I just did my first AG this past Monday of DD’s http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f70/orange-honey-hefeweizen-69499/
(thank you sir) and I have a few questions and concerns you guys can hopefully help me with. I hope I didn’t screw this up too bad.
My strike water temp in Beersmith was 168 and on the online calculator Mash and Sparge Water Calculator ::: Brew365 - Homebrewing Recipes and Articles
was 164 so I averaged it at 166 degress added my strike water first and doughed in. When I took a temp reading using my Sunbeam thermometer like you get from Bed Bath and Beyond (the kind with the probe on a wire for meat) it read 161 degrees initially when I was shooting for 153. I preheated the tun (a 10 gallon round cooler with a braid looped around into a tee like the one in Palmer’s book) with boiling water so at first I thought I used too hot of water to pre heat the tun. I checked the middle of the tun with a true temp thermometer and it read 156. Now I had been stirring like crazy for several minutes trying to get the temp down so I wasn’t sure if that’s why it dropped or if my first reading with the probe was possibly resting on the braid which may have been hotter than the mash. I eventually got down to a steady 153 for at least the last 35 minutes or so of the mash.
Then when I added my strike water I used 5 ½ gallons of sparge water split in two batches at 185 degrees per Bobby M’s instructions in DD’s tutorial although that was for a Nut Brown Ale. On one reading of the mash it was at 172 degrees but dropped fairly quickly. In Palmers book it says you shouldn’t go over 170 to prevent tannin extraction if iirc.
So here are a few questions:
1. I’m a little concerned about the difference in strike water temps between the two calculators. Is the type of grain a factor as Beersmith knows that from the recipe where the online calculator doesn’t?
2. Is sparge water temp dependent on the batch size of grain? In other words does it vary with the amount of grain in the recipe.
3. Does the temp of the water to preheat your tun matter? Should it be close to your strike temp?
4. What’s better adding the strike water and the grain on top or the other way around? Palmer’s book says the grain first.
Both thermometers were calibrated to boiling water and my OG was 1.060 which according to Beersmith is 88% so if that’s correct at least I’ve got that going for me. Although I took the reading after I added the honey and cooled the wort so I’m not sure if that effects the efficiency calculation or not.