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Old 09-08-2013, 01:56 AM   #41
CascadesBrewer
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If you have brewed 15 batches of extract (and I have to assume that you used various amounts of specialty grains) then you know how to brew, you have some level of a system/process down, and the transition to all grain should not be that hard. All-grain brewing adds a little more time and effort to the start of the brew session, but the rest is the same as doing a full volume boil extract batch.

I think I am glad that I started all-grain brewing before the Internet. I had Dave Miller’s book and pretty much followed his advice. There are 1000 variables, 100s of different brewing setups and lots of people with opinions on what is best or the most important.

My general advice is: brew, learn, brew, learn, brew, learn…keep brewing and never stop learning.

As mentioned, a big difference with all-grain is that you have more volume to deal with. You will need to heat up 8-9 gallons of mash and sparge water and then boil 6+ gallons (I shoot to collect 6.5 gallons from my sparge and boil that down to 5.5 to get close to 5 gallons in a keg). More power to heat and cool the extra volume is very helpful.

- Brent

P.S. An all-grain kit from someplace like Northern Brewer or Midwest Supplies is not a bad place to start.
P.S.S. I don't mess with mash pH.

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Old 09-08-2013, 05:05 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glynn View Post
no i have no way of checking what my ph is and im not really into the techenical side of brewing for me its more about the process but i would like to know why it seems to work or doesnt. I am willing to be educated but please use small words. Is acidulated malt a better option? denny
Not IMO. I use lactic acid to lower pH or pickling lime to raise it. It's far easier to use lactic acid than acidulated malt. I have found no downside to it. But if you have no way to check your pH, I'd advise you not to mess with it.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:35 PM   #43
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Thanks for the all of the feedback, gang. I won't be able to jump to all grain until I get myself a better burner. Right now I'm able to brew partial extract batches on my kitchen stove, however, I know I won't be able to get a rolling boil on a full AG batch.

Looks like I'll be buying myself a turkey fryer burner to get the job done.

And as for now, I won't be messing with any 5.2!

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Old 09-09-2013, 01:15 PM   #44
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/

I am doing my first all grain batch this weekend. The above link may be of use for a KiSS approach to water chemistry. I used EZ Water Calculator to get a nice balanced water profile and mash pH. All Im using is a little acidulated malt, calcium chloride, and Epsom salt with some distilled water or RO water. http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/
I also used brewers friend recipe builder to scale an easy APA recipe down a bit to a 4 gallon batch so I can use my stove for the boil.
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:43 AM   #45
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I looking into switching and I was wondering how many readings people take. Ie considers not worrying about readings and efficiency for a while but I want to know the best way to measure everything using a hydrometer. A refractometer seems expensive right now but I'd like to be able to find out how good I am and where I might need to improve to make better beer when switching to all grain.

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Old 09-10-2013, 11:40 AM   #46
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I take a gravity reading of my first runnings, second runnings/sparge, @45-min and flame out. For me those are the key places where you can make adjustments. I always keep DME on hand to add fermentables when they are needed.

You can usually get a refractometer for around $25 if you keep an eye open for specials. It is one of the best investments I have made.

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Old 09-10-2013, 01:17 PM   #47
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Refractometer readings of the first runnings then preboil (I batch sparge) then once again post boil. Otherwise, when I remember to I take a hydro before packaging. True I should do the 2 readings over 3 days bit, but I tend to leave in primary for a while as long as I have beer in the pipeline.

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Old 09-11-2013, 02:45 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoWBrewer
I take a gravity reading of my first runnings, second runnings/sparge, @45-min and flame out. For me those are the key places where you can make adjustments. I always keep DME on hand to add fermentables when they are needed.

You can usually get a refractometer for around $25 if you keep an eye open for specials. It is one of the best investments I have made.
Is there a difference? I keep looking and see Midwest has them for $57 but amazon is as cheap as $25.
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:55 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoWBrewer
I take a gravity reading of my first runnings, second runnings/sparge, @45-min and flame out. For me those are the key places where you can make adjustments. I always keep DME on hand to add fermentables when they are needed.

You can usually get a refractometer for around $25 if you keep an eye open for specials. It is one of the best investments I have made.
How often are your second runnings above 1.010?
What's your best guess as to an average second runnings?
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:57 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoWBrewer
I take a gravity reading of my first runnings, second runnings/sparge, @45-min and flame out. For me those are the key places where you can make adjustments. I always keep DME on hand to add fermentables when they are needed.

You can usually get a refractometer for around $25 if you keep an eye open for specials. It is one of the best investments I have made.
How often are you're second runnings above 1.010?
What's average second runnings?
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