First All grain coming up, advice welcome.
SO I broke down and bought a 10 gal mash/lauter tun today, plus some grain. I have about 12 (mini-mash + 6or more lbs of ME) brews under my belt, and figured I'd make the leap.
Soon (maybe tomorrow or next weekend) I will try to make ale out of the following
9.5 lb two row
1/2 lb Cara pils
1oz cascade hops
1 oz Liberty hops.
I will be pitching back onto the yeast cake of the AAPA that will be coming out of primary whenever I decide to brew (WL cali V, by the way).
I know this is a way simple ale, but I want to set myself up for success on this first one.
Any advice is very welcome.
questions I'd have are: how much water to use? I figured 11 qts of water for the mash, and then 3.75 gallons of liquor? (I figure some water will stay in the grain, right? half a gallon maybe?
How critical is the sparge temp? I don't have an insulated hot liquor tank at the moment, so i will start my liquor off at 170, but I might lose 10 degrees or so before it's all run out... BAD or just bad?
Anything else that I am forgetting? Thanks
First off is to preheat your mash tun. If you don't you will be fighting temperature loss throughout the mash. I also add the strike water to the tun at about 5 degrees higher than the target temp. I then let the temp drop to the strike temp before I add the grain. The mash stays at temp much better using this method. The first thing I learned doing all grain is that it is easier to lower the mash temp than it is trying to raise it.
You are using 10 pounds of grain so as a minimum use 1 quart per pound for the mash (2 1/2 gallons). Some folks like to use more than that but I have pretty good luck at this rate. The sparge will be 1/2 gallon per pound of grain and I like to add a bit extra just in case I don't extract all the sugars (5 gallons plus add a gallon just in case). The grain absorbs approximately .1 gallons per pound of grain so about 1 gallon will be absorbed.
You will be alright using 170 degree sparge water but you might think about adding some 180 degree water to bring your mash to as close to 170 degrees as possible for the mash out. This will stop the conversion process. Either way I think you will make good beer.
What method are you going to use for the sparge? My advice is based on fly sparging. Batch spargers will want to chime in as well.
Rich said most of it... I would use only 10qts of water for the mash. If you pre-heat get your strike temp up to about 170. If you are using a mash/lauter tun put the water in FIRST then add the grain. This mix shouldn't get stuck easily but I've found that if you add the water first you get less chance of a stuck mash. If you do end up too high just add some ice or an icepack. everything will be boiled so you don't have to worry about sanitizing it at this stage of the game. Once you add the water for the mashout give it a good mix to make sure you don't have any hot spots.
For the sparge water. you want it to be between 170 and 180 so get it up to 180 so if it falls you are still over 170.
Make sure you recycle enough when lautering to get it nice and clean. The first few AG's I did I didn't recycle too much. But since I have had to recycle about 1.5 gallons of wort before it was really nice and clear. I used a white bowl as I found it to be the easiest way to see how clear it really was.
Also relax! It's not that difficult! It's a lot more relaxing than an extract brew IMO!!
for sparging I have this wand-like contraption that goes on the top of my tun and rotates. It has a base made of PVC pipe, and then what looks like brass tubing with itty bitty tiny holes drilled in it. I was just going to use it, feed water as fast as it'll go (SLOW, the holes are smaller than pinholes) and regulate the outflow of the liquid to keep the grain submerged at most times.
Please keep the suggetions coming. Preheating the tun and adding water before grain are two things I would not have thought of on my own.
btw rich, just noticed your location.
I lived in colorado (Denver) for a little over a year. was the best place I've ever lived.
you are fortunate to live in such a beautiful and climatically favorable spot.
Okay another tip! (things I have learned the hard way) If you do not have a very sturdy stirring wand get a 3/4" or greater dowel for mixing the mash. A plastic spoon will bend and not work well! You need to mix it up to keep from getting hot and cold spots!
To test the temp I use a floating thermometer that I just jam into the mash and leave it there. I wait at least 10 minutes to check the temp. It's best to leave it so you can have an accurate temp of the mash on demand.
Also on the off chance you do get a stuck mash when lautering. Keep your primary bucket handy! I've had to dump the mash into it to clean out the false bottom then dump it back in. Might not be the best way but it worked! (Chances are yours will not be stuck)
id add a half pound of crystal to the grain bill. Like 10-60L.
Since your not planning to do this tomorrow, I'd get the demo version of ProMash. It's a real cool program and will help you greatly in your AG attempts.
I make a similar cream ale
8.0 ounces Cara Pils
8.0 pounds Pale 2 Row
Saaz (Bittering) 0.75 ounces
Cascade (Finishing) 1.0 ounces
It's very good... For a light summer brew.
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