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Amount of water/stove top brewing

Do to a new apartment I just moved into, I am now forced to brew on a stove top. I purchased a new 4 gallon kettle in order to do so, but am having trouble bringing water to a boil. I have no problem getting two gallons to boil, but any more than that is a hassle.

  1. Will using only 2 gallons of water during the boil effect the beer?
  2. What is the best way to control temperature on a stove top?.

Extract, or AG?

Your results may very but I can tell you I have never gotten a full rolling boil for 60 minutes. I currently do extract brewing and have a ceramic cooktop. They are notorious for not allowing a full boil of 2.5 gallons because the way the work is by basically turning the element on and off. What I have found to work best is putting the kettle’s lid on but leaving it cracked a little on the back to allow evaporation. This still takes awhile to get a full boil. For example with steeping grains I use hot water from the tap for the 2.5 gallons. Leave the stove on high the entire steep, it never gets to the max recommended temp before the 20 minutes are up. I then start the 60 minutes boil even though I don’t really have a boil. Normally I get a good boil at 30 minutes in, but it does go away pretty quickly when you lift or remove the lid and takes awhile to build back up. For a beer like the SMASH Ale with no specialty grains, I let it get to about 180 degrees (still no boil) which took about 40 minutes, and then started the 60 minute boil. I personally have been pretty satisfied with the results and even those who have tried the batches I have made enjoy them. Not sure if that helps or not but that’s what I currently do until I can get a propane burner and go BIAB.

First off, it is extract.

Second, I take a similar approach with the boiling process. I basically start with the burner on high and steep the grains. It is almost to the boiling point by time the 20 minutes is done. I do get a pretty good boil though with just the two gallons. I have found that the lid is really the only way to control the boil as well.

Are you sure you are giving it enough time? I’ve brewed many batches on a electric “coil” range and while it takes a while to get boiling, once it does, it stays boiling.

I now have a propane range, and 4-6 gallons still takes a LONG time to boil.

[quote=“blshaw56”]First off, it is extract.

Second, I take a similar approach with the boiling process. I basically start with the burner on high and steep the grains. It is almost to the boiling point by time the 20 minutes is done. I do get a pretty good boil though with just the two gallons. I have found that the lid is really the only way to control the boil as well.[/quote]
Almost boiling at 20 minutes? Having the grains in water over 170° can extract tannins from the grain husks.

The problem is you just don’t have a powerful enough burner. Have you tried to position the pot over two burners and have them both heating at full power? If you can do that, it will help.

The more concentrated your boil is, the darker your beer will turn out and the lower the bitterness extraction from the hops will be, though the bitterness reduction is pretty small overall - you may not even notice it. If you find those to be an issue, you can always brew half batches.

I steep 1 lb of grains in 1 gallon of water. While heating the other 1.5 gallons in another pot. Speeds up the boiling process. I have a gas stove now but I did have an electic stove at my last apartment. It took awhile to boil but would keep a roiling boil. Check the rated output of each coil. Should be listed on a sticker possible in the drawer at the bottom.

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