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"Brewing Classic Styles"; help with batch size

A new brewer here, hi all. I’m planning to make my first batch soon, and I bought the BCS- book and would like to try some of the recipes from it. I know I’m not the first one to ask about the batch sizes in this book, but even after searching through several of older posts, I’m still not sure what I should do with the batch size, that is how much water should I put into my kettle when I start?

  • the recipe says pre-boil volume is 7 gallons. If I start with 1 gallon where I steep the grains for 30 minutes, then should I top all the way to 7 gallons when starting the boil, and add the extracts there? Then I time the 60 mins and add hops and cool down etc.

  • I have a large 13 gallon kettle so I can do a full boil, it’s just that I don’t have a wort chiller, so I was thinking that doing a partial (half) boil would be easier to chill. But if I do a partial boil, should I then top the fermenter up to six gallons when I’m done?

I really feel that the closer I get to the brewing day, the more confused I get with all of this.

As long as you use the same ingredients and whether you top up or boil down, your gravity should be the same as long as you end up with the same amount of wort going into the fermenter (which i think may be 5.5 in that book, it says exactly in the intro chapters).

If you do decide to do a partial boil instead of full, make sure you account for the loss of hop utilization since you get more bittering from full boils than partial boils.

I will also give a word of warning, when i first started brewing I tried to make some of the extract recipes in that book and it became very clear the the recipes are designed for all-grain and don’t always turn out good as extract beers. The weizenbock recipe was a disaster as 14lbs of LME will never finish at the FG in the book unless some simple sugar was added. You should be fine with the smaller beers but don’t try to make any big beers or you will be disappointed.

I am a new brewer and also don’t have a chiller. For my last 2 batches I boiled the recommended amount of water minus 1 gallon. In addition to the ice bath I added a gallon of sanitized ice to the hot wort. It cooled relatively quickly and came out fine.

The authors say the recipes are designed to deliver 6 gallons in the kettle at the end of the boil, 5.5 gallons into the fermenter, and 5 gallons into bottles/keg.

With all grain, OG will vary widely depending on the efficiency of your equipment and process. I target a particular original gravity. That required adjusting the intensity of my boil to increase the gravity or adding water to decrease the gravity - until I learned what to expect from my system. Until you have your system dialed in, I recommend shooting for a slightly higher gravity then diluting to reach the desired OG. There’s also nothing wrong with the relax-don’t-worry school of brewing - brew it and let it be whatever it becomes.

Yes, I’ve noticed that it’s easy to get way too technical and worry about stuff, before you’ve even gotten around to do anything in the first place! I think Papazian really knows what’s he’s talking about :cheers:

That said, after watching a few BIAB-videos, that seems like a fairly low-stress approach?

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