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If virtual tele-handholding is required, don't hesitate to ask any questions that come to mind. Here or over there, I'll keep an eye out. For a good book on brewing, John Palmer's How To Brew is a great resource.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
the brewing kit and ingredients are ordered: the first beer would be cdh's red ale.

 

Do keep in mind that that recipe is an educational experiment in going to extremes. It's an interesting beer, but the recipe is the way it is to facilitate comparing and contrasting a caramelized/maillardized malt heavy recipe and the Golden, which has no crystal or maillardized malts in it at all.

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the equipment came in this morning, still waiting for the ingredients. in the meantime a small change of plans - the first beer will be a Sierra Nevada pale ale clone, and the second one is Bert Grant's Planet imperial stout - both recipes from a wonderful papazian's book.

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Good luck! The Sierra Nevada asks for a lot of Cascade hops... It's fortunate that you've managed to lay your hands on any, given the state of the hop market right now.

 

You're starting with extract brewing, or jumping in head first and doing an all grain recipe? Something I've noticed since I've been trying more all grain recipes is that the magic of the water chemistry does play a big role in what beers work well for certain water types... I've not succeeded in making a satisfactory all grain stout with my water... And I don't feel like dealing with all of the water modifications chemicals... so I've decided that dark beers must be done based on extract henceforth.

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a question to experts:

 

what is the reason for boil 2.5 gl and then to add 2.5 gl of water to make 5gl, instead of just boiling all 5gl?

we're planning to make 3gl batch.

 

also can we scaled down a 5gl recipe down proportionally to 3gl?

 

thanks much.

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a question to experts:

 

what is the reason for boil 2.5 gl and then to add 2.5 gl of water to make 5gl, instead of just boiling all 5gl?

we're planning to make 3gl batch.

 

also can we scaled down a 5gl recipe down proportionally to 3gl?

 

thanks much.

 

To get 5gal into your fermenter, you'll need to boil about 6.5gal of wort. That takes a bigger pot than most folks have at home. The last stovetop full boil I did, I ended up with 7gal of wort in an 8gal (32qt) stock pot and only had an inch or two of headroom for boil overs. It was touch and go. Lifting 40+ pounds (56+ with the weight of the pot) of boiling liquid on and off the stove to keep the foamy wort from boiling over the sides is not fun at all, especially when the slightest movement leads to sloshing and scalding.

 

Trying to cool a full 5-6gal boil is also a whole 'nother proposition. With a partial boil, cooling the wort in a sink full of ice water is still practical. When you get up to 5gal, the pot size and thermal mass of the liquid make ice baths in the sink impractical. You need a copper wort chiller or need to move the whole thing into a bathtub -- again with the risk of sloshing. Not that it can't be done, it just takes more planning, more equipment and more heavy lifting than partial boils. These soup chillers help and are great for cooling stock, too.

 

If you are interested in mashing (or all grain) but lack the space and equipment, take a look at Countertop partial mashing, which is essentially Chris's Lesson 5. It is a nice compromise between all grain brewing and extract brewing and allows you to expand your repertoire without having to invest in a propane burner, wort chiller, mash tun, etc.

 

Chad

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