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Old 10-07-2012, 01:52 AM   #1
J-Pizzel
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Default Just went all grain....

First attempt with a DIY 10 gallon cooler as a mash tun. Short story- got clogged multiple times, was unable to maintain temps which dropped even more while attempting a stainless steel braid, around 135 if my thermometer was accurate... All in all my OG came out to 1.042 when it should have been around 1.052, could have been worse. I guess NB's Smashing Pumpkin wasn't the smartest to start with, I don't think the pumpkin pulp helped, but I gotta work on my technique....

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Old 10-07-2012, 02:01 AM   #2
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Were there rice hulls in your mash?

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Old 10-07-2012, 02:45 AM   #3
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Pumpkin is a pain in the rear to use in the mash. Rice hulls would have helped I'm sure, but the home made braid doesn't help with pumpkin as well!

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:31 AM   #4
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Pumpkin has never caused me troubles.... But I can see that as a first it might.be a little challenging. With a little rice hulls you'll never have a problem (assuming your gap is set wide enough on you mill). I make it a habit to use at least a few handfuls on every batch.... More on wheats, ryes, and pumpkins.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:38 AM   #5
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Get beersmith and calculate your mash with it. After hitting my numbers repeatedly with that program I don't even check the temp anymore. It's always exactly where I want it. I mash in an uninsulated kettle and my temp drops maybe 5 degrees over 90 minutes so I'd believe your thermometer is out of wack before I'd believe my kettle is holding temps better than a cooler. Also, as said above rice hulls will really help you with something like pumpkin. Looks like you'll have a pumpkin session beer. That's not so bad.

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Old 10-07-2012, 04:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Pizzel View Post
First attempt with a DIY 10 gallon cooler as a mash tun. Short story- got clogged multiple times, was unable to maintain temps which dropped even more while attempting a stainless steel braid, around 135 if my thermometer was accurate... All in all my OG came out to 1.042 when it should have been around 1.052, could have been worse. I guess NB's Smashing Pumpkin wasn't the smartest to start with, I don't think the pumpkin pulp helped, but I gotta work on my technique....
As others have noted, with something as sticky as pumpkin you gotta use rice hulls, so I don't think you're that off overall.

What process did you follow? Batch or fly sparge? With more detail, we can help improve your efficiency or see if you're fine where you are.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:32 AM   #7
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Definitely get yourself some oat or rice hulls.

Do yourself a huge favor and buy a false bottom for that cooler, you won't regret it.

The first time I went AG was a nightmare as far as my numbers went, but it was still beer, and darn good too. Welcome to AG!

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Old 10-07-2012, 02:43 PM   #8
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LOL, my first AG brew also was Northern's Smashing Pumpkin! And yeah, I ran into similar issues but that was mainly due to using the false bottom they sell with the mash tun. It was slightly warped and didn't sit flat so a bunch of grain got under and clogged the spout. I had to pour the whole mash tun contents into a brew pot using a straining bag, and I still surprisingly got 69% efficiency. After that though and doing some reading online I opted to return the false bottom and get a bazooka screen. Man I never looked back. Not a single stuck runoff or sparge since, but yeah for pumpkin I use about half a pound of rice hulls every time to be safe. I don't use them for anything else so far, like my hefe's, and have no issues.

I also think it's a good idea not to go too crazy with how many cans of Pumpkin to use. I see some newer brewers trying pumpkin and they're like, "I'm going to use four 29oz cans of Libby's for a big pumpkin taste". I've settled down to using 3 of the 15oz cans. It's true most of the taste is from the spices and that is where I go big. Northern's recipe has 1 teaspoon, can't even taste it. My last pumpkin I used 2.5 tablespoons and it was awesome, like Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin. This last one I did last week I dialed it down to 2 tablespoons just so it isn't so over the top.

Best of luck! Oh, and you'll be getting a grain mill in the very near future... trust me!


Rev.

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Old 10-08-2012, 05:21 PM   #9
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All in all, got a really active fermentation right now. Well see how she ends up! The technique was supposed to be a fly sparge that somehow ended up as a batch sparge in an attempt to resolve the issues... Once the S hit the fan, I lost all organization really. That gives me my focus for attempt #2, a deadringer IPA, which I imagine will be easier without the pumpkin pulp. As for the rice hulls, do you mix em in with the grains or place them on the bottom to surround the bazooka, etc?
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:08 PM   #10
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As for the rice hulls, do you mix em in with the grains or place them on the bottom to surround the bazooka, etc?
Mix them in the grain.. I normally just mill all my grain at the LHBS, and when I'm using something like oats, I'll obviously do those last, as you don't mill them, and I'll put equal parts of rice hulls for the volume of oats in the bucket, and toss them in the bag with the grain.

Just mix them in when you use them!
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