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I have a couple of questions

I have read many post here and watched video on You Tube trying to clarify a few things. I am new to the hobby of homebrewing but already totally addicted. I brewed my 4th batch this morning, NB Cream Ale. My first was a Coppers Wheat that I added raspberry extract too which turned out rather yummy :cheers: . I have a NB Irish Red and a Coppers IPA conditioning in kegs.

Ok, that’s enough brackground now to the questions: Reading the recipie it says to start off with 2 1/2 gallons of water, is this something that you need to accuratly measure? In the end you top off with tap water to 5 gallons so does it really matter that you start off with just 2 1/2? I am not getting the logic behind this so that is the reason for the question. Along the same lines here… Do you boil the wort for 1 hour with a lid or without a lid on your pot? Obviously without a lid you will lose some water but nothing really tells you which way to go here.

I want to go all grain as soon as I get my technique down and feel I really understand the in’s and out’s of what to and what not to do. Thanks for any and all advice.

If you have the capacity in your boil kettle, I would just do a full boil of 6 gallons or so(depends on your evaporation rate) without a lid on, if not just start with as much as you can and make sure you shake vigorously to mix the water and wort after you top off. Also with extract recipes, you can add half of your LME at the beginning of the boil and the other half with 10-15 min left, you’ll achieve a better colored beer this way.

The 2 1/2 gallons is probably to maake sure you start at the right gravity, and you don’t want to boil with a lid - I forget what it is, but you want something to evaporate during the boil. You CAN have a lid on until the boil is reached though, then take it off.

For a partial boil, you want to start with as much water as your pot can handle without boiling over. If you have a 5 gal pot, you should be okay with 3.5 - 4 gals. Keep some cold water close by in case it starts to get close to the top of the pot. Boil with the lid off. A covered pot will boil over before you realize it. An open boil also drives off DMS, which is described as having a cooked corn/vegetable aroma. Since you’re topping off, water loss isn’t an issue. With a full boil (5.5 gals in the fermenter), you would start with more water to compensate for the loss. Usually 6.5 gals. Welcome to the addiction. :cheers:

When doing an extract batch from a kit, it IS important to watch the gallons you boil and add at the end! The peeps who put together the kit together calculated your hop utilization and gravity for you. If you boil too much much and add less OR boil less and add more you will end up with different bittering in your beer. It will also change your gravity, which will affect your malt profile and ABV.

Once you start using your own recipes (or those borrowed) you will be able to play around more to get what you want. Get yourself some good brewing software… BeerSmith, Promash, etc. It help you play around with stuff.

Keep the lid off during the boil, you want some of the water to boil off. Also, if you keep the on it can contribute to off flavors. Sounds odd but put the lid on while you are cooling (helps to to keep the nasties out).

I don’t thing you need to be precise about the 2.5 gallons at all. I just estimate 2.5 to 3 gallons for a partial boil and top it off to 5.25 gallons at the end. Hit my target gravity every time and have yet to have an issue.

I could easily boil up to 4 to 4.5 gallons, but with my set up, I would have great difficulty getting the wort cool enough with higher boil volumes. I use a counterflow chiller, but the water temps in DC are so warm that I can only get 2.5 gallons of hot wort to about 84*. I then add the balance of cold water at about 32* (basically slush) to get the temps down to my 60* pitch temps.

[quote][/quote]Re: I have a couple of questions…
by Cheshire_Cat » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:24 pm

When doing an extract batch from a kit, it IS important to watch the gallons you boil and add at the end! The peeps who put together the kit together calculated your hop utilization and gravity for you. If you boil too much much and add less OR boil less and add more you will end up with different bittering in your beer. It will also change your gravity, which will affect your malt profile and ABV.

Once you start using your own recipes (or those borrowed) you will be able to play around more to get what you want. Get yourself some good brewing software… BeerSmith, Promash, etc. It help you play around with stuff.

Keep the lid off during the boil, you want some of the water to boil off. Also, if you keep the on it can contribute to off flavors. Sounds odd but put the lid on while you are cooling (helps to to keep the nasties out).
Cheshire_Cat
Brewer

Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:34 pm [quote][/quote]

That would help explain the IPA that I am drinking now… I expected a MUCH hoppier tasting beer than what I have ended up with. I did not worry too much with the amounts of water that I was boiling or using, I just made sure in the end that I had 5.5 gallons of “wort” before pitching the yeast.

More water during boiling= less hoppier beer… Now I have learned the reason behind measuring the water as suggested in the instructions. :slight_smile: The beer still turned ot as a nice beer but it is not what I was expecting as an IPA.

[quote]by Lovenbeer » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:19 pm
More water during boiling= less hoppier beer… [/quote]
I do a lot of extract beers and I don’t agree with that. I used to do 1.5 gallon boils and top off and now I do 6.5 gallon boils which end up at 5 gallons. My hop utilization is better, hop flavors are more pronounced and more aromatic. In addition, my beers now have more body and better mouthfeel. Big fan of full boils!

[quote]by Cheshire_Cat » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:24 pm
If you boil too much much and add less OR boil less and add more you will end up with different bittering in your beer. It will also change your gravity, which will affect your malt profile and ABV. [/quote]
I don’t understand how boiling more or less water would affect SG? Boiling doesn’t increase or decrease the amount of sugars. Sure evaporation will make the remaining wort stronger, higher SG, but as long as you dilute to 5 gallons the gravity should be on.

Technically true but experience tells me that this is not as crucial with extract batches. I think it has something to do with DMS being mostly removed during the extract creation process. I dunno, do they boil it when they make it? And I end up taking my lid off my BK during cooling so I can monitor BK level and tilt a bit at the end. I’ve always felt safe with this because she’s still way hot and figure anything that falls in will die. I brew outdoors, should I be concerned?

I’m glad to hear you had success with your first batches - that always helps! :smiley:

I start with 2.5 gallons of water in a 5-gallon pot for a number of reasons:

1.) I can predict when it will hit 170 F with a steeping grain bag, which in my case is 30 minutes. I use a lid here.

2.) I have enough head space in case of a boil up that I have time to react if necessary. I use a lid cautiously here as it comes up to temp.

3.) I can lift the boiling pot and pour it without getting hurt.

I only use a lid when I’m trying to get something up to temperature (that initial 170 F and then the full boil temp later on). Once I’m there I leave it off so I can see what is going on.

In reference to #3 and being able to pour the hot wort, I fill my primary with about a 1/2 gallon of cold water and roughly 2 gallons of ice then pour the hot wort on that, then top it off with cold water to get to 5 gallons. Generally that chills to the high 70s or low 80s F immediately, so then I will put a lid on it and let it sit until it hits the mid to high 60s and pitch my yeast.

As for mouthfeel, hoppiness, etc., I’m still working through the kits here and refining my technique so I cannot comment on that. I can say that the NB kits have blown my socks off compared to what I’ve made in the past, as these extract beers don’t smack of ‘kit beers’ like I’ve had before. So at this point I cannot comment on whether a full boil is necessary or not, but that’s a moot point b/c I can’t do that with my setup anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, when I was doing 1.5 gallon boils for 5g batches, they turned out great. Full boils are not neccesary by any means. Nothing to lose sleep over. The main reason I do full boils is because I have a 0.5 gallon equipment loss. If I did a 2.5g boil then that 0.5g loss is pretty concentrated. So I figure dilute as much as possible. Can’t go wrong with a NB kit. I REALLY love the Schwarzbier kit! I wish I could think of a good use for the empty boxes.
:cheers:

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