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Old 01-23-2013, 08:08 PM   #11
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Once you switch to all grain you should almost never use the word "steeping" again. You might steep occasionally with some special additives, but most of the magic happens when mashing. When you are steeping all you are doing is letting the heat and solvent character of the water dilute and extract what is already in the grain. With mashing you have grain that is full of starch and you have to use the enzymes in the grain to convert that starch to sugar. This is done by holding the grain in a warm, wet environment at a set temperature where the enzymes are most active. They are very different processes, so now you should see why brewers are not very fond of using the terms interchangeably.

One last point and this may be a bit presumptuous (or downright snooty), but if the OWNER of your LHBS thinks a saccharification rest "has something to do with the boil," you may want to look for another place to buy your stuff. You will often be asking questions of the proprietor and you want to know that he knows his products. Besides, it sounds like he sells the stuff but either hasn't been bitten by the bug, or doesn't have any interest in knowing what he is actually selling. I would never go to a butcher who didn't know the basics of meat. I newbie brewer not knowing a saccharification rest is to be expected, but the owner of a LHBS should be fairly expert, at least on the things he sells and I assume he sells malt.

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:18 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the excellent advice & help with this, thought if done wrong I could end up looking at a big pot of gruel or something.

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Originally Posted by solbes View Post
If your brew pot is in the 2-3 gallon range and you have a 5 gallon recipe, you are stuck with a partial boil with make up water added to primary.
While looking into all grain brewing a few months back, I noticed this. I'm assuming the more water used in the mashing & boiling, the more sugars/flavors are extracted from the grains. I hope to eventually have all the awesome equipment I've seen featured around these forums, from these 5-6 gallon kettles to kegerator's.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cluckk View Post
if the OWNER of your LHBS thinks a saccharification rest "has something to do with the boil," you may want to look for another place to buy your stuff.
I didn't explain this fully, but given my situation, it wasn't as big of a concern for me as it might be for others. In my location is seems wine & wine kits/equipment is all the rage from brew shops. This particular brew shop is the first one I've seen to try getting new things at their place to which, in my opinion, everyone around here is too afraid to try (they actually got order's of Wyeast! Before that all there was was Coopers!).

Two all grain kits were brought in, partially because I felt I kept asking them questions regarding all grain malts, local producers, where/how do i get hops, etc. Yeah, they don't have all the answers (I claim this forum does when I go in), but hell, they're the only 1 out of 4 brew shops here that actually get new things for me to mess around with. Everywhere else it's malt in a can & boxes/buckets of grape juice. The others look at me as if I'm talking more about a bakery than all-grain brewing. For this alone I look passed this; at least until I get off this island into real civilization.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:35 PM   #14
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I have a question about your brewpot. Are you going to be doing this in two boils? Or are you cutting the amount of grain in half, and doing a 2.5 gallon batch?

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:14 PM   #15
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I have a question about your brewpot. Are you going to be doing this in two boils? Or are you cutting the amount of grain in half, and doing a 2.5 gallon batch?
This had me running back to check the volume of my pot. There's a 12 L mark (3.17 Gallons).

I think I would try to do this all in 1 boil. At first glance (and never done this), it looks possible. Should I expect a lot of boil over? Would it be possible to do this in two boils (I would imagine I'd just reduce the volume of water and mash half the total amount of grain, two times). This would mean more time would be spent, right?
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nastynate65 View Post
This had me running back to check the volume of my pot. There's a 12 L mark (3.17 Gallons).

I think I would try to do this all in 1 boil. At first glance (and never done this), it looks possible. Should I expect a lot of boil over? Would it be possible to do this in two boils (I would imagine I'd just reduce the volume of water and mash half the total amount of grain, two times). This would mean more time would be spent, right?
My first instinct was to say, "Um, you can't boil 6 gallons of wort in a 3 gallon pot!"

You don't want to use half the water and all the grain and mash twice. That seems like it would work- but it won't. You need to have conversion of the starches in the grain into sugar, so you need to use at least 1 quart of water per pound of grain, up to about 2 quarts of water per pound of grain, in the mash to get you in the right pH for conversion.

Then, for boiling, since you're doing it twice, you'll need to boil more like 8 gallons of wort (to allow for boil off) so that won't work either. You can split the boil into two pots, but in more like a 3 gallon and a 5 gallon pot.

I don't see how to make a 5 gallon batch out of that size pot, either with the mash or the sparge.

However, if you split the ingredients in half, you could mash and boil 2.5 gallon batches. Your brewpot is still too small, since you need to start with 3.5 gallons of wort at least for the boil, but you could start smaller and keep adding more wort as you boil down. That's not ideal (you need to boil to coagulate proteins and stuff), but it could be done. That's the only way I can think to do it- do a 2.5 gallon batch, twice.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:35 PM   #17
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Why not just mash, then boil, all 7.4 lbs. of the grain in 2 - 2.5 gal. of water; dump that in the primary, and fill to the 5 gal. mark? I had assumed that was possible.

What I mean is: At 1.25 quart of water per lbs. of grain, 1.25 x 7.4 lbs. = 9.25 quarts = ~8.7 liters (or 2.3 Gallons). Therefore, 2.3 gallons of water is necessary for mashing 7.4 lbs. of grain (as I understood it).

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nastynate65 View Post
Why not just mash, then boil, all 7.4 lbs. of the grain in 2 - 2.5 gal. of water; dump that in the primary, and fill to the 5 gal. mark? I had assumed that was possible.
Perhaps you did not mean this the way it sounds, but you don't want to boil the grain, only the wort. Now for the amount of water: the 2-2.5 gallons of water is only the mash water. You then need to add sparge water to get the rest of the sugars out of the grain. You could feasibly mash and then only boil the first runnings (without the sparge), and then top off with water, however, you will not get the gravity you expect and it would really throw off your hop utilization. Besides that, you would lose a ton of sugars left in your mash that didn't get sparged out. Most 5 gallon batches are boiled down from 7.5 to 8 gallons of water.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:53 PM   #19
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I feel like I might've misunderstood more than I thought. Yeah, I didn't mean boil the grains, after mashing you filter out the grains, then boil. My plan was to:

Mash 7.4 lbs. of the grain in 2 - 2.5 gal. of water. Using a nylon straining bag, filter the grains from the pot. Poor more water, 1 - 1.3 gal., (@ approx. 150-160 F) over the grains into another pot, and boil it for 90 min. beside the original pot that I had used to mash. At the 60 min. boil mark, add the hops to the pot I had used to mash with. At 90 min., cool both pots, and poor into primary. Fill primary up to 5 gal. mark with cold water.

Oh yeah, I think I messed up. I just don't understand at what point the mashing and boiling procedure turns into 5-6 gal. of water. At 2.5 gal for 7.4 lbs. of grain, plus another gallon for sparging, approx., I thought there would be enough.

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Old 01-23-2013, 10:05 PM   #20
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Typically with all grain you will never get away with using top up water. You need all that water volume to extract the sugars from the grain.

Check out a book on all grain brewing, I love how to brew by john palmer. He has a great chapter titled "my first all grain brew". The first edition is free online. It'll give you a comprehensive rundown of the AG process.

What the book doesn't mention is a common AG way to brew called brew in a bag. I think there is a great sticky on the forums. BIAB require less equipment, like someone mentioned previously if you have a 3.5 gallon pot and a 5 balloon paint strainer you have all you need to do a 2.5 gallon BIAB all grain beer.

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