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Old 09-19-2011, 10:04 PM   #1
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Default Time to man up and ask a few questions

First let me start by saying that I am pretty knowledgeable about the all grain process but since I have yet to do it yet I have some questions for everyone.

First, I don't want to start a debate over which is better because everyone has there opinion. I want to batch sparge at first since fly sparging would be a pain in the ass on my first all grain brew. But, I want to get a false bottom for my 5 gallon gott style cooler so that I can fly sparge later down the road. Who here batch sparges with false bottoms and has success? Any tips?

Second, how do I factor in the dead space under the false bottom?

Third, What efficiency should I shoot for on my first brew?

Any other relevant information is appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 09-19-2011, 10:06 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rlynge View Post
First let me start by saying that I am pretty knowledgeable about the all grain process but since I have yet to do it yet I have some questions for everyone.

First, I don't want to start a debate over which is better because everyone has there opinion. I want to batch sparge at first since fly sparging would be a pain in the ass on my first all grain brew. But, I want to get a false bottom for my 5 gallon gott style cooler so that I can fly sparge later down the road. Who here batch sparges with false bottoms and has success? Any tips?

Second, how do I factor in the dead space under the false bottom?

Third, What efficiency should I shoot for on my first brew?

Any other relevant information is appreciated. Thanks!
I've always had a false bottom, and for the first few years I brewed I batch sparged. It works great!

The dead space is minimal in my system. I don't really factor it into any calculations.

You could probably plan on 65-68% or so on your first AG, if the crush is good.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:10 PM   #3
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Thanks Yooper, I appreciate your straight informed advice! Any tips to ensure no stuck sparges? Should I also add rice hulls do the grains just in case?

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Old 09-19-2011, 10:12 PM   #4
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I personally recommend the braided stainless steel supply hose. There's a great thread on here for converting a cooler. Dead space is a non-issue, since you can simply tilt the cooler forward and capture all of the wort. I will also take the lid of a fermenter and press an additional quart or two from the spent grain.

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Old 09-19-2011, 10:28 PM   #5
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I am new also to all grain. I did my first with a 10 gallon Tun my second and third all grain I used the BIAB method it worked out real well.

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Old 09-19-2011, 10:36 PM   #6
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I started with a stainless steel braid and had nothing but problems. I now have a false bottom and I haven't looked back, it works great. I might add that many people on this forum have had great success with the SS braid, just not me.

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Old 09-19-2011, 10:45 PM   #7
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First, ... Who here batch sparges with false bottoms and has success? Any tips?
Me. Lots. I have a false bottom in a sanke keggle. Done 10 batches that way. Before that, I used braids and a bazooka screen (strong braid). Did about 75 batches that way. Always batch sparged.

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Second, how do I factor in the dead space under the false bottom?
If you get a false bottom with a dip tube, you won't have much dead space (i.e., don't worry about it). If you use a braid connected to the cooler drink port, assume a quart.

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Third, What efficiency should I shoot for on my first brew?
70%. If you do better than this, and you're OG is too high, very easy to add water and correct (which I recommend).
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:49 PM   #8
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Any tips to ensure no stuck sparges? Should I also add rice hulls do the grains just in case?
Have a plan, you'll get one some day. If you use a pump, it's easy to blast some water into the ball valve (or whatever port you have) to free the flow. If you don't have a pump, I can't help you. Sorry, always had one, instant fix when I have a problem (which is rare).

Don't stick your hands into the mash, no matter what. You will be sorry (the next day). Good idea to get some silicone gloves from kitchen store. Fairly cheap and useful.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:36 PM   #9
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I'm a batch sparger also.

I have a false bottom, couldnt imagine using anything else.

Never had a problem with dead space at all.

I'd shoot for 65-68% efficiency for your first brew or two, then adjust.

I cant recommend this thread enough: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/my-b...d-again-38211/ I use the MODS (mash out double sparge) method and it has vastly improved my efficiency. Yeah, its a PITA to boil longer, but miss your SG/OG a few times and you'll probably think twice.

Also, pick up the book "Designing Great Beers". I found Chapter 6 (Hitting Target Gravity) to be awesome. Also, keep an extra pound of light DME around, just in case you're off before your boil.

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Old 09-19-2011, 11:43 PM   #10
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Another couple good tips for preventing a stuck sparge:

1. When you're drawing off your wort to your Boil Kettle, restrict your flow. The more flow, the more suction you're creating which will pull your grain bed down more compact and thus create a stuck sparge.

2. I would only use rice hulls in the mash in case my grains were crushed at a near powder or using something like pumpkin in the mash (which gums it up a whole lot). I have yet to have a stuck sparge with my false bottom. *knock on wood* However I have had a couple with a stainless braid. Just my personal experience.

3. Don't forget to vorlauf. After you vorlauf, try your best not to stir anymore, as that will negate the purpose for the vorlaufing.

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