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-   -   First AG batch tomorrow. (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/first-ag-batch-tomorrow-168986/)

basisforaday 03-19-2010 01:14 AM

First AG batch tomorrow.
So I've acquired all of the extra equipment to go all grain and I'm going to take the plunge tomorrow. I'm going to start off with Ed Wort's Haus Pale Ale because I loved the extract version when I made it and it seems like an easy recipe to start out with. Any advice you guys can give me?

skybrew 03-19-2010 01:22 AM

If you haven't already read Bobby M's All Grain instructions. It really helped me out and I still use the basics that he describes.

Take your time it will take longer than extract, but have fun and maybe a couple of pints along the way!

Frodo 03-19-2010 01:29 AM

Here's what I learned on my first AG batch. I'm pasting in a post I made a couple of weeks or so ago - hopefully it helps:

Just reporting back in on my first AG experience - Guinness Clone recipe that I found discussed on this site. The guts of the recipe were 8 lb Pale, 3 lb flaked barley, (EDIT: Plus 1 lb roasted barley as well), 2 oz Goldings, 22 oz soured Guinness, Nottingham dry yeast. It went as good as I could expect but I learned some stuff - I'm posting what I learned and maybe can help someone else striking out into AG. If anyone sees any improvements I can make to this process, I'm all ears.

1) Initial mash temp was way low at 140 F even though I "tried" to preheat the mash tun (10 gal round cooler) with hot water. Maybe next time I'll get add the strike water to the mash tun first, make sure the volume is right and the temp has stabilized at what Beersmith says it should be, then add the grain. I had to heat water to boiling (I had extra that was at around 170F, so it was relatively quick though still 10-15 min) and add it to the mash bringing the temp to 154F and volume closer to 2qts/lb of grain (I was trying for 1.2 qt/lb).

2) Three stuck sparges (flaked barley was the culprit I'm guessing after reading about it again in Palmer) - maybe should have used some rice hulls, or a protein rest.

3) Tried to fly sparge using 1/2" high temp tubing to apply the sparge water to top of the grain bed - no sparge arm. Couldn't keep from disturbing the grain bed this way, even using a ladle to slow the flow of water to the top (the ladle was used in conjunction with the tubing). Also with the dark color of the mash liquid I couldn't even really see the depth of water I had over of the main body of the grain. Maybe I'll just batch sparge for now, figure out fly sparging later.

4) Used my boil pot as the HLT & draining the wort into a bucket for measuring the volume. Then transferred that back to the boil pot after the sparge. Introduced a lot of air I think transferring the wort - hopefully it didn't get hot-side oxidized. Maybe I'll just use a rectangular cooler for the HLT in the future, drain the wort directly into the kettle and use a marked stick to measure volume.

5) Took WAYYYY long to heat water... Need a better burner I think... it was 40F outside when I was brewing though - I'm sure that didn't help.

6) 82% efficiency. So happy about that! Now I'll have a 6.5% ABV Guinness clone? Dang it!

HarkinBanks 03-19-2010 01:32 AM

Water volumes and temps are very important. Strike temp, pre-heat your MLT, and mash temp control throughout the mash. If you don't know your constants such as boil-off, you should test it with water first. My first AG I used way too much water, never hit my mash temp and ended up with a very, very weak beer.

Chuck_Swillery 03-19-2010 04:19 AM

Assuming you've read up and know what to do my #1 piece of advice...


I brewed my first AG this past Saturday and I can tell you there were a thousand turns were I could have stressed out, freaked out, and given up because it wasn't going 100% like I had planned. I even went so far as to have typed everything out step by step - yeah, didn't get much past step 5 before I was making adjustments and compensating for things. None the less I kept the "its all part of the learning curve" mentality, had a lot of fun learning and doing, and I'm anticipating a good result. I ended up with around a 70% efficiency, hit my numbers, and know what areas I can improve upon next time around. All worth it in the end even if the beer turns out to be crap (don't expect it to - smells GREAT in the primary right now...).

greencoat 03-19-2010 04:30 AM

Hit your temps and you'll be cool. Most importantly though - relax, don't worry, have a home brew. :mug:

Have fun!

Walker 03-19-2010 04:58 AM

when you mash-in, make sure you have a little boiling water, and a little cold water handy to make temp adjustments if necessary.

If in doubt about how much boil off, be conservative and assume that you will not boil much off. If you do boil off a lot, it's easy to add water to get the fermenter to 5 gallons. Going the other way is impossible.

Pappers_ 03-19-2010 05:49 AM


Originally Posted by skybrew (Post 1953467)
if you haven't already read bobby m's all grain instructions. It really helped me out and i still use the basics that he describes.

take your time it will take longer than extract, but have fun and maybe a couple of pints along the way!


twoodward15 03-19-2010 12:15 PM

I'm going to add my 2 cents. by no means am I a pro, but I've been brewing all grain for about 2.5 years now and have about 75 batches under my belt. I do things a bit differently than a lot of guys (or so I'm told), so here goes.

#1 you know you need about 7 gallons (give or take depending on your system, I use 7.5 to 8 for mine) of preboil volume. I mash in with enough water to get half of my preboil volume. I do not ever even compute qts per pound of grain. I just know that my dead space + my grain absorption + half my preboil volume = how much I mash in with. After that you can heat the other half of your water. I typically heat about 5.5 to 7 gallons for the initial mash in and 3.75 for my grain rinse to get 7.5 gallons of preboil volume. After that it's just like making beer with extract. It's all just boiling. Also, there'sno need to do a mash out step where you raise the temp. It's just not necessary. My best advice (the same advice that was given to me when I started) is to do what works best for you. This way may work great for me, but it may not for you.

brewagentjay 03-19-2010 12:40 PM

I did my first last week...I can say is I did the simple batch sparge.

I was stressed until the 6th Homeberw kicked in....Then I just went with the flow.

Biggest issue I had was temp readings. calibrate everything before you start.

Or buy a digital thermometer.... If your using a cooler for mashing your temp holding should be fine it's getting to the correct mash temp that is the issue....once you got that no worries....

I only have about 1 gallon boil off after 1 hr boil so...I didn't know that at the time..but I used some kit instructions and compared that said for a 5 gallon batch you needed 1 to 1.5 gallons more for pre-boil volume and I went with 1.5 just incase.

Also the 1.5 quarts to lb of grain worked for me.

Good luck..

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