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Old 05-30-2012, 01:47 AM   #1
mkarnas
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Default How much grain?

How do I know how much grain to prepare for mashing? I know you mash 1.1 qrts/lb. of grain but how do you know how much grain to mash (5,7,10 gallon batches) I've read that you just sparge enough water to get to your pre boil volume but that makes no sense. For example if I mash 3 gallons and wanted a 10 gallon volume, I would sparge 7 gallons?? That can't be right. Help please.

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Old 05-30-2012, 01:52 AM   #2
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The amount of base malt sets the amount of alcohol. If you want a 3% beer you use enough base malt to produce that. Add more and your alcohol content goes up. Specialty grains contribute color, mouthfeel, and flavor and you need some experience when deciding to add these as the flavor could be mild or intense.

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Old 05-30-2012, 01:54 AM   #3
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Start here: http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

Then look at online recipe calculators.

Read all the sticky posts on this site.

Research!

Sorry for the terse answer but you can't just jump in with no knowledge at all.

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Old 05-30-2012, 02:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10 View Post
Start here: http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

Then look at online recipe calculators.

Read all the sticky posts on this site.

Research!

Sorry for the terse answer but you can't just jump in with no knowledge at all.
+1, plenty of information on the www, also try Brewer's Friend or Tastybrew, both have complete recipe calculators and water volume calculators as well. Probably a good idea to mash in with at least 1.25 qts per lb of grain, I normally begin with 1.33 myself. This ensures your mash isn't too thick and reduces the chances of a stuck sparge. Again, just my way of doing things, there are many, many options to explore.
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:09 AM   #5
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Yeah, sounds like you have a ways to go before you get going on your own. I'd say your best bet is to start with pre-made kits from a good homebrew shop. I'd recommend Northern Brewer. Then buy how to brew and take a look at Beersmith.

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Old 05-30-2012, 02:24 AM   #6
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Use brewing software like BrewSmith... it's fantastic for automating all these calculations and allowing you to put together and play around with your own recipes.

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Old 05-30-2012, 02:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmybeer
Yeah, sounds like you have a ways to go before you get going on your own. I'd say your best bet is to start with pre-made kits from a good homebrew shop. I'd recommend Northern Brewer. Then buy how to brew and take a look at Beersmith.
Already brewed extract for a year and have How to Brew by Palmer. It doesn't talk about brewing all grain too much. I also have palmers Brewing Classic Styles and I could simply read the recipe but I wanted an understanding of why some instructions tell you to sparge until you get to your volume. That would just dilute the wort and thus lower OG. Here's another way of looking at my question. How much water should you sparge?
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:46 AM   #8
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Read, read, read. If your book doesn't talk about all grain brewing, get one that does. When I wanted to get into all grain brewing I read everything I could get my hands on. Do some research To understand the whole process.

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Old 05-30-2012, 02:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkarnas View Post
Already brewed extract for a year and have How to Brew by Palmer. It doesn't talk about brewing all grain too much. I also have palmers Brewing Classic Styles and I could simply read the recipe but I wanted an understanding of why some instructions tell you to sparge until you get to your volume. That would just dilute the wort and thus lower OG. Here's another way of looking at my question. How much water should you sparge?
The amount of grain needed is what you need to get the sugars required for the particular style/recipe. A higher gravity (alcohol content) recipe reqires more grain.

If you are fly sparging you have to control the flow rate to get as much of the remaining sugars as possible while ending up with the need amount of wort to boil and end up with your final amount.

If you batch sparge the amounts are also calculated to give you preboil amounts. Both are to account for your evaporation rates which vary depending on your pot, ambient temperature, humidity... etc.


So there is no easy answer.

Adding: There are online recipe calculators that do all the calculations. You input the grain bill, hops etc for your style. Tell it what size batch you are making and it will calculate the amounts of water you need for the mash and sparging. Also what you will need for boil off rates. Although you need to adjust this for your equipment.
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkarnas
I wanted an understanding of why some instructions tell you to sparge until you get to your volume. That would just dilute the wort and thus lower OG.
Those kind of instructions are intended for people who fly sparge, which is really just continually rinsing the grains (as opposed to batch sparging, where you use specific volumes of water and stir it to dissolve all the sugars at once). Because of this, it won't dilute the wort if you fly sparge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkarnas
Here's another way of looking at my question. How much water should you sparge?
If you batch sparge (or even no sparge) , you need to calculate how much water is needed, which depends mainly on 1) the "dead space" in your system, which is the volume of water that remains on the bottom of your mash tun, in the hoses, etc (i.e. the volume that doesn't make it to the boil kettle when you dry run your system without any grain at all) and 2) how much grain is being used, because the grain absorbs some of water.

Because of the first factor, the amount of water needed to sparge varies from brewery to brewery, which is largely why it isn't typically included in recipes. And because of the second factor, it needs to be calculated for every recipe. Brewing software will simplify this for you, by automatically calculating how much water is needed based on your brewery profile, the amount of grain used in the recipe, as well as things like the mash water/grain ratio and the number of batch sparges you desire. And software allows you to constantly tweak all aspects of your recipe and preferences without having to do all the calculations every single time - they are automatically updated every time you make a change. It really is such an invaluable tool in the modern brewer's toolbox.
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