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Old 07-03-2008, 06:05 AM   #1
TrojanAnteater
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Default First All-Grain Batch, but not shooting for 5 gallons

Greetings everyone. I just did my first partial mash and was so amazed at how easy and fun it was that I'm now motivated (thanks to this forum) to go out and put myself together a converted beverage cooler MLT this weekend. However, I'm just gonna pass up getting a 7.5 gallon pot for now and just stick with my 5 gallon SS kettle (even though I know it's not a bank-breaker to get a bigger Aluminum pot). I've been reading as much as I can about all-grain but think I could use some direct answers to fill in the holes here.

1. I'll basically be shooting for a starting boil volume of around 4-4.25 or so, and I'm guessing after the boil I'll be down to around 3.5. This is fine with me, for now I actually like the idea of doing smaller batches cause I don't drink my homebrew that fast and I only have a couple friends who would be drinking it too. Question is- I want my FG to be calculated based on that 3.5 gallons or so that are there after boiling right? So if the FG is low at the end of the boil I can just add some DME, and if it's high I can just add some water? Are there any tools out there to help with this specific calculation for this specific correction of being off on your FG? I think the main thing confusing me is, you need to know your FG after the mash, but then how do you know what to expect for your FG after boiling? (would promash or beersmith take care of that?)

2. Is putting ~3.-3.5 gallons of beer into secondary in a 5 gallon glass carboy a problem? Is there much of an oxidation risk here leaving that much head space for what is likely to be only 7 days?

Thanks for any help, I feel like I'm really close, knowledge-wise, to be able to get started on this successfully. Just gotta get that MLT put together!

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Old 07-03-2008, 06:25 AM   #2
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shoot for around 3g cause you can buy a 3g carboy,ya wouldn't want to secondary 3-4g in a 5g carboy(too much headspace/lees). beersmith will calculate all figures for your brew no matter what your batch size may be(yuri quoted one for 55k lbs of grain once) BS also has a hydrometer conversion feature that adjust your readings for tempurature while your brewing/boiling.

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Old 07-03-2008, 06:35 AM   #3
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If you are going to brew all grain I think you will need some brewing software. It will do all the needed calculations for you based on batch size. It will take a couple of batches to determine your efficiency and then you can tailor your ingredients to batch size. I have Promash but I think of the 2 you mentioned Beersmith is more up to date. Beersmith also has a 21 day fully functional trial.

A 5 gallon round cooler will be about right for your plans.

I don't think the head space of 3 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy will create a big problem although they do make 3 gallon Better Bottles. A lot of brewers just do a primary and then straight to bottle or keg.

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Old 07-03-2008, 06:55 AM   #4
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If you don't have the cooler yet, check out Home Depot. I believe it was around their garden section (but may be somewhere else), they had a 5 gallon round orange igloo cooler for ~$20. I'm sure you've seen plans to convert coolers to MLT, and know you can get the other parts at a HD too. I looked all over for round igloo type coolers, and couldn't find them. They didn't show up on HD's website, but I was walking around and happened to find one. 5 gallons would probably be excellent for you. If you ever decide to do larger batches, you could buy a 10 gal cooler, switch the hardware over to the 10 gallon cooler, and use the 5gal as a HLT. At least that is what I'd do.

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Old 07-03-2008, 08:15 PM   #5
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If you are going to brew beer I would brew at least 5.5 gallons because you have losses while going through the whole process anyway and you have losses during testing gravity and transfers. Beer does not go bad if kept at the proper temperatures. IMHO it's always better to have enough on hand for friends and your modest needs.

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Old 07-03-2008, 08:48 PM   #6
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Or just do what you do for extract, boil down and add water

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