So, ran my first ag batch yesterday. I used Deathbrewers method with varying degrees of success. The first was an American Amber. I adjusted my grain bill up to account for the lack of efficiency I would experience. Of course, I did not stop to think about how much volume that actually is. (14 lbs of grain!). Needless to say, it didn;t all fit, but I made a huge mess in the process of discovering that. I ended up fitting about 10.5-11 lbs in, by my best estimate. Obviously discouraged, thinking I would have less beer or a lower OG, I brewed on, and somehow ended up hitting the OG the recipe called for...on less grain. I haven;t decided if this is due to my misreading the hydrometer, or if a 90 minute mash helped. In any case, after dropping a rubberband in the boil, my two year old splashing boiling wort on me, and having to resanitize my carboy due to said youngun pouring sand in it, I finally got it cooled and pitched. I remembered of course, to push the rubber stopper in so far that it falls in the beer. Its a technique I am developing, called "G-d F*cking Dammit!". At least, thats what my audience thinks, as I repeated it a dozen times.
Obviously, after an experience like that, the next thing I do is go and get stuff for the next batch.
I made the mistake of drinking a couple beers while I got ready to do my second batch of the day. Oops. I managed to hit my acid rest temp withouth incident, but as I was heating up the mash to 150, the bag hit bottom, melted in 5 different places, and some grain scorched on the bottom. I caught it fairly quickly, and dumped everything into my other pot. The mash went fine, except now I had no practical way to get the wort off the grains. I resorted to using a colindar and a spoon to squeeze as much liquid out of the grains into 1 gallon containers and dumped the grains into my sparge water. After 20 minutes of this, I finally ended up with about 1 3/4 gallons out of my 3 gallon mash. After a 10 minute soak in the sparge, I used the old, melted, holey grain bag to filter everything out of the sparge pot. I did better here, and got almost all of my 3 gallons out. This whole process ended up taking the better part of 5 hours. I ended up putting a lid on the wort, and letting it sit until this morning, because I just couldn't take anymore. I boiled this morning, added a gallon of cold water, and pitched eventually. However, because I am dry hopping my amber with my stopper, this beer has a fermentation lock consisting of a plastic shopping bag and a rubber band.
Amber is fermenting just fine, and we'll see how the second batch (Belgian ale, with 2 lbs of 2-row added to boost OG) goes. The amazing thing is, even with losing a lot of wort, I hit a gravity 12 points higher than expected gravity for the second batch . (Expected 1.05, hit 1.062) Again, I wonder if I am reading the frickin' thing wrong. With all of the things that went wrong, and the added water, I would expect it to be lower, even with the added malt.
Comments, suggestions? Laugh at me, sympathize, w/e, just thought I'd share.