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Old 12-21-2011, 09:00 PM   #1
jshively
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Default Beating a dead horse (fly sparging)...

I am sure this has been posted a million times but honestly I swear the search function is not working from my laptop (I blame MS).

Anyways, attempted my first all grain last week. Efficiency was pure crap i.e. so bad if I was in grade school and came home with that grade I would not be walking and have a lot of belt marks across my bottom from dad.

Anyways, here was my process and this was for the 2 Hearted Clone from AHS (which I have made before and know to be awesome so it is sad that I probably trashed this awesome recipe).

The grain bill for 1.25 qt of lb required 3.69 (hehheheh 69) gallons of water. Preheated that in my trusty boil kettle to 170 degrees. Dumped in the grain in my awesome igloo 10 gallon with the AHS (I swear I am not getting paid by them) false bottom. I added in some of the water, stirred, added more, stirred, added more, stirred, well hopefully you get the point at that I added and stirred. Shoved my favorite probe into the junk and went inside to play video games. Now I did not preheat and dropped damn near instantly to 150 degrees and then it slowly crept down to 147 degrees. Threw a little bit of boiling water in and tada back up to 151 degrees....oh wait..still have 20 minutes left and bam back to 147.

I think the lesson learned in this step is preheat preheat preheat. However; one thing I noticed was it was thick like no water above the grains level of thickness.

Question #1: Is that normal?

I poured of into a pitcher until it was clear and kept dumping back in. This was pretty easy.

Next step is sparging. I am lazy so bought the Blichmann AutoSparge (seriously there is no way anybody is paying my sucky beer making ability for sponsorship so relax. I just want everyone to know the equipment). Preheat that water to 180 (it might have been 170 I went off the AHS destructions for this) degrees and dumped it into the 10 gallon HLT with a fancy little spout.

I opened up the valve in the HLT and instantly started draining the bottom valve from the MLT into my trusty brewpot (up to this point no liquid has came out of the MLT into the brewpot).

I think my screwup here was I should have opened up the HLT and let the water rise 1-2 inches above the grain bed.

I also keep reading that I should drain the MLT into the brewpot until there is 1-2 inches above the grain bed first however; once again there was no inches above the water (story of my life always short in the inches category).

Question #2: Am I wrong in thinking that?

Now the actual fly sparging process seemed to take a lifetime. AHS said 12 minutes a gallon and I would get it dialed in by sitting there with a stopwatch timing into a cup and hoping it was close (when you have ADD this is a perfect way to kill time). Never got stuck although a few times it went to a drip but as I started cursing at it the thing just speed up.

Question #3: Is 12 min/gallon about right?

So I drained in 6.25 gallons of liquid into the brewpot (calling what I made wort is probably a disgrace) and was happy (drunk is probably better word to describe my feelings). Now it is business as usual from extract days. This part went awesome.

15 minutes to go Whifloc goes in. Zero minutes I move to the sink to immersion cool. Tada!!!!!

Oh wait there is all this white junk floating in my brewpot (I was scared Ron Jeremy broke into my house and had a hayday in my wort while I was out grabbing another beer).

Question #4: Do I filter out that junk? I attempted a whirlpool but seriously there was about 1 gallon of junk.

This brought what I moved into my fermemtor down to about 4.5ish gallons. I dumped in some bottled water to take it up to 5.25 gallons (again the instruction sheet told me).

However; it is bubbling but I just want to know where I screwed up and where I can improve because I have invested a small car into this hobby and well I would prefer to cut the middle man out of my daily life.

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Old 12-21-2011, 09:36 PM   #2
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First, I'd recommend a thinner mash. Homebrewers tend to go with thick mashes, but professionals mash at 5 or 7 to 1 by weight. You have plenty of room in your tun. Thinner mashes don't cool down so fast, are easier to stir, and more water means better enzyme mobility. It also means a lower enzyme concentration, but hardly matters with fully modified grains.

Otherwise, sounds nominal.

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Old 12-21-2011, 10:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
First, I'd recommend a thinner mash. Homebrewers tend to go with thick mashes, but professionals mash at 5 or 7 to 1 by weight. You have plenty of room in your tun. Thinner mashes don't cool down so fast, are easier to stir, and more water means better enzyme mobility. It also means a lower enzyme concentration, but hardly matters with fully modified grains.

Otherwise, sounds nominal.
by thinner do you mean 1.50 quarts/lb?

Also, what is an acceptable level of stirring? i.e. every 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes?
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:02 PM   #4
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In my normal 12-ish lbs of grain batches, I plan on 1.5 gallons lost to the grain, target 6.5 gallons runoff, so I'll mash with 4.75 gallons, sparge with 3.25, which is a thickness of about 1.6 quarts per pound. Is it "optimal"? Who knows. Works for me.

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Old 12-21-2011, 11:12 PM   #5
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Cool. I am engineer by nature so I tend to get hung up on following directions to a T and being exact. Probably one of those hobbies that I have to learn to let go of that.

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