Author Topic: Caramelizing Wort  (Read 1135 times)

Offline zsmith87

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 34
    • View Profile
Caramelizing Wort
« on: October 26, 2017, 07:46:17 AM »
Inspired by a beer that The Alchemist brews, I am trying to plan on brewing an 8% Brown Ale for Thanksgiving.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHa2FtRXYeo

John Kimmich talks about caramelizing the first runnings. Then proceeding on once the sparge is over (which I do batch sparge for all beers) with the normal process. Before I jump into this blindly, does anyone have any advice on how to do this? Should I increase my post boil volume by a half gallon? Do I get out the first runnings and actually bring to a boil, or do I just turn on the burner?

Thanks.

Offline brewinhard

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3147
    • View Profile
Re: Caramelizing Wort
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 09:49:38 AM »
Inspired by a beer that The Alchemist brews, I am trying to plan on brewing an 8% Brown Ale for Thanksgiving.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHa2FtRXYeo

John Kimmich talks about caramelizing the first runnings. Then proceeding on once the sparge is over (which I do batch sparge for all beers) with the normal process. Before I jump into this blindly, does anyone have any advice on how to do this? Should I increase my post boil volume by a half gallon? Do I get out the first runnings and actually bring to a boil, or do I just turn on the burner?

Thanks.

If you don't mind ending up with a smaller batch size then no need to increase your boil volume. If you are a stickler for batch size then you could easily just increase your post boil volume by a half gallon and collect additional runnings...

As for caramelizing the first runnings you could try this...

Have your kettle on the burner and get it nice and hot prior to running off your first half gallon or so (or whatever amount you plan on caramelizing) and as you slowly collect the wort you could tip your kettle back and forth so that fresh wort hits the hot parts of the kettle. This will only give you small amounts of caramelization though.
If you want a more noticeable effect, you should collect your runnings to caramelize and put them in a separate small kettle (on the stove) and boil that down and add it back before your full batch boil is complete.
Be careful as you get to the end of the caramelizing as you don't want the wort to scorch to the pan and it will be bubbling up pretty high, so stir, stir, stir, and watch it closely....

Offline stpug

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 676
    • View Profile
Re: Caramelizing Wort
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 10:13:36 AM »
I'm a stickler for batch size so would opt to increase my sparge runnings to account for the evaporated loss in the first (carmelized) runnings.

As for carmelizing, I would simply collect the first gallon and boil it down to a thick syrup so that you end up with a very small amount of syrup (8-12 oz).  As the volume decreases, you'll need to back off on the heat a bit so you don't scorch the syrup.  Also, use a heavy clad-bottom pan/pot to do this so you distribute the heat more evenly (again to avoid scorching).  So if I end up with 10oz of syrup from 128oz runnings, then I'd need to sparge with an additional 118oz water (or simply add an extra 118oz water to the BK instead of sparging - assuming the extra would cause a bit of oversparge, tannin extraction).