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Old 07-20-2009, 06:14 PM   #1
SamuraiSquirrel
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Default First all-grain brewed yesterday. So-so results. Help/suggestions?

So I brewed my first all grain this past Sunday. For the most part everything went according to plans. I just missed my targets by a little but it should still be a good beer. Just looking for some advice and thoughts as to where I might have gone wrong.

Equipment:
10 gallon mega pot & 10 gallon igloo cooler with copper manifold.
Ingredients:
10 lbs American pale two row
1 lb Munich
½ lb Belgian caramunich
½ lb Briess carapils
.75 oz Columbus @ 60
.75 oz Centennial @ 45
.25 oz Centennial @ 30
.25 oz Centennial @ 15
.25 oz Centennial @ 5
.25 oz Centennial @ 2
.5 oz Columbus dry hop 14 days
.5 oz Centennial dry hop 7 days
Safale – 04 yeast

Mash:
Mash in – 15 quarts at 155 degrees for 60 minutes
Sparge with 4.83 gallons of water @ 170 degrees (I split in half and sparged twice)
Projections vs actual
Preboil gravity – 1.054 projected, 1.038 actual
Preboil volume – 6.64 gallons projected, 6.5 actual
Original gravity – 1.065 projected, 1.055 actual
Volume into fermenter – 5.0 gallons projected, 4.0 actual

My thoughts:
My newly built mash tun seemed to work flawlessly. Then I took my pre boil gravity and was horrified when I saw that it was 1.038 @ 60 degrees F when I was expecting 1.055. I am attributing this horrible efficiency to the mill at my LHBS (any other thoughts?). I looked at a handful of grains and noticed a good number of grains that looked untouched by the mill. I will be looking at getting my own mill as soon as possible.

Pre-boil volume was nearly dead on so I did not add any additional water at this point.

In order to compensate for my lower than expected gravity I figured I would boil the hell out of my brew to get a little more evaporation which would give my O.G a little boost. It did just that and more. I kept the boil at 60 minutes but as rapid as possible without boiling over. I only ended up with 4 gallons left in the end and an O.G of 1.055 @ 60 degrees. I was really surprised that I boiled off 2.5 gallons (of 6.5) in an hour.
I put my disappointing 4 gallon yield into fermenter without adding any water to top off as I did not want to decrease my gravity since it was already on the low end for what I was hoping to hit.
Does anyone else use this pot? And if so what evap rate do you use for it?



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Old 07-20-2009, 06:19 PM   #2
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Sounds like you answered your own question. Probably a bad crush.

In terms of the kettle question, what kind of burner setup are you using?



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Old 07-20-2009, 06:21 PM   #3
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Before you get your own mill, try running your grains through their mill twice. My efficiency vastly improved after doing that.

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:26 PM   #4
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I am using the 10 gallon megapot on a used turkey frying burner that I got for 6 bucks. Not sure how many BTU's but I only had it probably 50% of the way up for my boil.

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:26 PM   #5
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The other part is probably the sparge. If didn't take your time, you probably didn't collect as much fermentables as you could. Since you're lucky enough to have a copper manifold in your mash tun, I would go ahead a fly sparge next time. Just take your time. A 5gal batch should take 30 min at least.

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:40 PM   #6
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Sparge question: how long do you leave sparge water in before draining off. I added water stirred for only 3-5 minutes and then drained off. looking back, I would imagine it would help to leave the 170 degree water for awhile longer before running off.................?

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:59 PM   #7
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I usually fly sparge which I what I recommend. But I think for batch sparging, you're suppose to let the sparge water sit with the grain for 10 or 15 minutes before draining. Maybe that's where you left a lot of sugar behind.

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Old 07-20-2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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I'd up your sparge temp to around 185*F...

I used to sparge at 170*F but saw a 10+% in efficiency by raising the sparge temp.

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Old 07-20-2009, 08:24 PM   #9
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+1 on double milling

Your technique sounds fine for batch sparging. Try AZ_IPA's hint about increasing your sparge temp, too. With these two hints, you should be able to get much better efficiency on your next brew.

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Old 07-20-2009, 08:39 PM   #10
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I did my first AG this weekend too and botched the sparge, missing my targets by a mile. Sounds like a couple of n00bs with the same mistake



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