Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > First all-grain brewed yesterday. So-so results. Help/suggestions?
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:14 PM   #1
SamuraiSquirrel
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Default First all-grain brewed yesterday. So-so results. Help/suggestions?

So I brewed my first all grain this past Sunday. For the most part everything went according to plans. I just missed my targets by a little but it should still be a good beer. Just looking for some advice and thoughts as to where I might have gone wrong.

Equipment:
10 gallon mega pot & 10 gallon igloo cooler with copper manifold.
Ingredients:
10 lbs American pale two row
1 lb Munich
lb Belgian caramunich
lb Briess carapils
.75 oz Columbus @ 60
.75 oz Centennial @ 45
.25 oz Centennial @ 30
.25 oz Centennial @ 15
.25 oz Centennial @ 5
.25 oz Centennial @ 2
.5 oz Columbus dry hop 14 days
.5 oz Centennial dry hop 7 days
Safale 04 yeast

Mash:
Mash in 15 quarts at 155 degrees for 60 minutes
Sparge with 4.83 gallons of water @ 170 degrees (I split in half and sparged twice)
Projections vs actual
Preboil gravity 1.054 projected, 1.038 actual
Preboil volume 6.64 gallons projected, 6.5 actual
Original gravity 1.065 projected, 1.055 actual
Volume into fermenter 5.0 gallons projected, 4.0 actual

My thoughts:
My newly built mash tun seemed to work flawlessly. Then I took my pre boil gravity and was horrified when I saw that it was 1.038 @ 60 degrees F when I was expecting 1.055. I am attributing this horrible efficiency to the mill at my LHBS (any other thoughts?). I looked at a handful of grains and noticed a good number of grains that looked untouched by the mill. I will be looking at getting my own mill as soon as possible.

Pre-boil volume was nearly dead on so I did not add any additional water at this point.

In order to compensate for my lower than expected gravity I figured I would boil the hell out of my brew to get a little more evaporation which would give my O.G a little boost. It did just that and more. I kept the boil at 60 minutes but as rapid as possible without boiling over. I only ended up with 4 gallons left in the end and an O.G of 1.055 @ 60 degrees. I was really surprised that I boiled off 2.5 gallons (of 6.5) in an hour.
I put my disappointing 4 gallon yield into fermenter without adding any water to top off as I did not want to decrease my gravity since it was already on the low end for what I was hoping to hit.
Does anyone else use this pot? And if so what evap rate do you use for it?


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Old 07-20-2009, 06:19 PM   #2
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Sounds like you answered your own question. Probably a bad crush.

In terms of the kettle question, what kind of burner setup are you using?


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Old 07-20-2009, 06:21 PM   #3
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Before you get your own mill, try running your grains through their mill twice. My efficiency vastly improved after doing that.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:26 PM   #4
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I am using the 10 gallon megapot on a used turkey frying burner that I got for 6 bucks. Not sure how many BTU's but I only had it probably 50% of the way up for my boil.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:26 PM   #5
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The other part is probably the sparge. If didn't take your time, you probably didn't collect as much fermentables as you could. Since you're lucky enough to have a copper manifold in your mash tun, I would go ahead a fly sparge next time. Just take your time. A 5gal batch should take 30 min at least.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:40 PM   #6
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Sparge question: how long do you leave sparge water in before draining off. I added water stirred for only 3-5 minutes and then drained off. looking back, I would imagine it would help to leave the 170 degree water for awhile longer before running off.................?
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:59 PM   #7
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I usually fly sparge which I what I recommend. But I think for batch sparging, you're suppose to let the sparge water sit with the grain for 10 or 15 minutes before draining. Maybe that's where you left a lot of sugar behind.
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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I'd up your sparge temp to around 185*F...

I used to sparge at 170*F but saw a 10+% in efficiency by raising the sparge temp.
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:24 PM   #9
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+1 on double milling

Your technique sounds fine for batch sparging. Try AZ_IPA's hint about increasing your sparge temp, too. With these two hints, you should be able to get much better efficiency on your next brew.
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:39 PM   #10
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I did my first AG this weekend too and botched the sparge, missing my targets by a mile. Sounds like a couple of n00bs with the same mistake


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