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Old 02-14-2011, 04:03 AM   #1
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Default What happened?

So my first AG brew day went horribly wrong. I had a converted keggle for a HLT and brew kettle and a converted 10 gal round rubbermaid for my mash tun with a braid ring from palmers book. First the braided ring collapsed on me and it was just trickling out after mashing, I ended up dumping it into another cooler I had laying around with a plastic false bottom. I was planning a 11 gallon batch pale ale, used about 20 lbs of grain, and got less than 5 gallons out of it. I'm not sure how it will turn out... Anyway, i put about 15gallon of water into it, how come I got so little? was it all stuck in the grain? I've since killed the idea of the braid and got a kettle screen for my next batch. Any ideas?

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Old 02-14-2011, 04:57 AM   #2
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It sounds like a stuck sparge to me. What water to grain ratio did you use and were there lots of oats?

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Old 02-14-2011, 11:20 AM   #3
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Oh yeah it was a stuck sparge alright. I used 1 quart to a lb. Probably ended up being more than that though. Didn't use any oats.

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Old 02-15-2011, 06:18 AM   #4
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I am taking the following three take aways from the bad brew day experience. Hope it helps someone:
1. Get mash and sparge water volume right
2. Replace ss hose setup with bazooka/kettlescreen for mlt
3. More accurately manage temps from hlt to converted ten gallon gott cooler

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Old 02-15-2011, 09:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by AussieBrewerInColorado View Post
So my first AG brew day went horribly wrong. I had a converted keggle for a HLT and brew kettle and a converted 10 gal round rubbermaid for my mash tun with a braid ring from palmers book. First the braided ring collapsed on me and it was just trickling out after mashing, I ended up dumping it into another cooler I had laying around with a plastic false bottom. I was planning a 11 gallon batch pale ale, used about 20 lbs of grain, and got less than 5 gallons out of it. I'm not sure how it will turn out... Anyway, i put about 15gallon of water into it, how come I got so little? was it all stuck in the grain? I've since killed the idea of the braid and got a kettle screen for my next batch. Any ideas?

If you're saying you used 15 gallons total water and ended up with only about 5 gallons of beer, I can see close to half of the problem is in water calculations. Your total water volume should be between 17 and 18 gallons, depending on boil time, in order to put 11 gallons into the fermenter. This takes into consideration things like grain absorption, MLT dead space, boiloff, shrinkage from cooling, losses to hop debris, break material and yeast sediment in the boil kettle and fermenters.

As an example, I have a pale ale recipe with 10 lbs. of grain. I use a 10 gallon Round cooler with a braid and boil for 60 minutes. I get 6 gallons post boil, 5.5 gallons into the fermenter and a net of 5 gallons into the keg. To achieve these goals, I begin with just over 8.5 gallons of water.

I recently switched from a 5 gallon round cooler with a 12" SS braid to a 10 gallon round with a 36" braid. While using the 5 gallon setup I went wide open to drain, but with the 10 gallon I need to regulate the outflow to keep from collapsing the braid.

It will take a few batches to get used to the all grain process and fine tune your equipment. Good luck and hope you get 5 gallons of great beer out of this one. Remember, 5 gallons is better than 0 gallons :-)


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Old 02-18-2011, 10:27 PM   #6
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Thanks Bob, thats a thought. I'll have to look into that.
So for 10 gallon batches, would you need to heat strike water and while it is mashing, heat up additional water for the sparge? (since it is only a 15.5 gallon keg).

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Old 02-19-2011, 07:30 PM   #7
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Thanks Bob, thats a thought. I'll have to look into that.
So for 10 gallon batches, would you need to heat strike water and while it is mashing, heat up additional water for the sparge? (since it is only a 15.5 gallon keg).
Yes, or you could heat as much as possible and just add to what's left after doughing in and reheat while you're mashing.

If you haven't already, I would highly recommend investing in some brewing software. Beersmith and Pro-Mash are very reasonable and there are several free ones floating around out there as well. I got Beersmith before switching to all-grain brewing and can't imagine brewing all-grain without it. So easy to input a few things and let the software do all of the calcs.

Good Luck & happy brewing,

Bob
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieBrewerInColorado View Post
I am taking the following three take aways from the bad brew day experience. Hope it helps someone:
1. Get mash and sparge water volume right
2. Replace ss hose setup with bazooka/kettlescreen for mlt
3. More accurately manage temps from hlt to converted ten gallon gott cooler
Maybe throw in 2 or 3 ounces of rice hulls for good measure ?
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:53 PM   #9
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used about 20 lbs of grain, and got less than 5 gallons out of it. I'm not sure how it will turn out... Anyway, i put about 15gallon of water into it, how come I got so little?
This doesn't seem possible. The grain would absorb maybe 2.5 gal. You should have been able to drain at least 12 gal. out of the MLT. When you cleaned out the MLT, was it full of wort? Or was it just wet grain? Are you sure you put in 12 gallons of water and not 12 quarts or something? I can understand losing 1/2-1 gal. in a large false bottom setup, but 7 gal. is hard to believe.
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:10 AM   #10
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Bob, thanks for the info on software, got pro-mash.
DeafSmith, might not be a bad idea.
pkeeler, I just filled the keg with water and boiled it, i admit after making a measuring stick today while brewing it would have been less than 15, maybe 13 gallons. My guess is i didn't sparge enough.

Thanks so much for everybody's advice and help. Taking all that into account and reading Bob's All-Grain Primer, I brewed today and things went fairly well. First thing I did was throw out the POS stainless braid and replaced it with a kettle valve. No stuck sparge, was very happy. I also took more notice on water volume, and added water to MLT first rather than what Palmer's book says to do. I did come out short on wort but not as much as my first efforts, I think after a few runs I should be able to get the right volume. I'm still undecided about the right sparging method to use.
I was able to get nearly 5 gallons of wort from the first runnings so I used an additional 8'ish gallons to get my pre-boil volume of about 12 gallons. Interestingly, pro-mash said my pre-boil target should be 11.38 plato, I got 13.3 plato, what does that mean? pro-mash said my OG should be 13.33 plato (my pre-boil reading), my OG was 17.5 plato. Is this a big problem? I unfortunately did not measure the plato on my first runnings.

Thanks again for all of your help, hope to perfect more and more with each batch.

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