Wort Boils Above 212 °F (100 °C) (I: Theory)


Wort being boiled in a modified (legally obtained) Sanke keg.

We all know that water boils at 212 °F (100 °C). Chemists would clarify that this refers to pure water at standard pressure (100 kPa). Many brewers assume, given that wort is mostly water, that it also boils at 212 °F (100 °C). This isn’t the case, however. Wort boils above 212 °F (100 °C) — the exact temperature depends on the gravity of the wort.

This article has quite a bit of chemistry in it. Don’t feel like you need to follow every little bit. I’ll explain the take home message in the concluding paragraphs.

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Brewing Science Articles from Year One

birthday-party-suppliesYesterday, Beer and Wine Journal turned one year old. All this week, I’ll be publishing some lists that collect some of our content for those who have just discovered us. Yesterday, I started with the obvious top 10 list — our reader favorite articles. Today I’m going to collect our best brewing science articles.

I learned how to brew while in graduate school (Boston University, Dept. of Biology) and am interested in the science of beer production as well as the craft. So, from time to time, I’ll publish some fairly nerdy stuff. Here’s the best of that so far. (And keep an eye out for a series on what scientifically-inclined brewers should know about carbohydrates, including starch, simple sugars, and “dextrins.” I’ll have that out sometime this summer.)

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