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Old 09-01-2009, 02:14 AM   #1
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Default My First All-Grain Attempt.

Well I just did it today for the first time. I milled my grains the night before. As some may have read before I attempted with a different mill with many problems. Last night I used the Barley Crusher, which worked perfect.

I started brewing around 3. Used a propane burner. Heated the HLT to 170. Then I put the grains in the MLT. It has a false bottom. I then mashed for an hour. Stirred every 15 minutes. My temp was right at 150. The recipe sheet called for the temp. After mashing. I had my MLT on the ground. Didn't even think about vorlauf. So I had to lift it onto a chair to drain into a pitcher. So I did that. More than I wanted to, maybe 2 gallons. Poured the vorlauf back into the MLT.

Already I had The HLT filled with 5 gallons of 180 degree water. I ran into trouble here. I could not get the pump to work right. So I had to lift the HLT higher. So at this point I have a three tiered system going. I used the Brew Magic techniques with a hose to sparge. I shook the MLT quite a bit trying to get everything in place. So this caused some grains to get in the BK. So I proceeded to drain the MLT to the BK. While I was sparging. I need to get this technique down better next time. I was going too fast. But other than that It went smoothly.

I then thought I had 6.5 gallons in the BK. I used the pitcher to measure 6.5 gallons in the BK earlier. I then boiled hops for an hour. I have a Mash Master heat exchanger. I hooked the BK to the exchanger in wort in. Then I hooked a hose to the wort out into a pump, then into the BK. I had a hose in the water in, then a hose from the water out into buckets for laundry. Everything went well, then a couple times Nothing was flowing out of the BK.

I realized the hop bags for getting stuck in the valve. Doh! So next time I will take the bags out right away. After fiddling with that, I was amazed how quickly the water came from boiling to 70 degrees. I used a copper wort chiller before. I then drained the cooled wort from the BK to glass fermenter. I noticed I was about .25-.50 gallons short. Its either from a lot of evaporation, or I need a better measuring device for gallons. I am thinking a measuring device. I was 10 points off the gravity reading.

So next time I need to figure out the pump better, Or somehow get a three tiered system going right away. Other than that, I like doing all-grain much better. I think its is more fun. Extract was also a lot of fun, All-grain is just more. I finished around 7. So about 4 hours it took me with clean up. Oh, the recipe I did was a Dead Guy Ale Clone.

Any advice for measuring gallons correctly?

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Old 09-01-2009, 02:55 AM   #2
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I measure my water by quarts. It takes longer, but I know I'm accurate that way. Otherwise I use my brewing bucket that came with pre-marked water levels.

Also, you want to make sure you're accounting for all of your water loss...that may be your issue. There's water loss in your MLT underneath whatever you use as a manifold (mine's about 1/4 gallon). You'll also lose water to evaporation, hoses, pump, etc. Figure out where you're leaving liquid at between steps and it will help you better your system.

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Old 09-01-2009, 03:14 AM   #3
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I also use quarts, a 2-quart pitcher to be exact. As was said, you want to figure out your losses to accurately get your volume.

And as an added friendly piece of advice, break that post into paragraphs. It was hard as hell to read.

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Old 09-01-2009, 04:05 AM   #4
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Yeah, I will break it up next time. Also, I have a pre marked ale pail. Though I am pretty sure that is off about .5 gallons.

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Old 09-01-2009, 04:32 AM   #5
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I have a stick of wood that I have notched gallon marks on for each of my pots. Its quick and easy to see how much volume I have by dipping the stick to the bottom.
Congrats on your first AG.

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Old 09-01-2009, 10:24 PM   #6
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Remember that the water volume will change with a change in temperature.

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Old 09-01-2009, 11:39 PM   #7
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I am thinking it was my measuring device. The way I did was pretty much poured a 5 gallon water jug into the BK. Then with a pitcher added another 1.5 gallons. Then eye balled it when filling th BK with wort. I will either do it a quart at a time, as Shecky said. Or I will invest in scale and weigh it out. I need to get a stick also, like masonjax has.

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Old 09-01-2009, 11:45 PM   #8
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The addition of a measuring stick improved my entire process.

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Old 09-04-2009, 07:13 PM   #9
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"Classic Mistake." (The Hangover) I figured out exactly why I came up so short. When I pre measured the water in the BK, I just added 5 gallons. Not more for boil off.

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