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Old 07-24-2011, 11:47 AM   #1
brewmadness
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Default Well, that sucked...

So for the most part it all went fairly well. There were still some things I struggled with but I still felt like it was all going good. Was a little high on my mash temp, so I added a little cold water to get it down to 152. Dropped to 150 after an hour, not soo bad. Miscalculated my sparge water and ended up with about a gallon or gallon and a half of wort after I reached my boil volume of 7 gallons. That got me a little frustrated but not that big of a deal.
The boil was uneventful, what got me the most was after transferring to fermentor I ended up with only a little more that 4.5 gallons because of all the trub and crap in the bottom of the kettle. I thought about buyin a hop bag, but the mesh looked fairly big and I didn't think it would do much good with pellet hops? I also thought my gravity should be higher? 9 lbs maris otter, 2 pounds crystal and 3 lbs rye? I guess what upset me the most was that this was my most expensive all grain batch so far and I ended up with such a low volume. Much more than 7 gallons is really pushing the limits of my kettle. Could I line the kettle with a fine mesh bag and lift it out slowly after the boil to filter all the trub out? Just looking for suggestions and opinions. My setup is about as basic as it gets for all grain so....
Thanks!



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Old 07-24-2011, 12:06 PM   #2
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worst case scenario, its still beer. does your kettle have a spigot? maybe a boil screen would help.



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Old 07-24-2011, 12:15 PM   #3
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Do you use brewing software? You have to account for any lost wort (due to trub, cooling etc.). I use .5 gal as my sludge/trub number (what I leave in the brew kettle).

If you have a large false bottom in your kettle, you have to plan for the dead space as well. In my brew kettle (no false bottom) what you see is what you get.

I use 6.25g for post boil volume, then after cooling (wort shrinkage) and leaving .5gal of trub (gunk) in the kettle that leaves me 5.5gal going in to the fermentor. About .5 gal will be lost in sediment & yeast at the bottom of the fermentor, leaving me 5 gal to go into my keg.

It takes a while to get you numbers right, once you dial them in it is easy to come out good almost every time.

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Old 07-24-2011, 12:23 PM   #4
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The experience you had was priceless as far as learning goes. You did pretty well for a first time without an All Grain Mentor.

Check into Lowe's paint strainers. They are 1 gallon nylon strainers that you can add hops to and close with a nylon zip tie. They will help keep hops out of your fermenter and your spigot flowing free.

Check out http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml for calculating mash strike temps and more. If you have an iPhone or iPad check out Sparge Pal

Most of all, RDWHAHB. You had a great learning experience and it will get better each time.

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Old 07-24-2011, 01:09 PM   #5
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Ed hit the nail on the head. It took me a few brew days to get my process locked in. Your day sounds like it went better than my first all-grain brew day . Cheers!

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Old 07-24-2011, 01:19 PM   #6
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I ferment in a bucket and use the paint strainer method. But I get a 5 gallon strainer boil it for 10 minutes and leave it in the water. After my wort is cooled I put the strainer into the bucket and pour the wort into it. I pour it from about chest height. This will also aerate the wort so no need to shake the primary. Then just lift the strainer and gently work the wort out of it. (grabbing at the corners back and forth) Pitch your yeast and your done. I used to use the hop bag but this is easier for me. Works like a charm....good luck .

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Old 07-24-2011, 01:35 PM   #7
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Bottom line is that u made beer. As others have mentioned, learning is a big part of this hobby. One word of advice. I have tried to become a beer connosieur. As such I want to make beers like the commercial ones I try. The reality is that u will save money and learn more by keeping things simple for the first few batches anyway. Good luck.

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Old 07-24-2011, 01:47 PM   #8
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That sounds pretty close to how many of my brew days go. To reduce your boil-off turn your burner down as low as possible to maintain a boil. I used to leave mine at full blast and lost an additional gallon per brew that way.

The rest of your "problems" are just part of the process, not something I'd worry about.
BTW: The hop bag is money.

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Old 07-24-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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I read someone saying it was your first? Eh, i had problems with my first AG batch, and ended up making one of the best beers i've ever had... Even if it's not your first, 4.5 gallons isn't bad. You probably keep a 3# bag of DME on hand, so use that if you miss your gravity terribly. Missed mine real bad once and the DME made up for it--still good beer. What was your OG, anyway?

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Old 07-24-2011, 03:25 PM   #10
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Everything sounds pretty good to me other than boiling down from 7 to 4.5 gallons. How long did you boil? I know you left some behind due to trub but that still seems excessive unless the boil was long and aggressive. Good brewing software can be a Godsend for tweaking your numbers/system into shape. The key is to take away from the mistakes and reduce their severity in the future and software can greatly aid this effort.



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