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Old 06-18-2009, 12:39 AM   #1
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Default What am I doing wrong/right?

Recently started doing all grain brews in my igloo cooler. So far the results have been tasty! But I really do not know anything about what I am doing regarding efficiancy and technique. I add water to my MLT at about 190F to warm the cooler and add in the grain when it cools to around 160F. When I mix the grain in and take a temp I am around 154F. Then I let sit for an hour, drain off about 2-3 gallons into a container and the rest into the boil pot. Add the 2-3 gallons back in, add .5 gallon sparge water per pound of grain at 170F, close lid and let sit for 20 min. Drain MLT into boil pot and get to boiling.
Like I said, results have been good so far and spot on for my Beer Tools recipes, but I have no idea if I am making any mistakes, or could be doing it better. I know technique is arguable, but I am interested in some feedback on this method. So far my brews have been IPA, pale ale's and cream ales.

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Old 06-18-2009, 01:42 AM   #2
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You are doing everything right (your vorlauf sounds quite large - 2 quarts would be more like it)

If you make beer, and it tastes good, you are batting 1000.

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Old 06-18-2009, 04:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
You are doing everything right (your vorlauf sounds quite large - 2 quarts would be more like it)

If you make beer, and it tastes good, you are batting 1000.
+1 no need to drain the whole mash and then run it through again. It won't hurt, but it's gonna waste about 15 minutes. I vorlauf with 4 -5 qts.

Otherwise. You got it down! You'll find no end of improvements that you 'could' make. But brewing is very Machiavellian; it doesn't matter how you get tasty beer, only that you do.
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Old 06-18-2009, 05:01 AM   #4
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You can't determine your efficiency unless you take a hydrometer reading at the end of the boil.

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Old 06-18-2009, 10:29 AM   #5
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I do take a hydro reading before I pitch. So far the batches have been on target with what beer tools says it should be.
What is vorlauf? Haven't heard that term before.

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Old 06-18-2009, 02:46 PM   #6
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Vorlauf = recirculate, which is what you do when you take the first several quarts of a running and pour it back onto the mash. Why do this? The first runnings are cloudy with grist particulates that you really don't want in your boil pot. By pouring them gently back onto the mash, the mash acts a filter.

Those particles, when boiled, can lead to astringency. You really want the runnings to the pot to be as clear as possible - just sugars.

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