Yesterday I did my 1st AG/Full Boil. I followed the brew sheet from Beer Smith as close as possible. I pre heated the mash tun with 155deg. water for a good 15 mins, then mashed 10lbs of grains in a little over 3 gals of H2O @154 for 60 mins. After that I sparged with 1.5gals at 170 then again with about 3.3gals at 170.
Beer smith said my pre-boil gravity should have been at about 1.047 and there was between about 6.25-6.5 gals of wort. I had about 1.014
. I told myself its probably because the wort isn't mixed up enough. I boiled down to a little over 5 gals over the next hour and broke out my new wort chiller. Got the wort down to about 70 and took another reading. 1.025 ish.
Okay, now I'm worried. I fired the burner back up and added about 1/2 -1/4 cup of DME that I had left over from my starter. I know, it probably did almost nothing other than make me feel a little better. During the second boil, I cooked it down to about 4.5gals, then cooled it again. After this second cooling, I now somehow had a gravity of about 1.052 and my target was 1.054
I know something went wrong, or at least, that I did something wrong. Was that the right thing to do, boil it down to the target gravity (quality over quantity)? Also, generally speaking, how much lower is your pre gravity boil compared to your post gravity? Should I let my sparge water soak for a couple minutes? I did stir it a little. Is that good/bad?
The only thing I could figure that may have screwed me was that my grains were too cool (fridge stored but I did let them sit out for about an hour before mashing) during the mash. Checking the mash temp was the only thing I can think of that I didn't do. I understand why the pre boil gravity was probably low (mixing), but the 1st post boil measurement was WAY off, then boiling down .75gals made a seemingly disproportionate difference in the gravity between the two boils.
Like I said, this was my 1st AG AND 1st Full Boil attempt. PLENTY of room for user error in there, and I didn't disappoint on that end. Hopefully the next time works out better.