No Boil Experiment (Archived Forum Post)

(By User Dr. Reddog)

Inspired by my tasty berliner weisse experiences, in January I decided to try a no-boil experiment applied to one of my standard recipes. I scaled it down to one gallon, and altered it for the no-boil experience. This was a BIAB/No-chill/No-boil.

Anticipated issues to overcome, and how I resolved them
1) No-boil = DMS
Not necessarily. My understanding is that DMS is produced at 180 degrees, which explains why true no-boil berliner’s don’t have a DMS profile. As long as the mash and mashout stay below 180, it won’t be a problem.

2) No-boil = no sanitation
Again, not necessarily. Pasteurization occurs at 160 degrees in just a few seconds, so as long as the mashout is above 160, no problems.

3) No-boil = low hop utilization
This is the one true dilemma with no-boil, in my mind anyway. Hop isomerization is greatest at boiling temperatures, but does occur to some extent at sub-boiling temps. I decided to use a 15-minute Cascade recipe for this, since there aren’t bittering additions and it’s more-or-less hop bursted. I moved all hop additions to the mash, since this is the one and only step in the brew day. Since this was no-chill, the hoppy goodness is exposed to the hot wort for an extended period of time, which may also help with hop utilization.

Original Recipe (5-gal)
9# 2-row
1# crystal 60
3oz Cascade 15min
1oz Cascade 5min

No-Boil Recipe (1-gal)
2# 2-row (since there’s no volume loss with boiling, I bumped this up to maintain OG of 1.055)
0.2# crystal 60
0.5oz Cascade mash hop

BIAB mash (including grain and hops) 60 minutes at 152 degrees
Mashout at 170 degrees for 10 minutes
Transfer to 1 gallon container, sealed up
Yeast pitched the next morning at 60 degrees
Primary for 2 weeks at 60 degrees
Bottle and condition at 60 degrees for 3 weeks

I seriously regret not taking pictures of this one, as it was surprisingly and unexpectedly clear; crystal clear. At least with the bottles I cold crashed for a day. I did open two bottles at room temperature, and these were slightly hazy. I was expecting it to be cloudy due to lack of hot break and cold break, and because I’m used to cloudy no-boil berliners. It was not sour like a berliner, but of course I didn’t add lacto.

Surprising factor #2 was how similar to the original recipe it was. The no-boil had ‘different’ bitterness (see below), but otherwise tasted the same. It did have a thicker mouthfeel, perhaps because proteins/etc aren’t lost to hot break? That’s the best explanation I can conjure.

Surprising factor #3 was how bitter it actually was. Not as bitter as the original recipe, but it definitely had a hop presence. The original recipe had 36 IBU’s. If I had to guess, I’d say the no-boil was in the low-to-mid twenties. In addition to the mash hops, you could also do a pseudo FWH addition by adding to the no-chill container, and you could always dry hop as well.

All in all, it turned out really good. However, there’s still more experimentation to be done, and for my 5+ gallon batches I’m still doing my standard boil process, but I may soon make the leap and try a no-boil full batch. After reading Dave’s post about his mash experiments I might try this again with a 40 minute mash. That would make for a really short brew day!

Addendum to the above... future experiments I’ll try to figure out the clarity issue, because in my mind it should have been cloudier. If/when I do a full batch I’ll probably do a wheat or rye, or something that I don’t mind being cloudy, just in case.

I’m thinking of running another experiment on this, but tweaked to increase hop efficiency. The idea is to pull out a small amount of wort halfway into the mash in order to boil the hops in a “hop decoction”. Since this is a hop-bursted recipe you wouldn’t need a long boil for the hops. Since it’s such a small volume hopefully the short boil would be enough to knock out any DMS that’s produced by bringing the volume above 180 deg. The side-boil would be occurring at the same time as the mash is completing, the whole process is still only one hour. You could in theory do an IPA by hop mashing, “hop decoction”, and dry hopping, but I’ll save that for later. Here’s my plan:

No-Boil Recipe (1-gal)
2# 2-row
0.2# crystal 60
0.3oz Cascade 15min
0.2oz Cascade 5 min

BIAB mash 60 minutes at 152 degrees
30 minutes into mash, draw off 15-25% of wort, boil on the side for hop schedule
At 60 minutes mash (30 minutes boil), return boil volume to mash kettle for mashout
Transfer to 1 gallon container, sealed up
Pitch yeast the next morning

If it works well, I may try repeating it with Dave’s 40-minute mash, so 20-min into mash draw off and side boil for 20-min.

Thoughts? Criticisms? Anybody want to label me a heretic?