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Old 04-29-2010, 02:11 AM   #1
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Default First all-grain batch process - sanity check please

I’ve done 2 extract batches (just bottled my first) and in honor of National Homebrewer’s Day this Saturday, I’ve planned to get together with my buddies and brew some beer, drink some beer, and eat some grillables.

This will be my first extract batch. We have a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer and I’m putting together the easy do-it-yourself 10 gallon Rubbermaid MLT.

I’m not getting stressed about it or anything – whatever happens, we’ll have made beer, but I want to run through the brew day so I can print it out and not have to remember everything. That said, I wouldn’t mind a sanity check to make sure I’m not doing anything crazy. In particular, I'm curious if my mash in temps are correct.

Recipe
5 gallon batch of Northern Brewers’ Twisted Enkle kit
-- 7-lbs.-Belgian-Pilsner
-- 0.75-lbs-Belgian-Cara-8
-- 0.25-lbs-Biscuit-malt
Potential ~286

-- 1-oz-Hersbrucker-@-60”
-- 0.5-oz-Saaz-@-60”
-- 0.5-oz-Saaz-@-5”

Wyeast 3864 Canadian/Belgian Ale.

Target OG of 1.040

Process

  • Mash0min 2.6 gallons of strike water at 161* for a mash temp of 149. Was going to heat water to 185 and let the cooler absorb some until 160. Will add grain to water while stirring
  • Mash20min heat 5.25 gallons of sparge water to 180.
  • Mash60min Vorlauf until clear and drain first runnings
  • After 1st runnings, measure amount of wort and subtrack from 6.25 gallons (assuming 1.25 gallons boil off) to get the amount of sparge water needed.
  • Add half the required sparge water, stir, steep for 2 minutes, vorlauf, and drain.
  • Add remaining half the required sparge water, stir, steep for 2 minutes, vorlauf, and drain.
  • Take gravity measurement and record
  • Boil0min Add all wort to boil kettle and bring to a boil
  • Boil0min Add 1 oz Hersbrucker and .5 oz Saaz
  • Boil45min Add Immersion Chiller to boil
  • Boil55min Add .5 oz Saaz
  • Boil60min Add .5 oz of coriander seeds
  • Chill to 60.
  • Take gravity measurement
  • Aerate the heck out of it via shaking.
  • Pitch yeast package (not doing starters yet… I’ll get there)

Look ok?
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:25 AM   #2
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You should boil pilsner malt 90 minutes. Adjust water amounts accordingly.

Your boil-off rate depends on a lot of things but the most influential factor is the diameter of your pot. Make sure you're not under estimating. It's perfectly fine to over estimate as you'll just have a longer boil. It might mess with your hops a bit if you have to boil too long but you can always dry hop at the end if you think things are lacking.

I really don't get why you're adding your sparge in steps like that but to each his own i guess. That's going to take a long time.

It's possible you will lose about 3% of the water you use to sparge. I never get 100% back.

If you want 5 gallons of beer in your keg or bottles at the end of fermentation, you should really make a 6 gallon batch.

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Old 04-29-2010, 02:29 AM   #3
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Looks right on to me. Some people let it sit for longer in the sparge water (but others don't). Something to play with in future batches!

Also, the one piece of advice I can give is don't worry if things don't go exactly according to plan. First few AGs are all about figuring out your system and how it works (efficiency, boil-off rate, etc). View it as a fun learning opportunity (one that also happens to produce beer!) and you'll be great.

Good luck!

EDIT: Just saw the post above me - good point. Pilsner malt needs to be boiled for 90 minutes. You can mash thinner or use more sparge water to make up the difference.

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Old 04-29-2010, 03:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mightynintendo View Post
I really don't get why you're adding your sparge in steps like that but to each his own i guess. That's going to take a long time.
I used this guide as my basis: http://www.suebob.com/brew/allgrain.htm
I'm guessing that you just sparge all at once? I suppose I could just do that too. How long do you let it sit?

I'll try to up the volumes a bit to do a 90 minute boil. Since I'm dealing with a 7.5 gallon pot, a full 6 gallon batch might be difficult. Maybe I'll get some of that stuff that stops boilovers just in case. I think I'll shoot for ~7 gallons of wort for the 90 minute boil which is cutting it a bit close. We'll just have to do the best we can. Don't worry, have a home brew and all that.

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Originally Posted by Palefire View Post
Also, the one piece of advice I can give is don't worry if things don't go exactly according to plan. First few AGs are all about figuring out your system and how it works (efficiency, boil-off rate, etc). View it as a fun learning opportunity (one that also happens to produce beer!) and you'll be great.
That is exactly my attitude. Mainly I want to process pretty well laid out so I don't have to think a whole bunch on Saturday. With a group of us around, there will be distractions, so if I have it laid out on paper, I'm hoping it will be more relaxing.
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:52 AM   #5
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Oh yeah, sorry I forgot about the 7.5 gallon thing. Hmm... Might be kinda hard to do a 90 minute boil in that. 1/2 gallon is not much space for headroom. You might shoot for 5 gallons instead of 6 and just take what you get for the final volume after break and trub losses. Still you should take efforts to avoid a boilover. I have a 12 gallon pot that will boil over with 8.5 gallons of wort if i'm not careful.

I sparge all at once and let it sit about 15 minutes or so.

When you drain your mash, drain slow (ball valve half open).

When you drain your sparge, drain fast. The faster drain reduces efficiency. Remember, you want good efficiency when you mash. You don't want to convert starches during the sparge and you don't want it to sit too long otherwise it will introduce tannins and will lend a "sucking on a teabag" flavor to your beer.

Also if you're using a 10 gallon water cooler and mashing at 149, you'll probably want your sparge water to be 185. I don't know how your system will act though so that's really just a hunch.

I hope none of this complicates matters for you. Brewing really isn't hard once you get the hang of it. Well, cleanup is a pain in the ass.

EDIT: Just visited that website. Lots of explanation and most of it's pretty good but I disagree with him on some points. He says "no long boil" which is just dumb because longer boils reduce dimethyl sulfide and you really want to boil that out of your pilsner malts. Also he makes sparging really complicated. Just heat water to 185, dump it in after you drain your wort, sit for 15 minutes, vorlauf and drain. 75% efficiency is nothing to be ashamed of.

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Old 04-29-2010, 05:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mightynintendo View Post
EDIT: Just visited that website. Lots of explanation and most of it's pretty good but I disagree with him on some points. He says "no long boil" which is just dumb because longer boils reduce dimethyl sulfide and you really want to boil that out of your pilsner malts. Also he makes sparging really complicated. Just heat water to 185, dump it in after you drain your wort, sit for 15 minutes, vorlauf and drain. 75% efficiency is nothing to be ashamed of.
Absolutely correct with the extra boil for Pilsner. DMS is nasty and there is tons of it in Pilsner. The extra boil time will get rid of it.

185 for sparge seems pretty high though. At 170 the possibility of leaching tannins is pretty high. Personally I prefer single batch sparges between my strike temp and 170.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:16 AM   #7
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185 for sparge seems pretty high though. At 170 the possibility of leaching tannins is pretty high. Personally I prefer single batch sparges between my strike temp and 170.
This is where I could use some clarification! I understand that anything over 170 could be bad due to tannins leaching so you want to raise the grain bed temp to say 168 or so. But in order to raise the grain bed to 168 you need to add water that is as high as 185+ depending on your system correct?

Is this a problem or is adding water at a high temp and stirring it until it cools to 168 not bad?

Or is it better just to pour sparge water in at 170 stir and let sit at whatever temp it drops to (probably around 155 or so).

Thanks
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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............................accidental double post

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Old 04-29-2010, 12:37 PM   #9
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This is where I could use some clarification! I understand that anything over 170 could be bad due to tannins leaching so you want to raise the grain bed temp to say 168 or so. But in order to raise the grain bed to 168 you need to add water that is as high as 185+ depending on your system correct?

Is this a problem or is adding water at a high temp and stirring it until it cools to 168 not bad?

Or is it better just to pour sparge water in at 170 stir and let sit at whatever temp it drops to (probably around 155 or so).

Thanks
Right. In order to get your grainbed to 168, sometimes the first round of batch sparging is over 180 degrees. That's fine. Using 170 degree water, your 150ish degree grain bed would NEVER get to 168! You need to use hotter water to increase the temperature. You don't want the grainbed to go over 170.

Many of us add the water in two rounds, but we vorlauf and drain between. Some just do one addition, vorlauf and drain. You're ok either way. I think it was Bobby_M who did some experiments showing slightly better efficiency with dividing the sparge water in half.
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarCityBrewMaster View Post
This is where I could use some clarification! I understand that anything over 170 could be bad due to tannins leaching so you want to raise the grain bed temp to say 168 or so. But in order to raise the grain bed to 168 you need to add water that is as high as 185+ depending on your system correct?

Is this a problem or is adding water at a high temp and stirring it until it cools to 168 not bad?

Or is it better just to pour sparge water in at 170 stir and let sit at whatever temp it drops to (probably around 155 or so).

Thanks
I may be overly cautious and sparge lower than average. My sparge water is usually about 170 max. I don't check the temp during the sparge. After this thread though I am curious and going check the temp next batch.
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