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When scaling up, still boil half wort and add water?

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olie

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For 5, 6, 10 & 12 gallon batches, a typical recipe has us boiling approximately half the finished quantity, then adding (pre-boiled & cooled to sterilize) water to the desired finished qty/OG.

Ex: 5 gallon batch: boil 3 gallons of wort, end-up with ~2.5 gallons, add water to 5 gallons and/or 1.040

Looking at scaled-up systems -- like the turnkey 1 bbl systems from Spike, Blichmann and others -- I see that a 1 bbl system typically has 50 gallon boil kettle (same size for others). From that, I infer that they intend for me to boil 35-40 gallons of water to end up with 31 gallons (1bbl) of wort. (Maybe ~33, to account for trub and other loss at the end? Anyway...)

That made me wonder: well, that's really a two bbl system then, isn't it? I mean, if I scale-up, and boil 30+ gallons of wort, then I'd add 30+ gallons of water to end up with 62-ish or 2bbls of beer.

OR if I had a 20 gallon kettle and boiled to 16 gallons of wort, adding 15 gallons of water for a total of 31 = 1bbl...

...Right?

Or is it the case that, at that size, the pros just boil the whole wort all at once?

It seems to me that the convenience of having half your wort-volume as pre-cooled water is a serious aid to wort-chilling and that would be a matter of economics, but maybe I'm over (or under?! :) ) thinking it.

So that's my question: When one makes 30+ gallons of beer at a time, is it typical to boil all the wort at once, or to do like we do at homebrew scale and boil half, then add water to top it off?

Thanks!
~Ted
 

TripelDubbel

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For 5, 6, 10 & 12 gallon batches, a typical recipe has us boiling approximately half the finished quantity, then adding (pre-boiled & cooled to sterilize) water to the desired finished qty/OG.

Ex: 5 gallon batch: boil 3 gallons of wort, end-up with ~2.5 gallons, add water to 5 gallons and/or 1.040

Looking at scaled-up systems -- like the turnkey 1 bbl systems from Spike, Blichmann and others -- I see that a 1 bbl system typically has 50 gallon boil kettle (same size for others). From that, I infer that they intend for me to boil 35-40 gallons of water to end up with 31 gallons (1bbl) of wort. (Maybe ~33, to account for trub and other loss at the end? Anyway...)

That made me wonder: well, that's really a two bbl system then, isn't it? I mean, if I scale-up, and boil 30+ gallons of wort, then I'd add 30+ gallons of water to end up with 62-ish or 2bbls of beer.

OR if I had a 20 gallon kettle and boiled to 16 gallons of wort, adding 15 gallons of water for a total of 31 = 1bbl...

...Right?

Or is it the case that, at that size, the pros just boil the whole wort all at once?

It seems to me that the convenience of having half your wort-volume as pre-cooled water is a serious aid to wort-chilling and that would be a matter of economics, but maybe I'm over (or under?! :) ) thinking it.

So that's my question: When one makes 30+ gallons of beer at a time, is it typical to boil all the wort at once, or to do like we do at homebrew scale and boil half, then add water to top it off?

Thanks!
~Ted
Curious to see replies and wanting to ask a similar related question. Do homebrewers get better results (aka better tasting beer) boiling half vs full volume?

I typically brew two 5 gallon batches each brew day with propane tanks/turkey fryers. One brew pot is 5 gallons and the other is 8 gallons. So I typically do 3-4 gallons in the 5 gallon and full volume in the 8 gallon. I'm not sure if it is a coincidence, but some of my best beers have came from my 5 gallon pot where I add water post boil. Curious to hear other opinions. (after first giving advice to OP question of course!)
 

IslandLizard

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You're doing partial boils with malt extracts. There's a notable difference between extract brewing (which is what you do) and all-grain brewing (which is what all pros and many homebrewers do).

All grain brewing usually does not use top up water. For example, 40-45 gallons of wort (from the mash) boils down 10-20% over an hour, so you end up with 35-40 gallons of post boil wort (about a barrel). That goes into the fermentor, leaving most trub behind.
So that's my question: When one makes 30+ gallons of beer at a time, is it typical to boil all the wort at once [...]
With all grain, yes!
Extract brewers may do a partial boil and top up after chilling, regardless of size.
 

TallDan

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A partial boil and using top off water is pretty common with extract brewing, but not with all grain brewing. First reason being in my mind that you have greater mash efficiency with more water volume.

I'd think that very few pros would use top off water post-boil unless there was some unusual circumstance for it, maybe a low gravity beer like a berliner weisse.
 

IslandLizard

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Curious to see replies and wanting to ask a similar related question. Do homebrewers get better results (aka better tasting beer) boiling half vs full volume?

I typically brew two 5 gallon batches each brew day with propane tanks/turkey fryers. One brew pot is 5 gallons and the other is 8 gallons. So I typically do 3-4 gallons in the 5 gallon and full volume in the 8 gallon. I'm not sure if it is a coincidence, but some of my best beers have came from my 5 gallon pot where I add water post boil. Curious to hear other opinions. (after first giving advice to OP question of course!)
There are differences between beers brewed as partial boils and full boils. There are a few different ways to do partial boils too, so you probably get different end results from those too.

One main factor is diminished hop utilization (and extraction) when diluting after the boil, and the other has to do with increased wort caramelization during more concentrated (partial) boils.
 

IslandLizard

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I'd think that very few pros would use top off water post-boil unless there was some unusual circumstance for it
Allegedly, many macro breweries (e.g., AB InBev) brew and ferment at higher gravity and dilute the product when packaging. This maximizes their production potential, and thus, in the end, profits.
 

TallDan

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Allegedly, many macro breweries (e.g., AB InBev) brew and ferment at higher gravity and dilute the product when packaging. This maximizes their production potential, and thus, in the end, profits.
Well, bud lite would qualify as a low gravity beer in my book. Maybe not as low as a berliner, but probably around 1.035.
 

TripelDubbel

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There are differences between beers brewed as partial boils and full boils. There are a few different ways to do partial boils too, so you probably get different end results from those too.

One main factor is diminished hop utilization (and extraction) when diluting after the boil, and the other has to do with increased wort caramelization during more concentrated (partial) boils.
Makes total sense. I should check to see which styles performed better in partial vs full boils. Thanks!
 

IslandLizard

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Also...

You've got to realize that the extracts you buy (DME or LME) come from all-grain brews done at the maltster. The resulting worts are then concentrated into a syrup (LME) or a step farther, dry extract powder (DME).

For example, a pound of base malt (grain) can lend about 33-37 points of sugar (after mashing) in a gallon of water. That's a gravity of 1.033-1.037.
Very similarly, when you dissolve a pound of LME in a gallon of water, you'll get a gravity of around 1.036.
The main difference is, the wort that created the LME has been boiled, condensed, and packaged. You then re-dissolved it.
 
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