I am getting started with my first brewing experience, I have some doubt in my mind, and I was hoping someone could clear this up for me once and for all.

I have seen a lot of beer recipes that leave some vagueness to the hop addition timing, and the length of mashing out.

How long do you steep the grains/extract/sugar if the recipe doesn't say?

When a recipe lists some hops, and then a time, is that the time that passes after the wort starts boiling to add the hops, or is that the amount of time to leave the hops in?

Should I always assume a 90 minute boil?


  • Are you looking at an all grain recipe or an extract with grains recipe. Its not clear due to your wording of your questions, but has a impact on the answer you want to get.
    – brewchez
    Mar 1, 2011 at 20:18

3 Answers 3


Usually, you're doing a 90 minute boil to decrease the Dimethyl Sulfide precursors. This is especially important in wort that uses Pilsener malt. I usually assume a 60 minute boil (I start counting after the hot break has subsided) unless the recipe calls for a longer one (i.e. it has pilsener malt).

I've seen it both ways, but usually, the time indicator is how much time remains to boil. So a 60 minute addition boils for 60 minutes, a 20 minute for 20 minutes, and a 0 minute is added when you turn the heat off.

If you're using grain that requires a mash, you want to mash for at least 60 minutes, so that the enzymes have plenty of time to break down the starches into sugar. I think for a steep, you can go for 30 minutes (I'm not certain; I've only done that once).


Most single temps mash go for 60 minutes. Convention for the minutes is how long something is boiled. SO a 60min hop addition is done once your boil starts. 5 minutes means with 5 minutes remaining. 0 means right as you turn off the heat before you start to chill.

A 90 minute boil would include 30 minutes of boiling before the hop additions start.

A 90 minute v 60 minute boil would be a matter of choice for process. I tend to do a 75 minute boil. I like the advantage I get with 90 minute boil, but like to save a little time only doing it for 75 minutes. (hops go in 15 minutes after the boil start).


I wouldn't assume a 90 minute boil - it depends on the recipe. Usually you want to boil that long to let some wort evaporate or concentrate to reach the target abv. The timing is when the wort begins to boil -60 min hop additions remain in the boiling wort for 60 min and it counts down until flameout. I would steep the grains for a minimum of 30 minutes, but it wouldn't hurt to leave them for 60 minutes since specialty grains are mainly used for color and unfermentables.

  • I'm still not 100% clear. For example, one of the extras in my recipe says: "1.00 Tbsp Fresh Grated Orange Zest Spice at 0 min" Does that mean put it in when it boils, or at the very end of the boil (essentially for 0 minutes of the boil?)
    – Carson
    Mar 1, 2011 at 17:46
  • 1
    0 minutes is the very end when you cease boiling. Think of it like an hourglass and the sand is full at 60 minutes and empty at 0 minutes. You count down from the beginning of the boil and the beer is finished boiling at 0.
    – Slatetank
    Mar 1, 2011 at 18:21

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