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Old 11-05-2007, 05:17 PM   #1
Sherpa FE
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Default Batch / Decoction Mash / Single Infusion

And other Q's. I know they dont all belong in here, but I didnt want to post in 4 different sections. Plus its all for AG brewing.
Anyway here goes.

1) Which is the preferred method for an AG beginner, decoction or single infusion mash? Or is there another option? Also why is said method better?

2) I understand that the Mash tank is to hold the grains and to steep, but if you have a lauter tank, is the only purpose for that to hold the water that feeds into the mash tank?

3) When AG brewing, do you have 2 pots? 1 for the actual brewing and one to hold the heated water used for mashing? Or is it better to just use one pot?

4) Corn Sugar, DME, Krausening. Why use any of one methods for carbonation than the other. I know that krausening is more complex, but what advantages does DME have over corn sugar?

5) Is a whirlfloc tablet the same as using irish moss? is there a preferred item to use for clarification of the beer?

Also, the below list is what I am considering purchasing, building for AG brewing, any help would be great.

60 qt SS keggle with therm/spigot
10 Gal rubbermaid type mash tun's (2ea) with spigot
6 Gal Better Bottle carboy with spigot for primary
5 Gal Better Bottle carboy with spigot for secondary
5 Gal plastic bottling bucket with lid & spigot
propane burner
mash paddle
large spoon
barley crusher mill
hydrometer
Wort Chiller (home made)
iodine
ph strips
and all the other usual items.

Is it better to use a false bottom, or the braided hose for the Keggle and the mash tun?

I am sorry for the long post, just trying to figure out exactly what I need to spend money on, and where I can save money.
Thanks again guys,
Josh

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Old 11-05-2007, 05:29 PM   #2
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Quick answer as I actually have work to do today.
1) Single infusion mash is simplest for a beginner
2) a kettle to heat water is a nice feature
3) With some ingenuity, you could pull it off with one. Two is better
4)D, Force carb with CO2. save the krausening for when you are more experienced.
5)Essentially yes, whirlfoc is the same as irish moss.

I use the bazooka screen and it works fine. People here has some grat designs for custom false bottom riggings, as well as braided hose. You'll get different opinions on what works best. As long as it works you should be happy.

Get a power drill to run your mill, you'll be glad you did.
You'll need a wort chiller, and a good digital thermometer, and a hydrometer.
There are lot's of ways to cut cost if you are a DIY guy.

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Old 11-05-2007, 05:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa FE
1) Which is the preferred method for an AG beginner, decoction or single infusion mash? Or is there another option? Also why is said method better?
Single infusion. Decoc is pretty intense, takes longer, and requires more experience and patience.

Quote:
2) I understand that the Mash tank is to hold the grains and to steep, but if you have a lauter tank, is the only purpose for that to hold the water that feeds into the mash tank?
No, a hot liquor tank is what holds the mash/sparge water.

Quote:
3) When AG brewing, do you have 2 pots? 1 for the actual brewing and one to hold the heated water used for mashing? Or is it better to just use one pot?
Well, I have 3 kettles. I find that it always helps to have more. I mash in one, heat my sparge water in the other, and collect my first runnings in the third.

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4) Corn Sugar, DME, Krausening. Why use any of one methods for carbonation than the other. I know that krausening is more complex, but what advantages does DME have over corn sugar?
None, IMHO. I've done both...and DME is problematic. Extract fermentability varies from producer to producer...and I once had a batch primed with laaglander that never carbonated worth a damn. So I stick to dextrose all the time now. It's cheaper and it's always has pretty much the same fermentability.
Quote:
5) Is a whirlfloc tablet the same as using irish moss? is there a preferred item to use for clarification of the beer?
Same thing, pretty much. Well, same purpose. I use irish moss.

Quote:
Also, the below list is what I am considering purchasing, building for AG brewing, any help would be great.

60 qt SS keggle with therm/spigot
10 Gal rubbermaid type mash tun's (2ea) with spigot
6 Gal Better Bottle carboy with spigot for primary
5 Gal Better Bottle carboy with spigot for secondary
5 Gal plastic bottling bucket with lid & spigot
propane burner
mash paddle
large spoon
barley crusher mill
hydrometer
iodine
ph strips
and all the other usual items.

Is it better to use a false bottom, or the braided hose for the Keggle and the mash tun?
False bottom is "better" IMHO, but it's also more expensive.
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:29 PM   #4
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1)I dont know that there is a preferred method. My first AG was a double decoction, took me about 7+ hours. However, I also got over 80% efficiency and it was a very, very good beer. Also, some beers arent typically brewed with decoction. Wheats and Lagers are the only ones off the top of my head that use the technique. If I was you, even if you were brewing a wheat or a lager, I would go with single infusion. Keep it simple.

2)Not sure if I am understanding this question entirely. Most people have mash-lauter tuns. Meaning, the same vessel does their mash and seperates their grain from their wort. If this is not the case with you (say for example you are mashing in your kettle) then you will have a seperate lauter tun.

3)I think seperate pots is the way to go. You are going to have Mash water, sparge water, plus it is not a terrible idea to have extra hot water laying around. The more pots the better in most cases I think.

4)Most people use DME as kind of a purity I think. DME is malt so, it is supposed to be in beer. Corn sugar is not 'supposed' to be in beer. Dont get me wrong, I have used it, and their is nothing wrong with it. The best solution IMO is DME, or keg!

5)Whirfloc is Irish Moss I believe. And you dont need to use a whole tab in a 5 gallon batch. Usually half a tab is fine.


As for the other things, I dont think you will need two coolers, but everything else looks fine to me.

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Old 11-05-2007, 05:35 PM   #5
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1. a single infusion is the easiest to start with. batch sparging is easier in my opinion since you don't really have to worry about grain bed compaction or channelling.

2. most of us don't use lauter tanks. lautering would be a separate tank for sparging. Instead you'll have a mash-lauter tun where you mash and then sparge. The tank where the hot water comes form is just the HLT - Hot Liquid Tank

3. I use two pots. you can also use an insulated cooler and dump your heated mash/sparge water in there. I have a really cheap turkey fryer pot that I heat water in, and a nicer, larger SS pot for collecting wort and then boiling.

4. I've never seen an advantage to DME vs corn sugar. DME doesn't ferment completely, takes longer to carb, and will add more malt flavor to the beer. Sugar ferments completely so it really only carbs and adds something like .2% ABV.

5. yeah whirlfloc and irish moss do the same things. i prefer irish moss cuz its cheap and 'natural'.

for your equipment list, you really only need one 10gal rubbermaid cooler. 5gallons would be big enough for a hot liquid tank. but for about the same price you can buy a turkey fryer with a cheap alumimum pot for an HLT.

I also don't recommend a spigot on your primary. they are hard to sanitize on the inside RIGHT before you need to use it. Stick to racking via siphon. I always use an auto-siphon.

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Old 11-05-2007, 05:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore
I also don't recommend a spigot on your primary. they are hard to sanitize on the inside RIGHT before you need to use it. Stick to racking via siphon. I always use an auto-siphon.
I use BBs for primaries with the racking adapter/spigot and have not had a problem. For preparation to fill the BB with wort, I just fill it up with an Iodophor solution and let it run out the spigot for a while before dumping out the sanitizer solution. For transferring to secondary or bottling bucket, I just wet a twirled-up paper towel or Q-tip with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and poke it up the mouth of the spigot, then let it dry for a few minutes so the alcohol evaporates off. No infections so far!
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa FE
1) Which is the preferred method for an AG beginner, decoction or single infusion mash? Or is there another option? Also why is said method better?
Single infusion for sure. Most people getting into AG will convert a 5 or 10 gallon cooler for use as an MLT. Obviously you cannot direct fire a cooler. You can calculate heated water additions if you wanted to do a acid rest, sacchrafication rest and then a mashout, but so far I've been able to make some very good beers doing simple single infusion mashes for 60 minutes.

I am contemplating doing water additions at 50 minutes to do a mashout at 168-ish and rest for 10 minutes, but it's certainly not necessary.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa FE
2) I understand that the Mash tank is to hold the grains and to steep, but if you have a lauter tank, is the only purpose for that to hold the water that feeds into the mash tank?
Technically, you mash in a Mash tun and you sparge in a Lauter tun - or at least that's my understanding. If you convert a cooler, you will be doing both processes in it which is why you'll see it referred to as an MLT (Mash/Lauter tun).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa FE
3) When AG brewing, do you have 2 pots? 1 for the actual brewing and one to hold the heated water used for mashing? Or is it better to just use one pot?
You almost have to have 2. I use a keggle to boil in and I have a 22 qt. kettle that I heat strike/sparge water in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa FE
4) Corn Sugar, DME, Krausening. Why use any of one methods for carbonation than the other. I know that krausening is more complex, but what advantages does DME have over corn sugar?
It all depends what your goals are. If you want to brew beers that adhere to the German beer purity law of 1516, then you'll need to krausen your beer. I've never heard of a homebrewer doing this, but it's certainly feasible.

I've only primed with dextrose, but I don't believe that there are any real advantages or disadvantages of using one over the other. They both produce the same results. From what I've read though, you should avoid priming with Laaglander DME though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa FE
5) Is a whirlfloc tablet the same as using irish moss? is there a preferred item to use for clarification of the beer?
It serves the same purpose, yes. It's a matter of personal preference. I use 1.5 tsp of Irish Moss at 15 min in almost all of my brews.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa FE
Also, the below list is what I am considering purchasing, building for AG brewing, any help would be great.

60 qt SS keggle with therm/spigot
10 Gal rubbermaid type mash tun's (2ea) with spigot
6 Gal Better Bottle carboy with spigot for primary
5 Gal Better Bottle carboy with spigot for secondary
5 Gal plastic bottling bucket with lid & spigot
propane burner
mash paddle
large spoon
barley crusher mill
hydrometer
Wort Chiller (home made)
iodine
ph strips
and all the other usual items.

Is it better to use a false bottom, or the braided hose for the Keggle and the mash tun?
I use a 15g keggle and it's a great size. Very little concern of boilover for 5g batches, and I have the capacity to do 10g batches.

As I mentioned above, you don't really need 2 coolers. If you want two, then more power to ya, but a large number of folks doing AG here use the cooler at an MLT.

I wouldn't want a spigot in my primaries or secondaries. I use an auto-siphon to transfer. Having a spigot on a primary or secondary fermenter is just something else to have to keep clean - very clean.

It sounds like you're going to be bottling, so I'd recommend a bottling tree as well.
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine
For transferring to secondary or bottling bucket, I just wet a twirled-up paper towel or Q-tip with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and poke it up the mouth of the spigot, then let it dry for a few minutes so the alcohol evaporates off. No infections so far!
Now that's a great idea. A co-worker who no longer brews gave me a couple of plastic bucket fermenters with spigots. I've always siphoned out of the buckets because I wasn't sure how to sanitize the spigots. This seems like an easy, effective way to sanitize them and it'll save a couple of steps 'cause I won't have to sanitize and clean my auto-siphon.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:20 PM   #9
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Now that's a great idea. A co-worker who no longer brews gave me a couple of plastic bucket fermenters with spigots. I've always siphoned out of the buckets because I wasn't sure how to sanitize the spigots. This seems like an easy, effective way to sanitize them and it'll save a couple of steps 'cause I won't have to sanitize and clean my auto-siphon.
I prefer to sanitize the spigot removed from the bucket, dunked under sanitizer. Once installed back into the fermenter, I wrap a clean baggie over the spigot and hold it on with a rubberband. Now, I stopped using spigoted buckets as primaries a long time ago, but if I still did it, I'd sanitize that way. For extra caution, you can rotate the spigot so it points upward. Now fill that will sanitizer for a few minutes.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:25 PM   #10
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As per the OP's questions:

1. Single infusion, batch sparge.
2. Combined Mash/Lauter Tun either a cooler with a stainless braid/manifold or a converted keg.
3. I prefer to have a kettle on a burner for hot liquor because you want to be really accurate with your temperatures. If you only have one kettle and burner, you can continue to collect wort into a bucket until you're all done sparging. Then you can transfer it to the now empty kettle. The only negative is that you can't begin heating your wort until the end.
Some people will use another cooler to hold hot liquor, but if you lose heat, you'll be stuck. Depending on your mash out/sparge routing, you may want some sparge water at 185F, then the second batch sparge down near 170F. What if the temp dropped to 160F? Two pots offers the ultimate flexibility (actually ULTIMATE is having three burners and a direct fired MLT).

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