Second batch, but trouble getting my boil right.

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BrewN00b

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I am doing a High Gravity Double Dog Dare You IPA (Stone Brewery Ruination clone), but I am having a dickens of a time getting my gas range to hit 212F. I am boiling up to the 5 gallon mark with all the extract (12lb Light DME!), so I don't have much room to go, but I can only get my temps to 210F. I just can't seem to break the 212F mark, so the boiling is a very gentle roil. I guess the good is that it doesn't seem to be capable of a boil over, but I hope that few degrees won't make a big difference. This minor lack of a few degrees is killing my meticulous inner person!

Ladies and Gents, will this make a huge difference in the final product?
 

ArcaneXor

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Just boil 4 instead of 5 gallons next time, and add part of your extract during the last 10-15 minutes of the boil to compensate.
 
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BrewN00b

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Arcane, good call. I think I am going to invest in a nice outdoor propane dealio. Still, everything smells wonderful and even the cloudy "foam" is on top of the boil, but it just can't seem to hit the point where it does a more violent boil.

If it makes any difference, I am damn near sea level, as I live in San Diego, CA.

I suppose I am just a worrisome sort. I am very meticulous in this and I want it to come out perfect. I want this batch to come out better than the one I bottled yesterday. That one smelt like stale beer going into the bottles.
 

ArcaneXor

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You don't need an agressive boil - a gentle, rolling boil is perfectly ok. But if the surface is still and you've just got small bubbles coming up from the bottom of the kettle, then you need more heat/boil a smaller volume.
 

woollybugger2

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I got a 6 gallon pot thinking that I could boil 4 gallons on my stove WRONG! Now I have a burner and a pot that is too small for a full boil.... :(

I can boil about 5 gallons and end up with 4 gallons of wort, so right now I'm doing 4/5 of a full boil. I can tell a difference in the brew from my original 2 gallon boils.....
 
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BrewN00b

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Woolly, I put the 5 gal stockpot on top of two burners and that helped some, but it never got past 212F on my thermometer, unless it was a few degrees off.
 

ajwillys

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Woolly, I put the 5 gal stockpot on top of two burners and that helped some, but it never got past 212F on my thermometer, unless it was a few degrees off.
The temp will never go above a certain point, which is usually close to 212. If you apply more heat, it will just boil more aggressively and boil off more steam. It's just the way it works.

But.... I don't think you need to worry about all that. Just use less water next time and only use enough DME to make the wort about 1.040-1.050. Somewhere around 1-1.5 pounds per gallon. Then, in the last 15 minutes, add the rest. This will help with your hop utilization greatly. Hops don't isomerize as well in high gravity wort as they do in lower gravity wort. Since this is a Ruination clone, that can make a big difference.
 
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BrewN00b

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AJ, good info! Thank you for that.

My next concern is I think I know why my last batch smelt stale, and why this one will probably not be much better. I was stirring too much and aerating too warm. I have been reading that aerating when it could be as low as 86F could very much cause oxygenation of your wort. I know I dumped my hot wort into the fermenter at 85-90F and added cool water to bring the temp down and to top it off to 5 gal. I feel like a fool, as I didn't even know it was a concern. I feel like crap knowing that my new batch, just brewed today could smell like old stale beer like my last batch.

I'm frustrated with myself, but went ahead and purchased a wort chiller from midwestsupplies.com. I'm not going to dick with it anymore. Also I now know that aerate and stir as little as possible until it hits room temp. Still it's frustrating to know that I could very well have all the time and money invested into two bad batches. Still, I'm not giving up!
 

ajwillys

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You don't need to worry about getting oxygen into wort, this is a common misnomer for new brewers. In fact, it's the opposite. You need oxygen for the yeast to do their thing. If you ever do a full boil, you will need to actually intentionally ADD oxygen to the wort.


What you did sounds fine. Aerating too warm (hot side aeration) is something that only large breweries should concern themselves with, certainly not homebrewers. It's hard to say, but I would guess that the 'stale' flavor you are seeing is from oxidation. The paradox in brewing is that wort LOVES oxygen, but beer (after fermentation) HATES it. Once the beer is fermented, you should take all measure to avoid as much oxygen as possible.

Obvious things are using a hose to transfer to bottling bucket instead of pouring but there are lots of other things too. For instance, I actually fill my empty buckets/carboy's/kegs/bottles/whatever up with CO2 before I put the beer in them. This is a little anal but oxygen (post fermentation) is our biggest enemy.

The stale flavor could also potentially be 'green' flavor from drinking your beer to young. You shouldn't be drinking your beer any earlier than 6 weeks at the minimum.
 
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BrewN00b

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AJ, folks like yourself are the reason why this forum is the best homebrew forum around. Your information is great, and I would like to think I will soak it up like a sponge. I hope the "stale" smell is because the brew I bottled yesterday was it was so green. I will find out in three weeks when I crack one up to test carbonation. Otherwise a few more months bottle condition can't seemingly hurt it, right? ;)

Thank you for the info!
 

ajwillys

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Thanks for the compliment, I was just like you less than a year ago, I'm just paying it forward. For regular gravity brews, anything after two months is good. The higher the gravity, the longer aging helps.
 

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