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Old 06-26-2009, 05:44 PM   #1
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Default Double Check my Process

I'm brewing my first AG brew tomorrow. I have invited quite a few friends to come up and hang out for the afternoon and sample some of my previous brews... I think I have my process figured out but would like some experienced critique if there might be anything wrong. I'm brewing a very slight modification of Yooper's Dead Guy Clone. My ingredients are as follows:

12 lb Maris Otter Pale Malt
1 lb Munich Malt
.5 lb Crystal 20L
.5 lb Caramunich
.2 lb Chocolate Malt

1 oz Cascade Leaf - 60 mins
.5 oz Cascade Leaf - 30 mins
.5 oz Williamette Leaf - 5 mins

Process in the order I plan to work:

Prepare adequate supply of home brew for consumption during the day without going overboard

(The temperatures and volumes here have been calculated by BeerSmith)

Clean/Sanitize as usual
Crush grains & add 1 tbsp of 5.2 and a handful of rice hulls
Heat 4.4 gallons of strike water to 170 degrees
(I'm probably going to heat this to 178 and then let the temperature stabilize at 170 in the MLT just to make sure I don't undershoot the temperature)
Add strike water to MLT
add grains to MLT and stir to remove any dough balls
let temperature stabilize at 154 degrees and mash for one hour
Heat 2.1 gallons of sparge water to 168 degrees while mashing
Drain mash tun
Add 2.1 gallons of sparge water to MLT and stir
Let sit for 10 minutes
Heat additional 2.1 gallons of sparge water to 168 degrees
drain mash tun
Add 2.1 gallons of sparge water to MLT and stir
let sit for 10 minutes
drain mash tun
(should have collected approximately 6.6 gallons in brew kettle - if my volume comes up short, I might run a small additional sparge rather than just adding water to the brew kettle)

Check pre-boil gravity at 60 degrees (should be approximately 1.059)

Start boil
Add hops and Irish Moss at designated schedule
chill

Measure OG (estimated 1.067)
Aerate
pitch yeast (yeast starter is already going)
Install air lock
Primary for 14 days
Secondary for 14 days
Prime (4.2 oz Corn Sugar) and bottle
Age for 4-6 weeks

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Old 06-26-2009, 05:50 PM   #2
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looks good! why the leaf hops? not that theres nothing wrong (I only use them in a pinch) but have found that you get better flavor/bittering/aroma with pellets.

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Old 06-26-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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the sparge water amount seems high to me. even if you assume the grain will absorb what 0.2 g/lb, you will end up with 7.8g preboil or so. what are you using as mlt deadspace water loss? Also, i might combine the 3 sparges into 2, you're MLT is big enough and this will cut down some time.

Also, don't worry too much at the beginning of the mash if the temp is off some, it will take 10-15 min for it to settle down. also stir and take the temp readings in a few different spots.

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Old 06-26-2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BrewMeister49 View Post
looks good! why the leaf hops? not that theres nothing wrong (I only use them in a pinch) but have found that you get better flavor/bittering/aroma with pellets.
I'm using leaf because I have never used them before and just wanted to try them out. I think it will also be easier to help keep crud out of the fermenter.
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TelemarkBrew View Post
the sparge water amount seems high to me. if the grain will absorb what 0.2 g/lb, you will end up with 7.8g preboil or so. Also, i might combine the 3 sparges into 2, you're MLT is big enough and this will cut down some time.

Also, don't worry too much at the beginning of the mash if the temp is off some, it will take 10-15 min for it to settle down. also stir and take the temp readings in a few different spots.
This is an area that I'm unsure of. There seems to be quite a wide variation in materials I have read about how much grain absorption takes place. I have read numbers as low as .1 gallon per pound, so I have no idea how much absorption is going to take place.

BeerSmith is calculating that I'll need 8.58 gallons of water in total. If my grain does absorb .2 gallons per pound, it's going to absorb 2.8 gallons, leaving me with 5.8 gallons in the kettle. If it absorbs .1 gallon per pound, its going to absorb 1.4 gallons and leave me with 7.1 gallons in the kettle. 7.1 gallons is more realistic towards my 5.5 gallon finished batch target...
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:11 PM   #6
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.2 is the highest # I've seen, most calculators use somewhere in the 0.13 range. the 7.1g in kettle makes more senses, you wrote in the original that you were shooting for 6.6g in the kettle, which looked low for a 60 min boil and then what vol you will loose with cooling and hop absorbtion.

on the sparges beersmith is a bit wierd, and you have to mess around with it to get it to look like what you think the sparge process should be, but there is no reason why you couldn't do 2 3.15g sparges instead of 3 2.1g sparges. theres a option somewhere in the mash portion of the beersmith recipe that you can click "use sparges that fill" or something like that. that will make it do fewer larger sparges rather than lots of little ones, which i think are a waste of time for the most part.

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Old 06-26-2009, 06:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TelemarkBrew View Post
on the sparges beersmith is a bit wierd, and you have to mess around with it to get it to look like what you think the sparge process should be, but there is no reason why you couldn't do 2 3.15g sparges instead of 3 2.1g sparges.
The initial strike is 4.4 gallons and I'm doing two batch sparges with 2.1g each...
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:30 PM   #8
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Nice thing about brewing, you get to do it your way. Try what you have with beersmiths calculations and see if you get the volume you're targeting.

For your sparge, I'd heat the full volume and use half for each sparge.

Have a great 1st AG and maybe leave your great homebrews alone until you rack to the fermentor. At least for the first one, you will know and remember exactly what you did and have all your wits about you if you make some mistake.

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Old 06-26-2009, 06:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMSetzler View Post
The initial strike is 4.4 gallons and I'm doing two batch sparges with 2.1g each...
my bad, you are correct, the line that said heat 2.1 g, i was counting as a sparge, that was why i though your volume was way too high also. sorry.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:17 PM   #10
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For your sparge, I'd heat the full volume and use half for each sparge.
I know this is good advice and I really want to do it this way, but my equipment limitations may keep me from doing it unless I collect my MLT runnings into a bucket rather than my brew kettle. My brew kettle will hold about 8.5 gallons and I have an additional 16qt SS kettle. The second kettle isn't quite large enough for me to heat all of the sparge water at once. I personally don't see anything wrong with using one of my food-grade plastic buckets to collect my runnings and then just transfer it to the brew kettle after I collect all of it.
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