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October 2017
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How Vigorous Do you Boil?

When you boil your wort 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, the size of their kettle is the main reason for slow boil’s. I was at a friends house during a club brew day and I watched a fellow home brewer put wort into a kettle that was obviously to 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 type 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 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 boilover.

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 Hotbreak 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 90-120 min).

Technically speaking you should boil vigorously because:
1. It sanitizes the wort

2. Gets rid of unwanted compounds like oxidation on equipment

3. Removes Dimethyl 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!