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-   -   Another First AG, but not so happy ending (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/another-first-ag-but-not-so-happy-ending-137097/)

jyda 09-16-2009 11:35 PM

Another First AG, but not so happy ending
Hey all,

Yesterday I brewed my first AG. I have a cooler converted MLT and with this I tried to make a 5 gallon batch of Kolsch as follows:

7# US 2-row malt
3# US Pilsen malt

1 oz US Saaz (5.8%) @ 60
.33 oz German Tettnang (4.7) @ 30
.5 oz German Tettnang (4.7) @ 15
.5 oz German Tettnang (4.7) @ 5

Wyeast 2565-Kolsch

Anyhow, BeerAlchemy calls for a OG of 1.050 with 72% efficiency (optimistic I know).

I mashed the grain in 1.25q/lb water for 60 minutes at 149F. I did prehead the MLT and had to add a little bit of water to cool the grain which settled at 153 initially. After the 60 minutes was up, the temp was at 147F.

I batch sparged with 2.25 gallons of water twice for a total pre-boil volume of 6 gals. It went fine, nothing stuck.

After the 60 minute boil, cooling, I had an OG of 1.041 (corrected).

My first question, what is that in effeciency, I did the calcs and thought it came to around 60%ish?

Secondly, what could I do in the future to improve? Should I not be worried since this is new to me and adjust the grain bill while I work on technique?

Thanks in advance!

Deuce 09-17-2009 12:21 AM

I got an 8% increase just by stirring the crap out of my mash prior to taking my first runnings. In theory, it knocks some of the sugars into suspension, try that. Next thing you need to examine is your crush. Its the number one cuplrit of poor efficiency.

Zen_Brew 09-17-2009 12:29 AM

Efficiency will come. I still don't have mine dialed in as well as I like. The best thing to do until you get it where you want it is to keep a pound or two of appropriately styled DME on hand. Take a gravity sample as you are nearing the last 20 mins or so of the boil and if you are low add DME to the boil for the last 15 minutes to bump the gravity up.

sidewinder02132 09-17-2009 12:46 AM

stir the concoction
I regularly stir the mash and keep the temp near 152 by adding a little boiling water, poured across a stainless steel spoon, as needed to keep it there. I LOVE the idea of keeping some DME solution ready to go and may even use that to spike the brews. Nice touch. :mug:

Bobby_M 09-17-2009 01:17 AM

Describe your batch sparge step in more detail. What temp water did you use and did you stir really well after the additions?

Deuce 09-17-2009 02:04 AM


Originally Posted by Bobby_M (Post 1552114)
Describe your batch sparge step in more detail. What temp water did you use and did you stir really well after the additions?

Bobby M's videos alone boosted my efficiency at least 5 points :rockin: On a serious side, his double batch sparge method is what I swear by now!

jyda 09-17-2009 04:05 AM

Thanks guys,

Deuce, I will try that stir method before first runnings, I didn't do anything with the mash before I took first runnings (besides vorlauf). Going to watch Bobby_M's vids now, thanks for the heads up, I totally missed that haha.

Zen_Brew, yeah that's what I'm going to do to ensure I come out to recipe.


I did a 2 stage batch with 2.5 gal each. The first stage was 2.5 gal at 200F to raise the grain as close to 170 as possible. I may have overshot, I didn't take temps (will next time). The 2nd batch was another 2.5 gal at 190F to keep it around the 170 mark. I was afraid of putting any hotter water due to the scare of leaching tannins.

During both stages I stirred vigorously, but not enough to aerate, for about 3 minutes. One thing I did note is that I didn't have to vorlauf the sprage runnings for either stage as much as the first runnings. I attributed that to the mesh screen not being disturbed as much as a fresh mash.

Thanks again all!

jyda 09-17-2009 05:29 PM

Reading over more batch sparging threads, looks like the batch water was way too hot. :( I could have sworn somewhere it said to put boiling water in and I decided against that....

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