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Old 07-28-2008, 01:23 PM   #1
nyer
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Default My first AG experience

First of all, thank you to everyone on the forum, I would never have tried this without all of the good information on here.

I brewed up a batch of Edwort's Haus Pale Ale. Things seemed to go pretty well and AG is much more fun and rewarding than extracts.

A couple of issues came up and hopefully someone can help me out.

After dough in I let everything sit for 1 hour at 152.6. I was supposed to add 5 qts. of 175F water but only 4 qts. would fit. I'm using a 5 gallon water cooler. I stirred in the 4 qts and waited about 5 minutes before draining. When it got low enough I added the 5th qt. How long should you wait after adding the 175F water before draining?

My OG after the boil was taken at 69.8F and it was only 1.042, it should have been 1.051. I don't know what caused this, could it have been the issue with the 5 qts. of water? I got the ingredients from AHS and to me the crush didn't look that great , but, I dont' have anything to compare it to either.

Even with the few issues it was tons of fun and the brew is happily bubbling away at 69F.

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Old 07-28-2008, 01:33 PM   #2
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Can't comment too much on the finer points, but I've been splitting my sparge water into two equal amounts (sparge volume calculated @ .5 gallon/lb of grain). Once you've vorlaufed and taken your first runnings, add your first batch sparge. The temp of this water is usually 180 for me (using Bobby-M's all grain primer). Stir the grain and sparge water in, let sit for 10 minutes, drain. Repeat. This gives me a near perfect yield every time.

Jason

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Old 07-28-2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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Not experienced, but one thing you can do is make sure the starches are converted before draining the mash. One was to do this is with iodine (buy at any drugstore/grocery store). Put a drop of wort on a saucer then add iodine a drop of iodine, if the color does not change then the starches are converted. If you don't have iodine, the wort should have a bit of an iridium glare too it after it is converted. After stirring the wort thoroughly there are usually some small bubbles. If those have an iridium shine to them the wort should be ready to be drained. I'm not positive that this is foolproof, but I've done 2 iodine tests and both times the wort was ready it had this iridium shine. On my last mash (first time AG) I had to mash an extra 15 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes) to get conversion (at 152). If I didn't wait I'm sure my efficiency would have been a lot lower.

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Old 07-28-2008, 02:27 PM   #4
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It sounds like your efficiency was low, did you take gravity readings preboil? Flyangler has it right try splitting up your sparging you can usually extract more sugars with multiple sparges I usually hit around 80% extraction with this method. By the way I had a Edwort's pale ale that came out that low on gravity once and it still came out to be a pretty good beer, it was more of a summer refresher. Congrats on your first AG, it will get easier over time and your going to love the results.

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Old 07-28-2008, 02:36 PM   #5
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Not bad for your first brew. I recommend stirring a couple times during the mash to keep the sugars in suspension. You corrected O.G. is 1.043 and the beer should finish dry around 1.010 or 1.009, so you will have a nice drinkable beer around 4.5% abv.

It works this way sometimes. I kegged my Bavarian Hefe this morning and because the Blichmann Boilermaker evaporates more, my Hefe came in at 6.9% abv. That's going hurt one morning.

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Old 07-28-2008, 02:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmbrewernw View Post
It sounds like your efficiency was low, did you take gravity readings preboil? Flyangler has it right try splitting up your sparging you can usually extract more sugars with multiple sparges I usually hit around 80% extraction with this method. By the way I had a Edwort's pale ale that came out that low on gravity once and it still came out to be a pretty good beer, it was more of a summer refresher. Congrats on your first AG, it will get easier over time and your going to love the results.
My preboil gravity at 70F was 1.032. This was with 6.5 gallons.

I thought of another question, when you vorlauf do you let in drain as fast as it will go? Mine drained pretty fast, I wondered if I should close the valve a bit to slow it down.

I'm doing Edwort's bavarian wheat next. I have to figure a time and do the sterter. I may use a larger rectagular cooler I have since the 5 gallon water cooler was to small.
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdWort View Post
Not bad for your first brew. I recommend stirring a couple times during the mash to keep the sugars in suspension. You corrected O.G. is 1.043 and the beer should finish dry around 1.010 or 1.009, so you will have a nice drinkable beer around 4.5% abv.

It works this way sometimes. I kegged my Bavarian Hefe this morning and because the Blichmann Boilermaker evaporates more, my Hefe came in at 6.9% abv. That's going hurt one morning.
I would love to watch you brew. I would probably ask dozens os questions and take pages of notes. I learned alot watching videos but it would be nice to be able to see the entire process from start to finish.
I'm pretty sure the beer will turn out well and I'm more than happy with how things turned out for a first try.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyer View Post
My preboil gravity at 70F was 1.032. This was with 6.5 gallons.

I thought of another question, when you vorlauf do you let in drain as fast as it will go? Mine drained pretty fast, I wondered if I should close the valve a bit to slow it down.

I'm doing Edwort's bavarian wheat next. I have to figure a time and do the sterter. I may use a larger rectagular cooler I have since the 5 gallon water cooler was to small.
Just vorlauf until your runnings are clear (or clearer) and then start running your wort into you boil kettle or bucket, you can drain as fast as it will go but if you have troubles with stuck sparges I would slow it down a bit. It sounds like your preboil was on the low side you probably wanted more in the 1.042 range or so preboil, as Edwort said give those grains a good stir and try sparging twice next time and like I said before you'll still have a good beer on your hands there.
Edit: The other thing is don't worry too much about efficiency right now just keep some DME on had if you don't hit your gravity or live with the lower gravity, you will eventually figure out the efficiency of your rig and then be able to make adjustments such as increasing you grain bill to compensate, that being said I think you have a fairly solid rig you probably just need to try double batch sparging and then you'll be there.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zymurgrafi
wow, tha more I drink, tha more cohernet you all are!
and stufffff.

Last edited by farmbrewernw; 07-28-2008 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:33 PM   #9
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I did make sure the runnings were clear, it only took 1 1/2 qts. Then it ran drained as fast as I would let it. I think I may try sparging twice when I do the wheat. I might try that one Wednesday morning.

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Old 07-28-2008, 06:01 PM   #10
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Make sure to check the calibration of your hydrometer... I have been taking readings forever with the same hydrometer and there was usually a trend of slightly lower gravities than I would have liked. Just yesterday, when I did a batch, I realized my hydrometer is supposed to be read at 60deg F and I was typically reading it around 70deg. I think it is fairly standard for hydrometers to be calibrated at 68deg. Try checking yours and adjust your read accordingly.

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