Beginning the Boil

Beginning the Boil

Bring 2 1/2 gallons water to a boil in a large pot. Meanwhile, re-hydrate the dry yeast. When the water is boiling, remove from the heat. Add all the malt syrup to the hot water and stir until dissolved. Make sure there is no syrup stuck to the bottom of the pot by scraping the bottom of the pot with the spoon while stirring. It is very important not to burn any malt stuck to the bottom when the pot is returned to the heat. Burnt sugar tastes terrible.

The following stage is critical. The pot needs to be watched continuously. Return the pot to the heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently. Start timing the hour.

If you are adding bittering hops, do so now.

A foam may start to rise and form a smooth surface. This is good. If the foam suddenly billows over the side, this is a boil over (Bad). By the way, adding hop pellets at this stage tends to trigger a boilover if the pot is really full. Murphy’s Law… The liquid is very unstable at this point and remains so until it goes through the Hot Break (when the wort stops foaming). This may take 5-20 minutes. The foaming can be controlled by lowering the heat and/or spraying some water on the surface from a spray bottle. The heat control using an electric range is poor. Try to maintain a rolling boil. Boiling 2.5 – 3 gallons can be maintained fairly easily on an electric stove. Boiling the full 5 gallons of water on electric ranges is almost impossible (not enough heat) and dangerous to lift when the boil is over.

Continue the rolling boil for the remainder of the hour. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. There may be a change in color and aroma and there will be particles floating in the wort. This is not a concern, its the hot break material. If you are adding the finishing hops, do so during the last fifteen minutes. Add during the last five minutes if more hop aroma is desired. This provides less time for the volatile oils to boil away.

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