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Old 12-08-2010, 12:58 PM   #1
ewienclawski
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Sep 2010
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I'm very new to all-grain brewing. I have brewed 3 batches, a brown, a pale and a rye amber (which has yet to be bottled). Here's my concern: The first two beers have come out pretty light and almost watery! Is this a matter of efficiency? I used 10 lbs of grain in the brown and 11 lbs in the pale. I did, however use 2 medium sized grain bags to mash/sparge. Also, after the boil I added water to reach a volume of 5 gallons. Where am I going wrong????



 
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:15 PM   #2
Yooper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewienclawski View Post
I'm very new to all-grain brewing. I have brewed 3 batches, a brown, a pale and a rye amber (which has yet to be bottled). Here's my concern: The first two beers have come out pretty light and almost watery! Is this a matter of efficiency? I used 10 lbs of grain in the brown and 11 lbs in the pale. I did, however use 2 medium sized grain bags to mash/sparge. Also, after the boil I added water to reach a volume of 5 gallons. Where am I going wrong????
It could be that you added water after the boil to reach your volume- unless the OG was incredibly high and you diluted to reach the OG, you watered down your beer by however much water you added.

What was the OG in your beers?


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Old 12-08-2010, 01:45 PM   #3
ewienclawski
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The OG after adding water to each was 1.038 for the brown, and 1.040 for the pale. I recently read that I should sparge until I have about 5.5-6 gallons of wort in my boil kettle for a 5 gallon batch. Will that help? Also, for now on, I will be mashing/sparging in a mash tun I converted from a 10 gallon cooler. Will all this help?

 
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewienclawski View Post
The OG after adding water to each was 1.038 for the brown, and 1.040 for the pale. I recently read that I should sparge until I have about 5.5-6 gallons of wort in my boil kettle for a 5 gallon batch. Will that help? Also, for now on, I will be mashing/sparging in a mash tun I converted from a 10 gallon cooler. Will all this help?
A good "rule of thumb" is to mash with 1.25-1.5 quarts of water per pound and to sparge with whatever you need to reach your boil volume. If you boil off 1 gallon per hour, you'll need to start with 6.25 gallons or so. But if you boil off more, you'll want to start with even more wort.

For example, yesterday I brewed with 13 pounds of grain. I used 19.5 quarts of water to mash, and got 3 gallons out. I wanted to have 7 gallons in the boil kettle, so I sparged with 4 gallons of water.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
ewienclawski
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So that will cure this light tasting beer?

 
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:16 PM   #6
maida7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewienclawski View Post
So that will cure this light tasting beer?
If you sparge longer you will get more out of the mash. BUT...

1.038 -1.040 is a very low strength beer. I think in addition to a longer sparge you need more grain in your mash. Also, add some dextine malt (carapils) and/or crystal malt and mash at a high temp (158-162) to increase body.

 
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:18 PM   #7
maida7
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Perhaps you should try a few well respected recipes and see how some successful brewers get it done. I'd suggest buying a copy of "brewing classic styles". Try some of the recipes in there and see how those turn out.

 
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:21 PM   #8
ewienclawski
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Ok, will do! Thank you!

 
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:31 PM   #9
kanzimonson
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The biggest reason your beers taste watery is because they're so low in gravity. Since you're new to AG, your efficiency probably isn't great. Keep working at it and just out of familiarity and habit your efficiency will increase.

Until then, use more grain.

 
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:55 PM   #10
coypoo
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Lower gravity beers are much harder to get malt character into them w/out adding specialty grains like carapils or crystal malt. If you want to stick to the "session" strength beers, then add a little flaked barely. It will increase the body and make the beer seem "fuller". And, like others said above, dont top off with water. One of the biggest improvements in my beer was going to full volume boils. It sounds like you can do this, so like Yooper said, just add enough sparge water to get to a good pre-boil volume.



 
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