Author Topic: noob boil question  (Read 1570 times)

Offline astrivian

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noob boil question
« on: June 07, 2010, 08:08:27 PM »
I am  new to homebrewing (about a year and 11 batches). I use a mini-mash with extract so that the extract makes up about 50% of my bill. I am into higher gravity beers (over 10% ABV), and use about 6 pounds of grain with 8 lbs of liquid extract (of various colors).

Anyway, my question is about procedure. After i sparge i tend to have about 8 gallons of wort, which i boil down to 5. I do not add hops or the extract during this boil until it reaches 5 gallons (i have a measuring stick and it can take 3 or 4 hours depending on the wind). Once it hits 5 gallons and i add hops, i start the 60 minute boil timer and top off the wort as needed.

What do you all think of this procedure? I didn't read anywhere that i should do this, i just started doing it. Am i hurting flavor by boiling for so long?
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Offline a10t2

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Re: noob boil question
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2010, 09:19:03 PM »
You probably aren't hurting anything, although you might have trouble making very pale beers (due to darkening in the long boil) or beers with little malt character (due to the formation of Maillard products).

Offhand, I would say you probably aren't gaining anything by boiling for 3-4 hours instead of 1-2, so I would sparge less. Also, you might as well start measuring your boiloff volume per hour, so you know when to start the 60 minutes. Topping off is just a waste of gas/electricity IMHO.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: noob boil question
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 08:41:12 AM »
Anyway, my question is about procedure. After i sparge i tend to have about 8 gallons of wort, which i boil down to 5. I do not add hops or the extract during this boil until it reaches 5 gallons (i have a measuring stick and it can take 3 or 4 hours depending on the wind). Once it hits 5 gallons and i add hops, i start the 60 minute boil timer and top off the wort as needed. 

Getting 8 gallons of wort out of 6 pounds of grains sounds like over-sparging to me.  Try doing the calculations so that you get about 1/2 your pre-boil volume from your sparge.  The other 1/2 would be water plus extract.  It may take a few sessions to dial in your variables (deadspace, absorption, boil-off, etc.) but once you do, you'll be set.
Start your boil and as soon as you're past the hot break, start your 60 minute timer.  You'll also save a lot of propane.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: noob boil question
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2010, 08:47:59 AM »
Getting 8 gallons of wort out of 6 pounds of grains sounds like over-sparging to me. 
That's a nice catch,  +1

How much over 10%  what styles and what are your gravities. 
Going over 10% your mash starts to become critical, even more so with extract.  Your FG is a major factor in what your final beer will be.

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Offline astrivian

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Re: noob boil question
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2010, 06:58:50 PM »
Thanks all!

I probably am over-sparging. My FGs tend to be in the 1.020 range where the OG is around 1.120 (or so).

I should actually clarify something. I boil down to 4 gallons then pitch a 1 gallon yeast starter made with a pound of LME (calculated into the recipe, not additional).

Also, i just read the article on producing BIG beers and that helped a lot, and i do use up to 15% sugar in most of my beers, which is probably why i get such attenuation.

Next time i will sparge a bit less, aiming for the 1 1/2x recommended here. You know, and you help clarify something for me: preboil gravity. I always thought it was taken after you sparged, so it never calculated correctly. Now i know why: you take it of the mash before you mix it with the sparged water. oh well. :)

Thanks!
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Offline tygo

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Re: noob boil question
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2010, 07:40:24 PM »
You know, and you help clarify something for me: preboil gravity. I always thought it was taken after you sparged, so it never calculated correctly. Now i know why: you take it of the mash before you mix it with the sparged water. oh well. :)

Thanks!

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying but the pre-boil gravity reading is taken of the entire boil volume, not just the mash before you sparge it.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: noob boil question
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2010, 07:37:10 PM »
Oh, so i was doing it right. Thanks
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Offline wilypig

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Re: noob boil question
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2010, 08:05:32 AM »
Another issue with long boils (greater than 2.5 hours) is that you can reverse the hot break process. This will result in very hazy finished beers due to the protein content in solution. This is also a means of early staling in beers. If you are making high gravity beers you will want to keep them for a long time and the long boil will hurt you in the long run. You should not boil longer than 2.5 hours unless you are going to use fermentation organisms that will work on this material - Lambic or sour styles. The over sparging may also lead to excessive polyphenol (tannin) extraction which is not a good thing either.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: noob boil question
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2010, 08:52:56 AM »
Another issue with long boils (greater than 2.5 hours) is that you can reverse the hot break process. This will result in very hazy finished beers due to the protein content in solution. This is also a means of early staling in beers. If you are making high gravity beers you will want to keep them for a long time and the long boil will hurt you in the long run. You should not boil longer than 2.5 hours unless you are going to use fermentation organisms that will work on this material - Lambic or sour styles. The over sparging may also lead to excessive polyphenol (tannin) extraction which is not a good thing either.
I have not had this experience.

Fred
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Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)