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Old 01-18-2008, 02:28 AM   #1
gyoder
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Default First AG this weekend... (A pair of questions)

Finally making the jump into AG after reading a lot and slowly acquiring the equipment. I'll be mashing in a SS 40qt brewpot with a SS false bottom. I'll be using an outdoor burner and insulating the mash tun to hold at temperature. I'm planning on batch sparging. I think I've got a pretty good understanding of everything that needs doing but I'm left with two questions.

1- Do I need to alter the 1qt per pound of grain to account for the inch and a half of space between the false bottom and the outlet valve? I was just considering that since the grain will be resting on top of the false bottom and there will be a decent amount of water beneath it that the ratio of water to grain will actually be less than 1 qt per pound. Thoughts?

2- Promash is telling me that according to my recipe I will need to use six gallons of sparge water for a 75 minute boil. Should I add some before vorlauf and collecting first runnings? Should I add it after I collect the first runnings and sparge twice using 3 gallons each time?

Thanks so much in advance for any advice that you can provide.

Prost!



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Old 01-18-2008, 02:35 AM   #2
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I've never used a false bottom, so I can't help you with the first question. However, you probably want to bump up that ratio to 1.25 qt/lb. That seems to help out with efficiency.

Yes, split your sparge. However, six gallons sounds like an awful lot (though maybe not if you go with that 1 qt/lb ratio). The best thing is to check (or estimate) your volume from your runnings and then subtract that from your target volume to get what your sparge really ought to be. Split that in two batches.

Have fun!


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Old 01-18-2008, 02:45 AM   #3
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Congrats on taking the leap to AG.

1) I think 1 lb per qt would result in a pretty thick mash. You'd be better off with 1.25 to 1.5 qt per lb. A lot of people in this forum (myself included) use 1.5 lbs/qt, but Palmer in 'How to Brew' says he uses 2 lbs/qt. I think if you went with 1.5, it won't affect much even though some water sinks below the false bottom and isn't in contact with the grain. Just stir every 20 minutes or so to mix stuff up.

2) I wouldn't rely on what the software says to sparge since your setup may not be reflected accurately due to the amount of wort that will be unable to drain from your tun. I usually sparge until I have the pre-boil volume I need, namely 6.5 gallons. With a couple of attempts, you'll get to know how much you need, but it's always a good idea to heat up more sparge water than you need. You can use the leftover to clean equipment. For me, 6.5g will boil down to 5.5g in 60 minutes, and after racking I'll have 5.0 to 5.25 in the fermenter after trub/hop losses.

Lastly - you could probably do fine with a 60 minute boil for extracting bitterness. But if you want to boil for longer, there's nothing wrong with it (as far as I know).

Good luck with your brewing. It will be fun.

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Old 01-18-2008, 02:59 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for your help, guys!

I'm definitely going to up my qts per lb ratio. I picked up a graduated gallon pitcher recently so checking exactly how much I get and sparging until I reach my target volume for the boil seems to be an excellent idea.

Can't wait to give this a go. Thanks again for your help.

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Old 01-18-2008, 07:35 PM   #5
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I mash at 1 qt per lb, and get good efficiency 80% batch sparging, and 85% with a fly sparge. I have tried mashing at 1.25 qts per lb, and did not notice any change in efficiency. It does however make a big difference in the character of the beer. With 1 qt. the beer has a lot of body (which is good for the English style ales that I brew). With 1.25 qt. the beer has much less body, which is fine if that is what you want.

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Old 01-18-2008, 07:57 PM   #6
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Your water to grain ratio should not be heavily affected by your false bottom but given such a large space you are probably better off using a slightly higher water to grain ratio. I use 1.25qt/# myself.
Ideally each of your 2 of 3 drainings should be the same volume.
So say you are targeting 6.5gal pre-boil volume. You should drain 6.5/3 = 2.167gal each time. Because this is your first AG you won't have dialed in your grain absorption + dead space losses but you can probably estimate about 0.18gal/#. That is the water left in the MLT after draining.
So you you should add (desired_drain_volume + absorbtion_volume - mash_volume) at the end of the mash before starting your first drain.
Now this step is not necessary and you can just split your sparge water in two with only a slight loss of efficiency, but I like using the water addition to bring my grain temp up for a mash out.

Craig

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Old 01-18-2008, 08:20 PM   #7
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lower qt to lb ratios are great for stepped mashes, but when doing a single infusion (which is the way to go on the first couple AG brews) 1.25 to 1.5qts is pretty typical.

You should indeed aim for equal amounts of water in the strike water and sparge water for collection. But as grain absorbs water, you'll use more water to strike than to sparge, though both should yield 3.25gallons collected to hit 6.5gal into boiling pot. So you might strike with 4.5 gallons, and sparge with 3.25gal.

(keeping in mind I'm tossing out nice round numbers just to illustrate the point...your volumes will vary)

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Old 01-19-2008, 02:56 AM   #8
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This is all valuable info. Thanks to all who responded and helped me with my questions. I'll post tomorrow and let you all know how it went.

I'm planning on brewing a Bell's Two-Hearted clone. With regards to the different flavor characteristics provided by the different mash temps I may shoot for somewhere in the middle, about 1.25 quarts per pound. Thanks again for all of the info.

Prost!

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Old 01-19-2008, 04:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyoder
This is all valuable info. Thanks to all who responded and helped me with my questions. I'll post tomorrow and let you all know how it went.

I'm planning on brewing a Bell's Two-Hearted clone. With regards to the different flavor characteristics provided by the different mash temps I may shoot for somewhere in the middle, about 1.25 quarts per pound. Thanks again for all of the info.

Prost!
Another thing you could do is just find out how much water would go beneath the false bottom and then just add that amount after calculating the 1 qt/lb ratio. So if .5 gallons fills right up to the bottom of the false bottom, just add .5 gallons to your 12 qt, for example, if you were using 12 lbs of grain.
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:25 PM   #10
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+1 to JayFro21. You need to know how much strike liquor is required to get a good bit of liquor above the screen before you start to dough in. That's part of your initial mash volume. Dumping your grain into a dry tun is asking for problems, in my experience. YMMV.

Cheers,

Bob



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