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Old 08-10-2011, 12:03 PM   #1
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Default AG cooler first time....

HELP. First AG with new 10 gal cooler w/ 12" false bottom set up and I am looking for the best way to run it for efficiency for Saturday( brew day).
It's an American ale of my own design and out of a 12# grain bill 2# is American 6 row. My thought was protein for better foam stability but now I am worried that I may need a protein rest and I don't know stink about that.
A) do I need a protein rest - what should it look like?
B) how do you run your cooler for best efficiency? My plan was to do a mashoff raise and then sparge but brewpal Is telling me to infuse nearly 80% of my sparge to hit 170 and that seems like more batch sparge and not flysparge. I think fly is the way to go -nice and slow and in control. I think it will be better but I never did this b4.
Thanks in advance for your kind words of advice : )



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Old 08-10-2011, 01:18 PM   #2
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I don't fly, and I only do single infusion mashes, and I end up with excellent beer. I wouldn't sweat the multi-step and fly sparging on your first batch, but hey, that's just my opinion.

My basic understanding is you would want to do them if:

A) protein rest - Are you really concerned about haze? Then a protein rest would be beneficial. I always just use a teaspoon of Irish Moss to cut the haze down on the finished products, and my beers clear up very well (I also keg which helps, but my bottled brews are clear as well).

B) efficiency - I have only batch sparged, and my efficiency has been fine (low 70's). To me, I'd rather spend the time boiling rather than "resting" in the mash tun if I need some really high efficiency. Generally, I accept the standard and decent low 70's, and that is satisfactory.

I would really encourage you to keep it simple on your first batch. I promise that you will not regret skipping these two steps. Good luck in whatever you choose though.



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Old 08-10-2011, 02:38 PM   #3
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Is this your first all grain or first time with a 10G cooler?

Why are you concerned that you need a protein rest? Is it b/c of haze?

If it is haze I would suggest just going for it and seeing what happens.
Reason being, there are MANY more contributing factors to a hazy beer.
Look to these first...
- Getting a good hot break
- Getting a good cold break
- Using a clarifier last 10-15m boil (irish moss)
- Vorlauf at the start of your running’s, your first couple of quarts

Efficiency; With your equipment setup, you may find the benefits of a fly sparge are not all that great, in comparison to the increased fuss factor associated. The benefits would IMO be negligible. If you do decide to fly sparge keep an eye on the gravity of the final running’s, Try not to go below 1.010 (as brewing lore dictates) this is when you start to extract more tannins which contribute to off flavors and beer haze.

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Old 08-10-2011, 03:01 PM   #4
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Not my first AG but I'm no pro. I did a BIAB before this and over filled my kettle, boiled an extra 15 and wound up hitting my target OG...about 2/3 gal short (4 1/3 gal at pitch). So I suppose I have got something to prove.
I added the 6 row to replace some 2'row in an effort to get a good stiff head on the finished product. So I intentionally added it because of the protein with no regard for clarity whatsoever. I add Irish moss to everything I brew so it sounds like the PR is for clarity. Since I am not concerned about that it sounds like PR = no.
I suppose I was thinking that the purpose of the protein rest had to do with allowing a less modified malt to be more easily accessed by the enzymes; and to take full advantage of the 6 row I thought I might need to deal with that, but as you can tell, I haven't done a protein rest before.

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Old 08-10-2011, 03:40 PM   #5
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If it is an all malt beer, then you should not need a protein rest. In fact, a protein rest with well modified malts can be detrimental to the body and flavor of the beer.
I too have a 10g cooler with false bottom, and fly sparge.
I mash thick (1 qt water per lb grain) which does require a bit of stirring at dough in, but maximizes the amount of water that can be used in the sparge. If you don't have enough sparge water, you will leave sugars behind and your efficiency will suffer.
At the end of the mash, I do a mash out by adding some near boiling water and stirring well. I use Promash to tell me how much mash out water to add, and it always comes out a little bit less than the 168 I aim for, but it does get me up to about 165. It also thins out the mash, making the start of the sparge easier.
After the mash out, I vorlauf and sparge slowly, stopping when the gravity of the runnings drops below about 1.010, or when I have collected the required pre-boil volume. With smaller beers (OG < 1.050) the gravity drops below the threshold before I have collected the required amount and I just top off the wort to the required volume, while with larger beers (OG > 1.070) I can usually collect the full volume before the gravity drops below the threshold. Unfortunately, taking the gravity of the runnings is a PITA unless you have a refractometer, in which case it is a piece of cake. It is however necessary if you want to prevent over sparging which can give an astringent taste to the beer.

Hope this helps,

-a.

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Old 08-10-2011, 04:18 PM   #6
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If all you are trying to achieve is better foam stability I think you'll be fine. You might notice more body in the beer as well. Watch that gravity on your final running's though. Also, you shouldn't think of 6 row as being an under modified malt (if that is what you are saying), most malts now ad ays are all well modified, 6 row has more protein associated with it.

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Old 08-10-2011, 04:40 PM   #7
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Thanks to all for the advice. Fortunately, I do use my refractometer exclusively for all pre-pitch gravity readings so you can be sure I'll have one eye closed until it's in the fermenter ; p
I like the raise to MO and sparge... I'll be truly disappointed if the efficiency is below 70 but I am stoked to see what happens. It's new and I like to tinker so I am sure first wort to kettle full is going to be the majority of my brewday .... But that's fine by me.
The brew is going to be a bigger brew (1.067) with scant amounts of crystal 20 and 80, 2# 6 row and the balance 2 row. with Columbus first wort, Tettenang in the flavor and an ounce of saaz @ flameout. Using an extra smackpack of 1450 I had... I can't wait



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