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Old 09-08-2010, 01:29 PM   #1
jakecpunut
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Default 2nd All Grain Batch - Still learning and got Questions!

This past Saturday I did my 2nd All Grain batch using my SQ14 burner and Keg converted Keggle.

The kit was a Victory Hop Devil kit from Austin Home Brew Supply!

As you will hear in the video, I was off on my #'s again!

When I did my first AG batch, I had NO idea how much boil off I would have with this setup. Since I wanted to end up with 5.25 gallons into the fermenter, I started out with 7.25 gallons when I did the first batch and only boiled off 1 gallon in an hour.

When I did this 2nd batch, I ended up with 6 gallons after the 1st runnings and double batch sparge so I figured I'd boil off a gallon again and end up with 5!

WRONG! ha

I ended up with 4 gallons after the 60 minute boil so I added 1 gallon of water to get to 5 in the fermenter.

I did try and keep about the same rolling boil as I did on the 1st batch.

The only 2 things I can think of is on this 2nd batch, it was a much cooler day, the wind was up so I had made a wind shield for the burner. My after thought is that the more direct heat using the shield caused more boil off?

Also, on my 1st AG batch I used 1 gallon paint strainers for each hop addition. Separate bags for each addition. The 1st batch I did had 3 oz of hops total.

This 2nd batch had 4 1/2 oz of hops total and I used 1 five gallon paint strainer hung over the side of the keggle and just added the hops when called for.

I guess I never realized how much hops expanded. After seeing how much was left over in that 5 gallon paint strainer, and I'm also wondering if the 1 gallon strainers allowed for enough utilization?

So was it the hops that absorbed more wort during the boil?

Was it the more direct heat?

Was it because there was only 6 gallons pre-boil compared to 7.5 and the smaller volume caused more boil off?

Or was it a combination of all of that?

Also as you'll hear in the video, I missed my OG.. should have been 1.068 and I ended up with 1.052. Dang it! ha

EDIT: Forgot to mention one thing.. Seems like when I do my dough in and stir stir stir, I get inconsistent temp readings on each side of the 52 qt coleman xtreme. Like it'll read 153 on the left side and 150 on the right side... And again I stir quite a bit.. Anybody else see this or am I just being too anal?

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Thanks!

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Fermenting - 10 G's of Speer Beer Pale Ale

Tap # 1 - Frozen Toes IPA
Tap # 2 - Nut Brown Ale
Tap # 3 - Rye IPA
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:43 PM   #2
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The keggle guys could probably give you a pretty accurate idea of boil off rates. However, doubling your boil off rate is unlikely so it was probably a combination of things such as more break material left on the bottom, more hops, and possibly a more intense boil like you suggested.

I'm guessing your sparge efficiency is lacking given how many points you missed by. I would recommend investing in a refractometer to get rapid readings of gravity so you know when to stop sparging. As well, I always brew to gravity not to volume. If you do this you will quickly learn your system efficiency so you will always (except that rare bad day) hit both your desired volume and gravity.

If I wasn't at work I would watch the video as I'm sure that will give others info for much better advice.

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Old 09-08-2010, 02:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bensiff View Post
The keggle guys could probably give you a pretty accurate idea of boil off rates. However, doubling your boil off rate is unlikely so it was probably a combination of things such as more break material left on the bottom, more hops, and possibly a more intense boil like you suggested.

I'm guessing your sparge efficiency is lacking given how many points you missed by. I would recommend investing in a refractometer to get rapid readings of gravity so you know when to stop sparging. As well, I always brew to gravity not to volume. If you do this you will quickly learn your system efficiency so you will always (except that rare bad day) hit both your desired volume and gravity.

If I wasn't at work I would watch the video as I'm sure that will give others info for much better advice.
Thanks for the reply... one thing I didn't mention that you touched on and I forgot to, was that I had a HUGE amount of cold break! I did use a whirlfloc tablet and got the temps down to 78 in about 20 minutes..

I would have already had a refractometer but my wife said I need to save some things for the birthday/Christmas lists haha
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Fermenting - 10 G's of Speer Beer Pale Ale

Tap # 1 - Frozen Toes IPA
Tap # 2 - Nut Brown Ale
Tap # 3 - Rye IPA
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:49 PM   #4
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My first thought is that after only your second brew you should not expect to have dialed in your technique. Every once in a while I think that someone gets it right from day one, but usually it takes time to figure out how to best use your set up. It's also better to have 4 gallons of the right gravity wort then adding water to get to the magic 5 gallon number.

Kits to me are not ideal because as you found out not everyone has the same results so starting with a fixed set of ingredients doesn't always work out. If you are brewing outdoors, you want the flexibility of shooting for 5.5 or 6 gallon batch that equates to 5 gallons when finished with the entire process.

As to temperature variations in MT, I'd bet that most have that issue but don't check for it. If you stirred the mash and pre heated the cooler I can't think of anything you can do to fix that. Except of course move up to recirculating your mash via HERMS or RIMS.

Good luck with future brews.

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Old 09-08-2010, 03:19 PM   #5
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I've usually hit very close to my OG throughout my (6 batch) all grain brewing experience. I just brewed an AHS kit (Special Bitter) and nailed it. I think hitting and maintaining your mash temp is a big factor. I preheat my MLT and, after mashing in and getting the temp dialed in, I wrap the MLT in a couple of blankets. After an hour, I've never dropped more than 1 degree. I NEVER open the MLT during that mash hour.

The other thing is nice, slow lautering. I take a good 20 minutes for my first runnings, then batch sparge, stir, and let it sit for a good 15 minutes. It's possible you're draining the mash too quickly and not maximizing your efficiency. I don't do conversion testing, but I do dump in a Tsp of 5.2 into the mash just to make sure I've got a good pH.

Keep trying....your beer will taste fine, but you'll have to drink more of it to get the proper buzz level. Not a bad thing IMHO.

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Old 09-08-2010, 03:25 PM   #6
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Because boil-off can be fairly unpredictable, I usually keep a pot with a gallon or two or pre-boiled water ready for the end of the boil. If I am below my target volume by a couple of quarts, I just top off with the pre-boiled water and then chill it all. I usually aim to just slightly undershoot for this reason, as obviously you can't do anything about overshooting your volume.

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Old 09-08-2010, 03:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply... one thing I didn't mention that you touched on and I forgot to, was that I had a HUGE amount of cold break! I did use a whirlfloc tablet and got the temps down to 78 in about 20 minutes..

I would have already had a refractometer but my wife said I need to save some things for the birthday/Christmas lists haha
Tell her you need an early present . Whirlfloc does generate massive break no doubt.
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by samc View Post
My first thought is that after only your second brew you should not expect to have dialed in your technique. Every once in a while I think that someone gets it right from day one, but usually it takes time to figure out how to best use your set up. It's also better to have 4 gallons of the right gravity wort then adding water to get to the magic 5 gallon number.

Kits to me are not ideal because as you found out not everyone has the same results so starting with a fixed set of ingredients doesn't always work out. If you are brewing outdoors, you want the flexibility of shooting for 5.5 or 6 gallon batch that equates to 5 gallons when finished with the entire process.

As to temperature variations in MT, I'd bet that most have that issue but don't check for it. If you stirred the mash and pre heated the cooler I can't think of anything you can do to fix that. Except of course move up to recirculating your mash via HERMS or RIMS.

Good luck with future brews.
That's good advice! My 1st AG and my last BIAB AG were both awesome and they were a little off haha.. I guess I need to look at the final results and just take my time and learn the system... I guess I just want to make sure I'm not doing something that's way off....
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Fermenting - 10 G's of Speer Beer Pale Ale

Tap # 1 - Frozen Toes IPA
Tap # 2 - Nut Brown Ale
Tap # 3 - Rye IPA
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jturie View Post
I've usually hit very close to my OG throughout my (6 batch) all grain brewing experience. I just brewed an AHS kit (Special Bitter) and nailed it. I think hitting and maintaining your mash temp is a big factor. I preheat my MLT and, after mashing in and getting the temp dialed in, I wrap the MLT in a couple of blankets. After an hour, I've never dropped more than 1 degree. I NEVER open the MLT during that mash hour.

The other thing is nice, slow lautering. I take a good 20 minutes for my first runnings, then batch sparge, stir, and let it sit for a good 15 minutes. It's possible you're draining the mash too quickly and not maximizing your efficiency. I don't do conversion testing, but I do dump in a Tsp of 5.2 into the mash just to make sure I've got a good pH.

Keep trying....your beer will taste fine, but you'll have to drink more of it to get the proper buzz level. Not a bad thing IMHO.
I've been doing really good on my mash temps... other than the ? about differences in a degree or 2 from different areas of the grain bed. My tun holds temps very well...

One thing you touched on is the slow lautering.. That's another thing I've read about.. some folks say they let it go slow during the vorlauf and then wide open for the sparge... Maybe that's one thing I need to try, slow the sparge down to see if I get better conversion?

I'm doing the same thing on the PH, just started this last batch. I don't have a tester so I just bought the 5.2 stabilizer and gonna start using it on every batch!

Thanks!!
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Fermenting - 10 G's of Speer Beer Pale Ale

Tap # 1 - Frozen Toes IPA
Tap # 2 - Nut Brown Ale
Tap # 3 - Rye IPA
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kevmoron View Post
Because boil-off can be fairly unpredictable, I usually keep a pot with a gallon or two or pre-boiled water ready for the end of the boil. If I am below my target volume by a couple of quarts, I just top off with the pre-boiled water and then chill it all. I usually aim to just slightly undershoot for this reason, as obviously you can't do anything about overshooting your volume.
yeah that's something I definitely need to start doing, having extra H2O on hand ready to go!
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Fermenting - 10 G's of Speer Beer Pale Ale

Tap # 1 - Frozen Toes IPA
Tap # 2 - Nut Brown Ale
Tap # 3 - Rye IPA
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