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Old 05-05-2008, 03:21 PM   #1
eggraid101
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Default 1st AG follow up questions

So, I did my first all-grain batch yesterday, after 3 extract batches. It was fun, and it did turn out to be a brewing day. With 3 kids running around, I was interrupted a few times, and even had to put the brewing on hold between collecting the sparge and starting the boil to go to a birthday party for about 2 hrs. Oh well. It was a slight modification of BierMuncher's Centennial Blonde, using Cascade hops. I used a 5 gal rubbermaid MLT modified w/ a ss braid like the 10 gal cooler type poplular here. Some details:

5 gallon batch
9 lbs of grain ( a little more than BM's recipe)
I heated the water to 183, and then added about 12 qts to the cooler. It only went down a few degrees to 179 after about 10 mins, so I went ahead and added the grains. This brought it down to 158, which was higher than I wanted, so I added some ice, and then another 2 cups of hot water to end up at 151 to start. This went down to about 148 after 60 mins. I was pretty happy with this, but I was worried that the water I added was too hot to start with? Doesn;t hot water extract tannins? So I collected the first runnings, and they were coming out at about 1.060. I then added sparge water at about 179 again, and collected that. I did another run of sparge water after that, too, which was coming out at 1.010, and I thought I remembered that was about the goal there.

But, after all the collections, I only had 5-5 1/2 gallons, which was surprising. The boil went well, although it was my first time trying foam control. I got it from Midwest, and there were no instructions. I tried using about 10 drops at first, but then when the boil started it almost boiled over, so once I got it settled down I added two whole eye-dropper fulls, and that improved things, but then when I added the first addition of hop pellets, it foamed up a lot again, and I added like 2 more eye dropper fulls. Is this too much?

I used Whirl-floc for the first time, too, and added it at 15 mins left in the boil. Then, I don't have a immersion cooler, so I had to use a water bath, which took awhile to cool it, but I had time. The OG was 1.042, which is right about what I thought it would be. The final volume was about 4 1/2 gallons, less than I was shooting for. I put it in the fermenter, and added Safale 05 yeast, and it's bubbling away down there this AM. It smelled good when brewing. I'll have a hard time resisting popping open a bottle before it's time.

So what do you think about the strike temp, the foam control, and the final volume?

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Old 05-05-2008, 03:33 PM   #2
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... I did another run of sparge water after that, too, which was coming out at 1.010, and I thought I remembered that was about the goal there....
Possibly a silly question, but did you stir up the mash when you added this sparge? My efficiency went from 66% on my first AG to 74% on my second from simply stirring the mash really well when I added the sparge water for the batch sparge.
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:44 PM   #3
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But, after all the collections, I only had 5-5 1/2 gallons, which was surprising.
How much did you get out of the first running? How much sparge water did you put in?
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:44 PM   #4
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Looks like a typical first all grain experience , chaotic, not quite to plan, but in the end, everything turned out all right.

For initial strike, you shouldn't need water much above 170 F. For sparging, I would definitely not go above 170 for the very reason you stated - tannin extraction. On the strike water, it's okay to be above the 170 if you need to in order to hit your initial mash temp because the water temp falls dramatically once you start adding the room temperature grain. For a typical mash of around 150 F or so, my strike water is usually 165 - 170 depending on several variables. Now that you have taken the plunge, you might want to invest in some brewing software. This takes a lot of the guess work out of things as far as water temps, volumes, and gravites. Promash is very popular and is what I use in my brewing - but there are other good ones as well.

I've never used the foam control stuff. It is really only at the beginning of the boil that foaming is a serious issue - at the hot break formation. The kettle foams up for a few minutes and I have to turn down the burner quite a bit and stir things around, then all of a sudden, the foam just goes away and everything is fine. The first hop addition can cause foaming also, that is to be expected, but not nearly as much as when the hot break is forming.

You should count on boiling off 1 to 1.5 gallons during your boil. This is typical and sounds like about what you experienced. Next time you can increase your batch size a little so that you get a full 5 gallons at the end. I always formulate my recipes in 6 gallon batches for standard hopped beers, and 6.5 or even 7 gallons for highly hopped beers (hops suck up a surprising amount of wort). That means at the end of the boil, when you turn off the burner, that's how much you have in the kettle (some kind of volume measuring device for your kettle is very handy). There are some losses in hops and trub, plus your draining technique will always leave some behind. After you rack to a secondary then rack again for bottling, you should have at least a full 5 gallons.

Don't let all your new found experience go to waste, brew again fairly quickly and things will go more smoothly I'm sure.

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Old 05-05-2008, 04:09 PM   #5
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I did not hit my mash temp?
Next time (water first) go 7 degrees over strike temperature at the strike volume in quarts. Close the lid and wait 5 minutes and then stir and take the temp while stiring. You should be close to the strike temp. If it is just 2 to 3 degrees over leave the lid off and stir while holding the thermometer in there until you are at the strike temp. When at strike temp, immediately add your grains and stir well. Cover and 5 minutes later take the temperature. It should be right on.


Not enough to boil?
Next time sparge with 170F water until you get to your preboil volume. I use brewing buckets that have volume markings so I know how much wort I have.


Whirlfloc is wonderful stuff. I use 1 tablet for 5 to 6 gallons and 2 tablets for 10 to 12 gallons. I think it is one of the best clairifiers in use.

Brew more beer because the first batch goes fast. Ferment at the correct temperture and age it long enough so its really good. So many new brewers drink too soon and do not realize that aging is very important.

Aging:
Ales 4 weeks minimum at 65F to 70F.
Lagers 2 months minimum at <53F.

You really need an imersion coil for cooling wort quickly. Pay the price and cry once. You will be glad you bought it the first time you use it.
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:26 PM   #6
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Hey, thanks for all the input! I'll try to get my strike water down to 170, it seemed like my cooler held the temp pretty well, I used a quality digital thermometer. I did stir well when adding the grains, but I didn't stir the sparge at all...good point.

I added the same amount of water (12 qts) at strike, and at 2 subsequent sparges, which was more than I thought I would need, but I could see my boil volume was low, so I did a little more. I thought about just doing one more sparge to get my pre-boil volume up, but I was concerned that I would start to lower the OG, isn't that true? I guess it'll be just a little more hoppy than I intended, which isn't too bad. What is a shame is that there won't be as much beer!

I didn't measure to see how much exactly I got out of the first running, it was my first time using the turkey fryer, and I didn't mark it before.

My plan is primary fermenter 1 week - 10 days
secondary fermenter 1 week - 10 days
Bottle 4 weeks.
That seems to work well for aging of my first two brews, the kit lager and the APA kit.

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Old 05-05-2008, 04:42 PM   #7
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Congrats of 1st AG. I'm a recent 1st AG myself.

Good call just staying with the volume & not adding water. You can make adjustments on the next batch.

I've heard the foam drops can expire. I'm wondering if that's why they didn't do much.

I highly recommend a chiller.

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Old 05-05-2008, 06:09 PM   #8
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Hmm...I just got the drops a week or two ago, should I contact Midwest? I'm giving the chiller some serious consideration.

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Old 05-05-2008, 06:15 PM   #9
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Look at the package- maybe there's an expiration date? I've never used them, so I don't know.

A chiller is a great investment- not just for ease of use. A chiller will give you a great "cold break", and makes clearer beer. I noticed that the combo of whirlfloc and a chiller give me a major amount of cold break and that my beers are crystal clear. Just another reason to get a chiller! My wort goes from boiling to pitching temp in about 15 minutes with super clear wort.

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Old 05-05-2008, 06:26 PM   #10
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It was kind of a weird package. It is a glass eye-dropper bottle that says:

Foam control
1 oz

That's it! No directions, no details other than that.

You're DFH 60 min clone is on my list of brews to brew, Yooper!

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