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I've always done a 90 minute boil when doing all-grain brews, mainly because that's what's stated in clone brews, where I used to get most of my recipes. I've recently talked to other home brewers who use a 60 minute boil, which appeals to me due to a shorter brew day.

What's everyones opinion on this? Are there any benefits to doing one over the other?

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Meh, not really.

You need to take into account your efficiency, in a 90min boil you can draw off more from the mash and concentrate it down, where as with a 60 min boil you're drawing off less sugars.

If you're brewing a very light beer with majority pils malt 90 mins isn't a bad idea to boil off DMS/SMM.

Decreased melanoidin reactions with a shorter boil, which is can be an upside or downside depening on what you're brewing.

I'm sure there's many more reasons to go one over the other.

My boil is 65 minutes, I start timing as it starts to boil, 5 minutes allows for the boil to really get going and the hot break to rise and fall, by time that's all over I'm ready for my 60min hop addition.
60 mins is enough to acheive what you want from the boil (protein denaturation, DMS boil off etc), especially if you make sure the vapour can escape the kettle. all beer will be fine with that. However, I find some beers benefit from a longer boil, dark heavy beers especially. They get more concentrated and you get more caramelization going on. Boiling too long can also hurt the stability of the beer, so I usually don't boil for more than 90 mins.
I always wait for the major foaming to stop and the rolling boil to settle. When you can leave it for a few minutes without having to fend off a boil-over I start the first hop addition.
What about very long boils? I read that the original Pilsener Urquell is being boiled 4 hours, even with hop additions at 3 hours. Does anybody have experience with very long boils? I know it's not very practical and the brew day would really turn into a whole day, but hey, maybe it's worth a shot? Of course it's more expensive too...

Apparently original farmhouse ales went through extremely long boils, 10-12 hours. Crazy.
I wonder if they did it to in crease concentration from poor mash efficiency, give it a deeper caramel taste or deepen the colour?
I guess one effect is also loss of turbidity, however theoretically the wort will get darker in longer boils. Pilsner is very light in colour though, so that's a bit of a mystery to me.

Here is some info on the Urquell: http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue5.3/urquel...

It says 2 hours boiling time here, but I'm sure I read 4 hours in 'Designing Great Beers' by Ray Daniels. My memory could fail me, though.

As for the farmhouse ales, here is what article I got from says (Zymurgy Jan/Feb 2005, it's available as pdf on the Zymurgy website):

'As noted by Johnson, Evans reported that extraordinarily long wort boils were
commonplace—as long as nine to twelve hours. Evans remarked that the color of these brews was not nearly as dark as he would have expected and that the brewers sought “the maximum palate fullness and sweetness” to compensate for the low original gravities.'
I'd say all three.

Urquell probably uses/used a highly unmodified malt witch may have led to bad efficiency.

For colour and melanoidins there's nothing we as 'modern brewers' couldn't get by adding some different varieties of malt.


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