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I recently picked up this burner and was excited to use it to bring my wort to a boil. I had it cranked up pretty high and it took about 15 minutes to bring 6 gallons of wort to a rolling boil in a stainless steel kettle. Is there an ideal time it should take to bring the wort to a boil? If I boil it too quickly is it possible that I'll burn the wort? Is there a way to tell if I am burning my wort?

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What is your starting point? Off the sparge (170f/76c)? From tap to boil then adding extract? –  Peter Baker Jul 9 '11 at 14:03

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Commercial micro-brewers can bring 10 barrels (2880 pints) to the boil in 30 - 45 mins using a gas jet of flame in a pipe that passes through the kettle - can't remember the technical name for it. What they do do, though, is recirculate the wort whilst they heat. This will keep it on the move and prevent hot spots/scorching/caramelising and any other problems that might occur from high temperatures acting on the wort.

So, I think you should be careful if you use too high a heat to boil it quickly. Consider keeping it on the move. I am sure overheating will be apparent by dark deposits on the 'hot' zone of your kettle. These deposits can contain carcinogens, so it is best not to let them build up.

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+1 on the dark spots. They are probably a bad sign. 15min for 6 gal, while TOTALLY AWESOME, is probably more power than you need. Dial it down a touch. –  Graham Jul 5 '11 at 20:23
    
I heard a interesting story that an electric element boil was imparting 20+ SRM to the color of a notable ruby brown ale due to caramelization. A vigorous boil is important and if you can get their without imparting color or flavor changes and no scorching of the kettle, getting there quickly is ok. fwiw I have used those burners without incident to the final product as long as I was not adding ingredients that could stick to the bottom and burn. –  Peter Baker Jul 9 '11 at 14:08

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