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Old 05-08-2008, 02:47 AM   #1
wiggy
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Default first all grain, what a cluster %#@!

the first thing ill say is i had a great time. im looking forward to trying this again. the first problem i encountered was when i mashed in, my grain was in the basement at 54 F instead of "room temp" so i ended up with something like 145 F mash instead of 156F. it took a lot of water to get it up to 156 so when i sparged i got 7 gallons for my boil and still had a lot of sugar left in the mash ton. oh yeh when i ordred my ingredients i assumed the hops would come with the same(or close) alpha acid% as in the recipe, so i ended up .45 oz short of hallertau. then it was time to start sparging and realized i forgot to heat up the sparge water. so it sat for an extra 45 minutes before i started sparging. what will that do to the taste(1hr 45 min instead of 1hr mash)? a bunch of other crap happened that i wont get into but somehow i think its going to be beer! the whole thing took like 8 hrs and i was exhausted, how long does it take you guys? its fermenting now and im out of town, my wife said the air lock is only bubbling like every 15 sec, its been 3 days since i pitched yeast, it was bubbling more than that after 16 hrs so im worried something is wrong. anyway, next time im going to be way more prepared maybe ill have a checklist or something. i had a good time but man i was totaly stressed out and tired as a dog when the dust settled. does this sound like a typical first time or am i extra stupid? wiggy

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:55 AM   #2
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A first all grain is usually a clusterfukc. RDWHAHB.

I hope you kept good notes so you can fix the problems for next time.

Once you get proficient at AG, you'll be so proud of what you've accomplished.

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:58 AM   #3
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Congrats Wiggy! I have a whole 2 AG batches under my belt and have only tasted one, so here's my 2 cents...Yup sounds fairly similar to my first experience. The manifold that I built for my mash tun was 3/8" copper and I did holes instead of slots on the bottom. Draining the tun took forever! Maybe 1 1/2-2 hours total for batch. Also, the outlet from manifold thru cooler wall to brew pot was less than secure, so I spilled wort over/in the washing machine(mash tun was sitting on the washer). When all was said and done, I collected a little less than 6 gallons for the boil, wound up with 4 1/4 gal for bottling. It has conditioned for 3 weeks in the bottle and is pretty tasty...it's an Irish Red.

The second one went MUCH better....I re-did the manifold with 1/2 copper, made slots in the bottom and a better/more secure outlet. I also had a time line for brew day from beersmith that helped out tremendously! Good luck! Let us know how this batch tastes.

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Old 05-08-2008, 03:05 AM   #4
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Absolutely normal, check your pulse, breath deeply.... you've lived through the hardest one!!!

Man did I ever stress over the first AG batch, but (to me) it's easy to catch onto... the second batch will be MUCH easier for ya.

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Old 05-08-2008, 03:09 AM   #5
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Try to stay 1 step ahead. After I get my mash going, I like to plan everything else out to avoid mishaps. I actually felt more panicked doing extract and PM's than I did AG.

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Old 05-08-2008, 03:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiggy View Post
the first thing ill say is i had a great time. im looking forward to trying this again. the first problem i encountered was when i mashed in, my grain was in the basement at 54 F instead of "room temp" so i ended up with something like 145 F mash instead of 156F. it took a lot of water to get it up to 156 so when i sparged i got 7 gallons for my boil and still had a lot of sugar left in the mash ton. oh yeh when i ordred my ingredients i assumed the hops would come with the same(or close) alpha acid% as in the recipe, so i ended up .45 oz short of hallertau. then it was time to start sparging and realized i forgot to heat up the sparge water. so it sat for an extra 45 minutes before i started sparging. what will that do to the taste(1hr 45 min instead of 1hr mash)? a bunch of other crap happened that i wont get into but somehow i think its going to be beer! the whole thing took like 8 hrs and i was exhausted, how long does it take you guys? its fermenting now and im out of town, my wife said the air lock is only bubbling like every 15 sec, its been 3 days since i pitched yeast, it was bubbling more than that after 16 hrs so im worried something is wrong. anyway, next time im going to be way more prepared maybe ill have a checklist or something. i had a good time but man i was totaly stressed out and tired as a dog when the dust settled. does this sound like a typical first time or am i extra stupid? wiggy
Brewing software like Promash can help in calculating the required strike water temperature. google "strike water temp calculator" will also give you some resources, but I've never tried any of them, so I cannot guarantee they are accurate.
I think you can download the trial version of promash for free from www.promash.com FWIW, I always have 1 qt boiling water and 1 g cold water available to adjust the mash temperature if necessary. I use promash, and find very little if any adjustment is necessary.
As for the hops, don't worry. If you think it is under hopped, you will know better next time. (I hope you took notes to remind you.)
When sparging, did you measure the temperature? After adding the sparge water and mixing, the temperature should be 168 - 170F for maximum efficiency. With this sparge temperature, you should not leave very much sugar behind.
As for time, it usually takes me about 7 hours from start to finish, but there's plenty of time to do other things during that 7 hours.

-a.
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:33 AM   #7
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I only brew 12 gallon batches now and they take 4.5 hours less clean up. I try to clean up as I go while boiling is going on. You can empty the mash tun and wash it and the pails that you already used. This greatly shortens the brew day. Have your carboys ready for the brew day along with the crushed grain you crushed the day before if you have a crusher. Put all your ingredients and equipment in the house so it is not so cold before you brew. Make sure you have everything prior to brewing. Pre-measure your hops in small containers. I weigh mine with a digital scale. Print out a brew sheet of your recipe. Remember that if you alter the hops or grain you have to re run the brewing program to get the OG and the IBU re-calculated. A successful brew day is being prepared and following the plan (Brew Sheet). Smaller batches take the same time as you are still going through all the same steps and the smaller burner is slower to heat the water. You will do much better next time.

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Old 05-08-2008, 04:49 AM   #8
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I think a combination of lots of research before hand and a relaxed attitude helped my first AG brew. The preset times, like the mash and boil, tend to give you some breathing room to clean and get things ready for the next step. The only time I found myself stressed and bitchy was when I started off because I was doing my milling with the rolling pin.... I'm so glad I picked up a used pokart mill. It took the stress out of a good mill, and it upped my efficiency with no worries of a stuck sparge. Those who knock the Corona/Victoria/Pokart mills have never really tried one. I was more than impressed with the grind once I dialed it in.

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:23 PM   #9
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Wiggy, i feel your pain. I did a lot of extract brewing years ago and figured i would go all grain since i was getting back into it, and figured i would start up like i left off. NOT! My first all grain last weekend went pretty much like yours, but in the end, it looks like beer, smells like beer, so live and learn. I have already corrected the 3 or 4 things that messed me up. I'm looking forward to the next one.

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:40 PM   #10
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Ive done a few AG, the first was a mess...but came out pretty good! Everyone drank it and liked it. It got rid of that funky extract/metallic taste..so...mission accomplished. After the first one I realized there is NO reason to stress about beer. Follow your recipe, keep it clean, and you will have something that will taste like beer. Hopefully.

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