What Should I Consider With My First Boil

Question:

I’m getting ready to make my first batch.  Is there any tips regarding the boil I should be aware of?

Answer:

Many problems can be encountered with the boil if the wort is not boiled for one hour, or not boiled vigorously. Not boiling risks contamination from fusarium mold (on the barley), bacteria, wild yeast, and further Saccharification (undesired) by enzyme action. This may produce diacetyl, DMS, sulfury notes, cooked vegetable, sourness, acidness, garbage-like taste and smells, and moldy notes. The wort must be sanitized.

Not boiling for one hour risks under utilization of hop acids, and the bittering level may be off. Additionally, the head may not be as well formed due to improper extraction of isohumulones from the hops. A good rolling boil for one hour is necessary to bind the hop oils to the albumin’s, forming colloids that remain in the beer and help form a good stable head.

A rolling boil aides in the removal of undesired volatile compounds, such as some bitter hop compounds, esters, and sulfur compounds. Beer made without a rolling boil may be more astringent and be more prone to DMS formation

Clarity will be also be affected by not using a full hour rolling boil, as there will not be a good hot break to take out the undesired proteins. This will also affect shelf life of the bottled beer, as the proteins will promote bacterial growth even in properly sanitized beer bottles over time.

The preservative qualities of hops will also suffer greatly if the wort is not boiled for one hour, as the extraction of the needed compounds will be impaired.