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Old 01-24-2010, 01:13 AM   #1
rawkstar
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Default First All Grain Attempt!

Well, first of all, I haven't brewed anything since late April, early May. I have about 8 brews under my belt...all of which have been extract. Thursday evening, I started to daydream about brewing, so I decided to make Sunday (tomorrow) my brew day. So this morning, I went to the hardware store, and purchased everything to convert a cooler into a mash tun. Then, off to the LHBS, and bought ingredients. Came home, put the tun together, tested it, NO LEAKS!!

So, first all grain attempt tomorrow afternoon. Not sure how to figure efficiency and all yet, but will be measuring temps, and using the hydrometer. Let's just pray to the Beer Gods that I have a great, and successful brew day tomorrow!

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:28 AM   #2
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For your first time, my advice is to create a process checklist of every single task that needs to be performed to get your beer done. Everything from milling the grain to pitching the yeast, including mundane stuff like "measure out hops additions", "set timer for 20 minutes", "check mash temp", "vorlauf", "sanitize fermenter", etc. Put everything on a timeline, with an emphasis on getting all your equipment and ingredients ready before you start.


Also make an equipment and ingredients checklist. Include absolutely everything that is used to make, or going into your beer. Stuff like fermenters and boil kettles are obvious, but also consider mash paddle/spoon, irish moss, Fermcap-S, straining bags, tubing, etc.

Before you begin, make sure every single ingredient and piece of equipment on the checklist is ready to go, then just check off items on your timeline as you proceed through the process checklist.

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:38 AM   #3
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I completely and totally agree with weirdboy. Make a detailed list of every step before you start. It will make your brew day go so much easier.

I would also lay everything out tonight so it's ready for you tomorrow. I've started actually getting my water in the pots the night before too.

Good luck tomorrow!

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:38 AM   #4
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I hereby bless thee and all thy all grain escapades.

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:40 AM   #5
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Good luck with your first all grain batch. It is not that difficult. I had only brewed one batch, a Coopers kit, prior to going to all grain. Keep it simple and use the check list. My first all grain batch was great and so glad I took the plunge.

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:48 AM   #6
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That is very good advise, and I agree. I've gathered up all of my equipment, ingredients, sanitizer. Gone through the game plan many times in my head, and am outlining a list now. I keep finding little things to add, but am looking it over again and again. I'll finalize my list tonight, and get everything lined up in the morning. Then get everything going after an early lunch! Thanks for the advice, and blessing!

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Old 01-26-2010, 03:42 AM   #7
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Just an update. Brew day went well. 5 hours including clean-up. I'd say for my first time, and not knowing how my mash tun would work, I did alright. Was looking to mash at 154, but was more like 151. It was at 149 after the hour, so that's not bad. Was a couple degrees under with the sparge too. Was aiming for an OG around 1.085, but got right at 1.070. Pitched the yeast about 5:30 Sunday evening. Fermentation is well on it's way. Bubbling like crazy when I woke up this morning. I guess the true test is in a couple of months when I get to see how it tastes!

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Old 01-26-2010, 05:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rawkstar View Post
Just an update. Brew day went well. 5 hours including clean-up. I'd say for my first time, and not knowing how my mash tun would work, I did alright. Was looking to mash at 154, but was more like 151. It was at 149 after the hour, so that's not bad. Was a couple degrees under with the sparge too. Was aiming for an OG around 1.085, but got right at 1.070. Pitched the yeast about 5:30 Sunday evening. Fermentation is well on it's way. Bubbling like crazy when I woke up this morning. I guess the true test is in a couple of months when I get to see how it tastes!
Congrats! Switching to All Grain can be a challenge at first, but I hope you like it as much as I do. I switched last June and have not looked back.

If this helps, here is some advice from my lessons learned:

- I use a whiteboard (cheap little thing from the office store) to write out my brew steps. I write out the Strike temp/qty, the sparge temp/qty, a place to write down the exact boil start time, and then figure out what actual times to perform hop additions. I used to alwasy scramble (cause I lost track of time) and using the white board helped, as well as helped any friends that were helping me brew.
- I had OG/efficiency problems at first, but after spending a lot of time here (thanks to all the HBT folks!) and searching this site, I have the ability to nail OG's dead on. I used to be 8-10 points low at first.
- In regards to the above, here is what helped:

- paid more attention to my grind. I can grind at a local store (Midwest Supplies is nearby in MN) and I ensured I had a good grind.
- 5.2 mash stabalizer plus the use of filtered water from the grocery store. I just bring in my Ale pales and the cost is .29/gallon.
- I batch sparge, and I increased my sparge temp to 184 degrees (I think I started at 170 for the water before adding to the mash), made sure I stir the mash, then let sit for 15 minutes before I vorlouf and run into the boil kettle.
- Put notches on my paddle for each gallon of capacity to know what volume of wort I have left during the boil. I do not have a sight gauge .5 gallons can make a huge difference. I also take the time to do a quick gravity reading at pre-boil to know where I stand. I had some lower OG than planned brews with high IBU's and came out with good but not planned beers at first.
- I used to do partial mashes and I had to suck it up and lower my efficiency calcs when reformulating recipes for all-grain. I did not do this at first. I went from 80% to 70% on my recipe formulation, and this helped a lot. I now am at 75%. This maybe more than anything helped at first so I did not have too little grain. Hopefully though experience I can get to the high 70's or 80% eventually.

Hope any of this helped. I have now brewed about 20 all-grain batches and love the ability to experiment. I was a little frustrated at first, but in short order got my process nailed down.

Best of luck and good brewing!!

Broc
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:21 AM   #9
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By the way...what did you brew?

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Old 01-27-2010, 03:35 AM   #10
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I brewed an IPA.

I'm too lazy to type out the recipe, so here is a link.....hopefully it works.


http://hopville.com/recipe/155419/im...-grain-attempt

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