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Old 10-27-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
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Default My first AG brew - advice is needed!

I will be brewing my first AG beer (nut brown) next weekend, and I need some advice with the volumes. I have a recipy which calls for 11.75 lbs of grain (total). Mash volume is 14.69 qt. I doubt that my 5 gal cooler is big enough for it. Upgrading to a 10 gal cooler is not an option for now. I know that some people (including Papazian) are talking about 1 qt to 1 lb ratio, and this recipy requires more water. So what if I reduce these 14.69 qt to 3 or even 2.5 gal? What will it change? Also, based on your experience, what is the maximum grain weight a 5 gal cooler can take?

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Old 10-27-2012, 03:18 PM   #2
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I will be brewing my first AG beer (nut brown) next weekend, and I need some advice with the volumes. I have a recipy which calls for 11.75 lbs of grain (total). Mash volume is 14.69 qt. I doubt that my 5 gal cooler is big enough for it. Upgrading to a 10 gal cooler is not an option for now. I know that some people (including Papazian) are talking about 1 qt to 1 lb ratio, and this recipy requires more water. So what if I reduce these 14.69 qt to 3 or even 2.5 gal? What will it change? Also, based on your experience, what is the maximum grain weight a 5 gal cooler can take?
I got 11 pounds of grain in my 5 gallon round igloo cooler, with a mash ratio of 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain. That would take up about 4.75 gallons of space, so stirring is tricky when it gets full!
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bredstein
I will be brewing my first AG beer (nut brown) next weekend, and I need some advice with the volumes. I have a recipy which calls for 11.75 lbs of grain (total). Mash volume is 14.69 qt. I doubt that my 5 gal cooler is big enough for it. Upgrading to a 10 gal cooler is not an option for now. I know that some people (including Papazian) are talking about 1 qt to 1 lb ratio, and this recipy requires more water. So what if I reduce these 14.69 qt to 3 or even 2.5 gal? What will it change? Also, based on your experience, what is the maximum grain weight a 5 gal cooler can take?
Just fill it up until you run out of space then sparge with whatever's left. If you batch sparge, you might have to do 3 runoffs, which isn't a big deal. Cheers!!
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:25 PM   #4
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I got 11 pounds of grain in my 5 gallon round igloo cooler, with a mash ratio of 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain. That would take up about 4.75 gallons of space, so stirring is tricky when it gets full!
Yes, 14.69/11.75 is exactly a 1.25 ratio. Now I wonder what is better - keep the grain volume and reduce water, or keep the 1.25 ratio? Overall, what is the difference between 0.75, 1, 1.25 and 1.5 (2?) ratios?
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:26 PM   #5
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Yes, 14.69/11.75 is exactly a 1.25 ratio. Now I wonder what is better - keep the grain volume and reduce water, or keep the 1.25 ratio? Overall, what is the difference between 0.75, 1, 1.25 and 1.5 (2?) ratios?
Batch or fly sparge?
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:30 PM   #6
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Just fill it up until you run out of space then sparge with whatever's left. If you batch sparge, you might have to do 3 runoffs, which isn't a big deal. Cheers!!
You mean I can split the sparge water into several volumes? The recipy says it has to be 4.21 gal. I would rather go with an easier batch sparge, but I couldn't figure out how to fit all this water in my 5 gal cooler, so I started thinking about making a sparge arm...
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:49 PM   #7
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You mean I can split the sparge water into several volumes? The recipy says it has to be 4.21 gal. I would rather go with an easier batch sparge, but I couldn't figure out how to fit all this water in my 5 gal cooler, so I started thinking about making a sparge arm...
When using the batch sparge method, water:grist ratio isn't really important. Yes, you can absolutely split your sparge volumes without ill effect. I'd recommend...

1. Fill your MLT with strike water about 5F higher than it needs to be to preheat your tun. Also, leave a little water behind just so you're not too full.

2. Once strike temp is reached, dough in, stir well, complete your mash process.

3. After mash is complete, completely drain your MLT then complete your first "sparge." If you can't fit all the sparge water in the MLT, after you start your second runoff, gently ladle whatever didn't fit onto the grains while you're collecting your second runnings. Voila!

And don't fret about it, you will certainly make beer! Be sure to pitch a healthy starter and watch those ferment temps... that's where the magic's at.
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:26 AM   #8
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I have a 5 gallon Rubbermaid MT as well as a larger MT. 14 lbs is about the max for a 5 gallon MT. You'll be fine with only 11.75 lbs of grain. After doughing in I would level off the water to about 1" from the top.

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Old 10-29-2012, 03:42 PM   #9
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Thank you guys for ideas! Cannot wait till the end of the week :-)

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Old 10-29-2012, 03:58 PM   #10
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I've always found these to be helpful. Scroll down to the "Can I mash it?" area to answer your questions about how much fits in a 5 Gallon.
Green Bay Rackers Mash Calculators

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