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60min boil vs. 90min boil

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  • 60min boil vs. 90min boil

    This was mentioned in another thread, so I thought I'd ask the questions here:

    Do you typically run a 60 minute boil or a 90 minute boil, or "depends"? What beers do you make with each? What are the pros and cons to each boil time as you understand them? How long do you boil your BIG beers... barlewine, etc...

    Hoping to gain a little insight.


  • #2
    I generally went with a 90-minute boil, except for the year I was brewing with malt extract, when I did a 60-minute boil (figuring the wort had already been abused a bit!).

    Cheers, Tim


    • #3
      I do a 90 minute boil on all beers except for really big and complex beers, then I go 120 minutes. If I miss my target kettle up gravity, then I will adjust as needed but never less than 60 minutes or really ever had to go over 120 minutes. As to comparing between 60 and 90, I have never done an objective comparison, but all my recipes are set for a 90 boil off and I am happy with the beers.
      Last edited by beauxman; 11-03-2005, 10:52 PM.


      • #4
        Hello friends,

        Length of boil depends upon may factors from equipment design and function to desired flavor profiles.

        Let's not forget the five "ations" of boiling
        -caramelization (malliard type reactions)
        -evaporation (to gravity, drive off volatiles, etc.)

        Increased boiling times will generally impact most of these (except #1) in one way or another, generally increasing with a longer boil (to a point).

        Some brewing systems such as a Merlin system can accomplish these requirements in a much shorter time than the "standard" 60-90 minutes. So length of boil depends upon what you have and what you want. Anyone who espouses a universal absolute is either, far wiser than I (easy to imagine!), not to be completely trusted, or selling something. Or all three.

        Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales


        • #5
          Good thread..............

          We do 60 minute boils. In the beginning, we did a few 90's, but I must admit neither me, nor my partner, nor our customers noticed any flavor benefits from doing a longer boil. We also use pelletized hops, which donate their chemistry better, in my humble opinion, than cones.

          I've had Beaux's beers from both his last and recent Breweries and the longer boil does produce excellent results (or maybe it's just you, Beaux!) but I think the 60 minute does as well. I think it really comes down to your equipment and the type of boil you're getting.

          At our 7 Bbl direct fire site, we get a volcanic boil of biblical proportions. It literally leaps from the top of the kettle! Awesome hot break. Incredible hop utilization. Unparalleled reduction. Nice clarity of product. A 60 minute boil does just fine there.

          At our 15 Bbl Brewery, we use 15 psi steam, and initially we were running lower at about 12.5 psi. The boil on good days was a gentle roll and on bad days was a shimmer with particulate movement. Since I was hoping for the legendary action we had at our first site, I changed out the relief valve and tuned the pressure reducing valve to give us a true 15 psi at boil. Now THAT's more like it. We got another 5 degrees F and a better uniform pressure to get a very nice roll at the steam jackets that curls into the center. Evaporation rates are very comparable.

          BTW - I know the Engineers (of which I'm one) out there will say, "Hey.......boiling is boiling, man......212F is 212F and it doesn't matter what the jacket temp is.". Higher pressure means using more of the steam jacket more efficiently since the overall surface is hotter. As water flashes to steam, the steam layer itself acts as an insulation blanket along the sidewall. Higher pressure = higher heat = faster heat transfer = faster steam generation (wort) = faster steam movement (wort) = more rolling boils.

          I reckon, in a long windedway, I'm hypothesizing that if you get a violent boil, then 60 will be just fine. If you get a flacid boil, then go for 90. Ron's big 5 "ations" of kettle are great yardsticks and summation (thanks, Ron.........I'm kyping those for my own teachings!) of the goal. Particulate movement in the kettle is HUGE for hop utilization and hot break. When I last saw Beaux (at a caskfest last Saturday), I forgot to ask him about the characterstics of his Brewhouse (I was hittin' the juice!)............specifically, the boil.

          Just out of curiosity, guys, please reply as to the quality of boil you're getting in this thread and please, everyone chime in.

          Good thread...........


          • #6
            Good points and thanks for the kind words. I have a direct fire system on a JVNW 1998 10 bbl brewhouse. I am boiling about 12.5-13 bbl in the kettle. My boils are very vigorous, utilization of hop pellets is high, and the protein coagulation is great. Although not of biblical proportion, the boils are very intense.


            • #7
              Hello all,

              Currently 10 bbl gas fired, great boil (once reached!)(I Generally boil for 60 min, but 90 for high wheat content (see below), and 240 (yikes!) for lambic). In the past; 7 bbl gas, low boil, 10 bbl steam (high pressure city provided) crazy boil, 10 bbl steam with crappy boiler that would hit high pressure cut off at various points during the boil creating an exciting boil over, to simmer, to boil over effect. Wonderful (not!). Through careful observation and coaxing was able to produce bright stable beer in all places. (oh, I almost forgot; 15 bbl gas and another 7 bbl, both JV, both vigorous boils)

              Speaking of stability, to elaborate on coagulation, in my experience the quality and stability of any wort / beer produced with a high percentage of wheat in the grist (hefewiezen, wit) greatly benefit from increased precipitation of proteins during a 90 min boil. Better flavors, better flavor stability, better overall stability. The caveat is, as always, the equipment used. As such "your results may vary"

              Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales


              • #8
                This is not so much a question of what you choose, but rather of what you have to do.
                Depending of your system it is pretty much pre-determined how long you have to boil.
                The number that characterizes the kettle would be the hourly evaporation number in %.
                Good systems rate at least 6% ((4-10%).
                If you operate with and old style system you are lucky if you get 6% and hour, in order to achieve good evaporation, you have to boil for 90 min, that is pretty much the classic style kettle systems. With those systems you usually have to keep the kettle door slightly open to avoid a boil over.
                Those systems if run and calculated properly can make great beer, but you will oxydise your wort more than with a new system, where the door can be closed.
                There are a whole bunch of new systems out there and the top manufactures have done an amazing job to improve the old systems.
                There are more energy efficient, have better evaporation rates, reduced boiling time, better TBZ values, more gentler to the wort, better Protein coagulation, better hop isomerisation, better DMS (+ DMS precursor) reduction, less waste water and so forth.
                Those systems usually boil for 60 min, or less!
                Leading Brew house manufacturer offer some sort of evaporation after the boil systems, by knocking out the wort into a vacuum vessel/system. That way you get some extra evaporation, but without the heat impact from the boiler.
                Here are some manufacturer and their systems.
                Nerb: Varioboil – that is a conventional boil, then vacuum evaporation before Hot-break.
                Meura: they have a stripping column
                Ziemann, one of the pioneers, have an extra vessel with condenser system.
                Caspar Schulz: has a system called schoko (schon koch verfahren), they also have a separate special designed vacuum vessel, but replaced the boil with a 98 degree Celsius heat holding time.

                There are a few other systems out there and there is a very new project ongoing where they are trying to boil wort with Microwaves.
                Peter Boettcher
                Pall Corp.