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Old 05-18-2012, 03:25 AM   #1
lpstudio18
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Default need help with first all grain attempt

OK, so this weekend we will be brewing our first all grain batch.

it's a pale ale kit from northern brewer and looks like this:

10lbs Rahr 2-row
0.75lbs Briess Caramel 60

0.75 oz Chinook (45min)
0.75 oz German Perle (20min)
2 oz Cascade (0min)

Safale US-05

It calls for a Sacch' rest at 152F for 60min.

I have done a lot of reading and just want some clarification on a few things...

First of all, 1-1.5 qt/lb of grain...what is best? I assume more water in the mash means less sparging, but not sure how that affects the outcome.

Also, I have read in Palmer's book that you typically need 1.5-2 times as much sparge water as your initial infusion volume. One problem with this is, at 1.5 qt/lb, this would end up being 24-32 qt...I have a 5 gal pot which won't hold this and a 8 gal pot that will be collecting the wort.

This leads me to my biggest question: how much damn wort are we collecting? Do you shoot for 6 or 6.5 gallons, assuming that amount of boil-off over 60 minutes?

If it helps, I plan on doing single infusion mash (just the sacch rest) and a batch sparge.

I think that does it for now...thanks in advance!

Matt



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Old 05-18-2012, 03:57 AM   #2
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You need to know all your system losses to determine your total boil volume. I usually start with about 7.75 gal, boil down to 6.25,to get 5.75 into the fermenter, 5.5 gal of which gets into the bottle.

You need to know your boil off, trub loss, expansion loss, dead space. What are you mashing with? A pot? I think you could also use a bucket to store wort while you sparge, if you need to.

I think there are some online calculators to help you with the math.



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Old 05-18-2012, 04:04 AM   #3
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This is where a program like Beersmith really comes in handy. It will do all these calculations for you.

Otherwise you'll need to estimate how much water the grain will retain and adjust your sparge accordingly.

A different trick to do this (that works with batch sparging) is to do the first drain (drain it completely), measure the resulting wort volume and subtract that from your desired pre-boil volume. That amount is how much to sparge with.

Anywhere between 1 qt/lb to 1.5 qt/lb in the mash will be fine. Just split the difference and do 1.25.

The desired pre-boil volume depends on the boil-off rate, how much you want going into the fermenter and how much you expect to lose to trub (if you aren't planning on just dumping the trub into the fermenter). That can be tricky since the boil-off can vary with alot of things. You could assume a typical rate like 10% to 15% per hour. 6.5 gallons is probably a decent assumption. Assuming 15% boiloff per hour, that will give you around 5.5 gallons into the fermenter if you include the trub.

My experience is that for a batch with 5.5 gallons going into the fermenter, an 8 gallon pot can be uncomfortably tight, especially for a 90 min boil where you might need as much as 7.5 gallons pre boil.

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Old 05-18-2012, 04:06 AM   #4
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I noticed the more water I mash with the higher efficiency I seem to get. Now, I only have 4 AG batches under my belt so take that with a grain of salt. I like 1.5 quarts per pound of grain. I try to get around 6.5-7 gallons in the pot to wind up with about 5.5 gallons in the fermenter, but your system may vary in the amount of boil-off. Keep a written plan on hand, pre-heat your mash tun if you use a cooler, and remember your initial mash temp will read high as the grains are absorbing heat. It's easy to cool the mash by stirring with a lid open, it's harder to raise the mash temp so shoot a degree or two high and stir down if you need to. I mash with 1.25-1.5 quarts water per pound of grain and just sparge with the volume I need to hit my desired pre-boil volume. Make sure to measure the amount of wort you collect and check the gravity so you can calculate your efficiency. Keep some DME on hand in case your efficiency is low.

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Old 05-19-2012, 04:30 PM   #5
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thanks for all the replies....I think I've got it now. Efficiency is definitely my main concern....I have some extra light DME on hand...if I take a pre-boil gravity reading and it's really low, do I just add the DME then?

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Old 05-19-2012, 05:39 PM   #6
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Here is a calculator to determine how much DME to add

http://www.ahomebrewlog.com/gravity_adjustment/

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Old 05-19-2012, 05:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex23 View Post
This is where a program like Beersmith really comes in handy. It will do all these calculations for you.
That's some of the best advice a new AG brewer can get. Software is invaluable in AG brewing, IMO. Many of us would be lost and/or incredibly frustrated without it.


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