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Old 09-08-2008, 09:55 PM   #1
goplayoutside
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Default Thinking of trying AG -- how big will my mash be? Can I oversparge?

I am an extract brewer thinking about going AG and doing a bunch of reading, etc about it.

So let's say I was thinking of getting a "phil's mini lauter tun," which is a 2 gal bucket with a false bottom, described as being big enough to mash about 5 lbs of grain, to do some partial mashing, to play with grains and to lessen the pain involved in buying DME (grad student talking here, at saving me almost ). I have one or two session brew recipes that I noticed would fit their entire grain bill under that if I cut down to a 3 gal batch, so instead of sleeping I ran some numbers based on 1.2 quarts H2O/lb grain and things seem to be fine for a batch sparge assuming I drain the mash and then collect one more runnings for a 3+ gal full boil, which would be a pain on my stove but would probably work. Basically I am wondering if I should go through with this which comes down to 2 questions in my head:

1) Does anyone have a rough way of calculating the size of my mash after combining my grains and water? I am dubious about the 2gal claim that it will mash 5lbs because there is such a variation in people's grain/water ratios. Will it fit? And if so, will it be too close to the top for effective batch sparging (I could always fly sparge it, I think the thing even comes with a part for that)?

2) My beer would have a low grain bill. I read someplace that you need to be careful about oversparging when your grain bill (and target gravity) are low. How do I avoid this?

Thanks to all!

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Old 09-08-2008, 11:21 PM   #2
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1) Volume(gal) = (lbs grain x .07812) + Strike Volume

2) Take a gravity reading for each batch sparge (don't forget to correct for gravity) and don't drop bellow 1.010 or you might get some off flavors.

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Old 09-09-2008, 12:19 AM   #3
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getting some brewing software will help with a lot of this. i use promash. free to try, like $20 to buy.

1) these calculators should help: Green Bay Rackers--Mash Calculators

2) it's not something you will probably experience and not something you will really have to worry about, but like jcarson said: don't let your runnings drop below 1.010.

also, check out the partial mashing thread in my sig.

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Old 09-09-2008, 01:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathBrewer View Post
getting some brewing software will help with a lot of this. i use promash. free to try, like $20 to buy.

1) these calculators should help: Green Bay Rackers--Mash Calculators
+1

I use Beersmith, but the Green Bay Rackers site is very quick to get too.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:12 AM   #5
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I am new to AG myself, but based on what you have said...I wouldn't bother with trying to go AG for what you want to do. Just do some partial mash brewing like DeathBrewer is recommending.

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Old 09-09-2008, 04:50 PM   #6
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Those Green Bay Rackers Calculators are sweet. I have the trial version of beersmith already and will doubtless fork over the 20 bucks or whatever when it runs out (how else will I procrastinate?). I think the ability to control some of my base malt character will give me a some creative flexibility that I don't have right now. I'll see where things stand after next pay period and maybe another extract batch or two but I am betting (hoping?) I go through with it.

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