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Old 12-08-2009, 12:40 AM   #1
snail
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Default Accounting for everything?

I will be doing my first all grain in a week or two and want to see if my measurements sound correct.

I have 12.5 lbs of grain. The water ratio I'm using is 1.25/1. So ~15.6 qts.

I have a 70qt cooler and figured filling it 1/4 of the way would preheat for the mash. So 17.5 qts (70/4=17.5)...

I'm going to want to heat up 35 quarts for strike water(15.6), cooler preheat water(17.5), and a little extra just in case.

I've been reading the grains will absorb about .2 gals/1lb of grain. That equals out to 10 quarts. My strike water (15.6) - the absorption (10) is 5.6 qts I should be collecting.

I want my preboil volume to be 6 gals. I'm going to do two sparges both with 9.2 qts. So 18.4 for sparges + 5.6 from collecting strike water = 24 qts = 6 gallons.... phew.... Thats a lot of thinking.

Does this sound correct? Does anyone have ideas on anything I may be overlooking?

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Old 12-08-2009, 01:12 AM   #2
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For an average 5 - 6 gallon batch, yeah, about 9 gallons of water for brewing is in the right range.

I'd encourage you to get a free trial of BeerSmith and put your recipe into it; it'll tell you all the volumes you figured out. (Of course it's good to be able to figure it out yourself too, and it looks like you pretty much have.)

To heat my mash tun, I just heat the entire volume of my strike water to about 185F or so, dump it in, close it up and let it sit for 5 minutes or so, then open and stir, and let it get down to the strike temperature before putting the grain in.

Also, Bobby_M put together a great guide that I've used extensively: http://www.suebob.com/brew/Bobby_M%20all%20grain%20primer.pdf

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:04 AM   #3
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I tried Beersmith once but had a hard time getting around it. Maybe I'll give it a go again... Thanks for the tip and link.

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:06 AM   #4
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I'd fill the MLT half full of hot tap water to pre-heat it.

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:13 AM   #5
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I did that the first time I brewed all-grain but thought pouring out 5 gallons of hot water, rather than just using the hot water I was actually going to mash with, was a waste.

I guess you could pour it into the washing machine or something, though.

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:23 AM   #6
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I plan on using the water i heat the mash tun with and the water used by the immersion cooler in the fermentor to sanitize it so I don't have to waste it.

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snail View Post
I will be doing my first all grain in a week or two and want to see if my measurements sound correct.

I have 12.5 lbs of grain. The water ratio I'm using is 1.25/1. So ~15.6 qts.

I have a 70qt cooler and figured filling it 1/4 of the way would preheat for the mash. So 17.5 qts (70/4=17.5)...

I'm going to want to heat up 35 quarts for strike water(15.6), cooler preheat water(17.5), and a little extra just in case.

I've been reading the grains will absorb about .2 gals/1lb of grain. That equals out to 10 quarts. My strike water (15.6) - the absorption (10) is 5.6 qts I should be collecting.

I want my preboil volume to be 6 gals. I'm going to do two sparges both with 9.2 qts. So 18.4 for sparges + 5.6 from collecting strike water = 24 qts = 6 gallons.... phew.... Thats a lot of thinking.

Does this sound correct? Does anyone have ideas on anything I may be overlooking?
In general, you're better off doing less sparging than more. If you've go a big Tun like you do, I'd go up to 2 or even 2.5 qts/lb of grain for the mash.
Less chance of tannins or other issues with sparge PH.
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:05 AM   #8
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When I preheat my mash tun, I dump in the hot water, and turn the MT to slosh the water all around inside the tun. I'm wondering why the water can't go back into the HLT after the tuns been preheated. If the tun was clean, the water should be able to be reused.

I prefer a thinner mash than 1.25 qts/lb. It's easier to get the water fully combined with the grain without dough balls, and it's easier to get a uniform temperature from top to bottom and center out. I see that Bobby's link says that the thinner mashes equate to a cooler mash temp. I don't know about that, but Bobby's info. has been spot on in the past.

Good Luck...

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Old 12-08-2009, 03:09 AM   #9
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That's a good point. I don't brew with my tap water because I don't like how it tastes. So it's easier and more efficient for me to just overheat my strike water (spring water) and use it to heat the mash tun. I really don't see why that's not the easiest way, period, in almost any situation.

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Old 12-08-2009, 03:54 AM   #10
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I've gone through your figures and have a few minor observations.
Strike water volume looks good.
Preheating looks good, but you could preheat by just adding the 15.6 qts about 10 degrees hotter than required, and waiting for it to cool to the right temperature.
In my experience, the grains absorb about 1 pt water per lb (which would be a tad over 6 quarts).
Whatever the grain absorption is, you won't collect it all in the brew kettle, because you will have some dead space in your MLT. If you don't know your dead space, I'd guess about 2 quarts for your first brew, and try to measure how much you leave behind in the MLT. (A little math, a bathroom scale, and google to get the weight of water should do this for you.)
Assuming grain absorption of 1 pt/lb, and 2 quarts dead space, you should collect about 7.5 qts from your first runnings.
I brew 5.5g batches, and need to collect about 7g preboil to get 5.5g into the fermenter, but I leave a bit of trub behind in the kettle and some more in the CFC. If you know your preboil volume should be 6g, that's fine; but if you are not sure, I would go for about 6.5g (assuming you are making a 5g batch).
As you are doing two sparges, and you have to heat your sparge water before starting the sparge, I would heat at least 1 extra gallon of sparge water. After your first runnings, you should know how much extra water you need to add to reach your preboil volume (preboil volume - first running volume). Add 1/2 of that water for the first batch, and (if you are a perfectionist) recheck the shortage after the first sparge to determine how much water to add for the second sparge.
The second brew is so much easier once you know how much you lose to grain absorption, dead space, trub, trapped in equipment, and evaporation.
Finally, if you find Beersmith too complicated (as I do), you may want to check out Promash. I find it much easier to use (especially if you follow the tutorials).

Good luck.

-a.

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