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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > 2nd all grain, need some advice/critique
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:29 AM   #1
physast
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Default 2nd all grain, need some advice/critique

This is my second all grain batch. I decided to try an Oktoberfest ale.

Ingredients:
6# pilsner
6# Vienna
0.5# caramunich 40
0.5# crystal 20
1oz Tetnanger @ 60 min
0.5oz Hallertaur @ 30 min
0.5oz Hallertaur @ 15 min
German Ale yeast smack pack

Mashed @ 156 F for 60 min using 1.29Quarts/Lbs of grain.
Sparged with 3.5 gallons @ 175 F. End running gravity was 1.038 (too high?).
Total out of mash and sparge for boil was 6.03 gallons. Boiled for 60 min using hop schedule above. After boil and cooling had 4.5 gallons of wart. Original gravity after adding 0.8 gallons of water to top off the fermenter to 5.3 gallons was 1.053 (too low?)

My setup is a 10 gallon igloo cooler for the mash tun and two stainless steel pots for boiling on a electric stove. Fermenting in a plastic bucket.

I estimate that my efficiency is about 60%. What am I doing wrong? Any ideas?

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Old 08-30-2010, 01:39 AM   #2
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Your end running gravity should be in the 1.010 range. You left your efficiency behind in the mashtun. I usually sparge with around a little less than double my mash water volume. In your recipes case I would have had 7-8 gallons heated for sparging and likely would have ended up using around 6.5 or so.

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Old 08-30-2010, 02:19 AM   #3
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So after the boil, you topped off with 0.8g. Next time, use 0.8g more sparge water, and you won't have to top off at all. Using the extra sparge water will also rinse out more fermentables, giving you a lower gravity for your final runnings. A final runnings gravity of 1.038 is very high. When you add your sparge water, do you stir it really well? With a batch sparge, it is the stirring that dissolves the sugars, and if you don't stir enough, you will get low efficiency.

-a.

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Old 08-30-2010, 02:24 AM   #4
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Try a double sparge. I typically mash in with 3.5 gallons, and sparge with 6 gallons (3 in each batch). I stir like crazy when dumping in the sparge water and then start heating the next sparge water.

I get about 8-8.5 gallons of wort pre-boil and end up with 5.5-6 gallons in the fermenter.

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Old 08-30-2010, 03:10 AM   #5
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I wish I could boil more than 6 gallons on my stove top, but that's all my electric stove can take. I have a small apartment that I am surprised I can do all grain at all in.

I mashed 4.2 g and sparged with 3.4 g. This gave me about 6 g to boil.

I like the idea of a double sparge. Is the sparge more important than the mash for rinsing sugars? I could always mash with less and sparge with more, but still have to end up with 6 g for a boil.

How long does it take to boil 8.5 g down to 5.5 g? 3 hours?

I did stir the sparge and let it set for 10 min. I guess I could always stir more! I also recirculated the wort 3 times using a 1 g jug for both the mash and the sparge.

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Old 08-30-2010, 03:19 AM   #6
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Vienna only has 50 diastatic power, did you do an iodine test to see if conversion was complete? What if you changed your mash schedule to do a 75 minute mash in rest at 148F and a 30 minute mash out at 156F. Just a thought.

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Old 08-30-2010, 03:43 AM   #7
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I've heard a 90 minute boil recommended for pils malt to nearly completely drive off the DMS. Practically any other base malt has been kilned enough to do the job in 60 or less.

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Old 08-30-2010, 05:10 AM   #8
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i sparge until my my refractometer is reading 2-3

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Old 08-30-2010, 01:18 PM   #9
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Thank you for all the replies and suggestions. If I am reading these correctly then I have a few options.

1. Need the ability to boil 8 or more gallons for a 5 gallon batch of beer. I can see how this would increase my efficiency, but don't understand why this is needed. I had always assumed you should be able to get good efficiency without having to boil down 8 gallons.

2. Stir, stir, stir!! Double sparge. This might increase my eff. some.

3. accept defeat.

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Old 08-30-2010, 01:30 PM   #10
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How exactly do you calculate eff.? I just read a post that suggested. using the formula below using numbers from my session:

expected gravity = 1.069 @ 5 g
actual gravity = 1.053 @ 5.3 g

69*5 = 345
53*5.3 = 280.9

280.9/345 * 100 = 81.4%

Maybe I calculated wrong? But this wouldn't make sense if my final running was 1.038...

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