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Old 01-08-2013, 10:38 AM   #1
Sep 2012
Oakley, CA
Posts: 31
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Long Post Incoming - Sorry =D

So the CFO (RE: SWMBO) approved the cost for equipment, and I went and picked up the parts to put together a 10 gallon Rubbermaid MLT and a 5 Gallon Rubbermaid as a HLT.

I've been planning a big DIPA for a month or two and decided in the interest of "Go Big or Go Home" I wasn't gonna start with something easy, I was just gonna dive in. Wanted to make sure the numbers I've made/gotten from beersmith look right, and my recipe looks good. I sorta just pulled this AG recipe together (AKA: Made it up) from looking at a bunch of other IPA's with what should be similar flavor profiles to what I'm going for.

13.5# US Pale 2-Row
2# Crystal40
2# Belgian Pilsner 2-Row
.5# Carapils

1oz Columbus @90

2oz Amarillo @ 10
2oz Citra @ 10
4oz Amarillo @ FO
4oz Citra @ FO
2oz Cascade @ FO
2oz Willamette @ FO

2oz Amarillo DH @ 7 Days
1oz Chinook DH @ 7 Days
1oz Columbus DH @ 7 Days
2oz Citra DH @ 7 Days

2oz Amarillo DH @ 3 Days
2oz Citra DH @ 3 Days
2oz Cascade DH @ 3 Days


Sooo.. basically going for a decent malt backbone, with a HUGE hopbursted citrus/grapefruit/floral hop character. This is a bastard brainchild of the RR Hopfather Hop Schedule and another DIPA a fellow homebrewer did.

How's the grain bill look? Any suggestions for additions or changes? With those numbers Beersmith gives me --1.088 OG, 105 IBU's, 12.6 SRM.

So my plan based on my understanding...

- Grain in the cooler ready to go, heat water to about 168, and mash in, slowly adding water and trying to stop dough balls from forming.

QUESTION: After feeding it my equipment and grain bill, Beersmith is telling me to use 22.5qts, where I expected to see closer to 27 quarts after reading How to Brew. Feedback?

- Close lid, wait for 60m. As it gets close, I'll preheat my HLT with some boiling water just to get it up to temp, and heat up my sparge water to 168-170. Beersmith says 2.5 gallons so I figure I'll aim to put in 2.75 - 3 in the tank to give myself a little bit of flex.

- Vorlauf. Once I've got clear runnings, try and get my rates set so that water going out is equal to water coming in from my sparge tube, trying to maintain about an inch of water on top of the grain bed.

QUESTION: I always read that this should be "slow". I'm sure I'm overthinking it but.... how slow is too slow? Is there a trick to it?

- Once I hit my pre-boil volume. Cut the feed, hit the burner and.. away we go.

Anywhow.. that's basically all of it. Just stressin over my first so want to make sure everythings as perfect as I can get it. Ever battle plan goes to crap at the first shot but... still =D

Thanks for all the help gents.

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
Sep 2011
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [PA]
Posts: 369
Liked 81 Times on 53 Posts

You can adjust your water/grain ratio in the beersmith mash profile to match what you want, i use 1.5.

Have you brewed many ipas before? If not, i would stick with no more than 3 hop varieties so you have a better idea of what they contribute. I'm not one to discourage hop use but those quantities are massive. My last ipa had 2oz at flame out and 5oz total in the boil, you have 12oz of flame out alone! Don't get me wrong, if hops were free i would definitely try the same thing.

It looks like you're going to try to fly sparge, have you looked into batch sparging?

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:10 AM   #3
helibrewer's Avatar
Nov 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 3,813
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Be careful if you plan to add water to the grain...adding grain to water usually makes preventing dough balls easier.

If you open your mash step in BeerSmith you will see the ratio being used for calculating your water...it looks like the default is 1.25 qts per pound. You can increase that if you wish and it will adjust your water volumes.

Unless you have pumps, will need a 3-tier arrangement to gravity fly sparge...fly sparging should take 50-60 minutes. You may want to consider single or double batch sparging instead....it's up to you. Slow is pretty darn slow and you just use your ball valves to get the two rates equal, Batch sparging is faster with very little efficiency loss.

Make sure your grain crush is good...crush twice if you are using your LHBS mill, the gap is usually a bit wide at those stores.
Something is always fermenting....
"It's Bahl Hornin'"

Kegged: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
On Deck: German Lager

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:31 AM   #4
Sep 2012
Oakley, CA
Posts: 31
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Don't have a mill yet so was gonna have the LHBS take care of it when I go in tomorrow. Just ask them to double pass it?

Temple, big IPA fan here =D This will only be MY third IPA, but I've also been "Co-Brewing" with the friend who got me into it, so have been involved with and tasted the results of quite a few different hops into his brews.

Thats sorta what tuned this recipe up for me. I focused a LOT on the PNW hops, trying to make a real West Coast IPA. Said friend-brewer made a similar IPA if not quite as extreme last year and it was hands down the best brew I've ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth. Hoping to recreate it with a bit of my own spin. I still might simplify it, I'm tempted to do so but also want a fairly complex hop character. So was hoping to use the Chinook/Willamette to get some Spicy/Piny/Herbal undertones in it, and maybe pull back on the sweetness a little while still leaving me with the Citrus heavy up front.

It's definitely gonna be an expensive brew. I have some of the hops leftover from a previous brew (some of the Cascade, and Columbus), ordered a pound each of Citra and Amarillo almost specifically for this brew. If it comes out terrible.. I'm probably gonna cry.


So better to add grain to water than water to grain? Been doing a LOT of reading this week on AG process so I must have just mixed that up.

Great tip on the change of water volume in beer smith. I'll bump that up to 1.5 which seems to be a common number used for a grain bill this size.

Sparging... the great debate right. Batch vs Fly? I saw a LOT of back and forth and as crazy as it sounds finally settled on Fly Sparging because of the potential (not guaranteed) better efficiency, and what seemed like simplicity (once you set your rates, you just let it go).

My "sparge arm" was basically just gonna be a floating piece of tubing, so I may consider doing a batch until I can get the right set up. To make sure I understand properly....

If I was gonna batch sparge, I would Vorlauf, and then drain the MLT. After that, add my strike water all at once to the MLT, remix it, Leave it for X minutes, and then drain that off.

Sound about right? Whats the recommended time for "X"?

QUESTION: One more! I see a lot of people using water additives in AG that I don't see in extract, gypsum being the most common. I usually use tap water run through a filter I got from LHBS and haven't had any issues yet. Comparing my city water report to some of the "recommended" levels in How to Brew it seems to be in line. Something I should worry about?

Thanks for the advice guys.

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Old 01-08-2013, 02:02 PM   #5
Jun 2011
Owego, NY
Posts: 165
Liked 19 Times on 16 Posts

the whole "dough balls" thing is overblown on here, IMO. I typically dump my whole grain bill in, add the mash water and stir the crap out of it with a mash paddle. never had an issue with wetting or dough balls, even with stuff like oats. FWIW, I dump the water from the kettle instead of transferring with a hose, so maybe that makes a difference...

for batch sparging, there is no X minutes requirement. add the water, stir the crap out of it for a few minutes (don't skip this part!), vorlauf to set the grain bed and drain. I used to wait 15 minutes before vorlauf, but after reading about people skipping the rest I haven't done it and my efficiency hasn't suffered. just make sure you stir well.

with a super hoppy beer like this, you're probably going to want to add some gypsum. simply speaking, gypsum helps bring out the hop bite in beer and gives "crisper" and "cleaner" hop flavors. I can't say exactly without looking at your water profile, but 1/2-1tsp of gypsum ought to do the trick. if you have harder water, you can get away with less. softer water needs more. you can add to your mash water, split between mash and sparge water, or add to the boil. I recommend the second option, but any will work about the same. make sure you add the gypsum to hot water and stir it well, it takes a while to dissolve and you don't want to leave it on the bottom of the kettle.

sounds like you're in good shape. one piece of advice I have is to put a small pot of water on the stove so you have some boiling water in case you totally undershoot your mash temp (and have some cool water standing by in case you overshoot). give the mash 10 minutes or so to equalize temperature before you freak out and try to correct, though. plan on a long brew day since you're still figuring out equipment and process - figure at least 6 hours. I recommend holding off on opening a beer until you're done with the mash and sparge, just so you can focus on the new equipment. have fun, and don't stress too much

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