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Old 05-12-2006, 03:35 AM   #1
Steve973
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Default What are your tricks of the trade?

What does everyone do to give their all-grain beer that "something extra"? For example, what do you do that gets your extraction efficiency to around eighty percent? What do you find that gives you clear and sparkling and clean tasting beer?

I think it'd be a great idea to start a thread with these bits of information. I know that I personally am always trying to make my next batch better than my last, and I could certainly benefit from things that others have learned, since every brew session can be different. If the thread is very good, perhaps it can become a "sticky" for everybody to learn from.

Even though I know this fact is fairly common, I've found that a two hour mash at 146 degrees yields LOTS of fermentables. Even if your extraction efficiency isn't the best, the sugars that you get will all be very fermentable, and your FG will be lower than expected. Just be sure your mash tun is well insulated, because you don't have a lot of room for the temperature to drop.

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Old 05-12-2006, 03:52 AM   #2
Bernie Brewer
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I have yet to try this, but I have read that if you go against conventional wisdom and grind your grain very fine, your efficiency will go up. I am going to try this on my next batch, though I'm not sure when that'll be. My best eff with using the grinder at the LHBS has been around 68%. I'll post my results when I finally get aroung to brewing my next batch. Could be awhile.

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Old 05-12-2006, 04:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ablrbrau
I have yet to try this, but I have read that if you go against conventional wisdom and grind your grain very fine, your efficiency will go up. I am going to try this on my next batch, though I'm not sure when that'll be. My best eff with using the grinder at the LHBS has been around 68%. I'll post my results when I finally get aroung to brewing my next batch. Could be awhile.
That's exactly what I was going to say. Basically, "grind until it's scary."

Since Dude got his mill, he's been grinding to the point that he gets a lot of "flour". His efficiency has gone through the roof. But you have to be careful, though, because the more flour, the stickier your sparge is likely to be. Also, you'll want to make sure and do a very thorough recirculation.

Another thing I'm going to start doing is mashing lower than what my gut tells me. This might be simply a matter of taste, though, as I tend to like my beers dryer than most.

Also, pay attention to your mash PH, and brew water. This is something I haven't delved much into, but I think every AG brewer should look into it, so that your water can be modified, if it needs it.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:24 PM   #4
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I'll second (or third or fourth) the fine crush, or at least finding the sweet spot. All the grain I've ever gotten from HBS's has been crushed too coarse for my system. I can get ~80% with a lowly Corona mill, and even got 80% on a Hefeweizen in my last batch (I usually get ~70% with wheat grists).

In terms of clarity I think recirculation is good, but a strong boil with a fierce hot break and then cooling the wort as quickly as possible is equally, if not moreso, important. Also conditioning the beer in the fridge after it carbonates will do wonders (whether AG or not).

The Kaiser has got me on a German-induced mash schedule flight of fancy at the moment, so I'm seeing how schedules and techniques other than single-infusion mashes affect flavor. Based on my premature Weizenbock I'm quite optimistic about both steps and decoctions, but I don't have any solid data or any blind taste tests planned to back that up.

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