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Old 01-22-2010, 04:38 PM   #1
Skacorica
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Default First All Grain Brew! 10 Lessons I learned

This also happens to be my first post, though I have been lurking for quite some time. I based it off of a recipe from here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f68/imperial-double-chocolate-stout-98769/


Here is what the calc looked like:

Brewer: Jesse Email: -
Beer: - Style: Imperial Chocolate Stout
Type: All grain
Size: 5.5 gallons
Color: 331 HCU
Bitterness: 69 IBU
OG: 1.081 FG: 1.025
Alcohol: 7.2% v/v (5.7% w/w)
Grain: 12 lb. American 2-row
1 lb. American crystal 60L
1 lb. American crystal 90L
1 lb. American chocolate
1 lb. British chocolate
Mash: 70% efficiency
Boil: minutes SG 1.064 7 gallons
Hops: 1 oz. Magnum (13% AA, 60 min.)
1 oz. Magnum (13% AA, 30 min.)
1 oz. Saaz (3.75% AA, 15 min.)
1 oz Cocoa (60 min)

Well, as it turns out, things didnt go terribly, but not exactly as planned, I definitely learned a few lessons:

1) When mashing in, if transferring from a pot, to a bucket, then to mash tun, in cold colorado winter weather, I need to adjust up (more than 180 degrees) as my mash temp was right around 148, too low.

2) I need another keggle for lautering, using a boil pot worked very poorly...heating, then taking temp, then transferring to bucket to feed the lautering sprinkler....basically I didnt have enough water, and did it too fast as it was already late.

3) I need a hop filter in my keggle, late night trying to figure out a way to get my high OG beer cooled and into carboy, was not fun.

4) Keeping my pipes unglued (my tun's manifold I made out of drinking water grade pvc) for better cleaning turned out to be a nightmare when I needed to dump 18 lbs of grain out....the entire thing came apart in a pile of grain in a field across from my house.

5) Start brewing before 7 pm. My wife was on a business trip and my 1 year old goes to sleep at 7, thus that was my start time. In hindsight, I should have set up the night before, starting mashing with him still awake, then when he went to bed sparge, boil, etc.

6) Goose Island Bourbon stout is strrrrong.

7) Brewing with a friend is twice as fun ( my neighbor is a hardcore brewer and brought his stuff over as well).

8) Cleaning up all grain is twice as hard.

9) Two 60,000 BTU propane burners is not enough to keep warm when it is below freezing out.

10) I need a water line in my garage instead of around the far side of the house.

I actually learned more than that, but Im sure you are all bored by now

In any case I knew my efficiency wouldnt be great with low temp + not enough sparge water, and I was right, it was somewhere in the 60s, as my OG ended up at 1.072. Not terrible, but it wont come out as strong as I wanted. No biggie.

Thanks to everyone who posts, you guys make life so much easier starting out!

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Old 01-22-2010, 06:09 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Skacorica View Post

6) Goose Island Bourbon stout is strrrrong.
And expensive as hell, but it is a great beer. I don't like to get loaded when brewing (still have a darker spot on my arm from a steam burn a year ago) so I wouldn't have picked that one.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:42 PM   #4
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Did you really use 6 pounds of crystal/chocolate specialty grains in a 5 gallon batch, or is that a typo?
Actually, you are right, there is a typo, it was 1 lb of each, when I typed it into the recipator I was thinking 2lbs chocolate (total). That being said, there is 4 lbs of crystal/chocolate. Is that overboard? I was sticking pretty close to that original link, I just smelled the british chocolate while I was picking up the ingredients and it was delicious smelling so I grabbed a lb of it too...
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:44 PM   #5
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One other edit, put 1 oz of cocoa in as well, forgot to list that.

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Old 01-22-2010, 06:48 PM   #6
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And expensive as hell, but it is a great beer. I don't like to get loaded when brewing (still have a darker spot on my arm from a steam burn a year ago) so I wouldn't have picked that one.
Luckily that wasnt all we were drinking, we drank some of my neighbors home brew, a blue moon grand cru, that goose island, and then switched to some local whiskey. Overall, Id say switching to whiskey was the worst call, it made me very tired while I was trying to finish up.
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