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Old 10-22-2007, 10:59 PM   #11
LS_Grimmy
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I just started AG about 1 year ago... You can pick up very expensive grain mills that do a awesome job but myself I picked up an older style mill that works great and it was 25.00 US on Ebay. Here is a pic of mine on the left. I just mounted it to my workbench at drilled a hole so the grain can fall into the bucket below.



It's called a Victoria (Corona) Grain Mill. Just goggle it or take a look on Ebay to find one. You can choose from many styles but the Corona are usually the cheaper and in my opinion work great.

Hope I helped,
Grimmy

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Old 10-22-2007, 10:59 PM   #12
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The quickest most accurate way to check PH (IMHO) is to call your municipal water supplier. I actually found my water report online in like 2 minutes of searching. Here is Cincy my water is quite alkaline at 8.6 which is way to high for low gravity, light colored beers. I like many here, use bottled water to bring the PH to a usable level. Maybe that's the easiest place to start, do a batch with spring or distilled water and see if your efficiency goes up. If it doesn't, don't sweat it, just up your grain bill by 15% or so to get your OG's closer to what you are aiming for.
The water pH isn't what you're concerned with, it's the mash pH that matters. If you get a water report you can look at the mineral content (Ca, Mg, CaCo3) to calculate the residual alkalinity and determine how you need to adjust the water for different grain bills, but the pH alone is really meaningless. You have to measure the pH of the mash with test strips or a pH meter to really know.

Also, you shouldn't used distilled water for brewing AG. Spring water's probably OK, but distilled water doesn't have the minerals that are needed for the yeast.
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:05 PM   #13
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once you figure out the ph of the mash how do you adjust it like what is optimum or does it depend on what you are brewing?

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Old 10-22-2007, 11:07 PM   #14
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http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html

I think it's time you read Ch. 15
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:11 PM   #15
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Outstanding thanks alot..

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Old 10-22-2007, 11:16 PM   #16
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A couple of other possibilities.
How much wort do you collect in the kettle? For a 5g batch, I collect 6.75g in the kettle, which allows me to transfer slightly over 5g into the primary after the boil and allowing for hop absorption and dead space in the kettle. If you end up having to top up with water to make up the volume, you should use more water in the sparge.
After adding the mash out water, and sparge water, do you give a really good stir? The stirring helps to dissolve the sugars.
Next time, I would take a hydro sample from the end of the sparge. If the gravity from the sample (once cooled) is much above 1.020, then you are leaving sugars behind in the sparge, and you are losing efficiency there. If the gravity is below 1.025, then the mash is the probable culprit - read grain crush or unsuitable water.

Hope this helps.

-a.

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Old 10-22-2007, 11:31 PM   #17
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+1 on that last post. Taking a final runnings gravity is a great way to see if you should collect a bit more wort (sparge a little more). Even with the mash out infusion you can eek out more sugar by splitting the remaining sparge water into two batches. It takes a little more time because you have to vorlauf twice, but that forces my last runnings down to 1.010. A single sparge always leaves my last runnings above 1.020.

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