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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > My first all-grain brew and my first brew in two years.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:29 AM   #1
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Default My first all-grain brew and my first brew in two years.

As some of you may know, I recently found a two year old dunkelweisen that I forgot about in the secondary. It tasted terrible, so it was thrown out. However, I'm back to brewing! I've only done three extracts before, and only two of them were ever bottled, so I'm very much a newbie at this. However, right before I took my hiatus from homebrewing (so soon after starting too ) I had built a mash tun in preparation to start all-grain. Life got in the way, so I never did get started though. Yesterday a new 60 qt brew kettle came in the mail, and this morning I picked up grains from the local store!

Right now my grains have been in the mash tun for about 40 minutes. I'll begin sparging in 20 minutes. So far the biggest difference between extract and all-grain is that all-grain is boring!!! Haha, actually, I should have saved a lot of the cleaning/preparation for after I started the mash instead of before I got started with the whole process.

Since I'm bored and rambling on though, I might as well ask a question. How long does your entire sparge process take? I'm doing a 5 gallon batch. I've watched a few YouTube videos, and it seems like some just open the valve and let it drain as fast as gravity will let it, while others take their time and have the wort seep out.

My setup (the kettle is just outside on a propane turkey fryer since I'm in my basement):

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Old 12-23-2012, 05:40 AM   #2
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It's my understanding that you should drain slowly to avoid a stuck sparge.

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Old 12-23-2012, 12:22 PM   #3
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Welcome back. The sparge process time depends on how you are doing it. I am assuming you are batch sparging,if that is correct you drain your mash being sure to vorlauf to catch any grain,pour in your sparge water,stir it up good,let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes(or how long recipe says),vorlauf to catch any possible grains then open the drain valve wide open. If you are fly sparging you drain the mash the same way then slow start the spage until you have about 2 inches of water above the grains(I think that is the correct amount I batch sparge),then vorlauf and open valve to match outgoing flowrate to match incoming flowrate.

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Old 12-23-2012, 07:05 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I ended up taking about an hour and fifteen minutes to sparge. The recipe I used didn't specify whether to do batch or fly sparging, so I did fly.

I found a recipe online and used that. As I went through the process, I found several mistakes and areas of ambiguity. I think I should have done my first all-grain with a kit rather than a random internet recipe. I think I might order a kit or two for my next ones. Then once I get a better idea of what I'm doing then move onto internet recipes and maybe eventually my own recipes.

I had always pictured all-grain brewing being so much more complicated than extract. Though, it really wasn't all that difficult at all. It was, however, VERY time consuming! It took me almost 7 hours from the start of sanitizing equipment until I had the wort in the primary fermenter. Having now done this once, I can see where I can easily cut off over an hour, but it's still much longer than the extracts I had done before.

I shouldn't have started this at 10pm. I didn't crawl into bed until about 5am!

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Old 12-23-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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What did you end up brewing?

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Old 12-23-2012, 10:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
I had always pictured all-grain brewing being so much more complicated than extract. Though, it really wasn't all that difficult at all. It was, however, VERY time consuming! It took me almost 7 hours from the start of sanitizing equipment until I had the wort in the primary fermenter. Having now done this once, I can see where I can easily cut off over an hour, but it's still much longer than the extracts I had done before.
You should try BIAB method of all grain once just to see how it compares.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewerBear View Post
What did you end up brewing?
A pilsner recipe I found online.

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You should try BIAB method of all grain once just to see how it compares.
I just Googled it and it looks interesting... Though I'll probably stick with the more traditional AG method until I get everything figured out. Then maybe I'll give the BIAB a try.
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:12 AM   #8
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I determined my mash efficiency to be a measly 49%. When I determined my mash efficiency, I used the specific gravity I took from the wort right before I put it in the primary fermenter and the volume I used was the final volume that was in the primary. Is that the correct specific gravity and volume to use? Or should I have used the specific gravity of the wort prior to boiling and the volume of the wort I collected after sparging?

The more I read up on sparging and mashing, the more mistakes I realized I made, so my low efficiency isn't surprising. I'm hopeful that I will increase my efficiency quite a bit on my next brew.

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Old 12-24-2012, 04:47 AM   #9
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Also, at what efficiency are most recipes designed for?

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Old 12-24-2012, 12:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max384 View Post
A pilsner recipe I found online.



I just Googled it and it looks interesting... Though I'll probably stick with the more traditional AG method until I get everything figured out. Then maybe I'll give the BIAB a try.
I'd suggest you try BIAB first as it is a simple method that gives good results. Once you get good results from that you can go back to the conventional mash tun if you want. One warning on it though, If you double crush or grind the grains fine you are likely to get such good efficiency that you may decide not to change back. My batches tend to be near 80% with no sparge, 85% with a modified sparge.
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