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I'm getting ready to brew an all grain 9.5% double IPA. I normally almost always boil for 60 minutes, but some research has indicated that for bigger beers like this, more water from the mash to start may allow for more good stuff from the grains to get into my wort. Then a longer boil time to get down to desired 5 gallons. Is this accurate?

  • Thanks! Not planning to back down the grain bill at all, just wasn't sure if more water=greater sugar "pull" was true. Super helpful, thanks again – ts_watson Mar 1 '16 at 19:53
  • It does, but it usually comes at the expense of pull more unwanted stuff too. A slightly larger mash with the same "pull" will make for a beer with better malt character. – brewchez Mar 2 '16 at 12:47
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A lot of big beers get thier high OG from boiling off water since there is a limit to grain extraction.

For example a Wee Heavy can require a 3-4 hour boil.

Check your recipe and make sure it doesn't rely on a long boil for the OG.

IMO you can't go wrong with a 90 minute boil just for DMS reduction.

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Not really. A longer sparge increases the likelihood of astringent grain flavors. Yes the longer the sparge the more you get out of the mash, but there is a trade off between more and more of the converted sugar (efficiency) and the extraction of more than sugar in the form of astringent compounds.

It is true, that if you collected more water then yes you'll need to boil longer to get rid of the extra water to hit your target OG.

The most maltier flavored beers come from using a bigger mash (more grain) and less sparging. Its a sacrifice of efficiency for sure. In general, I have found in my own brewing that doing a bigger mash with less sparge create richer flavored worts. I have heard this talked about on podcasts and seen it in print in a handful of places too. (Which is why I tried it).

Overall, its best to plan a mash that gets you to your 9.5% target in a normal way. Not trying to stretch a standard mash to get more.

  • So when you say less sparging, can I ask what quart/water per lb. of grain ratio you use for the initial mash? I'm generally doing 1.33, occasionally 1.25 – ts_watson Mar 1 '16 at 20:04
  • I routinely go with 1.5qt/lb because it works with my system. This really doesn't have any bearing on my answer to your question however. I am saying that a better beer is made using more grain to get the total sugar rather than rinsing/sparging less grain to get to the same point. There are diminishing returns when doing it that way vs. adding another couple pounds of grain to the equation(which in the end does mean more mash water regardless of mash ratio). – brewchez Mar 2 '16 at 12:45

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