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Author Topic: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?  (Read 959 times)

Online ScallyWag

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Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« on: February 09, 2024, 11:26:52 am »
I got an electric kettle for Xmas, a 35L DigiBoil, and it just does not produce a hearty boil.  Nor even a weak boil.  Today is only the 2nd time I've used it, and both times it won't go past 211 (I set it for 220 or 240 or 250, does not matter).

It rolls, shows a healthy convection movement coming from below, but no bubbles nor waves nor breakers.  It doesn't seem to get a hot break AFAIK, none of that crazy monster foaming that I have to stir down or spray-mist when I boil on the propane burner.  Is it enough, if it is rolling over at 211 for an hour?

The only other beer I have made with it is a dunkel, which I haven't tasted yet (probably still too young), but the wort going into the fermenter looked unexpectedly clear (for a dunkel), and the final beer going into the bottles also looked crystal clear even without a cold-crash.

I'm at 84 minutes on the boil so far (I usually only boil for 40-55 minutes) and the evap rate is just lame.

I am using a neoprene insulation jacket on it this time, I didn't use one on the first boil.  The insulation just doesn't make it any hotter, AFAICT.

ETA: yes, both switches (1000watt, 500watt) are on and both are lit up.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 11:31:48 am by ScallyWag »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2024, 11:34:06 am »
Not only is it enough, many will say that it is preferred. You might have to adjust your preboil volumes to account for your reduced boiloff rate.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2024, 12:10:07 pm »
I've been using a 110 volt Digiboil for several years now and they don't achieve a rolling boil like you get with a propane burner. As for boil off, I get between .6 and .65 gallons in a 60 minute boil. My beers are just as good as they were when I boiled on a propane burner.
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Online ScallyWag

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2024, 12:48:14 pm »
Thanks guys, I feel a bit less panicked about it.  Once I taste a finished product, hopefully I can Relax and whatever the rest of that acronym is.

I ended up boiling almost 2 hours (1:45 I think) and I'm still over-volume so also likely under my intended OG.  I'll know next time.

I'll be curious to see what my electricity bill is for today (my power company gives me daily metrics).  I might still go back to propane, depending on cost.

Bob, if you have any further tips for optimizing that DigiBoil unit, I'd love to hear them.

I'll report back once I've had a chance to sample these low-boil / not-quite-boil brews, in case anyone cares.

Offline neuse

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2024, 01:12:37 pm »
I would be concerned about scorching with no boil - always felt like the boil kept things well agitated. When heating the wort to a boil, I always stir continuously for that reason. (Maybe this hasn't been necessary, based on the previous comments.)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2024, 01:17:08 pm »
Perhaps keep the lid partially on to trap more heat? Also, add additional wrapping with a blanket or the Reflective foil insulation wrap...just a thought.


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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2024, 01:19:15 pm »
My boil would probably be considered a simmer by most. It is bubbling but I wouldn’t call it a rolling boil. The temp is 208°F which is 212°F at my altitude.

Online denny

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2024, 02:08:30 pm »
Keep in mind that Pilsner Urquell supposedly "boils" at a low simmer
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Offline Richard

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2024, 02:12:55 pm »
I like to see a full rolling boil at first to get a good hot break, but after the foam drops I turn it down to a simmer. As long as you see some circulation you will be killing germs, isomerizing hops and getting rid of DMS.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2024, 03:15:49 pm »
Modern, high efficiency kettles do not typically bring their wort to boiling temperature. They circulate the kettle wort and spray or spread the wort so that it comes into contact with the atmosphere regularly in order to expel SMS and DMS. If your wort is circulating in your kettle (rolling), then its good enough. There is no need for a volcano.
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Offline Kevin

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2024, 06:21:14 am »
This was an issue I had a hard time wrapping my head around when I got my first Anvil Foundry 10.5 using 110v. I read enough to convince me it was fine that I finally accepted it. My whole brewing philosophy is No Stress so I was glad to put that behind me and move on to enjoy my brew day.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2024, 07:10:19 am »
I really appreciate the switchable voltage that the Anvil Foundry provides.  Being able to move the unit indoors and operate on 110v on occasion gives it a nice level of versatility.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2024, 08:56:24 am »
I use a weak boil on most of my batches; works fine.
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Offline redrocker652002

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2024, 12:55:01 pm »
So, with that all said, I can reduce to a smaller boil and still be OK?  I have been of the thought that a rolling boil is needed, and I am losing a gallon, give or take, each batch.  If I can reduce the boil a bit and maybe keep the boil off rate a bit lower that sounds like a good deal. 

Online denny

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Re: Weak boil, not quite bubbling; is it enough?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2024, 01:52:48 pm »
So, with that all said, I can reduce to a smaller boil and still be OK?  I have been of the thought that a rolling boil is needed, and I am losing a gallon, give or take, each batch.  If I can reduce the boil a bit and maybe keep the boil off rate a bit lower that sounds like a good deal.

Yes, you can
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