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Old 07-04-2008, 07:39 AM   #1
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Default First All-Grain... A learning experience I hope

Finally did my first all-grain tonight, EdWort's Haus Pale Ale.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=31793
Batch sparging, most everything went well. Mashed a little too hot (163), stirred around till it cooled down to 154, closed the lid and came back after an hour. Recirculated a couple of quarts, then collected the first runnings. Got about 2.3 gallons of first wort @ 1.060. Oops, forgot to add water to make up for grain absorption.

To sparge I used 4.5 gallons instead of the 3.5 to try to make up for 5 qts I failed to add to the first runnings. This is about when I realize my thermometer was not working. Don't know if grain bed really was @ 154 the whole first mash. Swapped to my glass therm.

Added the 4.5 gallons @ 165, stirred in, went to 154 (for sure this time) and left it for 10 minutes. Ran off. Didn't measure that volume, I assume it had to be 4.5 gal since grain had already absorbed. Came out to 1.020.

Did the boil and everything normal from there, came out with exactly 5 gallons in the fermenter, but it is at 1.040. Oh well. I don't know if I missed my first grain temp due to the thermometer, or it was my failure to add in the 5 qts at end of 1st mash. I have another batch of ingredients for the same recipe, then 2 batches of Edwort's Bavarian hefe. Hopefully it wont take me 4 batches to figure out this terrible efficiency.

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Old 07-04-2008, 08:08 AM   #2
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Congrats on your first AG batch. I've recently joined the AG club as well, only I picked Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde.

I felt pretty disappointed after my brew day also, as I screwed up some very basic steps and ended up with poor efficiency. The good news though, is that I have a much better idea on what to do for my next batch.
Also, after trying a few hydrometer samples since brew day, I have high hopes for my finished product. I have never had better tasting hydrometer samples, and this gives me great hope because my previous batches ended up being quite good. I just hope the beer carbonates well and balances out.

I would have killed for 1.040, since this is what my recipe called for at 70% efficiency. I ended up with less than this. Your beer will be pretty light, so just make sure to drink more! It will still be beer, it will just be a lighter beer. Who knows, maybe you'll prefer it that way and it'll turn out to be the next great recipe here. At worst, it'll be a decent, but not outstanding beer.

You don't have to hope that today was a learning experience... it was. You learned a ton about the process and the next time you try it, it will be much easier for you. You'll be a lot more confident in your ability to do all grain and your beer will benefit from it.

I look forward to hearing about how it turns out.

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Old 07-04-2008, 02:26 PM   #3
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Yeah, you really need to chalk up your first few batches as a learning experience. I'm sure the brew will still turn out great - don't worry. Hopefully you'll be able to get things dialed in quickly where it all goes much easier.

Oh, and welcome to the dark side.

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Old 07-04-2008, 03:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for the encouragement, guys. I think the big problem was probably not ggetting enough 1st wort since I didn't add water to account for grain absorbtion before my first runnings. After pouring in the sparge water (with 4 qts extra), I stirred it for a few minutes, then closed up the tun and waited another 10 minutes before collecting the second runnings. I hope the too thick first runnings coupled with the too thin second mash were my culprit, and not AHS crush or my MLT.

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Old 07-04-2008, 03:28 PM   #5
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Congrats, my first AG was 55%, now I'm 78% exactly every time. Its fun learning though

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Old 07-04-2008, 04:41 PM   #6
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I just did my first AG too and it just blew the top on my carboy and had a massive head of foam. I sadly am at work and get a call from my lady friend, who of course isn't the happiest. Any ideas on why there was so much foam? It just got racked from primary...maybe wait a little longer next time.

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Old 07-04-2008, 05:30 PM   #7
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I just did my first AG too and it just blew the top on my carboy and had a massive head of foam. I sadly am at work and get a call from my lady friend, who of course isn't the happiest. Any ideas on why there was so much foam? It just got racked from primary...maybe wait a little longer next time.
I just had the same thing happen. Did you use a yeast starter? I never had a problem with high krausen until I started making yeast starters. You probably want to start using a blowoff tube instead of an airlock.
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Old 07-04-2008, 07:02 PM   #8
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According to beersmith- 53% Blech. I will try round 2 tomorrow night. I have 4 fermenters to fill up, and 20 points to find.
I have read peak efficiency with batch sparging is gained through having your first and second runnings equal, and mine definitely were not.

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Old 07-04-2008, 07:16 PM   #9
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If you have the capacity, try going with a bigger boil. I usually start with 7.5 - 8 galllons and boil it down, I also usually go with a 90 minute boil to make sure there is no DMS (Jamil says to do it... so I listen). When I went to the larger longer boils, I got a huge increase in my efficiency, more sugars coming out.

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Old 07-04-2008, 07:20 PM   #10
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I just did my first AG too and it just blew the top on my carboy and had a massive head of foam. I sadly am at work and get a call from my lady friend, who of course isn't the happiest. Any ideas on why there was so much foam? It just got racked from primary...maybe wait a little longer next time.
Whoa whoa whoa! How long did you let that thing sit in primary?

If you get that much fermentation after racking to secondary, you're either not waiting anywhere near long enough or you had a stuck fermentation and racking woke the yeast up. Next time, use your hydrometer and don't even think about racking until the hydrometer is sitting at the exact same reading, close to your expected FG for at least three days.
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