you decide to start brewing "all-grain", partial mash can be an easy way to get started. Check out Easy Partial Mash Brewing (with pics). When starting out, basic water adjustments (starting with RO water) are not difficult: Water Chemistry – How to Build Your Water – Bertus Brewery.

edits for missing punctuation
 
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hout17

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If the kit directions indicate doing a partial boil and adding water to the fermenter to top up then, yes the amount of hops needs are different than doing the whole batch, for example 5 gallons, in the kettle.
While I agree with this point I find it interesting that Northern Brewer includes the same amount of hops in both extract and all grain versions of their kits.

For example go look at their ferocious IPA instruction sheet same amount of hops for both.
 
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I'm willing to consider the possibility that the online instructions for that extract kit are out of date. :mug:
 

hout17

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I'm willing to consider the possibility that the online instructions for that extract kit are out of date. :mug:
Yeah, I wish that were the case. Go look at any 5 gallon kit on there and compare they use the same amount of hops for both at least from any of the kits I've looked at and those instructions are in the newer format.
:mug:

Edit: Maybe they are including the same hop amounts with slightly different AA percentages that's the only thing I can think of.
 
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VikeMan

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Edit: Maybe they are including the same hop amounts with slightly different AA percentages that's the only thing I can think of.
Heh. No. In fact, they don't even bother changing the hop schedule or the instructions when hop supply AAs change. Kits just suck.
 
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Still willing to consider that the instructions are out of date. Not willing to spend any hobby time looking at kits for bad instructions. (As an aside: I may available on a 'consulting' basis for this activity. Send me a printed letter for current rates, terms, ... ;)).
 

Transamguy77

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My 2 cents......If you are doing extract kits then I would just start with a couple of gallons like suggested and add all the LME at flame out you don’t need to boil that any more because it’s already been boiled.

I know that people will tell you that you need to make adjustments with hop schedule or volume or blah blah blah, honestly you don’t, those small things won’t really matter, if you can control your fermentation temp that will help make a better beer than worrying about volumes and hop schedules.
 

Transamguy77

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To echo @BrewnWKopperKat i actually do my whole boil with whatever steeping grains come with the kit and add ALL my extract at flameout and top off with fridge water to get the temp down the rest of the way and then pitch my yeast.

After moving I haven’t done any all grain brews and won’t till probably the fall at this point so I’ve been buying kits and beer until I can back to it so I’ve been revisiting kit brewing again.

I think a good kit and semi controlled fermentation temp will give you the best results.
 

VikeMan

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I know that people will tell you that you need to make adjustments with hop schedule or volume or blah blah blah, honestly you don’t, those small things won’t really matter,
Yeah, what was Glenn Tinseth thinking anyway? He did all those experiments, when all he really need to do was say blah blah blah.
 

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Most kit instructions I see still tell you to do a secondary - that has been passe for ages, unless doing long-term bulk aging.
There's plusses and minuses to full or partial boil. I say that if you as a newish brewer, have a kettle big enough (8+gallons.) a heat source strong enough to boil 6.5 or so gallons, and a way to cool the wort to almost pitching temps in a reasonable amount of time, go full.
Otherwise, boil as much as you reasonably can, and keep the top-off water in the freezer. Getting that as cold as you can will help in chilling down the rest of the wort.
With any extract brew, I do also recommend splitting the additions - half early on, and the other half near the end - maybe 15 minute left or so. Some folks say to add it all right at the end - but IME it doesn't work out quite right that way.
 

Transamguy77

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Yeah, what was Glenn Tinseth thinking anyway? He did all those experiments, when all he really need to do was say blah blah blah.
Look the OP is just starting and in trying to help we are also trying to not scare them off, I know you are a long time brewer as am I and instead of being all scientific like let’s just help this new brewer keep brewing and not scare them with all the technical stuff that in the end probably won’t even matter in the finished beer. I know and understand the science that’s actually why I started brewing but reality states follow these direction and you’ll get pretty drinkable beer.

OP you are headed down a pretty big rabbit hole and you have no idea what’s in store there are many layers to brewing beer and a lot of good points have been brought up in this thread and when you have some time look into them and see if that’s what appeals to you, I don’t know what your reasons are for trying your hand at beer brewing but if the science is it then try some of what was conveyed here and see if it improves your beer. One of the best things about this hobby is there are many paths to get to beer and everyone here has their own path they follow.
 

VikeMan

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Look the OP is just starting and in trying to help we are also trying to not scare them off, I know you are a long time brewer as am I and instead of being all scientific like let’s just help this new brewer keep brewing and not scare them with all the technical stuff that in the end probably won’t even matter in the finished beer.
I have no problem not scaring him with all the "technical stuff." But I'm not going to mislead him, either.

Even without scary calculations, a rule of thumb like cutting the bittering hops back to ~70% when converting from a partial boil to a full boil would be good, easy to follow advice that would get the IBUs closer.

(Assuming the partial boil recipe was constructed properly in the first place.)
 
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I would lean towards boiling as much water as you can.
If this is how you actually brew with extract, are you willing to talk about how you adjust recipes for non-traditional styles batch sizes (e.g. 4 gal boil for a 5 gal batch)?
 
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hout17

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If this is how you actually brew with extract, are you willing to talk about how you adjust recipes for non-traditional styles batch sizes (e.g. 4 gal boil for a 5 gal batch)?
Yeah when I brew extract I do a full volume boil so 6.5 gallons because my boil off rate is 1.5 gal/hr.

It comes down to how much extract (DME is around 40 points per pound per gallon and lme is around 36 points) your adding to the pre-boil as pre boil gravity, hop alpha acid unit, and boil volume (whatever volume boil you can do or want to do) are key; from there you can use the tinseth chart to get the utilization number. You can then plug that in for your planned hop addition boil time and calculate your IBU's for the recipe.

I only have the (edited I thought I had the 2nd edition) third edition of how to brew but this info starts on page 56. The first edition of how to brew appears to cover it as well and this link should take you to that section. Link
This info well help you have a good idea of hop utilization and IBU's for any volume you boil.

That's about as much as I want to get in to it. I could write a full blown example just don't have the time right now.

Hope this helps some. Also folks please point out anything I may have missed.

Edit: I may put a small spreadsheet together for this in the next couple of days. I don't know why I haven't done that before.
 
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That's about as much as I want to get in to it. I could write a full blown example just don't have the time right now.
And what you wrote so far is seems like a lot of effort for a new brewer.

"Stove top" brewing (half water / extract at start, the rest at the end) offers new brewers the opportunity to try out home brewing using existing kitchen equipment. So it's a good starting point. And for many styles (lower ABV, lower IBU) it can make a good beer. Recipes exist for this process (see How to Brew, 4e), so there's no need for adjustments.

Higher ABV (or IBU) styles typically require a larger kettle (and heat source) for a full volume boil.

Based on what I'm seeing, "boiling as much water as you can" seems to add a lot of complexity (recipe adjustments, additional ingredients, ...) that may not be helpful to a new brewer.
 

hout17

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And what you wrote so far is seems like a lot of effort for a new brewer.

"Stove top" brewing (half water / extract at start, the rest at the end) offers new brewers the opportunity to try out home brewing using existing kitchen equipment. So it's a good starting point. And for many styles (lower ABV, lower IBU) it can make a good beer. Recipes exist for this process (see How to Brew, 4e), so there's no need for adjustments.

Higher ABV (or IBU) styles typically require a larger kettle (and heat source) for a full volume boil.

Based on what I'm seeing, "boiling as much water as you can" seems to add a lot of complexity (recipe adjustments, additional ingredients, ...) that may not be helpful to a new brewer.
Boiling as much as you can means simply adjusting the hop amounts using some math or software for the extract recipe or kit to keep your IBU's the same it really isn't that hard. You can even use the nomograph Palmer provides to figure this out. The OP also appears to have the capability to boil a bigger volume as well.

The OP can always just follow the recipe instructions and still make beer.

Good luck to the OP.
 
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Adding nomographs (which are basically an calculation specific paper slide rule) to the discussion seems to enhance my observation: "boiling as much water as you can" seems to add a lot of complexity.

It's occasionally said that "You're the head brewer in your brewery", so if complicated works for you, go for it.

Starting out, keeping it simple is often a better approach.
 

hout17

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Adding nomographs (which are basically an calculation specific paper slide rule) to the discussion seems to enhance my observation: "boiling as much water as you can" seems to add a lot of complexity.

It's occasionally said that "You're the head brewer in your brewery", so if complicated works for you, go for it.

Starting out, keeping it simple is often a better approach.
Yeah like following the recipe instructions like I mentioned. Good day.
 

wsmith1625

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I know that people will tell you that you need to make adjustments with hop schedule or volume or blah blah blah, honestly you don’t, those small things won’t really matter, if you can control your fermentation temp that will help make a better beer than worrying about volumes and hop schedules.
If your planning to go all grain in the future, I would do some full volume extract recipes first. The steps for full volume extract are very similar to all grain after the mash is finished. It's a nice segue to all grain brewing.

If your planning to continue extract brewing, the late LME and DME partial boil methods will make great beer and save some time compared to full volume.

 

hout17

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Boiling as much as you can means simply adjusting the hop amounts using some math or software for the extract recipe or kit to keep your IBU's the same it really isn't that hard. You can even use the nomograph Palmer provides to figure this out. The OP also appears to have the capability to boil a bigger volume as well.

The OP can always just follow the recipe instructions and still make beer.

Good luck to the OP.
I threw together an Excel spreadsheet (attached) for IBU calculations based on boil size and amount of extract added before the boil (adding half at the beginning and half at the end is usually a good thing). This will help you adjust if you decide you want to stray from the partial boil instructions based on this spreadsheet's IBU estimates that incorporates tinseth's equations for hop utilization.

Edit: I've updated the spreadsheet so you can input your entire recipe using specialty grains and also if you use both lme and dme so you can get an accurate recipe OG estimate. You then choose LME or DME for your boil addition to calculate hop utilization. This version also takes your steeped specialty grains into account for hop utilization if you have any.

Either way happy brewing!
 

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Those who have read How to Brew, 4e and the "Full Boil vs Partial Boil" article may have recognized that most of the good suggestions in the article are already built into the processes in the book.

With regard to the articles suggestions on color changes due to boiling ...

Vastly improved color and flavor.

Since your concentration of sugars is much lower, the wort doesn’t caramelize as it does in a partial boil. Caramelization darkens the wort, and has a big effect on the flavor of your beer. Most brewers would agree that a full boil has a biggest impact on the flavor of your beer.
... I'll suggest reviewing a couple of Basic Brewing Radio podcasts (Aug 25, 2005 & Nov 17, 2005) as well as this recent topic How do I get lighter color with IPA?. Additionally, I just bottled a session APA where I used a concentrated boil [1, 2] - the color was in the "pale gold" range - which is where I would have expected it to be.

Hypothesis: a full volume 30 min boil of DME [3] does not contribute to a meaningful darkening of the wort.

Related idea: there are places in the brewing process where excessive darkening of either ingredients or beer can occur (and there are recent topics here at HomebrewTalk on each of these ideas).
1) verify the initial color of the extract
2) transferring to secondary will have a noticeable impact on color
3) bottling practices can have a noticeable impact on color
4) if buying kits "in bulk", be sure to store the ingredients properly.

---------------------------

[1] 30 min boil at level 1 (link to Boiling Wort Visual Reference). OG 88 at end of boil, OG 44 in fermentor.

[2] This was an 'experimental' brew session. It's not my intent to advocate for concentrated boils. I was curious about concentrated boil color (not potential flavor impacts or hop utilization issues).

[3] How do I get lighter color with IPA?
 
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Kawachs

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Thank you all for the information. I'm guessing you guys don't get too many female brewers?
@Transamguy77 It's going to take a lot to scare me off. :)
I do understand there are a lot of variables that can be considered. However, on kits there are not many variables that can be changed. So, from that stand point you have a kit with all the items (no more, no less) partial boil or full boil best?
We have completed 3 batches collectively (my husband and I and our friend), all of which have been a learning experience. We also have 5 (5 gallon kits) and a 1 gallon kit (that I plan to do myself) to go. I essentially wanted to know which way would be best for kit brews (partial or full) or if it makes much of a difference.
To those that said read the book, at some point I will, but I currently don't have the time, hence why I came here....:yes:
In terms of equipment, we have an 8 gallon brew kettle, 2 different propane burners and 1 wort chiller that we are hoping to modify to recycle ice water through versus just pumping a bunch of water in the yard or down the drain.
At some point we want to move move to all grain but since we are new to the process decided to start with kits.
 

jtratcliff

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Thank you all for the information. I'm guessing you guys don't get too many female brewers?
There are a few on here... @Yooper is even an Admin here...

1 wort chiller that we are hoping to modify to recycle ice water through versus just pumping a bunch of water in the yard or down the drain.
You can save some/all of this heated water for cleanup afterward, use it to flush toilets, fill top-loading washing machines, etc. Doesn't have to go down the drain.
 

hout17

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This is what I would do. Figure out how much water you boil off in an hour and get your boil off rate. If I were doing a five gallon extract kit I would do a full volume boil add half the extract and boil it with 6.5 gallons (my boil off is 1.5 gal/hour).

I would plug the kit recipe in to the spreadsheet I attached above and adjust my hops amounts down so I get a similar bitterness that the kit estimates.

Usually kit instructions have you do a partial boil and their hop additions are based on that so a full volume boil will require a smaller amount of hops.

I would just follow the 1 gallon kit instructions as is.

Good Luck and happing brewing!
 
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