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Old 08-26-2012, 11:51 PM   #1
lousybeer
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Default Help with my first all grain

So I just finished my first all grain 2.5 gallon brew.

I used death brewers stovetop brewing method which seems kind of like the BIAB method.

First I added my grains to the bag in my pot. The temp was a bit high so then I added cold water, then it was too low so I added hot water. Is that bad? To you start your 60 min mash timer when you hit your temp or when you add the grains?

Then when I went to do the sparge my pot was too small and had to split the bag up into 2 pots and one pot was around 164F and the other was at 144F. What is the importance of the temp of the sparge water?

After that I did my boil and cooled the wort. The wort was very cloudy is this normal? I strained it when I transferred to my fermenter, but it was still pretty cloudy. I also had to top off with about a gallon of water so I guess I didn't calculate amount of water properly. Is there an advantage of hitting your target volume without having to top off water rather than topping off after the boil?

Also, my efficiency was at 56%. How much could the poor sparging have affected that?

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Old 08-27-2012, 12:18 AM   #2
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You have a lot of problems there. You should probably start from scratch and relearn the AG brewing process.

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Old 08-27-2012, 12:26 AM   #3
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I'll answer one of the questions - the sparge water in that method is heated to 170 to act like a mash out. Basically at that temp it stops the extraction of sugars. My understanding is that this helps create a consistent brewing process if you are trying to repeat results over and over again.

As for efficiency - a lot of things. Crush of the grain, mash temp, stirring the grain, etc. Next time get your temp consistent, and then see how it goes.

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Old 08-27-2012, 12:32 AM   #4
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Sounds like you had normal beginner problems. Trying to do a brew different from the "standard" 5 gallon batch is tough because you have to learn if as you go.

I think your beer should be fine. Just make notes of the problems you had and try to think of ways to solve them before your next brew day.

To answer your first question, typically start your 60 minutes when you hit your mash temp. Its better to hit you mash temp the first time, but you should be alright.

I'm not sure if you will have a problem with sparging at 144F.

Your wort was cloudy because you didn't recirculate your wort enough through the mash (vorlaufing). It should be okay.

Finally, your poor effiency is probably caused by your sparging.

Good Luck on your next brew.

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Old 08-27-2012, 12:35 AM   #5
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I think "starting from scratch" is what we all do, each time we brew. As long as we have learned something, we will be better next time. Take what you learned and the next brew day will be better, and the next better, and so on! I have yet to have the "perfect" brewday. And I kinda hope I never do.

Ultimately, you will have beer once you are done! It sounds like you know the process, adjust and brew more! Cheers!

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Old 08-27-2012, 05:00 AM   #6
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Regarding the fact you had to top off: your beer will taste different if you top off due to how hop utilization takes place. Its been a long time since I've done partial boils and read up on it, but if I remember right your IBU will probably come out lower than expected if you didn't plan for a top off.

Also given that you topped off almost 40% of your beer, I'm wondering how accurate your other measurements were - this might have impacted your efficiency.


Fwiw - my first all grain (same method as you) came out way under the expected efficiency (I think I ended up at 3.5% abv and was expecting 5.5...) but it was still drinkable. A few batches later and I had the technique down and got reliable results.

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Old 08-27-2012, 02:09 PM   #7
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Did my second batch of 2.5 gallon All-Grain this weekend. First time I had too much volume and had to boil longer so I made adjustments for the second time only to finish about a half gallon under so I too had to add water. I did notice how much lower my O.G. was so no doubt this will be a lower ABV, but hopefully still turns out tasty.

Live and learn...the beauty of it all.

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Old 08-27-2012, 03:39 PM   #8
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If you search the site for BIAB you'll find lots of threads about how to improve your process. Dunking in a second pot of 170F water is essentially the BIAB version of a mash out and batch sparge. The 170F water helps to make the sugars more soluble so that they end up in your wort instead of stuck to the grains/bag.

Lots of BIAB brewers don't bother with a sparge step (they just heat the mash water to 170 directly), but an important step is to squeeze the grain bag after pulling it out of the mash water.

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Old 08-29-2012, 02:13 AM   #9
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I appreciate all of the help! I will definitely remember this for the next batch!

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