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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Help with inherited equipment and all grain methodology
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:35 PM   #1
sethlovex
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Hello
So I received some equipment from a home brewer who retired as follows:
1) 5 and 6.5 gallon carboys (had a 5 already)
2) 3/8" copper coil ( I presume he used this for a wort chiller, I have added some ss hose clamps, vinyl tubing, and a garden hose connection to put it into use.)
3) 60 quart aluminum stockpot
4) 52(?) quart rectangular cooler with slotted PVC manifold. The manifold looked ghetto and nasty so I am throwing it out. There was a plastic bulkhead fitting and rubber washer assembly that I think I can reuse. My plan is to add braided ss supply line and ball valve for sparging.

I already have a 5 gal bottling bucket and propane fryer burner which has worked great for my extract batches. I have been reading up on partial and all grain brewing ( btw thank deathbrewer and John Palmer for great info) and given my equipment I think it makes sense to jump right into all grain. My five gallon methodology will be:


1) boil water to mash temp (~165?)
2) add 1 gal to preheat tun , dump out and add another gal
3) mash in 10 lbs of grain add 1.25 quarts per pound (minus original gallon so about 2.5 gallons)
4) after 1 hour Vorlauf until wort is free of grains and grain bed filtration is established and then drain wort into bottling bucket
5) add sparge with 170 water to obtain preboil 7.5(?) gallons
6) add first running to ( now empty) boil kettle
7) vorlauf 2Nd runnings, drain to bucket, add to kettle, add hops and boil. Insert wort chiller, cool to 70, move to carboy and pitch yeast.

How does this sound?

I'm not using software yet but am considering beer smith. I suspect I have the capacity to do larger batches and the software will help to tailor recipes, mash temps etc. any thoughts on this.

What is the best way to get the mash/ sparge water to the tun? I suppose I could use a pitcher. I'm thinking I need to drill my kettle and add a ball valve and sight glass. Thoughts?

. Currently have a steeped extract IPA and JOAM in carboys. I was considering doing a smash with two row or MO for my first all grain, toasting two pounds of grain for some depth. I have chinook or cascade on hand.

Finally thanks in advance. I have been reading on HBT constantly since joining and the info and humor has been priceless.
Rdwhahb

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
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You'll have to experiment with water temps to get the cooler mash ton heated up & bring the watter temp down to 152-155F for the actual mash. Holding mash temp is the most important thing in partial mash or all grain brewing. I like to sparge with water at 165-168F. Staying under that 170F tannin threshold.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:43 PM   #3
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Before you throw that ghetto manifold out, maybe soak it in some vinegar or other acid and see how it cleans up. It might not be as bad once you get the patina off of it. It's not difficult and would save some time and $ over building a new SS braid. I have a drilled copper manifold and it works great. It's starting to get a bit brown from use, but that doesn't affect the quality.

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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Your process looks correct. One thing to consider for your first attempt is to forego the SMASH and go with something a bit darker as they will hide any flaws in your process better than the SMASH. Once you have brewed all grain a few times so your process is streamlined, then do your SMASH.

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Old 02-04-2013, 04:29 PM   #5
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1. (~165?) If you have BeerSmith it will tell you what the required strike temperature is. In the meantime, you can use http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

2. Rather than adding pre-heating water and dumping it, I find it easier to add the full amount of strike water about 5 degrees hotter than required, and wait a few minutes for it to cool to the required temperature, then dough in.

3. Yup, but I add all the water first, so just stir in the grains.

4. Vorlauf before draining.

5. I sparge with water hotter than 170. This raises the grain bed temp to close to 170. As for the 7.5 gallons, this will vary from system to system, but I would guess that 7.5 gallons is fairly close with the size of your kettle. Don't forget to stir in the sparge water really well.

6. Yup

7. Don't forget to vorlauf before draining. I'd move to the carboy before pitching the yeast.

You should be able to do 10g batches with that set-up (but you will need an extra fermenter). I agree the BeerSmith (or other software) is very useful for scaling/ designing recipes, managing the brew session, and keeping detailed notes.
Using a pitcher to transfer the sparge water will cool it down a bit. I would just pour straight from the kettle, but a ball valve in the kettle would be better if you are not comfortable doing this, and I don't think I would be comfortable doing this for a 10g batch.

Good luck.

-a.

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Old 02-04-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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Per rm-mn,s suggestion I may do something darker, did not realize smash implications, maybe deathbrewers dunkelwizen? Looks pretty easy.

Right, I forgot to write vorlauf but was planning on doing this about 1-2 Quarts recirculating till wort looks clear?

So maybe I will be sticking to 5 gal batches until I get a kettle valve.
What are the implications if I dont take OG/FG readings and just go by the seat of my pants? Obviously won't be adding DME to make up gravity but otherwise? It seems if I'm following a grain bill and mash temp from a recipe the numbers will take care of themselves?

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Old 02-04-2013, 05:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sethlovex View Post
Per rm-mn,s suggestion I may do something darker, did not realize smash implications, maybe deathbrewers dunkelwizen? Looks pretty easy.

Right, I forgot to write vorlauf but was planning on doing this about 1-2 Quarts recirculating till wort looks clear?

So maybe I will be sticking to 5 gal batches until I get a kettle valve.
What are the implications if I dont take OG/FG readings and just go by the seat of my pants? Obviously won't be adding DME to make up gravity but otherwise? It seems if I'm following a grain bill and mash temp from a recipe the numbers will take care of themselves?
1 - 2 quarts has always worked well for me

If you don't take OG readings, you will have no idea what your efficiency is, or even if your efficiency is consistent. Pre-fermentation readings (both pre-boil and in the fermenter) can be very helpful in identifying the cause of problems, so that those problems can be fixed, and your results will be predictable.

If you don't take FG readings, you run the risk of bottle bombs, as well as possible off flavors caused by moving the beer off the yeast too early.

-a.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:25 PM   #8
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This clears up some things about gravity at different points in the process. Pre boil one makes more sense now. Still dialing in my mash part of my process. Def need to learn a bit more about the finer points of my partial mash.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:11 PM   #9
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You vorlauf to get the grain bed set so it makes a filter to keep the grain particles out of the boil kettle. You don't need really clear wort. Those of us who BIAB get really cloudy wort as we squeeze the bag of grains to get the sugars out and our beer still turns out clear. Your tun may require 2 qts, 4 qts, or maybe only a pint this time, you decide when it is good enough to suit you.

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Old 02-04-2013, 06:20 PM   #10
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Ty will clarify my op

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