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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > First all grain batch tomorrow, have a few questions
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:10 AM   #1
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Default First all grain batch tomorrow, have a few questions

I am getting ready to attempt my first all grain batch tomorrow and am still unsure about a few things. I do not know my exact boil off rate. I did a test run with 6 gallons of water for .5 hours and lost a little over .75 gallons. I am going to try and get 6.75 gallons to start. What is the more important hitting my post boil volume(5.25 gallons) or my target gravity? I know once I do a few batches I will be able to figure out more of where to start. I will be batch sparging and can't figure out if I should just dump the water in and stir it or pour it slowly onto something like aluminum foil and not disrupt the grain bead. I have searched the forums and can't get a clear answer. Thanks in advance.
I am brewing this kit from NB:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...grain-kit.html

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Old 04-01-2011, 01:23 AM   #2
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I personally think gravity is more important than final volume.

I don't batch sparge but in the vids i've seen the water is poured in, stirred an vourloffed.

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Old 04-01-2011, 01:42 AM   #3
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I like to boil off about two gallons to increase efficiency. I always do a 90 minute boil. After 30 minutes I start my hops.

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Old 04-01-2011, 01:42 AM   #4
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I shoot for 6.75 gal preboil and end up with 5.5 gal. Remember, you don't have to have a full rapid boil. Boiling is boiling. It saves gas and reduces boil-off.

When sparging just dump it in and stir well. Really well. The aluminum foil is for when you vorlauf. When you drain you the wort from the grain bed, you don't want to disturb the grains.

On which is more important final volume or target gravity, they are related. If you overshoot your volume, your gravity will be low. Gravity is a measurement of sugar content. If you have more volume, your sugar concentration will be lower. Make sense? This is assuming your efficiency stays the same. Don't worry about high or low efficiency on your first batch. Dial in your system and focus on technique.

Take lots of notes. Preheat your mash tun. Hit your temps. Hit your volumes. Its not as hard as it seems.

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:32 AM   #5
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Thanks, I'll report back how things went tomorrow

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:35 AM   #6
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If you take a pre-boil OG reading, then you can determine what volume you'll have at your desired OG. If you have some Light DME (it'll work with the recipe) handy, then you can add the proper amount to reach your desired pre-boil OG volume... Here's the math.

You want a 1052, post-boil OG and a volume of 5 gallons...
Use the 52 (from 1052) and multiply by your target volume
52*5=260

Now, let's say you collect 6 gallons of 1040 runnings.
40*6=240

If you boil the 6 gallons of 1040 to the desired volume, you get an OG of 1048
40*6=240, 240/5=48 ==>1048
You'd be 4 points shy...

You can, as you asked, boil down a bit more... 240/52=4.6gallons

--or--

You could add a bit of DME to your boil volume... 6oz of DME gets you ~ 3 points.
1040 wort + 4 pts = 1044
43*6=258
258/5=52, 1052...

Clear enough? OR need more?

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:37 AM   #7
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Oh, and if you overshoot your pre-boil OG??? add water... You'll either have to ferment a bigger volume, or (ugh) dump a bit, or (better) save a bit for a starter...

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:49 AM   #8
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Just when I think i have things figured out... I do have some light DME lying around so I will keep that in mind. Another quick question can I collect hot wort in my plastic wine thief? Or should i use something else?

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:52 PM   #9
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At a boil rate of 1.5 gallon per hour, I would shoot for a preboil volume of 7-7.25. you'll end up with 5.5-5.75 after the boil and it will shink when you cool it. .25-.5 gallons will be the crap you don't necessarily want in your fermenter. This way you will get close to 5 gallons into your fermenter

edit: oh and make sure your thermometer is very accurate. Very important

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:59 PM   #10
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Since you're so close to your first AG batch, I assume your recipe is locked in. You've bought X pounds of grain for a starting volume of Y to hit an OG of Z. Trust those numbers...you shouldn't be too far off. Fiddling with volumes and worrying about nailing your OG--"on-the-fly" adjustments usually hurt more than they help IMHO.

I just knocked out a Scotch Ale yesterday. I followed my recipe exactly and, without any on-the-fly gravity measurements I hit my strike temp (158) and my OG perfectly (1.050 on the nosie). The worst I've ever done has been too high on my OG by .06 because I mis-measured my original boil volume. Guess what? That beer is fabulous.

Relax, and concentrate on your sanitation and your mash temps. You'll be fine. Enjoy.

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