Boiling Problem

Since I have had a foot of snow in my back yard for months now, I have been doing extracts on my electric stove. Gotta say I kinda like it - the stove can just about keep 2.5 gallons or so of wort at a very light boil and there is zero chance of a boil over so I am able to be productive doing other stuff at the same time.

Yesterday I had an issue though - I was making the English Barleywine extract and all was going well until the 15 min late addition of 9 lbs of extract.
When I added it, I could not get the pot back to a boil - the best it did was get to 205F by the end.
I was wondering what effect this is going to have?

If it was a generic light beer or something, I mightn’t care quite as much since I’d be tasting it in a couple of weeks - but since I’m supposed to age this for a year or so, I’m wondering if anyone can let me know if I should expect issues with it.

Any info would be great - I’ve never even tasted a barleywine so I might not even notice any issues when the time comes around.


Hello fellow Long Islander. I think when you increase the density of a liquid it becomes harder to bring to a boil. When you add the extract you do just that. I find that when I am boiling outside and have a good boil going, as the boil progresses I have to increase the flame to keep the boil at the same level. I guess because as the water boils off the wort increases in density. But spring is close and the melt we had yesterday alone started to expose some grass. Before long you will be able to enjoy back yard brewing again. I am lucky enough to have a deck outside of my living room and I keep it clear enough to be able to brew in the winter. I brewed Saturday. A bit cold but all in all it was nice.

I brewed the NB Barley Wine in January and had the same problem getting back to boiling after adding the 9 lbs of LME. I brew inside using a propane gas stove that has a special larger burner just for boiling and generally don’t have a problem. It’s been in secondary for about a month now and samples I’ve tried were delicious. I’ve had commercial Barley Wines before, but I’ve not tried the NB recipe. If mine is any indication, yours should be fine.

There’s a possibility of DMS precursors not being sufficiently boiled off. This could result in a cooked corn or vegetable taste. the precursor to DMS (SMM) is driven off by water vapor that is released during the boil.

DMS may age out so it may not be an issue if you plan on aging this beer for a long time.

I don’t believe DMS is an issue with extract brewing:

[quote]3. Boil your wort vigorously.

Extract brewers should boil as much wort as possible, up to a full-wort boil. However, on many stoves, larger volumes cannot be brought to more than a simmer. In that case, you either need to boil less volume, or do something to increase the heat being applied to your wort. A very simple thing you can do is to put the lid loosely on your brewpot. This will trap a small amount of heat and increase the vigor of your boil.

Some homebrewers will advise against this, arguing that you’ll trap DMS in your brewpot and your beer will taste like cooked corn. DMS is produced when the wort from an all-grain beer is heated and is mostly driven off in the boil. Brewery grade malt extract has already been boiled (and condensed and maybe dried), so there is less DMS to worry about. If you’re boiling wort from a partial mash, leave the lid off as long as you can smell cooked corn. If you can’t (and the boil is just simmering), loosely cover the brewpot with your lid.

Always leave the lid on loosely, so steam can escape; don’t cover the boil completely.[/quote]

(Emphasis mine)