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Old 02-01-2014, 07:28 AM   #1
brdb
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Default First All Grain Batch

Getting ready to do my first batch of all grain and just wanted to run my method by you guys to critique before I do so. This is how I plan to mash/sparge so feel free to offer any tips/changes.
1) Dump grain in mash tun and pour 1.25qts/lb of grain of 165F strike water
2) Stir for ~5min then close lid on cooler and let sit for 60min
3) Vorlauf then drain wort into boil kettle
4) Measure amount of wort I now have and use the following formula to calculate sparge water (Sparge = 6.5gal - gallons of wort from first run) (I got the 6.5 gallons because this is about how much wort I want to start my boil with)
5) Add 170F sparge water to mash tun, stir for ~5min, wait 60min
6) Vorlauf then drain wort into boil kettle
7) Begin boil

How does my method look? Is waiting another hour after adding the sparge water necessary or should I reduce that amount of time? All help is appreciated

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Old 02-01-2014, 09:37 AM   #2
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Looks good overall but you don't need to wait an hour after adding your sparge water. I let the sparge water sit for 10min during a batch sparge before draining into the kettle. Other than that, you're pretty spot on!

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Old 02-01-2014, 10:40 AM   #3
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Your plan looks good, Just one thought for you to consider.

What are you planning your efficiency at to hit your OG? My first couple of AG batches had terrible efficiency (60-65%) and I badly missed by target OG. I changed a couple of things, but by far the biggest thing that increased my efficiency was increasing my water to grain ratio. I started at 1.25 quarts/pound I increased it closer to 1.75-2 qts/pound and that made a big difference. I've never had an issue with my ph getting out of hand, but if you have some ph stabilizer, it wouldn't hurt to use it.

Like I said, your plan looks good, but if you miss your target OG, try adjusting your water to grain ratio next time.

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Old 02-01-2014, 10:43 AM   #4
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1. Many people prefer to dump the water in first and then stir in the grains. It make it easier to see and break up any doughballs. You only have to stir enough to get the grains all evenly wet and the temperature the same throughout the mash tun. 5 minutes seems like a long time to me. I can usually get it done in under a minute. While my water to grain ratio is higher so the mash is easier to stir, I would at least start stirring with a wire whisk as I've found it to be ideal for breaking up the doughballs. As your mash gets thicker from adding the grains you may have to switch to something a little stiffer.

5. Your sparge water temperature is not very critical. You are only dissolving the remaining sugars and the bed of grains is wet and hot. You could just use the water as it comes from your cold tap and not lose much of the sugars. The main key to getting the sugars dissolved is stirring. Stir until your arms ache, then drain the tun. You won't gain much by leaving it set for an hour except more time to drink. I never drink until the wort is in the fermenter so I don't forget any steps. Your beer won't taste very good if you are drunk and forget to put the hops in at the start of the boil.

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Old 02-01-2014, 11:05 AM   #5
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I usually split my sparge water into two batches. That means you're rinsing the grains twice. For each addition I stir for a minute or two and then wait 10 minutes before vorlauf and lautering.

For step 4 - you should already know your water volumes before you start your brew day. There's lots of online calculators you can use for this purpose.

http://www.brew365.com/mash_sparge_water_calculator.php

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Old 02-01-2014, 01:12 PM   #6
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help everyone. I think I'll be increasing my strike water volume along with drastically reducing the amount of time I let the sparge water sit for. I never thought about the grain clumps so I'll definitely do the water first then grain. As far as efficency goes, I did up my grain bill somewhat and I also entered a lower efficiency into my calculator since this is my first batch so I'm not too sure what to expect efficiency wise. I'll definitely make use of that water calculator. Quick question, if I sparge twice, I'm assuming I just split the amount of sparge water I need by 2? Thanks again for the help

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Old 02-01-2014, 03:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brdb View Post
Thanks for the help everyone. I think I'll be increasing my strike water volume along with drastically reducing the amount of time I let the sparge water sit for. I never thought about the grain clumps so I'll definitely do the water first then grain. As far as efficency goes, I did up my grain bill somewhat and I also entered a lower efficiency into my calculator since this is my first batch so I'm not too sure what to expect efficiency wise. I'll definitely make use of that water calculator. Quick question, if I sparge twice, I'm assuming I just split the amount of sparge water I need by 2? Thanks again for the help
You could split it any way that makes sense to you. I'd look at what I had collected from the first runnings and the first sparge and base my second sparge amount on what I expected to need for my pre-boil amount.
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