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Old 02-03-2007, 09:43 PM   #1
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Default WOO HOO!! My first AG.

I've been planning this day since last Christmas. It was awesome.

Been doing full boil extract brews for a number of years using a Sabco keggle.

SWMBO got me a MiniBrew MLT for Christmas. I added the MiniBrew HLT, a March pump, and built a stand for the whole shebang. Also bought a Barley Crusher malt mill based on comments read on this forum.

Today I put it to work. Converted my favorite IPA extract recipe to AG.

Ingredients:
11.0 lbs American 2-row
1.0 lbs American Caramel 40°L
1.0 lbs American Munich
2.7 oz Dry Light
1.0 oz Chinook (13.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
1 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 20 min
1.0 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 10 min
2 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 ea White Labs WLP001 California Ale

According to BeerTools Pro, my efficiency was 70%. I guess that's not too bad for the first time.

Biggest lesson of the day: When you use your electric drill to drive your grain mill, make sure the darn thing is not in reverse. It took me a coupla minutes to figure that one out when I noticed that the grains were passing through the mill without being crushed. Yes, that was pretty embarrassing with my eight year old watching.

Next upgrade: Some method to keep the HLT contents stirred. Temperature stratification in the HLT is pretty significant without stirring.

All in all, a great day. Can't wait to taste this.

Cheers,

Ken



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Old 02-03-2007, 09:44 PM   #2
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Congrats....

Now find a camera....



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Old 02-03-2007, 09:51 PM   #3
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Sounds like a very satisfying day for you! 70% efficiency ain't bad if you're batch sparging. I seem to be stuck at 69% and can live with it. Anyway, congrats!

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Old 02-03-2007, 09:54 PM   #4
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Actually I was fly-sparging, but I elected not to stir the grain bed at all during the 60 min mash out of concern for losing heat from the MLT. Next time I think I'll try stirring the grain bed once or twice before recirculating to clear the wort.

Ken

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Old 02-03-2007, 10:25 PM   #5
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Sweet! Feels good, doesn't it?

Crush, crush, crush. Check your crush! Your efficiency will go through the roof if you are fly sparging. You shouldn't get anything less than 80-85% by fly sparging if your crush is good and oyu go SLOOOOOW.

I get 80% batch sparging, and 86% fly sparging, all since I started milling my own grains.

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Old 02-03-2007, 10:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude

Crush, crush, crush. Check your crush! Your efficiency will go through the roof if you are fly sparging. You shouldn't get anything less than 80-85% by fly sparging if your crush is good and oyu go SLOOOOOW.
Yeah, I must admit that, although I began sparging very slowly, I got impatient near the end and upped the rate. That may have hurt some.

As for the crush, I left my Barley Crusher on the factory setting (.039 per their web site). Don't know what mill you use Dude, but any feedback on this setting?

By the way Dude, your latest avatar is pretty cool.

Cheers,
Ken
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:06 PM   #7
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I also just bought the barley crusher and used it at the factory setting. I'd also be curious of what setting would be optimal to max efficiency. I started my first few AGs fly sparging, then started batching. Dude, maybe I'll switch back to the fly again.

I haven't even calculated my efficiency yet, though. Do you use one of the brewing programs? I tried the Beersmith trial version and would like to purchase one. Which software would ya'll recommend?

Congrats on your first AG.

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Old 02-03-2007, 11:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torpshootr
SWMBO got me a MiniBrew MLT for Christmas. I added the MiniBrew HLT, a March pump, and built a stand for the whole shebang. Also bought a Barley Crusher malt mill based on comments read on this forum.
Do you have a water heater element in your HLT? If so, how well did it work?
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Beere
Do you have a water heater element in your HLT? If so, how well did it work?
Yes. I installed a 1500W, 120 VAC heater element purchased at Lowes.

I heat my strike/sparge water in my keggle, then transfer it to the HLT. Once in the HLT, the water heater element is controlled by a Ranco 111000 ETC, which keeps it at desired temperature (I used 163F for dough-in and 169 for sparge). It worked like a champ.

Cheers,
Ken

PS - John Beere, your avatar is even cooler than Dude's. There should be a contest.
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Old 02-04-2007, 12:50 AM   #10
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Thanks for the info. I have been in touch with John Thomas of Hobby Beverage about creating a matching Heat Exchanger built similar to this: http://djlarrylive.com/Heat-Exchanger.html

He says he is interested but couldn't give me a timeframe in creating it.

Thanks for the comment on my avatar, I actually just changed it to that today...



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