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Old 07-12-2010, 05:42 PM   #1
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Default First ever all grain batch 'learning experience'

So I finally got all my equipment set up and did my first all grain batch sunday, a blonde ale 10 gallon batch.

Right now I have keggles for HLT and MLT, one propane burner, and I have a 5 gallon stock pot I use for boiling additional water for sparging. No pump. I'm using a false bottom in the MLT.

So I heat up the MLT to 160 and dough in figuring I'll hit 154. If I'm lower then that I just heat up the water, but it was a pretty good guess. I then started heating up the stock pot on the stove for sparge water.

Here's where I shot myself in the foot.

After 45 minutes the temperature had dipped below 140 and fired up the propane burner to get the tmep back up. I somehow managed to heat the temp close to 180!! Soon as I realized tihs i kiled the heat and stirred pretty continuously to get the temp down.

When it was time to mash out the valve was literally trickling, so i blew into the hose a bunch of times and finally got some flow going, but a few pieces of grain did make their way into the boil kettle somehow. Not a huge deal, but annoying.

My water quantities were way off as well, i didn't heat up enough sparge water to hit my 12 gallon boil target, so I added some filtered tap water to make up the difference.




LESSONS LEARNED:

1. Brewing software is your friend.
2. Pay more attention to the thermometer
3. Possibly invest in a march pump


I'm working my way towards a brutus stand, but I pretty much promised SWMBO that I wouldnt spend any more money on equipment this year.

I think in spite of all my blunders this beer will turn out. I left the hydro sample out overnight and in the morning it was that nice clear golden colour you expect from a blonde ale.

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Old 07-12-2010, 06:07 PM   #2
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Frankly, a keg MLT with false bottom requires recirculation during heating. If you don't want a pump, I highly recommend using a cooler for an MLT.

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Old 07-12-2010, 06:23 PM   #3
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A pump is definitely on the radar.

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Old 07-12-2010, 07:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Frankly, a keg MLT with false bottom requires recirculation during heating. If you don't want a pump, I highly recommend using a cooler for an MLT.
I must respectfully disagree. I used a kettle MLT for a couple of years without a pump. Generally I would only lose about 2 degrees over an hour. I even managed to do step mashes using the "stir like crazy while running the burner very low" method. I did, however, recently add a pump (because I like gadgets ), and it makes step mashing so much easier. Not to mention crystal clear wort!
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:44 PM   #5
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That's a really good idea to leave out the hydrometer sample to check for clarity.

I have also recently started all grain, and one of my biggest lessons is CHECK THE VALVE IS CLOSED! First I ended up with cleaning water all over my kitchen (did AG in the kitchen) while washing out my MLT. Second I ended up with strike water all over my kitchen which was open once again. I am going to make a duct tape sign to remind myself to close the valve...

Just thought I'd share to let you know you're not alone in the suffering haha

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Old 07-12-2010, 09:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curlyfat View Post
I must respectfully disagree. I used a kettle MLT for a couple of years without a pump. Generally I would only lose about 2 degrees over an hour. I even managed to do step mashes using the "stir like crazy while running the burner very low" method. I did, however, recently add a pump (because I like gadgets ), and it makes step mashing so much easier. Not to mention crystal clear wort!

Are you recirculating without adding any heat (e.g. RIMS or HERMS)?

How do you accomplish that without losing temps throughout the mash?
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:35 PM   #7
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Are you recirculating without adding any heat (e.g. RIMS or HERMS)?

How do you accomplish that without losing temps throughout the mash?
Now that I've added the pump, I'm direct-fired RIMS, but before, I just heated the water in my MLT, added the grain, stirred very well and let it sit. I didn't have to add heat, and only lost a couple degrees in an hour. I should mention, I suppose, that I do ten gallon batches with 20+ lbs of grain, so that's a lot of mass to hold the heat.
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