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Old 03-28-2012, 02:21 AM   #1
redstache
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Default 1st All Grain Disaster

It's been over a month now since I began my first all-grain batch. I have several extract batches under my belt, so I felt comfortable adding a few steps to the brewing process.

First a little info about the setup. I decided to use a Northern Brewer all-grain kit (Innkeeper Ale). I had made the extract before, so I had something to compare it to. I also had NB crush the grains. I figured using a kit and having them crush it would eliminate some potential areas for errors. I used a 5 gal igloo cooler for a mashtun with a stainless braid for lautering. Unfortunately I did not have silicone tubing, so I used a vinyl tubing to transfer to the kettle.

During the brew day, the mash temp was a little high, but I was able to lower it easily to my target temp. Mash was uneventful. I did a careful vorlauf, and began draining. Did a batch sparge to hit my target volume. I used a hydrometer to monitor the wort, and everything was going to plan. The only thing I think I messed up on was the sparge water was hot (180 F). I believe this was what mucked the whole batch. Brew to fermentation to kegging went without a hitch. I was very careful with sanitization (starsan on everything).

I pulled my first draft after force carb, and it was awful. Somewhat astringent and definitely a strange medicinal quality (didn't use any chlorine based cleaners). It's undrinkable. I read that I could cold condition the beer for a month to reduce husky flavors due to high sparge temps. I gave it a try, and while it mellowed it is still undrinkable (and I am not that picky). I believe I'm just going to have to dump it.

What would you suggest for batch number 2? What could cause the off-flavors?
Can batch number 1 be saved or should I just dump it?

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Old 03-28-2012, 02:25 AM   #2
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It very well could be the line you used to transfer...

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Old 03-28-2012, 02:27 AM   #3
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Default More Details Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by redstache View Post
It's been over a month now since I began my first all-grain batch. I have several extract batches under my belt, so I felt comfortable adding a few steps to the brewing process.

First a little info about the setup. I decided to use a Northern Brewer all-grain kit (Innkeeper Ale). I had made the extract before, so I had something to compare it to. I also had NB crush the grains. I figured using a kit and having them crush it would eliminate some potential areas for errors. I used a 5 gal igloo cooler for a mashtun with a stainless braid for lautering. Unfortunately I did not have silicone tubing, so I used a vinyl tubing to transfer to the kettle.

During the brew day, the mash temp was a little high, but I was able to lower it easily to my target temp. Mash was uneventful. I did a careful vorlauf, and began draining. Did a batch sparge to hit my target volume. I used a hydrometer to monitor the wort, and everything was going to plan. The only thing I think I messed up on was the sparge water was hot (180 F). I believe this was what mucked the whole batch. Brew to fermentation to kegging went without a hitch. I was very careful with sanitization (starsan on everything).

I pulled my first draft after force carb, and it was awful. Somewhat astringent and definitely a strange medicinal quality (didn't use any chlorine based cleaners). It's undrinkable. I read that I could cold condition the beer for a month to reduce husky flavors due to high sparge temps. I gave it a try, and while it mellowed it is still undrinkable (and I am not that picky). I believe I'm just going to have to dump it.

What would you suggest for batch number 2? What could cause the off-flavors?
Can batch number 1 be saved or should I just dump it?
As you said, the Vinyl tube could be a bit issue (not good for HOT wort)
but also, what was your mash temp and what was the overshoot?

what did you use to stir the mash, and did it aerate during that time?

180°F sparge water isn't bad, but it depends on Volume and what the grain temp reaches.

Also, Mash-tun doesn't need Star-san, just keep it clean. You'll boil it later.


-Mac
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:36 AM   #4
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Also had a batch with medicinal flavour and always wondered what could have done this...could it be chlorine in the water?

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Old 03-28-2012, 02:41 AM   #5
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The vinyl tube may have a small effect but it would be a hint and not so overpowering it is undrinkable. I use it all the time and don't taste it but I would expect faint if it were to happen.

You said you did a batch sparge and the water was 180 degrees. Was that the temperature going in or the temperature of your mash after adding it? I try to get mine up to 168 with 200 degree water and it never even gets there. If you used 180 degree water, I don't think that is your issue either.

My guess would maybe be your new cooler. Being new maybe it gave off some plastic type funk?

My son just brewed up Northern's Caribou Slobber, you might like that one.

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Old 03-28-2012, 02:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac951 View Post
As you said, the Vinyl tube could be a bit issue (not good for HOT wort)
but also, what was your mash temp and what was the overshoot?

what did you use to stir the mash, and did it aerate during that time?

180°F sparge water isn't bad, but it depends on Volume and what the grain temp reaches.

Also, Mash-tun doesn't need Star-san, just keep it clean. You'll boil it later.


-Mac
I'm going to order some silicone for sure. The target temp was 154, and I hit 156. It wasn't huge, so I just cooled it with water. I used a plastic paddle to stir. I've used it on all my batches with no problems. I worked hard not to splash the mash, but I can't say it didn't aerate.

I was really thinking it was the sparge, so it's a relief to know it wasn't way off.

Oh and I didn't Star-san the mashtun. I was just trying to describe that I did sanitize everything but the hot side without chlorine. I don't believe the issue was sanitation.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:47 AM   #7
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Don't dump it yet! I had an Arrogant Bastard Clone where everything went very smooth but at the end of a month it just smelled and tasted nasty. I could not come up with a reason why this would be. I went ahead and bottled it and after carbing for 2 weeks it tasted like vinegar. I was bumming. Let it sit in the bottle for another 2 weeks and it is just fantastic! It just takes some beers more time. Do not dump that beer.

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Old 03-28-2012, 02:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerfly View Post
The vinyl tube may have a small effect but not it would be a hint and not so overpowering it is undrinkable. I use it all the time and don't taste it but I would expect faint if it were to happen.

You said you did a batch sparge and the water was 180 degrees. Was that the temperature going in or the temperature of your mash after adding it? I try to get mine up to 168 with 200 degree water and it never even gets there. If you used 180 degree water, I don't think that is your issue either.

My guess would maybe be your new cooler. Being new maybe it gave off some plastic type funk?
The off-flavor is really strong, so it may not be the vinyl tube. I'm going to go silicone just in case.

I didn't worry about mashout, so I just filled the tun again. Then I did a quit vorlauf and drained the tun. Should I wait longer?
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:50 AM   #9
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This happened to me on my first 2 all grain batches. I found that my problem was a combination of underpitching and high fermentation temps.

Also, I batch sparge and usually use 195 degree water for the sparge. Hold at mash temp for an hour. Drain mash ton. Add half of 195 degree sparge water to get grain bed close to 168. Stir like crazy, let it sit for 10 minutes, stir like crazy, drain. Repeat with last half of sparge water.

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Old 03-28-2012, 02:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redstache View Post
I worked hard not to splash the mash, but I can't say it didn't aerate.
Uh oh. We're talking hot side aeration.
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