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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > First Big Beer....had a few issues
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Old 02-25-2008, 01:38 PM   #1
maltMonkey
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Default First Big Beer....had a few issues

Did my first big beer this weekend--a RIP. The 17lb grain bill was a lot to crush! Everything went smoothly except for a couple problems.

1) My boil evaporation rate was a lot higher than in the past. I normally boil 6.5 gallons planning for a 60min boil, and have to boil 70mins to get it down to 5. This time I boiled off a full 2 gallons and was left with only 4.5 gallons to the fermenter. I don't know if this was an anomaly or had something to do with the high gravity. Final runnings were 1.036, so I definitely could have kept sparging for a while....lesson learned there.

2) Despite the low volume, my efficiency was really bad and I was left with a 1.085 beer (expected and planned for 1.094). I normally get 70%-75% efficiency, and this was around 60%. The only thing I can think of that would have caused this is that the large grain bill held it's temp exceptionally well while mashing. I normally mash around 158 but since I don't have a system yet to allow me to heat the mash without adding more hot water the temp is down to 152 by the time the mash is done. This time the temp stayed at exactly 158 the entire time, so I probably ended up with a lot more unfermentables.

Because of the low gravity I ended up with, I was thinking about boiling some DME and molasses and doing a secondary fermentation to try to bring the gravity and volume back up to what I originally planned. Good idea, bad idea?

3) Finally, I was really disappointed with the color. I was shooting for black but it really just looks like an opaque brown.....Beersmith mislead me on color I think.

At any rate the 2L starter I made worked like a champ. I had active fermentation in 5 hours, and 15 hours later it was bubbling like I've never seen before with a 4 inch krausen. Overall it was a fun experience, but I'm a bit dissapointed with my outcome...of course the beer might be awesome, who knows.....


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Old 02-25-2008, 03:51 PM   #2
agentgonzo
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The more amount of grain and water you have in your MT, the better it will hold it's temperature due to the larger thermal mass - Commercial breweries don't need to insulate/heat their mash as there is so much mash in there it never cools in the mashing time.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:46 PM   #3
maltMonkey
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Any thoughts on trying to bring up the gravity& volume with a secondary fermentation by adding some DME & molasses? Or should I just let it be what it is?
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