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Old 06-08-2012, 07:18 PM   #1
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Default Comment on my first AG

Tried my first AG today. I'm using the Apricot Wheat recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. I adjusted the recipe for my brewing equipment:

5lb Wheat Malt
5lb 2-row
8oz crystal
1.2oz Willamette

I hit my mash temp of 154 perfectly, though it took a couple of quarts less water than BeerSmith predicted. I lost less than one degree during the one hour mash. I'm using a 10gallon Rubbermaid cooler with an insulated lid.

When I mashed out, BS recommended 202 degree water, but I was unable to add enough to get the temp up. I added a gallon or so more than BS recommended but was only able to get it up to 164. I left it there for 10 minutes.

I put 172 degree water in the HLT (also Rubbermaid) and undershot my 168F temp by a couple of degrees. I vorlaufed and started draining into my kettle. (I'm using an auto-sparge). I filled the kettle to my 7 gallon point while checking the gravity occasionally with an AG hydrometer to make sure I wasn't under 1.010. The closest I got was 1.020.

Stirred it up and checked the gravity and was spot on my pre-boil gravity (or so I thought). While I was boiling my new refractometer was delivered.

After the boil I had boiled off a little less than I predicted by about 1/4 gallon. I checked the gravity with the refractometer and was surprised to see that it was the same as my preboil gravity (1.040). I double checked it with my regular hydrometer and confirmed it.

I don't know what happened, but I somehow misread the pre-boil gravity.

So, I'm going to have a 4% beer instead of a 5%, but everything seemed like it went fairly well for the first time.

Any suggestions on how I can improve my efficiency? Looks like it was about 52%. I was hoping for more. I'm using a circular 1" braid in the bottom of my 10 gallon Rubbermaid cooler.

How much does the drain rate affect efficiency? Could I have been draining too quickly? I didn't time it, but it took about half an hour or a little more to get 7 gallons.

Any other suggestions?

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Old 06-08-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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Make sure you adjust your Hydro reading to the temp you took it at. The base is 60*F..

How was your grain crush? Did you buy from your LHBS or online? Check to see if you have alot of whole husks..

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Old 06-08-2012, 07:45 PM   #3
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If you are fly sparging, you want it to take 45 minutes to an hour if possible. Drain it as slowly as possible. I switched to batch sparging and increased my efficiency by 10% due to my system being not ideal for fly sparge.

Did you have a lot of wort left in the mash tun after draining? I have over-sparged in the past (due to not measuring sparge water correctly) and ended up watering down the wort.

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Old 06-08-2012, 07:55 PM   #4
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When you mashed in, did you make sure to stir your mash throughly? Not doing so could have left dry spots / dough balls wear you did not extract sugars.

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Old 06-08-2012, 08:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forstmeister View Post
Did you have a lot of wort left in the mash tun after draining? I have over-sparged in the past (due to not measuring sparge water correctly) and ended up watering down the wort.
Ah, I didn't pay any attention to how much water I was fly sparging with. I just checked and it looks like I ran out 5 gallons instead of 3. Yes, I did have a lot of liquid left in the tun.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
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When you mashed in, did you make sure to stir your mash throughly? Not doing so could have left dry spots / dough balls wear you did not extract sugars.
I did. I'm pretty sure I had no dry spots.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:39 PM   #7
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Make sure you adjust your Hydro reading to the temp you took it at. The base is 60*F..

How was your grain crush? Did you buy from your LHBS or online? Check to see if you have alot of whole husks..
Yes, I was compensating for the wort temp with the hydrometer.

I wouldn't say I'm experienced enough to know if the crush was ok. I checked the spent grain and they all look crushed to some degree. Most hulls are in pieces and some are intact but the insides have been crushed/squeezed out.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:39 PM   #8
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You want to split the husks in two, but not crush them into a powder. The husks help to get a good lauter.

Edit: If you search around the forum you can see examples of good crushes and bad ones..

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Old 06-08-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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You're fly sparging with a braid? Chances are you left a lot of sugar in the grains in that case. Even with a circular braid setup, most of the wort is draining near the valve, so the water will take the most direct path to that spot.

I recommend batch-sparging next time and stirring well after each addition of sparge water. Don't forget to vorlauf each time before running off and run off slowly.

check crush before mashing or when you receive the grains (still don't know if you crush your own or buy it pre-crushed). Need to have no in-tact grains whatsoever.

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Old 06-08-2012, 10:18 PM   #10
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Using large amounts of wheat often leads to lower efficiency. The kernels are smaller than barley and often don't get crushed as well.

As has been mentioned, try batch sparging next time to see if it helps.

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