Thanks all for your help and suggestions this morning. Much appreciated.
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I get it all except the part about having to cut back on the hops if doing a full boil. If you boil hops for say 60 minutes, isn't it the time of boil not the boil volume that dictates hops utilization?I am going to brew a partial extract this morning. The recipe that I am following asks me to steep my grains and boil the extract and hops in 1 1/2 gallons of water and then add 2 gallons of chilled water to the glass carboy and then top up to 5 gallons. Is there anything magic about the 1 1/2 gallons for the steeping and the boil or could I just use 5 gallons since I have a wort chiller?
What I would do is steep in the 1.5 gallons for the designated time, add the additional 2 gallons for the boil and add approximately 1/3 of the extract at the start of the boil and follow the recipe's hop additions. Add the remainder of the extract at the end of the boil. Cool and rack to primary and then top off.
The split extract additions will help maintain a truer color to the beer and prevent some caramelization of the wort. The increased boil volume will also help minimize this as well as you will lose about a gallon to boil off over 60 minutes. If you wanted to do a full boil you would need to reduce the amount of hops due to better utilization in a full boil
Drop the "1" from both OG and FG. Then it's (OG-FG)*.132
(80-20)*.132 = 7.92
+1. The formula from Papazian is for calculating alcohol by WEIGHT (ABW). Denny's formula here is for ABV (Volume). The two numbers are slightly different. Homebrewers most often use ABV. Commercial breweries I believe use ABW, or it depends on whatever the laws require at the moment as to how they label their bottles.
Definitely use a larger primary vessel and a blow off! A little lost beer is far better than blowing the lid/bung and having a huge sticky mess to clean up!
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