While Homebrewing, do you turn up the fire and let it go nuts? Or do you get the wort moving and that’s about it?
Many people have reasons for how they boil their Homebrew, the size of their kettle is the main reason for slow boils. I was at a friend’s house during a club brew day and watched a fellow homebrewer put the wort into a kettle that was obviously too small for the job at hand. There was about an inch of room to the top of the kettle. Yes, he had a boil-over, but it was a small one and he watched over his kettle with a maternal instinct. He had a small rolling boil, which produced a very small hop break when he pitched his hops. I, as a contrast, had my converted keggle (Keg Turned into a Kettle) which I turned the fire up and let it go to town. I added my first hops addition and watched it until the hop break dissipated, then turned it back up. Drank a HB (takes good beer to make good beer), relaxed, and watched as this guy worked at keeping his wort boiling without boil-over.
There are solid technical reasons for having a vigorous boil. So I thought I would share what I have learned, and how I go about the boil process.
I start with a low boil until the Hot-break subsides, then I boil vigorously enough to keep the wort moving rapidly. NO SISSY SIMMER FOR MY BEER! Personally, I like the flavors created during a long vigorous boil (most of my boils are 60-120 min).
Technically speaking you should vigorously boil your homebrew for the following reasons:
1. It sanitizes the wort
2. Gets rid of unwanted compounds like oxidation on equipment
3. Removes Di Methyl Sulfides. DMS is constantly produced during a boil and needs to be evaporated off (that means NO LIDS DURING THE BOIL!)
4. Coagulates unwanted proteins (IMHO one of the most important reasons and gives you clearer beer)
5. Extraction of Alpha Acids from Hops
6. Removes water which increases the SG of the wort
7. Removes oxygen from the wort
So next time you boil, make sure your equipment is up to the task, and turn up the heat!
If you have any questions about homebrewing or would like more information please leave me a comment below, and I will help in any way I can. You can also stop in for a homebrew at The Grain Cellar. We offer free homebrew classes in Humble, TX!