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Old 10-12-2009, 04:49 AM   #1
MrInternet
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Default First-time brewer - Partial Mash India Red Ale

Hello all!

Well, I've been reading all available internet resources (mostly HBT) and have practically memorized my copy of Randy Mosher's "Radical Brewing" over the last year. It was finally time to either poop or get off the pot, so to speak, so after receiving a 3Gal Gatorade cooler from my parents (this thing is seriously old, I am 32 and I remember them hauling this thing to my soccer games when I was 12), I decided, "Eh, I've been doing so much learning and reading, I'm not going to REALLY learn anything by just doing an extract brew".

Yeah, I've decided to start right out partial mashing. The Lauter Tun conversion on the cooler went flawlessly... held 155 for an hour with a 1.8F degree drop in temp. For a 20 year-old FREE cooler, I think that's quite acceptable. It's outfitted with the ball valve, 3/4" stainless steel mesh manifold from the exterior sleeve of a hot water line, and it's ready to go. I've purchased all my ingredients to do the Partial Mash version of the India Red Ale on page 88 of Radical Brewing, and I've just got a couple of questions because it seems there's not a super-detailed outline of this process on HBT. Or at least, if there is, it's difficult to find because of the dozens of pages of results from DeathBrewer's thread (awesome, by the way):

1. The grain bill for this will end up being 6.375 lbs, and I'm going with a standard 1.25qt/lb ratio, for a total partial mash volume of just shy of 8 qts, which means I'll just do 8 qts exactly and call it a day. Using these volumes/weights, is there a standard way to figure the sparge volume? I plan on doing a single batch sparge....

2. I find a lot of conflicting info on the "right" way to add the 6.5 lbs of Light DME that goes into the recipe in lieu of base malt... I think I've deduced that it's added slowly while the wort is heating to boiling, so it's dissolved before the boil is rolling, yes? I've found some people that add it right before their aroma hop addition "to prevent scorching", so I'm just looking to clarify...

3. Is a 3-ish gallon boil pretty standard for a recipe like this? I'm guessing that using round numbers, I'll end up with 3-3.5 gallon boil, and I've got a 16-qt stockpot to pull this off in. I think if I keep an eye on it and don't nucleate by throwing the hops all in like a crazy person, I can probably do it, but I'd like to hear others' experiences.

4. Stupid question... I'm doing 3 2oz Cascade additions in pellet form. You just tossthe pellets in same as leaf, right? I thought I heard a buddy say once that he crushes them first, but I suppose the boil will dissemble them for me as well.

5. Once I boil and cool, I can just toss the remaining 2G spring water into the carboy and rack the wort into it, yes?

Sorry for what must be really n00b questions, but I want to come back here for a long, long time and want my first real brew to not be the reason I pack this hobby in.

Anyone here ever tried this recipe? Thoughts?

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Old 10-12-2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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I can't help with #1, but here's some feedback on the others.

2) The info conflicts, because there is no "right" way. When doing partial boils, the extract/DME is often added late to aid the hop utilization during the boil (hop utilization is calculated based on full boil volumes - when doing partial boils, if you add all the fermentables at the beginning, you actually have a much higher gravity wort during the boil which changes utilization). When I do partial boils, I still add them at the beginning - prior to reaching boil.

3) 3 is pretty standard, but the more you can boil the better (see above). But note that if you boil more, it requires better cooling capabilities (much easier to cool 3 gallons, esp. when adding 2gal of room temp water).

4) Just toss in, or toss into a hop bag and toss in. No need to crush.

5) I typically put about 1 1/2 gallons in the fermenter first, then add the cooled wort and then top off to the appropriate volume. But, my reason is I'm filtering the water with the Brita pitchers so it takes a while to make.

Congrats on taking the next step. Have fun and enjoy the results!

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Old 10-12-2009, 03:37 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for your thoughts!

This is what I suspected:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdbreen View Post
2) The info conflicts, because there is no "right" way. When doing partial boils, the extract/DME is often added late to aid the hop utilization during the boil (hop utilization is calculated based on full boil volumes - when doing partial boils, if you add all the fermentables at the beginning, you actually have a much higher gravity wort during the boil which changes utilization). When I do partial boils, I still add them at the beginning - prior to reaching boil.
Since I'm making a fairly hop-dependent brew, I don't want to take the chance that this doesn't utilize properly and ends up like a glorified Killian's... not that that would be a bad thing. Does boiling convert DME in some way I don't yet know about? I would think all the starches have been converted since it's already malted and mashed, but I am still a newbie here. It would basically just be dissolving into solution, and not really for any other reason, correct? I'm thinking the time to do this would be after the late addition aroma hops with about 5 minutes left in the boil... if this was an ESB or pale ale I wouldn't be as concerned, but I specifically wanted a hoppy red ale, so I want to make sure those hops get spent...

Thanks so much!
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:35 PM   #4
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I am not 100% sure here but I believe the issue is wort gravity and ph which is affected by the level of sugars concentrated in the boil. As this amount goes up the ability of the water to absorb the alpha acids in the hops is hindered. In all grain you start with close to 7 gallons and boil it down to increase your gravity so you get better hop utilization. Also I believe the amount of bitterness you can absorb is limited per unit of water so more wort means more overall use of the alpha acids. Late additions of extract have nothing to do with conversion but with reducing the gravity of your wort and reducing the carmelization that occurs as the sugars are subjected to high heats in the boil. This leads to a darker color to longer you boil the extract. Hope this helps.

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Old 10-14-2009, 02:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback! I think, unless there is a compelling reason that DME must be "boiled", that I will try to dissolve the DME right at the end, as it is imperative that I get the full hop utilization in this boil, so I should try keeping the gravity lower, yes?

There will be several pounds of grain in the wort already, enough to bind the tannins, etc etc, but I don't want this to be syrup and the hops not be able to open up.

Any other feedback on this brew woul dbe appeciated! I'm planning on doing a 2 gallon mash and a 1.5 gallon sparge. Boil down to 3-ish gallons and top it off with another 2 gal cold spring water in the carboy after chilling. These are rough numbers I'm pulling completely out of my behind... is there something more scientific in calculating sparge volume, or am I buying a bit of grace by doing a partial boil here?

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Old 10-14-2009, 02:16 AM   #6
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I believe you should boil it for at least 10 minutes to sanitize any bugs that may be in the extract. Other than that the only limits to your hops utilization will be total volume of wort. As far as sparging goes I usually sparge enough to make up volume for my boil. I do full boils even so I always try to get 6.5 to 7 gallons for my boil, but if 3.5 gal is your boiling limit you should figure you will lose about 0.1 gal of liquid to absorption per lb of grain so you will need around 1.8 gallons to get 3.5 gallons of wort. As for your top off water, just make sure to mix it well before taking a gravity sample or you may have a misleading measurement. I am sure it will turn out well.
Lots of Luck and let us know how it turns out.

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Old 10-14-2009, 03:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrInternet View Post
1. The grain bill for this will end up being 6.375 lbs, and I'm going with a standard 1.25qt/lb ratio, for a total partial mash volume of just shy of 8 qts, which means I'll just do 8 qts exactly and call it a day. Using these volumes/weights, is there a standard way to figure the sparge volume? I plan on doing a single batch sparge....
Grain typically absorbs ~0.12 gallons of water per lb. So if you mash with 8 qts, the runnings should be about 1.22 gallons. Sparge with the rest of the water you need to reach the total amount you can boil - in this case it should be about 2-2.2 gallons or so. That should give you a total pre-boil volume of 3.5 gallons.

Quote:
2. I find a lot of conflicting info on the "right" way to add the 6.5 lbs of Light DME that goes into the recipe in lieu of base malt... I think I've deduced that it's added slowly while the wort is heating to boiling, so it's dissolved before the boil is rolling, yes? I've found some people that add it right before their aroma hop addition "to prevent scorching", so I'm just looking to clarify...
I'd personally add the DME about 10-15 minutes from the end of the boil. That way you'll get good hop utilization.

Quote:
5. Once I boil and cool, I can just toss the remaining 2G spring water into the carboy and rack the wort into it, yes?
Yes. One good thing to be aware of is that if you put your top-off water in the fridge the night before, it'll be pretty cold by the time you add it, so you only have to chill your wort to 80-85 degrees or so. Once you add the cold top-off water, you should be right at pitching temps (65-70).

Good luck!
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:12 AM   #8
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Default Yeast starter on!

Just got the airlock on my yeast starter... 2L water, 6oz LDME, and a 3QT apple juice bottle that my kid just kicked. I wish you could see this, its ghettosity is gorgeous to behold... BTW, in case anyone was wondering, those universal bungs fit in large juice bottles. Beats aluminum foil, I say...

So, I'll have a 2L starter of WLP001 to throw on this come pitching time... if this brew doesn't happen, it won't be the yeast's fault.

Brew night is tomorrow night (technically tonight, now...) and I can't wait!!

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Old 10-21-2009, 05:23 PM   #9
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After further research, I realized that an airlock was unnecessary and possibly counter-productive to reproduction. I think I was expecting "high krausen" to look like a blown fermentation... Anyway, replaced with sanitized foil... carry on...

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Old 10-22-2009, 04:12 PM   #10
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Well, everything went *mostly* according to plan.

Mashed in 6.37lbs of grain with 8 quarts of water, mashed at 152 for one hour. Collected about 1.25 in initial runoff after vorloufing, but by then the grain had swelled so much that I couldn't fit my 2 gallons of sparge water in at once, so I had to sparge twice. Oh well. I just kept the second one going until I hit 3.5G in the boil kettle.

The boil was uneventful... three hop additions, LDME at 15min, did an ice bath chill in the wash tub, and wort was at 80 in 15 minutes. Blew my mind. The "whirlpool" trick didn't work at all... those hop pellets absolutely disintegrated into a green sludge. So yeah, a decent amount of hop sediment got racked into the carboy with the wort. Oh well, I'll call it a primary dry hop haha... I hope that junk settles out, it is way too fine to be caught by my cane filter. It was so thick, in fact, that my OG readings were coming in at 1.200, 1.300... obviously incorrect, but the sludge was so thick it was suspending the hydrometer. I let it settle for a couple of hours after pitching and got 1.074... better, but who knows how accurate. Seems pretty high for the recipe.

Anyway, it's ready with a blowoff setup now. I pitched a 2L starter and there is a GIANT layer of yeast at the bottom of the carboy. I mean, there was maybe a half inch in the starter, and it looks like it became 3 inches in the fermenter overnight!

So yeah, all's well that ends well. I really need to use leaf hops next time I think... how do you guys deal with the "green goo" aspect of pellets? Does it hurt anything to have an inordinate amount of goo racked into fermentation?

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