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Old 04-16-2007, 12:33 PM   #1
Two Row
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Hello everyone. I am EXT brewer from MKE getting into PM and AG. Just built my lauter/mash tun using the many examples from postings on this site, just modified a little to make it my own. I guess I would post pics but I have NO IDEA how to do that. I have so many questions about grain brewing...any help you can provide would be awesome. Thanks for your patience. I am sure some of you will be tempted to tell me to "relax" and "not to worry". Please don't. Don't do that. Please don't say that. For the love of God don't write that. I am not worried...I love this.

1) What am I improving in, say, a partial mash, by cooling the wort and then adding it to the fermenter and topping it off, rather than adding it to cold water already in the fermenter? I will probably do the latter of these. I do not have a wort chiller, and immersing the brew pot in a tub of cold water just seems like it will take a long time.

2) As you can probably tell, partial mash seems like a good place for me to be, as I really don't have some of the equipment required for AG. I have seen people mention that it is easy to convert AG or EXT recipes to partial mash, but I have never read about how to do it. I mean, I know what ingredients to use, but I don't understand how to determine the ratio of fermentables...grains and extracts. I have downloaded software called "Homebrew Formulator" (I picked this one not because it was free, but for it's creative title) and for the grains that I enter it gives me a YIELD of 1.000 and a YIELD % of 0.0. For the ME it gives me a YIELD of 1.022. Maybe I just can't figure out the software? I thought I could use this to tell me whether I was going to be close to a "typical" OG.

3) Couldn't I, for Vorlauf, instead of running the wort into another vessel and pouring it back in, just take the hose that the wort is running through and recycle it back into the top of the tun, maybe through a strainer to make it kind of percolate over the grains?

Wow. It feels great to have these questions off my chest and into your hands. Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy first post. I promise to keep them shorter in the future.

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Old 04-16-2007, 01:05 PM   #2
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Welcome! Some questions I can answer, some I can't.

For cooling the wort, you should do BOTH- chill your pot in the sink in ice water until under 80 degrees and then put it in the fermenter with cool water. Most people do that first, so they can top up to the 5 gallon mark (or whatever they recipe they're making calls for). You can put the cool water in first, certainly, but what if you put in say 2.5 gallons, but didn't realize that when you added your extract you made 3.5 gallons of wort? Then you've just watered down your wort. If you don't chill it before adding it to the cool/cold water, it'll take FOREVER to get cool enough. If you chill it in the sink for 15 minutes and then add it to the cool water, it'll be good to go.

Also, some people will tell you to never pour hot wort, due to the risk hot side aeration (HSA). That means that you don't want to oxygenate your wort until it gets under the magic temperature of 80 degrees or so.

For vorlauf, the purpose of it is to strain the grain husks and debris from the wort, You don't want it to "percolate" over the grains, you want to clear up the wort. That's why you vorlauf until the runnings are clear- the grainbed makes a kind of strainer. I only vorlauf about 1/2 gallon for an entire AG batch, sometimes less. So, it's not that big of deal. Drain into a pitcher, and gently pour batch over the grains without disturbing them. You can use a coffee can lid to make sure you don't disturb the grain bed. I batch sparge, so it's not really difficult at all.

About PM recipes, I'm afraid I'm no help. I use Beersmith but never really formulated recipes- just followed recipes already made up. Some other brewers will be more helpful than I am in this.

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Old 04-17-2007, 01:31 AM   #3
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Thanks Lorena. I guess with the partial recipes I'll just follow others. I think what prompted me to the question was I had a hard time finding a Vienna Lager partial recipe so I ended up just trying to formulate my own. Thanks for the help with the other two.

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Old 04-17-2007, 04:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Row
1) What am I improving in, say, a partial mash, by cooling the wort and then adding it to the fermenter and topping it off, rather than adding it to cold water already in the fermenter? I will probably do the latter of these. I do not have a wort chiller, and immersing the brew pot in a tub of cold water just seems like it will take a long time.

2) As you can probably tell, partial mash seems like a good place for me to be, as I really don't have some of the equipment required for AG. I have seen people mention that it is easy to convert AG or EXT recipes to partial mash, but I have never read about how to do it. I mean, I know what ingredients to use, but I don't understand how to determine the ratio of fermentables...grains and extracts. I have downloaded software called "Homebrew Formulator" (I picked this one not because it was free, but for it's creative title) and for the grains that I enter it gives me a YIELD of 1.000 and a YIELD % of 0.0. For the ME it gives me a YIELD of 1.022. Maybe I just can't figure out the software? I thought I could use this to tell me whether I was going to be close to a "typical" OG.

3) Couldn't I, for Vorlauf, instead of running the wort into another vessel and pouring it back in, just take the hose that the wort is running through and recycle it back into the top of the tun, maybe through a strainer to make it kind of percolate over the grains?
2. tastybrew.com and beertools.com have some nice online recipe calculators. Also Qbrew is a decent free calculator. However I use beersmith which I found to be the easiest to use of the trials I did.
3. Unless you are using a pump you are letting the water drain out of the mash which means when you pick up the end of the tube to put it back over the mash the flow stops. So you have to run it into a container then add it back to the top of the tun.

Craig
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Old 04-18-2007, 03:45 AM   #5
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Craig,
Tastybrew.com is great. So much easier to use. Thank you.

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