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Old 01-02-2010, 01:45 AM   #1
PaloAltoMark
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Default Mashing and achieving the correct OG

Hi Folks:

I'm new to all grain and tried the "Pliny the Elder" clone kit from Austin Homebrew.

I followed the instructions in the kit but when I took the OG of the wort it was way too low. I should have had about 5.25 gallons of wort at 1.074. To achieve that gravity, I needed to boil down the wort to just over 4 gallons.

What might have gone wrong with the mashing process?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

-Mark

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Old 01-02-2010, 02:13 AM   #2
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Let's start with your process. As specifically as you can describe it, what did you do?

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Old 01-02-2010, 02:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
Let's start with your process. As specifically as you can describe it, what did you do?
Example:

What temp was the wort when you measured the gravity?
Is your hydrometer calibrated? Should be on 0 with tap water with no suspended air bubbles.
How many quarts per pound?
What temp was your mash?
Is you thermometer accurate?
How did you rinse the grains?

Sorry, I am not familiar with the kit that you used.
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Old 01-02-2010, 02:36 AM   #4
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Hi Folks:

I went back and reviewed my notes and think I found the answer.... I fly sparged but the water temp was probably lower than 170 -- maybe 150 or 155 degrees. Let me know if you think that would be the cause of the problem.

Here are the basic fact:

Grain bill was about 13 pounds - mostly 2-row malt. The recipe also called for 1 pound of corn sugar to be added to the wort after mashing and sparging.

I added 170 degree water to the grain to do the mashing. This made the mash a little hot (165 degrees) for the first 15 minutes but it cooled to about 155 for the rest of the 1 hour process.

When I sparged, I think I used water that was about 150 or 155. I did this as a fly sparge which took about 40 minutes and yielded about 6 gallons of wort.

I took the specific gravity reading of the wort + the sugar which was 1.056. On six gallons of wort, I calculated the total gravity as 336. So to achieve the target gravity of 1.074, I needed to boil the wort to a calculated 4.5 gallons. I did this but the actual yield turned out to be a little over 4 gallons at 1.074.

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Old 01-02-2010, 02:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Is your hydrometer calibrated? Should be on 0 with tap water with no suspended air bubbles.
distilled water at the 60 or 65F calibration temp.

the mash and sparge temps are reversed.
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Old 01-02-2010, 02:40 AM   #6
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Hi Impatient:

The hygrometer reads 1.000 in water. I did make an adjustment for temp when I calculated the specific gravity. I think the water was 95 degress which called for an upward adjustment of .004.

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Old 01-02-2010, 02:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaloAltoMark View Post
Hi Folks:

I went back and reviewed my notes and think I found the answer.... I fly sparged but the water temp was probably lower than 170 -- maybe 150 or 155 degrees. Let me know if you think that would be the cause of the problem.

Here are the basic fact:

Grain bill was about 13 pounds - mostly 2-row malt. The recipe also called for 1 pound of corn sugar to be added to the wort after mashing and sparging.

I added 170 degree water to the grain to do the mashing. This made the mash a little hot (165 degrees) for the first 15 minutes but it cooled to about 155 for the rest of the 1 hour process.

When I sparged, I think I used water that was about 150 or 155. I did this as a fly sparge which took about 40 minutes and yielded about 6 gallons of wort.

I took the specific gravity reading of the wort + the sugar which was 1.056. On six gallons of wort, I calculated the total gravity as 336. So to achieve the target gravity of 1.074, I needed to boil the wort to a calculated 4.5 gallons. I did this but the actual yield turned out to be a little over 4 gallons at 1.074.
The low sparge temp might not have rinsed the grains well.

Did you stir the wort before taking the reading? I am a fly sparger, if that is even a correct term, and the last running are thin with the thickest wort on the bottom. Actually, last week I made a batch and took a reading, 1.020, What!!!, I stirred my boil kettle and walla, 1.070.

Here is what I do to make sure my grains are rinsed well. Take what you want and leave the rest.

After mashing in at whatever temp and duration for the style, I stir the grain up real well and remove a decoction and boil it for 20 minutes. I add half of the mixture back in and take the temp. I continue to add some until the temp is 168. I will add the rest once it cools. Now I use my sparge water, 170, and start my sparge arm. I clear my runnings and start the sparge. I turn the sparge arm on and off to keep the water a couple inches above the mash. Also, I stir the top of the grain bed by pushing the grain out towards the sides of the cooler, only about 3 inches down, to ensure that the sparge water is running thru the grain, not around the on the sides of the cooler. I average 90% efficiency. However, I attribute this to a good crush on the grain as well.
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