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Old 04-10-2009, 09:44 PM   #1
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Default First solo all grain batch... problems

So, I finished my first solo all grain batch today (I've done it a few times with a buddy). I encountered some difficulties (spilling some wort in transfer and burning myself, but all fairly minor I suppose).

Unfortunately, I'm really really frustrated at the result. I was brewing Lil Sparky's Nut Brown ale and missed my OG by a mile. In fact, my brewhouse efficiency was down at about 61%. On the same setup, we've been achieving around 82% or so consistently.

I hit my strike and mash temps spot on. The only number I missed was my sparge temp (I was sparging at 175 instead of 170). I performed the iodine test and no change in color so I passed that.

I was just shy on wort collected (6.25 instead of target 6.5 gal) but the required hour boil dropped it down to 5 gal instead of the desired 5.5 gal.

So I missed the sparge temp and missed total volume. I can't imagine a temp difference of 5 degrees would cause a drop in BHE of more than 20%. Especially considering the lower volume would seemingly concentrate the wort.

I'm so confused and could use some enlightened perspectives. Any ideas?

PS The only other variable I can think of is that I didn't take a temp reading towards the end of my sparging. I was keeping my liquor in a separate cooler and measured temp at the beginning and ladeled it in to the MLT gradually.

As always, thanks for the help!!!

Relevant info...

Potential points: 1.086
Actual points: 1.043
Target volume: 5.5gal
Actual volume: 5 gal

Strike temp: 165 (target and actual)
Mash temp: 154 target 153 actual
Mash time: 60 min target 80 min actual
Sparge temp: 170 target 175 actual
Sparge duration 60 min (target and actual)

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You guys joke around with this all you want, but let me tell you something: I tried making my own beer one time and wound up with herpes!


Primary: Billy Corrigan Ale, malted cider experiment, Optimator clone
Secondary: Sorachi Ace IPA
Bottled: Dark Lord Clone Imperial Stout, Winter 2010 Spiced Ale Ambassador Brown Ale, Michigan Berry pLambic
Kegged: Old Woodward ESB, Strawberry Blonde
On Deck: Honey brown ale, dry stout

Last edited by cimirie; 04-11-2009 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:49 PM   #2
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how was the crush on your grains? Predone or did you do them? If you bought then crushed...where was it from?

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Old 04-10-2009, 09:55 PM   #3
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The crush was done at my LHBS. They do a pretty good job. Our ingredients usually come from them and the last time we did an AG batch from them we got 80%. I guess they may have adjusted the crush to less fine. But I didn't notice a big difference just by looking.

Could that have that big of an impact? If so, what should I ask them next time about the level of my crush?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuporMan View Post
You guys joke around with this all you want, but let me tell you something: I tried making my own beer one time and wound up with herpes!


Primary: Billy Corrigan Ale, malted cider experiment, Optimator clone
Secondary: Sorachi Ace IPA
Bottled: Dark Lord Clone Imperial Stout, Winter 2010 Spiced Ale Ambassador Brown Ale, Michigan Berry pLambic
Kegged: Old Woodward ESB, Strawberry Blonde
On Deck: Honey brown ale, dry stout
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:03 PM   #4
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that could have a huge impact. are you sure you mixed your mash in properly? no dough balls?

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Old 04-10-2009, 10:07 PM   #5
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No dough balls.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuporMan View Post
You guys joke around with this all you want, but let me tell you something: I tried making my own beer one time and wound up with herpes!


Primary: Billy Corrigan Ale, malted cider experiment, Optimator clone
Secondary: Sorachi Ace IPA
Bottled: Dark Lord Clone Imperial Stout, Winter 2010 Spiced Ale Ambassador Brown Ale, Michigan Berry pLambic
Kegged: Old Woodward ESB, Strawberry Blonde
On Deck: Honey brown ale, dry stout
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:20 PM   #6
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so you were doing a hybrid fly sparge it sounds like?

maybe your grainbed got channelized and your lauter efficiency screwed you up

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Old 04-10-2009, 10:26 PM   #7
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so you were doing a hybrid fly sparge it sounds like?

maybe your grainbed got channelized and your lauter efficiency screwed you up
this is why i batch sparge-
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:43 PM   #8
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I forget the exact name of the type of sparge. You constantly keep 1-2 inches of sparge water on top of the grain bed and add at the same rate it runs off at for the entire length of the sparge. I haven't had a problem with channelizing the grainbed using this technique before. Could it have channellized with 2 inches of water constantly on top?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuporMan View Post
You guys joke around with this all you want, but let me tell you something: I tried making my own beer one time and wound up with herpes!


Primary: Billy Corrigan Ale, malted cider experiment, Optimator clone
Secondary: Sorachi Ace IPA
Bottled: Dark Lord Clone Imperial Stout, Winter 2010 Spiced Ale Ambassador Brown Ale, Michigan Berry pLambic
Kegged: Old Woodward ESB, Strawberry Blonde
On Deck: Honey brown ale, dry stout
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:47 PM   #9
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Let me add something into the mix. I know nobody hits or actually shoots for potential points in a recipe. The target gravity was 1.050. So, I was still off by 25%, but not as bad as it may have seemed from earlier posts. Just clarifying.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuporMan View Post
You guys joke around with this all you want, but let me tell you something: I tried making my own beer one time and wound up with herpes!


Primary: Billy Corrigan Ale, malted cider experiment, Optimator clone
Secondary: Sorachi Ace IPA
Bottled: Dark Lord Clone Imperial Stout, Winter 2010 Spiced Ale Ambassador Brown Ale, Michigan Berry pLambic
Kegged: Old Woodward ESB, Strawberry Blonde
On Deck: Honey brown ale, dry stout
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cimirie View Post
Let me add something into the mix. I know nobody hits or actually shoots for potential points in a recipe. The target gravity was 1.050. So, I was still off by 25%, but not as bad as it may have seemed from earlier posts. Just clarifying.
wait, your target was 1.050, you hit 1.049, and you're worried about your process? sounds like you nailed it if you missed your OG by .001
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