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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > High gravity AG brews...some questions
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default High gravity AG brews...some questions

I typically make beers in the 1.040-1.060 range. I'd like to make a fairly strong IPA...1.072. I've got some questions; but here's some numbers first:

I mash with 1.3qt/lb, and typically sparge (fly) with 2qt/lb

My efficiency is usually between 70-75% for 5.25 gal batches

I lose about 1/2 gal in the mash tun regardless of grain bill, and usually 1/2-3/4 gal. for trub loss

-So, for this recipe I'm looking at a 14lb grain bill. 4.5gal mash. 7gal sparge. Even with grain absortion, and equipment and trub loss, I'm looking at just over 9 gallons in the kettle. My burner puts off some heat....but I'm looking at 3.75 boil off to hit my fermentor volume of 5.25gal.

The questions with energy and economics in mind:

Would it be better to just add some dme to get my gravity numbers so I can reduce boil time by lessening the grain bill?

Would it be better to add more grain to the bill, and reduce my efficiency, to hit my numbers?

Or....Am I using too much water for this size grain bill to begin with!?

I've got a keggle, so space is of no concern. I just don't want a 2hour boil (or more) for both time and energy consumption. What do you do for high gravity brews? Thanks for your help

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Old 01-27-2010, 10:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by WVbrewer View Post
I typically make beers in the 1.040-1.060 range. I'd like to make a fairly strong IPA...1.072. I've got some questions; but here's some numbers first:

I mash with 1.3qt/lb, and typically sparge (fly) with 2qt/lb

My efficiency is usually between 70-75% for 5.25 gal batches

I lose about 1/2 gal in the mash tun regardless of grain bill, and usually 1/2-3/4 gal. for trub loss

-So, for this recipe I'm looking at a 14lb grain bill. 4.5gal mash. 7gal sparge. Even with grain absortion, and equipment and trub loss, I'm looking at just over 9 gallons in the kettle. My burner puts off some heat....but I'm looking at 3.75 boil off to hit my fermentor volume of 5.25gal.

The questions with energy and economics in mind:

Would it be better to just add some dme to get my gravity numbers so I can reduce boil time by lessening the grain bill?

Would it be better to add more grain to the bill, and reduce my efficiency, to hit my numbers?

Or....Am I using too much water for this size grain bill to begin with!?

I've got a keggle, so space is of no concern. I just don't want a 2hour boil (or more) for both time and energy consumption. What do you do for high gravity brews? Thanks for your help
Id just use any one of the brewing calculators (Tastybrew is one) and adjust your effeciency a bit lower, this will increase the grain bill, so for your system of 70 to 75%, I would go with the low side of 70 or even 69% to compensate for the larger grain bill, that should get you real close, good luck.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVbrewer View Post
I typically make beers in the 1.040-1.060 range. I'd like to make a fairly strong IPA...1.072. I've got some questions; but here's some numbers first:

I mash with 1.3qt/lb, and typically sparge (fly) with 2qt/lb

My efficiency is usually between 70-75% for 5.25 gal batches

I lose about 1/2 gal in the mash tun regardless of grain bill, and usually 1/2-3/4 gal. for trub loss

-So, for this recipe I'm looking at a 14lb grain bill. 4.5gal mash. 7gal sparge. Even with grain absortion, and equipment and trub loss, I'm looking at just over 9 gallons in the kettle. My burner puts off some heat....but I'm looking at 3.75 boil off to hit my fermentor volume of 5.25gal.

The questions with energy and economics in mind:

Would it be better to just add some dme to get my gravity numbers so I can reduce boil time by lessening the grain bill?

Would it be better to add more grain to the bill, and reduce my efficiency, to hit my numbers?

Or....Am I using too much water for this size grain bill to begin with!?

I've got a keggle, so space is of no concern. I just don't want a 2hour boil (or more) for both time and energy consumption. What do you do for high gravity brews? Thanks for your help

Like you, I regularly brew higher gravity brews and come across this issue. Like the previous post, I adjust my efficiency down a bit to compensate for high weight grain bills, usually from my typical 74% to 70%. However, when I start getting around that 1.070 mark, I feel adding DME to the boil in small amounts to compensate is no problem and has very little effect on quality and taste.

i recently brewed one of my standards, a 1.072 Strong Ale, where I add 3 pounds of dry DME to give some gravity points. (10 gallon batch). In many of the books I have on recipe formulation, the use of dry DME to add starting OG to high gravity beers is strongly supported.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:20 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, I think adding to the grain bill is more economical with the price of dme these days. I could always add a bit of dme at the end if my numbers are way off.

Just to clarify, if I up my grain bill do I keep my water calculations the same? Or do I mash with my same 1.3qt/lb ratio and reduce my sparge water? Thanks, again

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Old 01-27-2010, 12:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WVbrewer View Post
Thanks guys, I think adding to the grain bill is more economical with the price of dme these days. I could always add a bit of dme at the end if my numbers are way off.

Just to clarify, if I up my grain bill do I keep my water calculations the same? Or do I mash with my same 1.3qt/lb ratio and reduce my sparge water? Thanks, again
I know there are a few thoughts on this, but I usually keep mine at 1.3qts/lb. Some feel you get a little better conversion with a thinner mash, say 1.5 qts/lb, but I don't feel it is enough to compensate. One thing to consider when going to larger grain bills is your sparging (if batch sparging). I usually do a single batch sparge, and often, I am surprised by the amount of mash volume that the sparge takes up, almost buckling my 70 qt cooler sometimes, when I have grain bills 28 pounds or higher.

Cheers!
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:04 AM   #6
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I appreciate the help. I fly sparge, so I think I'll go with my standard grain/water ratio for the mash and lessen my sparge water to get a manageable boil volume. This way (I think), will get me good mash efficiency, but sacrafice lauter efficiency so I'm not boiling off 3+ volumes.

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