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Old 06-16-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
snipper_cr
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Default A few pre-AG questions

One of the main reasons I am going AG is the ability to better scale my recipes. I plan on making a smaller mash tun and was going to be making a manifold for the bottom.

My understanding is that since the wort I collect from the mash tun gets boiled, I do not have to be excessively concerned about infection. For instance, I plan on making the manifold out of PVC. The softness of PVC and the scratches/cuts on it would allow bacteria and other not-fun stuff to hide out there and maybe not be killed by sanitizer. But if something WERE to hide out, get into the wort, it would be killed by the boil?

How wide do the openings in the manifold have to be? I was thinking of just taking a hack saw to make some slits. Perhaps there are some tuts on how to make a good manifold/mash tun?

Grain crush seems to be a major problem with efficiency. However, I note crushers are often over $100 and while I am not exactly saying I should sacrifice money for beer quality, I am just exploring other options. When you order from online retailers or LHBS, they often give the option of "Crushed." Is that crush sufficient or would you get low efficiency?

More a random question: The wort you get from your mash... is it possible to boil it down and get your own LME/DME?

Thanks all!


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Old 06-16-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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More a random question: The wort you get from your mash... is it possible to boil it down and get your own LME/DME?
you could, but why go through the effort? it would be like squeezing your own apples to make apple juice, then concentrating the juice to make AJ concentrate, only to add water to make apple juice you had in the first place.


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Old 06-16-2009, 08:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by snipper_cr View Post
One of the main reasons I am going AG is the ability to better scale my recipes. I plan on making a smaller mash tun and was going to be making a manifold for the bottom.

My understanding is that since the wort I collect from the mash tun gets boiled, I do not have to be excessively concerned about infection. For instance, I plan on making the manifold out of PVC. The softness of PVC and the scratches/cuts on it would allow bacteria and other not-fun stuff to hide out there and maybe not be killed by sanitizer. But if something WERE to hide out, get into the wort, it would be killed by the boil?
You want CPVC, the tan-colored stuff you see at the hardware store. PVC softens and can leach chemicals at mash temperatures. CPVC is fine, though, and, yes, you don't need to sanitize your mash tun. Note, however, that leftover grain smells foul when it rots -- don't let it sit around. I hose out my mas tun until it looks clean, then air- dry it with the lid open.

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Originally Posted by snipper_cr View Post
How wide do the openings in the manifold have to be? I was thinking of just taking a hack saw to make some slits. Perhaps there are some tuts on how to make a good manifold/mash tun?
Sounds pretty good. My CPVC manifold in my big cooler has saw-blade width slots, and filters very nicely.

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Originally Posted by snipper_cr View Post
Grain crush seems to be a major problem with efficiency. However, I note crushers are often over $100 and while I am not exactly saying I should sacrifice money for beer quality, I am just exploring other options. When you order from online retailers or LHBS, they often give the option of "Crushed." Is that crush sufficient or would you get low efficiency?
I've used precrushed malt from Austin Homebrew Supply, and two different LHBS', with good results (75-78% efficiency) with all.

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Originally Posted by snipper_cr View Post
More a random question: The wort you get from your mash... is it possible to boil it down and get your own LME/DME?

Thanks all!
Like AZ_IPA said, you could do it to make LME, but I'm not sure why you'd do it. For DME, you'd need a spray-dry apparatus, and a metric boatload of cash to make it work.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by snipper_cr View Post
Grain crush seems to be a major problem with efficiency. However, I note crushers are often over $100 and while I am not exactly saying I should sacrifice money for beer quality, I am just exploring other options. When you order from online retailers or LHBS, they often give the option of "Crushed." Is that crush sufficient or would you get low efficiency?
I imagine this depends on what retailer you buy it from. Some don't maintain their equipment as well as others, and I'm sure some less scrupulous sellers realize that selling an inefficient crush means selling more grain. Also, you certainly have a lot more control crushing your own. That said, I've done my last three mashes with AHS crushed grain and gotten near 75% efficiency even with simple stovetop-and-bag methods, so buying precrushed doesn't have to drive your efficiency down into the basement. A crusher would be good if I wanted to really fine-tune or buy bulk grain for months in advance, but it's not a high priority purchase for me right now.

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