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Old 07-19-2013, 07:36 PM   #11
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Here is my method, I use a upside down insulated keg for mashing, with a false bottom, and an electric 13gal kettle for boiling.

1. Clean everything with hot oxyclean water
2. Preheat mashtun with 180* water for 10 mins
3. Dump
4. Add 168* water to mashtun amount varies depending on grain bill
5. Add grain while stirring to get semi thick mash
6. Check temps, if about 152-156 thank beer gods and put lid on.
7. Let sit for 30mins, check temp again, if too cold, add hot water
8. Drain off a qt and vorlauf to establish grain bed
9. Drain off wort until it trickles or get sediment
10. Add sparging liquid at about 170* in 1 or 2 batches, ie. a 1-2 gallons, stir, let sit, drain
11. Let all liquid drain and check gravity, when it gets below 1.010, stop
12. Put in boil kettle, boil, add hops, etc.
13. After boil, whirlpool for 15 mins using my pump and ghetto setup
14. Chill using my plate chiller to pitching temps
15. Add to carboy, aerate, pitch yeast and then clean all the hoses.

Thats my method in a nutshell. You can calculate your exact volumes using beer smith or online calculators but I just started doing it by eyeball. For instance, I'll put 4 gals in, 3 come out, so 1 gal lost to grain etc. I have boil off of about 1.5gal hour so I need to hit a boil vol of about 7 gal for a batch size of 5.5gal.

This really can get as complicated or simple as you want it, if you have exp extract brewing, the jump to AG should be a piece of cake. Sit back, relax, and just go for it.

John

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Old 07-19-2013, 07:37 PM   #12
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Ok these guys beat me to it. Damn you HBT maniacs!!

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Old 07-19-2013, 07:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by billl View Post
You didn't mention the sparge step. You'll need an additional 4+ gallonsof hot water (170 or so) to add back to the cooler once you drain it initially. Grain absorbs lots of water, so if you start out with 5 gallons, you might only get 3.5 out. You add the water to the cooler, stir, let sit for a couple minutes, and drain again. You'll want somewhere around 7 gallons of wort to start your boil depending on your system. You'll evaporate at least a gallon and lose some to the hops and you want to end up with 5 gallons into the fermenter.

I think that this is my biggest conceptual misunderstanding. After letting the grains soak in 155 degree water for an hour, I then drain what water is in there to my brew pot. By what you are saying I will only get about 3.5 gallons from that initial step, but it is wort, right? Why then do I need 170 (hotter) water the second time? Why not just put 9 gallons of 155 degree water in there at first, wait for an hour, and then drain off what I need - Low efficiency?

Edit: Sorry, maybe hotter than 155 as you said.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:40 PM   #14
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Ok these guys beat me to it. Damn you HBT maniacs!!
Your reply was much appreciated though. That's what I'm looking for is a very general outline of the process. What I still don't get is what I asked in my previous post. Why do I need hotter water to sparge? Why not just start with more water at first, and then drain off what I need?
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:41 PM   #15
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Edit: 3 people posted exactly what i was typing while i was typing it lol

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Old 07-19-2013, 07:41 PM   #16
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If you are using a Mash Tun (the cooler) then you would not use the muslin bag.

If you want a basic outline:

  1. Buy the malted bartley.
  2. Crush the malted barley.
  3. Look up / figure out / read the recipe to determine how much water to heat up and to what temperature. Do so.
  4. Put the hot water in the cooler (no grains yet!) and put the lid on to bring the coller up to temperature for a few minutes.
  5. Slowly add the grains and stir very thoroughly as you do so.
  6. Check the temp and adjust if needed.
  7. Put the cover on. In 15 minutes come back to check the temp and stir. Repeat until you are at the total mash time.
  8. There may be an optional step here to raise the temperature by adding additional water at a hotter temperature (mashout). If so, do that, and let sit for 10 more minutes.
  9. Oh, yeah, while mashing you should also be bringing yet more water, of a specified amout, to a specified temperatire. This is your sparge water. This should be done much earlier than right here because it needs to be at temperature by this point!.
  10. Drain the first runnings into a pitcher… pouring it back in when full. Do so ~3 times until it has no solids in it.
  11. Now drain it all into your boil pot.
  12. If you are going to batch sparge, now you add your sparger water, stir, and let it sit. Then repeat the pitcher process and drain into your boil kettle. I believe most batch spargers do this twice. I fly sparge, which means that you instead slowly add the sparge water in at the same speed that your mash water is draining out. It requires additional equipment or a lot more patience. Most people batch sparge. There's no difference in results.

In reality, once you get the process, there is more measuring of temperature, gravity, starches (iodine test), etc. But if you wanted the most basic breakdown possible that doesn't skip any major steps, that should be it. If I forgot anything (since I am just writing this quickly on the fly), I am sure that will be pointed out!!
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyDrunk View Post
I think that this is my biggest conceptual misunderstanding. After letting the grains soak in 155 degree water for an hour, I then drain what water is in there to my brew pot. By what you are saying I will only get about 3.5 gallons from that initial step, but it is wort, right? Why then do I need 170 (hotter) water the second time? Why not just put 9 gallons of 155 degree water in there at first, wait for an hour, and then drain off what I need - Low efficiency?

Edit: Sorry, maybe hotter than 155 as you said.
The short answer is: you're not making tea.

The "Mash" step is soaking the grains in a specific temp that activates specific enzymes that will then convert the starch into sugar. You need to hold it there for the right amount of time to let the process get as far as you want it (and no more).

And it works best at a target consistency (that's part of not just adding all the water at once, another is the size of the cooler you'd need!). When you drain the wort, some of the converted sugars will be left in the grain bed. That's what sparking is for. It's a rinse. It's not "converting" anything, just getting what you've already converted into the brew kettle.

You sound like you really want to understand the process, so read the book
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:48 PM   #18
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Why do I need hotter water to sparge? Why not just start with more water at first, and then drain off what I need?
The hotter water denatures the enzymes and stops the process. I'm not sure how much this really matters, and I know some people sparge with cold water instead with fine results.

You want a thicker mash for efficiency. Remember the enzymes need to come in contact with the starches in order to convert them into sugars. They're moving around randomly so if you've got a loose mash (too much water), they'll never find each other.

The other thing sparging does is helps rinse the sugars that are stuck to the grains off. If you just drained once, you'd be leaving a lot of that tasty sugar on the grain.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:48 PM   #19
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[*]Oh, yeah, while mashing you should also be bringing yet more water, of a specified amout, to a specified temperatire. This is your sparge water. This should be done much earlier than right here because it needs to be at temperature by this point!.[/LIST]
This is the part I don't understand! Why not just start with more water?
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:52 PM   #20
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"I think that this is my biggest conceptual misunderstanding. After letting the grains soak in 155 degree water for an hour, I then drain what water is in there to my brew pot. By what you are saying I will only get about 3.5 gallons from that initial step, but it is wort, right? Why then do I need 170 (hotter) water the second time? Why not just put 9 gallons of 155 degree water in there at first, wait for an hour, and then drain off what I need - Low efficiency?"

Well, 9 gallons of water and 12 lbs of grain aren't going to fit in a 10 gallon cooler. Some people do just that in larger vessels.

However, it is not a particularly efficient way to go. Any wort absorbed by the grains will have the same gravity as the last runnings from your tun. Every batch sparge you do will mean that you leave less sugar behind. Most people do 1 sparge, but some do 2 or more. Fly sparging is basically an infinite number of tiny sparges. The sparge water doesn't need to be exactly 170. You don't really want to raise the grain temp above 170 though. You could use 155 if you wanted or 180. Personally, I like to stay on the higher side. I've got plenty of time to heat the sparge water while the mash is going and the hotter the wort at the end, the faster it will come up to a boil in the kettle.

Also, You really don't want too much water in the tun for the mash. The grain only have a fix amount of available enzymes, so too adding too much water dilutes that concentration and slows down the sugar conversion process. The exact level of dilution that is too much is up for debate, but most people stick in the 1-2 qt per lb range.

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