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Old 11-02-2009, 02:31 PM   #1
jrfuda
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Default 78% on my first AG - Cream of 3 Crops

I brewed a variation of BierMuncher's Cream of Three Crops yesterday as my first all grain batch, and finished with 78% efficieny.

I used a rubbermaid 10 gal MLT and my new Barley Crusher at the default .039.

I used magnum and cascade with a target of just over 15 IBUs to make this SWMBO-friendly (I bought a pound each of magnum, cascade and SAAZ from Hops Direct last month). It only took 1/3 oz of the magnum to get to the target IBU's with a 60 minute boil, and I added another 1/3 oz of Cascade at flame out. Again, this hit the 15 IBUs in BeerSmith, but I hope it does not come out underhopped.

I also used some regular old white rice, that I cooked in my rice cooker before mashing (actually the night before) instead of buying flaked rice. We typically buy a 50lb bag of rice at Costco every 6 months, so I always have some on hand and it comes out to be something like 40 cents a pound. Next time I may try frozen corn in place of flaked maize, though I think - once you adjust for the moisture in the frozen corn, it ends up costing about the same as dry flaked maize, and you don't have to pre-cook the flaked maize...

What's interesting too is I was able to pull of this all grain batch while watching my 3 & 5 year olds, doing 4 loads of laundrey, cleanng the house and making lunch and dinner (my wife was studying for an exam and was locked away in the guest room doing so). It actually wasn't too bad, becuase other than setup and cleanup, it was mostly hands-off (thanks to Fermcap!).

I did have to adjust my mash several times in the first 20 minutes to get my target temp of 152 locked-in (it kept dropping too low) but once I got it, it stuck for the remaining 70 minutes of my 90-minute mash.. I think I could have gotten away with a 60 minute mash, though, becuase I did an iodine test at 60 and it showed no starches, but I let it run to stick to BierMuncher's mash schedule.

I think next time I'll preheat the MLT and maybe that will help me avoid all te mash adjustments.

This will be my 5th total brew... I did 2 x Mr. Beers, 2 x 5-gallon extract w/specialty grain batches, and now this - my first AG batch. Based on the prices of my ingredients I put in BeerSmith, it only cost me $12.48 to do the batch.

She's fermenting away!

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Old 11-02-2009, 04:47 PM   #2
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VERY NICE! Congrats!

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Old 11-02-2009, 05:35 PM   #3
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Good on ya! Doesn't it feel great to brew 5 gallons of great beer for less than $15? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy brewing bigger and more expensive brews. But something about getting under $15...

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Old 11-03-2009, 03:09 AM   #4
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Thats sweet dude! I did a cream ale on Saturday with similiar results. Feels great to finally brew AG.

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Old 11-05-2009, 02:57 PM   #5
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Default 4 Days of Fermantation and still tons of kräusen

Thanks for all the well wishes.

She's been fermenting now for 4 days, and there's still at least an inch-and-a-half of kräusen (with a peak a bit over 3 inches). My other 2 beers where I was able to observe the fermentation (in a better bottle) lasted a max of 3 days, with a few more days of thin kräusen afterwords (I never peaked at the 1st two batches (Mr. Beer), just waited 2 weeks).

I've got my fermentation chamber holding temp between 64 & 65F with a Ranco Controller, which is a little cooler than the last batch (65/67) and much cooler than 2 batches ago (69/70, which had a lot of blow-off), so that is probably contributing to the long fermentation.

I'm assuming that the 152F mash made a highly attenuable wort that is also contributing?

I'm not worried a bit, just think it's cool that the fermentation is going slow and steady for once.

Anyone got any low/mid OG ales like this one that required an unusally long (not saying this one is unusual or particually long). I've heard about some big beers that have a lot of kräusen/blow-off for a long time, but didn't think it was that common with smaller beers.

Thanks again for the feedback!

EDIT: After some more creative searching of the forums I see a persistent krausen is actually rather common. The beer's still cloudy as heck too, so I think that it's still actively fermenting. Once it starts clearing a bit, I'll start assesing it with my refractometer (which I just got last week, and calibrated to the wort with my hydrometer before pitching). I also read that US05, which I used, likes to linger at the top for a while

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Old 11-05-2009, 03:19 PM   #6
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I let it go for about 2-3 weeks, then test. Really you want to let the beer sit on the yeast cake for a while, so the yeast can clean up thier mess.

Take a sample at 2-3 weeks in and you should be at terminal gravity at that point and ready to rack.

Awesome that it worked out so well for you. The BC makes a huge diff.

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Old 11-05-2009, 03:55 PM   #7
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Congrats - looks like it was super successful!

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Old 11-05-2009, 04:44 PM   #8
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Most excellent!

I went all grain early on, too, and it's a lot of fun. It's more complicated and with a greater number of places to screw up, but it's also more gratifying, in my opinion.

Your temperatures are fine. One of the hardest things to learn is patience, especially when so many beginning kits and books suggest that your beer is done in three or four days, and at seven days you'd be crazy not to get it off the evil yeast. But the more you brew and the more you read you realize that slower, cooler fermentations are generally better (I said generally; Belgian brewers don't jump on me), giving you more control over the flavor of your beer, and that leaving it on the yeast for 10 days to two weeks will result in a cleaner, clearer final result.

Congratulations on your fine efficiency -- both into the brew kettle and during your brew day. That's pretty darn cool.

Chad

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Old 11-17-2009, 04:27 PM   #9
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Transferred to secondary on Sunday at 1.008 (predicted was 1.011). It's clearing like crazy now... the top 2/3 of the carboy is already super clear. At the end of 2 weeks this will surely be the clearest beer I've bottle thus far.

The hydro sample tasted great - much smoother (less astringent) than the extract batches I've made in the past.

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Old 12-21-2009, 02:56 PM   #10
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I bottled these into my Tap-A-Draft system a little over 2 weeks ago and plan on serving it to our guest on Christmas Day.

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