Author Topic: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers  (Read 833 times)

Offline war2112

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Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« on: June 15, 2016, 12:43:11 AM »
Hello,

I am actually fairly new myself, I have brewed eight 5 gallon batches on an electric coil range with a 16 quart kettle (partial boil) and have yet to have a boil over.

So what I do is this. First, I do keep a bottle of clean sanitary water at hand in a spray bottle. Second, I watch that pot like a hawk. They say a watched pot never boils but we brewers know that a watched pot in the brewing business WILL boil and better watch it!

This may not be the best process but has worked for me. When the extreme rise in the wort does begin just before the wort begins to boil, I apply upwards pressure on the kettle handles to decrease pressure on the coil. Once it has settled a bit, I let it back down and then spray the top with the water. I will go through this process several times while adjusting the heat downwards into rolling boil territory. If all else fails, I will remove the kettle entirely but have only had to do this once.

Hope this helps the brewers even newer than me.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 12:46:14 AM »
If you think a boil over is about to happen putting your hands anywhere near the kettle is a dumb idea.

Spray bottle and heat control is key. Not over filling your pot is another good tip. When I brewed indoors, I would kill the heat before adding hops.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 01:01:30 AM »
I take the worts temp periodically, then watch it like a hawk once it gets to 205ish. (I'm basically at sea level.) Being prepared and anticipating when to dial back the throttle works really well. Can't wait for the new Blichmann temp sensors to come out, then I'll just wait for my phone to alert me that the boil is near.

That being said, what's bit me has been adding whirflock. Don't walk away till that entire pill has dissolved, it can REALLY encourage a boilover.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2016, 11:04:03 AM »
Most homebrewers have the flame up too high and boil too hard as well. Once the temp gets up over 200 degrees I turn the flame down to a whisper. I can bring about 13.5 gallons to a roiling boil in a 14 gallon kettle with nary an inch to spare at the top of the kettle without getting a boil over (usually ;) )

Offline MDixon

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2016, 11:18:28 AM »
Keep a hairdryer close by ready to go. If it starts to boil over hit it with the air on a cool setting.
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Offline Chronospa

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2016, 01:31:10 PM »
My understanding is that pellets provide nucleation sites that promote a boil over. To avoid this I take some of the wort from the pot and use it to hydrate the hop pellets into a slurry. When I add it back to the pot it doesn't effect the boil and avoids any boil over.

I'm not sure if that's a "proper" move but it seems to help me a lot.


... When I brewed indoors, I would kill the heat before adding hops.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2016, 01:32:46 PM »
Most homebrewers have the flame up too high and boil too hard as well. Once the temp gets up over 200 degrees I turn the flame down to a whisper. I can bring about 13.5 gallons to a roiling boil in a 14 gallon kettle with nary an inch to spare at the top of the kettle without getting a boil over (usually ;) )


I agree, Keith. I've had very few boil overs in 20+ years. Like maybe 2 or 3 at most.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2016, 06:18:15 PM »
I use Fermcap-S and haven't had a boilover (even with the lid on) since. I'll never brew without it.
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Offline denny

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 06:39:50 PM »
I use Fermcap-S and haven't had a boilover (even with the lid on) since. I'll never brew without it.

And I'll never use it again.  It just isn't necessary for my situation.
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Offline tommymorris

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Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2016, 06:44:45 PM »
I stopped. Using Fermcap-S a few years ago. I just stir for the 2 minute period when there is danger of boil over. I have a 7.5g pot for 3.5g of wort so there is lots of head room.

Fermcap-S seems safe from reading the MSDS but keeping it around and remembering to use it is just one more step I care not to bother with.

Offline war2112

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Re: Avoiding boil overs - advice for the newcomers
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2016, 09:49:10 PM »
Most homebrewers have the flame up too high and boil too hard as well. Once the temp gets up over 200 degrees I turn the flame down to a whisper. I can bring about 13.5 gallons to a roiling boil in a 14 gallon kettle with nary an inch to spare at the top of the kettle without getting a boil over (usually ;) )

Noted, but recall that I am on an electric coil range and therefore the dialing back is a litle harder as the coil is retaining heat.