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First batch complete - few questions

Hey everyone, brewed my first beer (American Wheat), cracked open the first bottle tonight, psyched that carbonation worked. Overall not bad, had a bit of an off finish, twang finish. I believe this is attributed to the fermentation temperature, which averaged 74 degrees, already looking into a swamp cooler.

Question - I have a 10 gallon kettle, the first extract kit I went with 2.5 gallons as per the instructions. My next kit is extract as well, should I go with 5 gallon full boil? I have a wort chiller so cooling shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks everyone, seeing a head on my first beer was an awesome sight.

Welcome to the hobby! From what I’ve read on here, increasing the boil volume also increases the hop utilization unless you cut back on the hops. Word is that it’s not that noticeable. I’ll let other more experienced brewers chime in…

hop utilization is not the only bonus with full boil. your lighter colored beers will be lighter colored. more volume, less chance of scorching sugars & darkening your Tripel. still do your late extract additions if using malt extracts. you’ll still want to keep your water the proper ratio to your steeping grains. I still think the overall flavors of my beers got better when I started full boils. I recommend it.

Ok, I’m a little slow. For the water to steeping grains ratio, would you steep with 2.5 gal, then add the additional 2.5 gal of water following? Or just double the amount of grains with 5 gal of water?

[quote=“Andy72”]
Ok, I’m a little slow. For the water to steeping grains ratio, would you steep with 2.5 gal, then add the additional 2.5 gal of water following? Or just double the amount of grains with 5 gal of water?[/quote]

If you double the grains, you are changing the recipe. :wink:

Your 1st statement is correct, steep with the same amount of water. 1-2 gallons. Then add your additional water/malt extract. Take into account how much you will lose in the 1hr boil. So start with around 6.25-6.5 gallons.

Now I am confused, do I start the boil with 6.5 gallons of water and steep? Or do I start with 2.5 gallons, steep and than add more water?

I always just steeped in the full 6-6.5 gallons, I would bring the water temperature up to and hold it at ~150*, dunking the bag around for 10-20 minutes. Seemed like it was an effective way to rinse the sugars out of the specialty/crystal malts.
But if you wanted to, you could steep within a normal mashing ratio, using 1-2 quarts of water for each pound of grain that you are using. You’d be doing a partial mash, although you won’t actually be converting alot of starch to sugar.
Then add the rest of your water, and dunk the bag a bit before you pull it.

Steeping and Mashing are similar but different things.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter13-2.html

I don’t see it now, but I’m under the impression that steeping grain with to much water can cause tannins to be extracted. I could be wrong tho.

I would steep the grain with 2 or so gallons of water. Then place the bag of grains in a strainer and pour 1-2 gallons of ~150* water over it to rinse out more of the goodness.

Then add your LME/DME and top the boil kettle up the 6.25-6.5 gallons. Depending on how much will evaporate after your 1hr boil. You can always go short and add water at the end. Or, go long and boil for a longer period.

I’ve tried both ways and found a better flavor extraction from steeping in 1.5-2.5 gallons rather than full boil volume.

I used to steep in 2 gals. while heating up 4.5 gals… Kill the heat, add the extract and steeping liquid, then boil.

Finally getting to this kit tonight. Plan is to steep with 2.5 gallons of water for 20 minutes as per the instructions. Then add 4 gallons of hot water from the faucet and bring to a boil. Once at the boiling point I will add the extract, etc, basically follow the instructions, minus adding two gallons of water to the fermenter. Hopefully this is the correct route.

That sounds like a plan.
You really should use cold water for accurate volume measurements,
Heating water expands it, and when you cool everything down to pitching temp you’ll “lose” some beer.
Along the same line, you want it to look like you have 5 1/4- 5 1/2 gallons at the end of the boil so when its chilled it shrinks to ~5 gallons without having to top off. Good luck!

[quote=“hank1105”]Then add 4 gallons of hot water from the faucet and bring to a boil.[/quote]If your tap water contains chlorine, you really ought to run it through a carbon filter and/or treat with a campden tablet (to remove chloramines) or you risk the formation of “band-aid” flavor compounds in the beer.

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