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Very low boil Dead Ringer

Brewed another 5 gallons of Dead Ringer yesterday. Decided to try something different. I usually keep about one-third of the wort surface in the kettle rolling for the boil. I would have the lid partially on to be able to reduce the amount of heat applied to the bottom of the kettle. Heat out put from the large electric coil would be set at about 70% to 75%.

Yesterday I reduced the heat to about 50% after bringing the wort to a quick rolling boil. I kept the lid cracked just a quarter inch to allow some steam to escape and maintain more of a simmer with the wort surface only coming to a partial roll occasionally. I would have the lid full on after a hop addition to bring it up to a foaming boil for a couple of minutes.

After chilling I had the normal mass or coagulated proteins centered in the kettle. The very low boil didn’t affect this aspect. I do use Irish moss in the boil.

The change in color of the wort in the kettle and carboy was very noticeable. A much lighter very bright light amber color.

Happily fermenting at 68°F. In about 10 days I’ll take out a SG sample and have a taste.

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Not unlike what the Burton brewers did in the heyday of exporting IPA from Great Britain. It was common practice to maintain a very low boil to preserve the light color of the wort, unlike the London brewers that went with a more intense boil and reportedly had darker pale ales.

How long was the boil? Did you decrease the time at all? so far my ales have all had a great copper color however I’d like to see if I can lighten them up a touch. Sounds like you may have given me the answer.:stew:

I went with the 60 minute boil for changing only one major factor at a time to better judge the result.

I have found that over the past year of brewing (started Feb 2016) I was boiling way too aggressively. I think its a mistake a lot of new brewers such as myself make. I have toned that down to just a very slow boil. I don’t know if it has changed the color of my beer or not but I do know that it has lessened my boil off somewhat.

With an extract kit the only reason you need to boil is for hop isomerization as you know. Extract wise there really isn’t a need to boil it at all. It has already been boiled. I know this is outside of what we have thought for years. Take a look at this article. It’s a little dated but the info still sounds good. Don't Boil It! - Brew Your Own

I have two kits left from the three I bought from NB and I just might toss the instructions and try it with one. Boil the bittering hops for 60 then steep the grain for 20 and add the extract. Cool then top up.

That will be if the Brick warmer kit ever finishes. Four weeks tomorrow and I think it might be done. Hydrometer reading today.

Caution this may be a home brew myth!!
I had often read that boiling hops in water can lead to off flavors and poor isomerization. Do not remember if any of the reads was from a knowledgeable brewing source.

Since this could have some truth, or not, I would start out with a wort of 1.040 or close to it for the 60 minute hop addition as a precaution.

Will be a time saver if you find this works well. No need to tend the boil kettle with little to no chance of a boil over for the first 40 minutes.

I have a Spiced Winter Ale (gallon batch) that I brew annually where I add all the (unhopped) DME at the end of the boil. The recipe does include steeping 3 oz of 60L, so I’m not boiling the hops in “just water”.

The beer gets good reviews from “my peeps” each year from those who like spiced beer. It’s possible that the mulling spices are covering up some “off flavors”. But if one can’t taste those off flavors, are they really there? :slight_smile:

I don’t think so. There are recipes that call for the extract to be added at the end of the boil to prevent darkening the beer. Extract is just concentrated wort, made by someone else. Don’t try to pick out off flavors. If you like your beer, just enjoy it.

I don’t get too scientific about brewing. Keep everything clean and don’t worry. It will come out beer. Good beer. Even your worst attempt will probably taste better than the swill you can buy at the corner gas station quick stop.

Near as I can tell, with my simple logic, is that you get the bitterness from hops by boiling it out. So wouldn’t just water work?


Intresting. Got one kit left. Gonna try this. But by doing full boil. And late adition of. Lme. Did find out color much clear. As well

I have to give this a visual +1 - a “like” just isn’t enough.

For me, trying it once (with success) was fun. I have not made time in my “experimental” brewing to try it with a common style - but it wasn’t based on the outcome of the spiced ale. For me, boiling “just the hops” doesn’t save time in the brew day.

Like @flars said here,

I have skimmed over a similar thought in various places. This, from How can I get better hop utilization? back in 2007,

On the surface this [ How can I get better hop utilization? ] may seem like an easy question. Since hop utilization decreases as wort gravity increases it seems logical that one solution to the dilemma faced by extract brewers who boil concentrated wort is to boil the hops separately. This may sound attractive but one downside to this is that the quality of the bitterness and the extraction of plant substances from the hops are reportedly different when hops are boiled in water compared to boiling in wort, and the differences are not for the better.

seems to summarize my “book knowledge” on the topic.

The suggested “different” hop bitterness (suggested in the article), in the right recipe, may be a difference for the better.

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