Author Topic: Boiling down runnings  (Read 4161 times)

Offline erockrph

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Boiling down runnings
« on: October 19, 2012, 09:19:13 PM »
I'm starting to think about brewing a spiced beer for the holidays (something similar to Harpoon Winter Warmer). I've also been wanting to try out the technique of pulling off some of the first runnings, boiling it down to a syrup, then adding it back to the boil. I figure this would be a good style of beer to try it with. I had a few questions about how I should go about this.

I found an old clone recipe from BYO with the following grain bill:

9.33 lb 2-row
2 lb C-90
0.5 lb Carapils
OG=1.056 / 5 gallon recipe

I'm thinking I would want to cut the crystal malt down by quite a bit, since I would be getting a lot of the caramel flavor from the reduced syrup. Any idea by how much? Also, how much should I pull off to boil down to a syrup?

I typically do a full-volume mash with no sparge. Am I better off doing a batch sparge instead to get more concentrated first runnings?
Eric B.

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Offline tom

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2012, 10:02:11 AM »
I take 1 gallon and boil it down until scared (it starts to foam and grow out of the pot) while the main boil is going.  Let it cool a bit before adding it back to the main boil.  I don't think I have ever changed the base recipe when trying this.  I always do a version of no-sparge for these brews too.  Don't forget to add in an extra gallon to your boil-off calc.
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Offline euge

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2012, 11:16:04 AM »
That's how you get those lovely maillard reactions.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 11:25:06 AM »
I do this for my Scottish 80/-.  Collect the first gallon of the first runnings and boil down to a thick syrup, stirring often throughout, especially toward the end.  I usually have the syrup ready to go just about the same time I've collected all my pre-boil runnings.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 12:11:28 PM »
I boil down a gallon for my wee heavy.  Same technique as Tom and Matt posted above.
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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2012, 07:13:59 PM »
Boiling a gallon as above will give you plenty of caramel. For a holiday beer I think you can't go wrong - you could ditch all of the crystal or leave it all in.
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Offline ultravista

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2012, 07:27:48 PM »
Talk about timing ...

I just brewed a Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout today. I mash in a bag and had plenty of left-overs after the sparge; 3 quarts to be exact.

The runnings went on the stove and boiled down to nearly 1.090 and a quart - then back into the kettle.

My OG is high, primarily due to the condensed runnings, and I can't wait to taste it.


Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2012, 11:11:58 PM »
Yeah, 2 lbs Crystal 90 sounds nuts, even if you don't boil down your runnings... but since you are, I would decrease it, and bump up the 2 row.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2012, 05:19:29 PM »
The one time I tried it, the flavor was more buttery than caramel.  It was tasty though.  I boiled down a gallon of the first runnings.

Offline bboy9000

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2012, 06:14:09 PM »
I plan on doing a 70 shilling for my next beer as a way to make a starter for a wee heavy the week after that.  I've never done this style  before, so in preparation I was listening to some podcasts of the Jamil show.  He said when you boil down your first runnings, like I plan on doing for both beers, you do get a buttery taste so buttery that some judges think it's diacetyl.  That's not going to stop me though because I don't plan on entering my beer in a competition anyway. Also, Jamil's recipes that call for boing down runnings leave out the crystal malt.  His recipes with crystal malt are meant to emulate the taste from boiled-down batches.  I also have read  Greg Noonan's book on Scotch Ale and his recipes contain little crystal malt  as many are boiling first runnings.  I don't plan on doing my beers for a couple of weeks; but I'll share my experience.  Good luck.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2012, 05:02:12 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I think I'm going to get rid of the 2 lbs of C-90, and use a smaller amount (like 1/2 pound or so) of something like Special B or Extra Dark Crystal for a bit of color and flavor.

Instead of regular US 2-Row, I was thinking of something a bit more flavorful as my base malt. Any suggestions? I was thinking maybe Golden Promise or MO.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Boiling down runnings
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2012, 06:34:10 AM »
IMO, either Golden Promise or MO would be a better choice than 2-row for a Scottish ale. I would probably lean toward Golden Promise.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2012, 07:52:24 AM »
IMO, either Golden Promise or MO would be a better choice than 2-row for a Scottish ale. I would probably lean toward Golden Promise.

I agree, since it's such a simple beer, that the base malt will have a big impact on the flavor. You want the freshest, most flavorful base malt you can find. I went to my LHBS and tasted both. I went with GP because it had more flavor. But that was probably due to age and storage of the malt, because I know a lot of people love MO.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2012, 11:32:24 AM »
Certainly it depends upon the geometry of the pot you use, but how long does it take to boil down a gallon?

Offline denny

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Re: Boiling down runnings
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2012, 11:38:46 AM »
Certainly it depends upon the geometry of the pot you use, but how long does it take to boil down a gallon?

Maybe an hour or so.  I do it fairly slowly since it has a tendency to boil over.  You want to basically reduce it to a syrup.
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