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weaksauce 11-16-2011 03:48 PM

Help me improve my methods
 
So, yesterday I did my first all-grain brew, and that was my second brew overall. I have a 9gallon kettle, turkey burner, 10gallon home depot mash tun with ss braid, and ale pail style fermenter. My biggest "problem" was low efficiency(63%). It was a rather large grain bill, 17bs for a 5gal batch. I followed beersmith's batch sparging directions without any problems and ended up with just the right volume. My big issue was that beersmith told me to sparge with 168F water for a single sparge and I did just that. I think that only got the grain up to 150F or so. Would that bring down my efficiency much or should I search elsewhere in my methods? I always read about proper milling having a big impact but I ordered my grain from austin homebrew and I assume they know how to properly crush their grain. I think I will still get the beer I wanted since I threw a couple pounds of DME in to the boil and ended up with the OG that I was shooting for.

My other problem is that I forgot to make a starter with my liquid yeast the day before. Unfortunately I only had one vial of yeast, so i pitched that. I plan to stop at the store and grab another one or most likely two vials to pitch this afternoon. Does that sound like it will work ok? I plan to start washing yeast from now on and doing proper starters.

I quickly realized that I am going to need a better thermometer or two. I got by yesterday using my floating thermometer that seems pretty accurate. Anyone have a good suggestion for a good thermometer that won't break the bank?

Thanks

ElevenBrewCo 11-16-2011 03:58 PM

You needed to get your grain up to 168+ not sparge with 168 water. Think that was some of your problem.

weaksauce 11-16-2011 04:08 PM

I think you're right. I questioned what I was doing but figured the first time around I would follow beersmith's directions to the letter and use 3.3gal of 168F water to do a single sparge. Is there a temperature that I don't want to exceed for fear of extracting some unpleasant things from the grain? What temperature water do other people use to sparge with?

ElevenBrewCo 11-16-2011 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by weaksauce (Post 3491045)
I think you're right. I questioned what I was doing but figured the first time around I would follow beersmith's directions to the letter and use 3.3gal of 168F water to do a single sparge. Is there a temperature that I don't want to exceed for fear of extracting some unpleasant things from the grain? What temperature water do other people use to sparge with?

Here you go!

Mash temperatures - Home Brewing Wiki

i use beer smith also, check your mash adjust tool to make further adjustments. This confused the crap out of me when i saw that the first time too.

ElevenBrewCo 11-16-2011 04:24 PM

I may have read your first post wrong....what was your initial strike temp for your mash?You want to mash around 150-154 depeding on the style of beer. When you batch sparge is when you want to add hotter water to rinse the grains. So beersmith was probably right, but you adjust your water temp to hit your target temp. My strike temp is usually 170-175 depending on the temp of the equipment and grain. Then my mashout water is is 185+

weaksauce 11-16-2011 05:16 PM

Beersmith did a great job of calculating my strike temp(171F) and I ended up just a couple degrees over my target(156F). Nothing a bit of ice and stirring couldn't fix. Beersmith specifically says to batch sparge with 3.3gal of 168F water but obviously that is too low to get the temperatures I need in the tun. We'll see how well I do with a much hotter sparge next time. Thanks for the tips.

ElevenBrewCo 11-16-2011 05:54 PM

yea i have never had much luck with 168...i brewed on a cold weekend and didnt even consider my equipment temp and i only got to 148. If its cold i look at my equipment temp instead of my grain. That should help.

BrewerDon 11-16-2011 06:06 PM

You will probably tend to get relatively lower efficiencies with higher grain bills. If you wanted to try to keep the efficiency the same for a higher grain bill you can proportionately increase the amount of sparge water you use. The down side to this is that you will collect extra wort and have to boil longer to get down to your 5 gallon batch size. This may also require a larger pot for boiling.


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