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1st AG - Techniques for measuring liquids?

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PKsBrew

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So I finally took the plunge this weekend and did my first AG batch. It mostly went well, I made all of the gravities I expected to, was a few degrees low on my mash temp by the end of the rest, but overall everything went well. My biggest dilema was how to measure my strike water and sparge additions volumes? I was using a 10gal pot to heat the water and a cooler style MLT. I ended up using a saucepan that held approx. 6 cups and repeatedly filled it and then dumped it into the MLT. I feel like I lost a lot of heat doing this and it was a PITA. How do people measure the volume from their HLT into the MLT and then measure the volume collected out of the MLT into the boil kettle? I think I did OK for my first attempt, but hope there is a better, and more consistent, way of doing this. Thanks!
PS - The AG thing is way more fun than extract!
 

flyangler18

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A one-gallon pitcher works well for portioning out hot liquor going into the MLT, or you can install a sight glass.

To simplify things going from the MLT to the kettle, calibrate your spoon or mash paddle in 1-2 gallon increments so you can gauge how much wort you've collected. I have my mash paddle calibrated to 10 gallons- 3 gallons comes to the top of the diptube, so I rest the paddle flat on that - every gallon occupies an inch in my 15 gallon kettle and I have hash marks on my paddle to doublecheck volumes.
 
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PKsBrew

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So assuming a sight glass is out, I'm on the right track. I just need to find a more suitable vessel to transfer the hot H2O from the HLT to the MLT. Graduations on my spoon/paddle is a great idea also.
What are people's thoughts on using plastic containers when your liquids are hot (150 to 180ish)? In reference to transfer from HLT to MLT and collecting runnings in a plastic fermenting bucket. Is this acceptable or can you get some off flavor or smell from using plastic?
Thanks for the answers everyone.
 

humann_brewing

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I have a 8 qt boil pot that has etched markings for all the quarts.

I measure what I put in for the mash, rest then keep track of what I add for sparging and what comes out so I maximize what goes into the boiler.

If I need to boil with 7.33 gallons or 29.32 qts. I keep a tally going measuring what I get from the first runnings and them usually split the remaining amount by 2. For example if I get 10 qts off my first runnings, I have all my deadspace filled up in the mash/tun. I mash sparge with 2 -10 qts and receive all 10 of those back when I drain the mash/tun.
 

jbeauchamp

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I use a three pot system. I fill my 15 gallon boil kettle with what I will need for total amount of water. I do this so I can condition it all at once. I then use my 5 gallon bottling bucket and drain the appropriate amount of mash water into that. It has the measurements, at least close enough for brewing, already on it. I then poor from that into my old boil kettle. Bring that to the strike temp I need for my mash and dump into the MLT. Then put my actual boil kettle on the burner and bring that to the correct batch sparge temp while the mash is resting. First runnings go into the old bk, the batch sparge is dumped from the 15 gallon bk and the first runnings moved to the 15 gallon bk. Sparge is done into the old bk and transferred to the 15 gallon bk. It has a lot of movement between the pots, but it seems to work pretty well.
 

flyangler18

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I actually have a sight-glass fitting prepared, I'm just too lazy to drill my HLT and calibrate the damn thing. :mug:
 

BrewDey

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What are people's thoughts on using plastic containers when your liquids are hot (150 to 180ish)? In reference to transfer from HLT to MLT and collecting runnings in a plastic fermenting bucket. Is this acceptable or can you get some off flavor or smell from using plastic?
I fly-sparge and have always used my bottling bucket as a sparge tank with no ill effects. I use a 3 gallon pot to heat sparge water on the stove, then dump it into the bottling bucket at about 180-knowing that it will cool the longer it sits in the bucket.

I have the side of my 10 gal BK marked for volume and I know that 5 inches from the top is 6.5 gallons (my usual starting volume)...so I just use a tape measure for that. I have had problems nailing the final volume on high or low OG beers because the evaporation rate is different, yet I can't accurately measure volume in a boiling kettle. I should probably do better calculations, but for every beer I've done that's 1.05-1.06 SG, 6.5 gallons boils down to 5 gallons in an hour.
 

goatchze

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Don't laugh, but I use a 1qt PYREX measuring cup (yes, I need someone to help me count when I run out of toes...no, we're not allowed to drink beer until sparging is complete).

One day, I'll upgrade to a 2qt PYREX measuring cup...I could only dream of 1 gallon! This method seems to work fine for me.
 
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