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Old 08-06-2005, 03:12 AM   #11
Wayne Havens
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You can get false bottoms for your cooler here. Looks like the stainless steel ones are not much more than phil's which are plastic.

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Old 08-06-2005, 07:21 AM   #12
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I'm still not sure I fully understand the concept of a false bottom. I use a mashing bag for my grains and I have not encountered a problem yet with ths set-up.

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Old 08-06-2005, 07:42 PM   #13
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What is a mashing bag? I've never even heard of it. How do you mash with it?

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Old 08-06-2005, 08:22 PM   #14
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It is like a fishing net to catch the grains. You drape this over the top of the thermostaically controlled boiler and then it has a cord so that you can fasten it. Then you add the water and grains.

So it is like a semi-permiable membrane so that all the sugars and other goodies can drain through whilst all the junk stays on the other side.

The only problem is that once secured and the mash is drained, you need another source of heat to do the sparging with the rotating sparge arm.

So, I have another polypropylene fermenter with a tap. To this I add boiling water from an ordinary kettle until I have collected around three gallons.

So it is like a three stage set-up in the sparge step. But fo me this evolution and it is something that I just grew into.

One 5 gallon fermenter with hot water.
One 5 gallon fermenter carrying suspended grains.
One 5 gallon fermenter to collect wort.

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Old 08-08-2005, 03:37 PM   #15
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Turricane,
A false bottom accomplishes the same thing as a manifold. It is simply a means of allowing the wort to drain from the grain bed while leaving as much grain/husks/nasties behind as possible. A false bottom is a bit more efficient than a manifold and would seem to be easier to clean. A false bottom must sit snug against the wall of the lauter tun (cooler) to prevent the water from draining along the cooler walls and not through the grainbed. Thus a circular cooler is the way to go if you plan to use a false bottom. The false bottom itself is just a plate of metal or plastic with a lot of tiny holes punched in it (like a strainer or colander but it is a bit flatter) and it sits maybe an inch or so above the base of the cooler so that the wort can drain through the grains and collect below the grain bed where it is then drained from the cooler via the drain valve. edit: to clarify - the false bottom itself has a drain on it (a elbow fitting) and you attach your drain line to this fitting. I think the only reason you'd need to step up to a false bottom or manifold is if you were going all grain. I don't know about the size of your bag but mine sure won't hold 10 lbs of grain. I imagine the extraction efficiency of a mashing bag isn't ideal either.. this would certainly be an issue if you were using only grains as they would be the only source of fermentables. Of course I may also be talking out my butt.. maybe someone with a bit more know how will chime in here...

BTW my old mashing bag doesn't have a string or anything.. it's just a nylon tea bag of sorts. I usually zip tie it shut and throw it in the water.. let sit for half an hour or so, dunk it a few times and then pour some sparge water on it (use another pot to heat some sparge water while you're letting the specialty grains steep).

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Old 08-17-2005, 03:51 PM   #16
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Ok, thanks for the information. I had always suspected that this was the case, but I needed information from folks who have actually used it because I was under the impression that having a false bottom might mean having to sabbotage a 5 gallon plastic fermenter. You are right about the mash-bag being a little bit more difficult to use as I learnt from an ill experience yesterday.

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Old 08-17-2005, 04:29 PM   #17
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Lost, try this web page for all-grain set-up inspiration and direction: www.cruisenews.net/brewing/index.php. i have used this set up and had good success with it.

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Old 08-18-2005, 01:11 AM   #18
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Incidently, I did my first all grain batch about a week ago. I made a few mistakes but nothing big so the end product should be good... I'll have a taste when it goes into the secondary in two days.

I used qbrew to tweak a receipe for a red ale. I don't have the receipe in front of me now but I believe it was 8lbs 2 row, 2lbs munich, .25lbs choclate malt. I used chinook for bittering and added either cascade or columbus (can't remember which) for 17 min and added the other for 5 min... I'll dry hop with .5 oz of fuggles. I calculated the reciepe based on 65% efficiency (figured I'd screw something up) but actually hit 75% or better. Thus the beer will be 6% alcohol or a bit higher. OG was somewhere between 1.065 and 1.07 and projected IBUs were 23 or 24.

Now, the problems:
-Boiled too vigorously so the hops stuck to the side of the pot (at least I didn't have a boil over). BTW I used a 7.5gal aluminum pot and propane burner (turkey fryer).
-Infusioned mashed for 75 min in 5 gal gott cooler with copper manifold (worked good) but sparged a bit hot (some spots hit 185 for a few secs before I could grab the stir spoon and add cool water). Next time I'll heat a small pot of 190 F water for mashout and a larger pot of 170 F water for sparging. Hopefully beer is not astringent - I guess I'll find out exactly how that tastes if the beer ends up astringent tasting.
-I ran out of ice water to run through my immersion cooler so the beer had to sit to cool from 90 F to 80 F but it went from boiling to 90 F in a matter of minutes. BTW I put ice water in my bottling bucket, elevate it, and hook my immersion chiller too it and place the outlet tube from the chiller in a bucket on the floor - nice setup IMO.
- And perhaps my biggest concern: the aluminum pot was nice and shiny when I got it so I washed it good, boiled some water in it, and cooked it in the oven at 350 F as Palmer suggests to create a oxidized protective coating but when I transferred the wort the pot was a dark gunmetal grey color so I'm a bit worried my beer might taste like a tin can. I'll keep my fingers crossed on this one.

On a side note, I'm not sure about this dry hopping business - should I put the whole hops in a grain bag or just throw them in the carboy? Oh, and I know I'll get crap for this but after all the thought and work that went into this I used plain old nottingham dry yeast...

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Old 08-18-2005, 01:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost
...sparged a bit hot (some spots hit 185 for a few secs before I could grab the stir spoon and add cool water). ...
Someone here suggested having a bag of ice handy to toss ice cubes into 'to hot' mash or sparge water and I've been doing that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost
...when I transferred the wort the pot was a dark gunmetal grey color ....
Not to worry; so was mine. No off flavors, whatsoever, after three AG sessions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost
... should I ... just throw them in the carboy? ...
That's what I do, with both pellets and now, whole hops. Clean up is not a problem with either type. Whole will soak up a bit of your beer, but I feel you get more aroma. Just my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost
... I used plain old nottingham dry yeast...
Blasphemy! But when you get the chance, try a liquid yeast starter sometime; if for no other reason, than to broaden your brewing horizons and taste differences. I love the White Labs liquids.
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Old 08-19-2005, 05:24 AM   #20
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There are many ways to mash and sparge. I am drinking my 12 percent Imperial Stout right now that I used Charlies bucket sparge system. It took me a good half hour of drilling to finish approx. thousands of holes. It works flawless and it took me one batch to perfect the leave a couple inches in the original bucket to create a false bottom and not get stuck grains. As for the cooler if you dont have one I put my money into a turkey fryer kit and the kettle was perfect. I raise the temps. to 168 or so and add the grains( this imperial is about 14 lbs ) to the water which will bring it to my projected 158 and I let it set with a sanitized thermometer in it and if it needs heat I turn on the burner and slowly let it raise for a minute untill it is perfect. I stir it as well to mix the heat evenly from the bottom. Once it has had time to do its job I put the grains in the Holey Bucket Sparge thingy ma bob. Bring water to 170 and slowly sparge the grains. This will fill the inner wall of the two buckets and once it reaches to top I open the spigot and let it drain. The trick is not to let it run dry and stop it so it can build a inch or so and there it is. I also use the Holey Buckety to drain my hops at the end and here I am telling you this as I am drinking the fruits of Charlies cheap holey bucket system. This beer is flawless.

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