Author Topic: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy  (Read 9067 times)

Offline MDixon

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2009, 03:12:45 PM »
But when you are boiling only a gallon, the water will evaporate and then the caramelization begins at about 320F (not at 212F). Heck I can't even get my regular wort to boil at 212 (at a mile high it boils around 203F  ;) ).

As soon as you go above 212F (at sea level) the water is gone  ;)

Caramelization of the sugars begins at 230F for fructose and a standard grist wort is about 9.5% glucose & fructose so some wort sugars would begin to caramelize at 230F, but the majority above 300F.
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Offline dhacker

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #46 on: December 08, 2009, 03:25:01 PM »

Don't quote me on this but I believe that there is some caramelization that occurs in the kettle. As the wort thickens to a syrup type consistently it caramelizes through condensation reactions.

Sorry bluesman . . I'm quoting you!  ;)

I agree that some caramelization takes place in the kettle. If for no other reason than the temp figures quoted. I suspect the wort in direct contact with the bottom of the boil kettle is at a temp substantially higher than 212. Who hasn't observed some burnt wort on the bottom of our BKs at one time or another? It stands to reason then that some caramelization is taking place in the furthest depths of the BK!
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Offline denny

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #47 on: December 08, 2009, 04:00:29 PM »
I suspect the wort in direct contact with the bottom of the boil kettle is at a temp substantially higher than 212.

When I boil wort for a starter, I put a thermometer in it to sanitize the thermometer.  The probe extends to the bottom of the kettle.  It never gets hotter than 212.  I don't see how it could...the boiling wort is homogeneous.  It doesn't just sit there getting hotter at the bottom then it is on top.  It is continually mixing as it boils.
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Offline tom

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #48 on: December 08, 2009, 04:29:39 PM »
But when you are boiling only a gallon, the water will evaporate and then the caramelization begins at about 320F (not at 212F). Heck I can't even get my regular wort to boil at 212 (at a mile high it boils around 203F  ;) ).

As soon as you go above 212F (at sea level) the water is gone  ;)
Well, not exactly. When solutes are dissolved in water, the boiling temperature will increase. But, I looked it up and I was surprised that a 1.100 solution will only increase the boiling temperature by 0.4C.
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Offline dhacker

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #49 on: December 08, 2009, 04:58:19 PM »
When I boil wort for a starter, I put a thermometer in it to sanitize the thermometer.  The probe extends to the bottom of the kettle.  It never gets hotter than 212.  I don't see how it could...the boiling wort is homogeneous.  It doesn't just sit there getting hotter at the bottom then it is on top.  It is continually mixing as it boils.

I would agree with you except for the wort in direct contact with the kettle's bottom. (call it a nanometer layer)  Otherwise, how could you explain scorching?
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #50 on: December 08, 2009, 04:59:30 PM »
I agree that some caramelization takes place in the kettle. . . . . . Who hasn't observed some burnt wort on the bottom of our BKs at one time or another? It stands to reason then that some caramelization is taking place in the furthest depths of the BK!
This is my thought.   If the temp of the metal never gets above 212 (+/- a little) we would never scoarch the bottom of our pots.  We would never see a pattern on the bottom from the stand.  This IMHO is a big difference between homebrewers and commercial brewers, we put 1500-1800F on the undersides of the kettle.  I have no doubt that immediately above the bottom the wort is near 212.   If the temp is the same throughout the wort, why do all the "bubbles? form on/near the bottom?

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Offline davidw

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #51 on: December 08, 2009, 05:04:25 PM »
Somebody with one of those fancy, laser guided temp-reader thingies should point it at the skirt of their converted keg while boiling and report back with the temp!

I have this inkling it will be higher than 212.



Offline bluesman

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2009, 07:11:56 PM »
I found an interesting bit of info on the science of caramelization which as we all know is the reduction and stages of water and sugar into caramel or caramelization. I still have not found any convincing data that suggests the temp of the bottom of the kettle to be much above 212F if any at all. Although I have a sneaking suspicion the bottom surface is slightly above 212F.

The following info was taken from this link.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Caramel

The Science of Caramel
Essentially, caramel is melted sugar. As sugar increases in temperature, it reacts in a process similar to burning that results in the creation of a wide variety of complex molecules. These molecules provide the deep, rich flavors and colors that make caramel so special.

There are two basic ways to make caramel: the dry method and the wet method. The dry method, which involves slowly heating sugar until it melts, is more difficult. The more commonly used wet method is easier and does not require any special tools.

In the wet method, granulated sugar is dissolved in water, then boiled until the water starts to evaporate. As the water escapes, the solution passes through a series of stages that indicates the ratio of water and sugar. This ratio is directly proportionate to the temperature so if you understand the stages, you do not need a candy thermometer. Nevertheless, use of a thermometer minimizes the handling of the (very) hot mixture.

The stages of a sugar solution are generally described by the solution's behavior when dropped into cold water:

Thread Stage (230°F) - the solution thickens into syrupy threads when you pull a spoon out.
Soft Ball Stage (234°F) - the solution can be pressed into a soft gooey ball. Used to make soft chewy candies like taffy.
Hard Ball Stage (250°F) - the solution can be pressed into a dense, slightly malleable ball. Used to make harder chewy candies.
Soft Crack Stage (270°F) - the solution solidifies into a glass-like solid that slowly bends under light pressure.
Hard Crack Stage (300°F) - the solution solidifies into a hard glass-like solid that breaks or cracks under pressure. Used to make hard candies and brittles.
Caramel Stage (310°F) - An advanced crack stage, defined by the development of an amber color that becomes tan, brown and eventually dark brown as the temperature continues to rise. Also defined by the development of caramel flavors which becomes deeper, less sweet and more bitter as it darkens.
Burned Stage (350°F) - The sugar is completely oxidized (burned) and turns black. It is inedible.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2009, 07:22:33 PM »
Everything I've read and heard says that's the case,  my gut says on a micro level that reaction is occurring and improving the flavor of my beer.

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

Offline MDixon

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #54 on: December 09, 2009, 06:20:35 AM »
Everything I've read and heard says that's the case,  my gut says on a micro level that reaction is occurring and improving the flavor of my beer.

Don't listen to the gut Fred, those things lie...  :D

It's Maillard Reactions which cause browning and that magical browning derives a myriad of aroma and flavor components AND color components such as melanoidins. Of course not all MR are magical, but most that happen in the brew kettle are!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 12:59:07 PM by MDixon »
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Offline denny

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2009, 09:26:53 AM »
Somebody with one of those fancy, laser guided temp-reader thingies should point it at the skirt of their converted keg while boiling and report back with the temp!

I have this inkling it will be higher than 212.




Probably so, but that surface isn't under liquid like the bottom of the kettle is.
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Offline davidw

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2009, 12:48:19 PM »
Understood, Denny, but where do you think all the heat from the flame goes? It is absorbed by the bottom of the kettle, the skirt (if you use a converted keg), and is also transmitted up through the wort. Yes, wort boils at ~ 212 degrees, but there is a considerable amount of "excess" heat also present on the bottom of the kettle and it gets transmitted via conduction to the inside of the kettle. We are talking about just a few mm thick, after all. And just because the wort is at 212 degrees and is in contact with the kettle doesn't mean the bottom of the kettle stays at 212 degrees. On the contrary, it is constantly being heated by a propane flame that, IIRC, burns at around 3500 degrees F. Seems like plenty of heat to generate some caramelization on the bottom of a kettle to me! Otherwise, where *does* that brown patena on the bottom of the kettle come from?   


Offline denny

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2009, 12:54:37 PM »
Otherwise, where *does* that brown patena on the bottom of the kettle come from?

I think it's Maillard reaction byproducts like melanoidins, not caramelization.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #58 on: December 09, 2009, 01:22:14 PM »
Let's assume that wort temperature gets super hot a few nm from the bottom of the kettle.  Not saying that's true.

The next question would be how long does it take to caramelize sugar?

If it takes any amount of time then it would probably mix with the rest of the wort too fast for this to happen.

Offline davidw

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Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2009, 01:39:18 PM »
My boils are anywhere from 60-90 minutes, so over that period of time it's consistantly happening to the wort in contact with the bottom of the kettle. Plently of time.

I guess an experiment is in order! (going to dig out my physical chemistry text book)