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Old 02-04-2012, 11:32 PM   #1
PapaFoxtrot
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Default First All Grain - Noob Mistakes But Not a Total Disaster

Jumped in with both feet today. First try was to be an amber ale, but it came out darker than I expected. Here's the recipe - 3 gal batch; shooting for 2.5 gal in the carboy. The goofy name is a result of SWMBO insisting that I give the dog a haircut before I was allowed to go out and play! No dog hair actually made it into the kettle.

Papa's Dog Hair Amber (American Amber Ale)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.045 (°P): 11.2
Final Gravity (FG): 1.011 (°P): 2.8
Alcohol (ABV): 4.42 %
Colour (SRM): 14.4 (EBC): 28.4
Bitterness (IBU): 22.2 (Average)

4.375 lb(83.33%) American 2-Row
0.25 lb(4.76%) Crystal 40L
0.25 lb(4.76%) Vienna
0.25 lb(4.76%) Wheat Malt, Red
0.125 lb(2.38%) Belgian De-bittered Black Malt(500L)

10 g Cascade (6.4% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (First Wort)
9 g Cascade (6.4% Alpha) @ 10 Minutes (Boil)
9 g Cascade (6.4% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Boil)

1/4 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 153°F for 60 Minutes. Boil for 60 Minutes

Fermented at 68°F with Safale US-05
First thing to go wrong is that I installed the copper tube mash tun manifold upside down - the holes facing up. I guess I was in too big a hurry to get started, but it was a real facepalm moment when I was cleaning out the mash tun.

Had a little trouble hitting my mash target temperature. My little 5 gal Igloo holds heat pretty well. The strike temp calculator at rackers.org said 170 degF, so I doughed in at 171 degF and it only dropped to 160 degF. A quick cold water addition got me down to 151 degF - figured better to undershoot a bit than overshoot a lot.

My preboil target was 4 gal @ 1.034 and an OG of 3 gal @ 1.045. My preboil actual gravity was 1.036, so I'm starting to feel a bit cocky(that was before I discovered the upside down manifold).

Here's 4 gal wort at a rolling boil:



Second mistake was using 2" teaballs from Wally World for hop balls. Didn't realize that pellet hops swell to 2x their dry size when wet. Here's what the tea balls looked like when I fished them out. Packed pretty tight in there - I doubt I got much out of my hops in the boil. Also, instead of the 7.8% alpha Brewmate predicted, my Cascade pellets were 6.4% alpha.



Boil was pretty uneventful. Almost boiled over once, but I turned the burner down and stirred like my life depended on it. After 60 minutes, the boil volume was about right to hit my OG, but my refractometer was telling me that I was at 10.5 brix, not 11.1. I let the boil go for another 10 minutes to be sure and, after cooling to 70 degrees I found I was at 1.048 by the hydrometer. Last mistake was forgetting the Whirlfloc tablet.

Here's 2.5 gal in the fermenter. Turned out darker than I was expecting. The two ounces of Belgian Black really had an effect. I'll see what my hydro sample tastes like after a week. I've got an ounce of Centennial pellets in the fridge. I may just dry hop with them.



Thanks for all the great info here. I haven't posted much, but I've been soaking up as much info as I can!

Papa


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Old 02-05-2012, 03:06 AM   #2
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Some people just chuck their hops into the boil. I use a nylon bag but really if you get some in it's not the end of the world. I'd rather get it in an try and filter it out during kettle->fermenter or fermenter->bucket/keg then have them compacted in tea balls.

Nice pictures, thanks for sharing!



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Old 02-05-2012, 12:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Some people just chuck their hops into the boil.
Yep - that's the plan for next time. Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:21 PM   #4
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My hops go directly into the boil and from that pot I dump everything into the fermenter. By the time I'm ready to bottle in 3 to 4 weeks the hops are all at the bottom of the bucket with the yeast and I rack off above them. If any get into the bottling bucket they settle out quickly and I only get them in the last bottle as I try to get that last half cup.

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Old 02-06-2012, 01:03 AM   #5
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Krausen!!! 24 hours after pitching and the US05 is rockin'

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Old 02-06-2012, 04:00 AM   #6
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Nice, Looking great

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Old 02-06-2012, 04:22 AM   #7
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Nice first all-grain. Thanx for sharing it all too. I'm just about to get set up for all-grain myself. It's nice to get all of the sample stories from fellow homebrewers. As soon as I get going I will share my lessons learned. Cheers!

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Old 02-06-2012, 04:55 AM   #8
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Nice job! I like the mini carboy, I'd love one for experimental batches.

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“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:03 AM   #9
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Another trick to avoid boil overs is to load a spray bottle with water and just spray the foam as it rises to break the surface tension and collapse the bubbles. Works great and much easier than stirring like crazy!

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Old 02-06-2012, 05:05 AM   #10
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yes, chuck it all in.. and if you are doing only a primary, just be very careful with the autosiphon when you extract... when you are extracting the last bit, pull the autosiphon out as soon as you see the first bit of trub come out... i've been doing this for a while and have hardly any sediment in my beer.. don't try to get that last 8 oz of beer out, it will be messy...



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