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Old 05-26-2008, 06:31 AM   #1
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Default Joining the dark side... made a MLT and going all grain

Ok... so I think I'm giving in to the dark side and brewing an all-grain batch tomorrow morning. I'll probably still keep some extract around for PM batches, but its just DAMN cheap to AG brew. I had an extra 6 gallon cooler that I had laying around so I decided to put it to use.

I went to the Depot (60% off store closing sale!!), got a 3/8" female barb, 2" nipple, 3/8'" ball valve, and male barb for the outside. I used a pair of 5/8" stainless washers on the inside, some standard zinc 5/8" washers on the outside, and a gasket that Bobby_M gave me. I also cut a piece of 3/4" ID PVC pipe I had laying around and used that to reinforce the cooler wall. I used a 1" drill bit to start the hole on the outside, and once I was close to the inside wall switched to a 5/8" drill bit. Everything went together pretty smoothly, tested hot-water tight!







So, not only will this be my first solo all grain batch but it'll be my first honey ale as well. I'm not 100% sure where this beer will fit in as far as BJCP is concerned (nor do I care) but it sounds damn good for the approaching summer months. Something about belgian, wheat, and honey just seems to go very well together. I think it will turn out great. I'm using good apiary wildflower honey and WLP400 Belgian Wit ale yeast for this one. I'm shooting for a light, dry, fragrant ale...summer refresher. Here's the recipe.



I'm kinda expecting to come up a little short on gravity which will be perfectly fine for this kinda beer. I don't have a huge pot to do a full boil so my sparge volume will be a little low. I do have some hall hersbrucker and styrian golding layin around but I don't wanna use it for this recipe. I think those would be ideal, but I think tett for bittering and saaz for finishing and aroma should work out just fine. I got like 6oz ounces of saaz leaf a while ago and its been a pain in the ass taking up all sorts of room in my freezer, etc etc. I have 1.5 oz left and I'm gonna use it all up on aroma for this beer. I'm gettin rid of it!



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Old 05-26-2008, 12:31 PM   #2
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Best of luck with your brewing endeavors... your going for the gusto...

I take it you must have some frame of reference that required you to put down a 68% efficiency rating... hopefully you'll do better than that... how are you crushing your grain?

The recipe looks very tasty... I just made a Beligum Wheat with an orange citrus twang that I'm really enjoying; just might try your recipe....



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Old 05-26-2008, 12:53 PM   #3
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You won't regret making the jump to AG. It takes a bit longer, but being more involved in the process is well worth it.

Congrats!

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Old 05-26-2008, 01:06 PM   #4
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Well... this is my first batch, low sparge volume, 68% seemed right for a baseline. I guess the nice part about this recipe is if I do better than 68% I can always cut back on how much honey I add. It'll give me a nice buffer in case I end up doing better than I thought. The gusto eh? I'd call doing a 1.120 barleywine "the gusto" for a first time AG batch! HAH! I had my grain crushed at the LHBS on saturday. Lol... I suppose i'll be making a mill at some point now! HAHAH!

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Old 05-26-2008, 01:09 PM   #5
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And the cool thing is that you never really lose it as a cooler. If you need some cold beers on the go, just remove the braid and fill'er up.

Don't forget to use hotter strike water going into the cooler. If 164F gets you to your target, put like 175F water in the cooler and close the lid for 10 minutes, then see where you're at. If you're still above 164, just stir a bit. Good luck.

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Old 05-26-2008, 01:16 PM   #6
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I guess i'm gonna have to wait until this afternoon. I got some yeasties on my stir plate but they are not ready yet. Hopefully another 10-12 hours should do the trick. BTW, did that WLP400 slurry I gave you work out?

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Old 05-26-2008, 03:14 PM   #7
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Don't know yet. I have to secure some orange peel and then I'll start trying to build up the 400.

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Old 05-27-2008, 01:09 AM   #8
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lol... i used it as a cooler today! HAHA! My other cooler apparently got turned into a grain storage bin so I used the MLT for a party. Ive got water heating up now for the mash... grain, hops, and yeast all ready to go. I also measured out my boiler. I can safely boil around 4 gallons in that thing without too much worry about boil over. I also got a spray bottle for water so that should help keep it down. I always went low on water before cause I had to leave room for extract...

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~~~~~~~~~_/ [][]| | /```\/```\/```\/```\/```\ |~~~~~~~~~~
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Old 05-27-2008, 04:59 AM   #9
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well... forgot to stir up my sparge water so I think that killed efficiency. The cooler worked pretty damn well other than that. I managed to hit the numbers that I was after, lousy efficiency or not. I stretched the batch out a little by accident when I topped off the fermenter. I ended up at 1.054 on 5.5 gallons vs 1.060 at 5 gallons. It works out just about correct in the gravity department. I added the honey while I was using the IC and temps were below 140°F. Its fresh apiary wildflower honey and made the wort (must) smell DAMN good! Its tasty stuff as is so I have a hard time seeing this one flopping. Next batch I'll stretch the grains a little farther and remember to stir up the sparge.

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~~~~~~~~~_/ [][]| | /```\/```\/```\/```\/```\ |~~~~~~~~~~
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:47 PM   #10
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Lookin good! I have that same cooler as part of my collection but haven't converted it yet. I also have an igloo marine 25 qt. It is a great "little" cooler for 5 gal batches. Everyone always says how the 5 gal. drinking coolers are too small for heavier five gallon batches. The extra 6-8 qts will make all the difference when trying to max out w/ larger grain bills. If needed, I think you could mashout, split the sparge three ways and make a pretty hefty 5 gal batch w/ that "little" cooler.



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