Soft boil vs full boil

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

kingmatt

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
1,297
Reaction score
917
Hey everyone, I brew extract and my first 5 or so brews I have done 3 gallon batches and added 2+ gallons of top off water. I have heard of all the benefits a full boil will give you in regards to hop utilization, color etc, so when a friend gave me his old stainless pot that can handle a full boil, I decided to try it on my Irish Red today. My only problem is that my stove is so crappy that I wasn't able to get a good strong boil and I didn't even have a hot break to speak of. I got a soft rolling boil but not like what I got when I did the 3 gallon batches.

My question is, would it be more beneficial for my beer to do a full 5 gallon soft boil or go back to doing the 3 gallon hard boils with the hot break that I did before?

Thanks :ban:
 

samc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
Messages
5,366
Reaction score
78
Location
Portland OR
Best way for you to know is how the beer turns out. Consider making or buying a heat stick to boost your temp or have you tried spanning 2 burners for more heat?

IMO full boils are far superior.
 

BeerJorge

Banned
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Messages
327
Reaction score
5
Location
Arizona
A slow rolling boil should be good, but if you feel like it's not strong enough to boil off DMS flavors, you can drop it down to a 4 gallon boil instead of all the way down to three...
 

HalfPint

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2009
Messages
1,771
Reaction score
15
Location
Houston
I do full AG boils in my keggle. When I first started doing full boils, I was using a standard turkey fryer propane burner and although it boiled, I never got that famous hot break foam. I have now upgraded to a banjo burner, and basically what I do now is set the flame to the point right under where it will foam like mad. I believe since achieving full hot breaks, my beer has gotten better.
 

Alehouserock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
112
Reaction score
1
Location
Irvine CA
If your burner is weak do the 3 gallons and after the hot break add the other 2 gallons of water already boiling from another burner
 
OP
kingmatt

kingmatt

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
1,297
Reaction score
917
Thanks for all the advice. I started heating 4 gallons in my big pot and 1 gallon in my smaller pot (for steeping) at the same time. I got my smaller pot up to 160, put in my grains and let it steep for 30 min. By that time, the 4 gallons were almost at boil so I added the gallon I steeped in and put the lid on until I got a slow boil, added me LME continued the slow boil the entire time (with no hot break).

I tried to put the pot over two burners but it wasn't quite wide enough and I got the same effect as when it was on the single burner.

Looks like I will have to start splitting my boil or invest in a heavy duty propane burner and start brewing outside...
 

Revvy

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
41,296
Reaction score
3,727
Location
"Detroitish" Michigan
I do a lot of 2.5 gallon stovetop batches, with a 3.5 gallon pre-boil gallon (I live in a loft and can only use my turkey fryer for full volume boils at ggroup brews at friend's houses.) My electric stove can't get big roiling boils unless I put the lid on, but all of those beers have turned out fine, and some have placed in contests. Even the ones where I do a higher grav AG wort, over hop by 18% for hop utilization and top off in primary.

A wise brewer when I first started out told me that "water boils at 212 degrees (at the right altitude) regardless of whether or not it is roiling or not."
 

Marsdude

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
469
Reaction score
2
Location
Fort Collins, CO
A couple of things that might help you with your boil would be to insulate the sides of the pot. I have read on this forum that some people use foil bubble insulation from HD to do this.

The second thing would be to make a heat stick. There are several threads on this just do a search.
 
Top