Another first all grain story. With a few questions thrown in to boot...

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mcjake

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This one is going to be short because I just wrapped up a 9 and a half hour brew day and I'm covered in wort, grain and lord knows what else.

Recipe: Generic Wheat Recipe formulated by our local homebrew shop.

5 lb. Crushed 2 Row
6 lb. Malted Wheat
2 oz. Hallertau Hops
2 oz. Cascade Hops

Yeast
WYEAST Activator: American Wheat

Mashing
We used a homemade mashtun made out of a 5 gallon cooler, some copper pipe and a steal braided hose (as seen on these forums). We only had one kettle so we heated water in the kettle and lautered (god I hope I'm using that properly) into our bottling bucket using the valve I installed and some food grade hose.

The grain filled up 3/5 of our cooler and the homebrew recipe called for a strike water of 165 degrees. NOT HOT ENOUGH. After our first temperature check we were at 145 degrees. So, we dumped more emergency water in to heat it up and we were able to keep it inbetween 150 and the 155 for the rest of the mash.

During sparging the grain plugged up the hose and we had to stir the grain and knock around the hose to get it to flow properly. We were so focused on the hose clogging that we missed the fact that our sparge water was running clear, so there is a good chance that we ended up with a higher volume wort that we really needed. Still, for our first time with a plugged manifold we managed 87.48% efficiency. (I got this figure using How to Brew and the Homebrew Calculator on my iPhone (which I would recommend).

Boiling
We had a pot with a 7-7.5 gallon capacity and an electric stove. I would not reccomend this! After sitting on the stove for over an hour it was barely boiling and we were beginning to wonder if we would ever get to bed. So using a sauce pot we tranfered about 1.5 - 2 gallons of wort to a 3 gallon stock pot and gave them a chance to both boil down.

Well, it turns out we boiled it down too far. Because once we actually put the wort through its full boil with hops and all was sitting at about 4.8 gallons (and we wanted it to sit at 5.5!). Also, to add insult to injury we were totally incapable of separating the wort from the trub. It's all in there. Every last bit.

Also, the wort seems to be seperating itself every chance it gets when it cools. Light amber colored liquid on top, gray sludgy looking stuff on the bottom. I'm staring at the fermenter right now and I would say it's at half and half of each.

Questions
1. Any ideas on best practices to keep the trub from getting into my fermenter? I am not happy about that.

2. What's the deal with the wort (and soon to be beer) separating like that? Seriously, it looks like I've got a bucket full of water and oil sitting next to me.

3. The back of the yeast package says that it is designed for 5 gallons of wort up to 1.060 SG. Well, I'm putting it into 4.8 gallons of wort at 1.67 SG. Will I be in trouble? I figure the .2 gallons wont make a difference but what about the gravity?

Thanks for taking the time to read my first all grain story. Any tips, input or ideas about my questions would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!
 

944play

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2. What's the deal with the wort (and soon to be beer) separating like that? Seriously, it looks like I've got a bucket full of water and oil sitting next to me.
The trub is coagulated protein, mostly. Surprise, grains contain protein! The fact that you can see the trub through the clear wort means you got a good cold break and your beer will (have the potential to) be clear. Maybe not what you were going after with the Am Wheat, but nicely done anyway.:rockin:

To keep out trub, you can whirlpool, where the trub will eventually settle to the bottom center of the kettle before transfer to fermenter, or strain. Or you can RDWHAHB and leave the trub in. It will not ruin your beer, it's one of those "last 1%" procedures toward beer awesomeness.

The yeast package is very optimistic. You underpitched, but it will still be beer. If your software does not have a pitching rate calculator, there is one online. (WY1010 is a Kölsch yeast, so would classify as a "hybrid")

You'll have a much easier time lautering (you used it correctly) your next wheat beer if you throw about 4-8oz of rice hulls into the mash! Shame on your LHBS for not including them in the recipe.
 
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mcjake

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Thanks for the input. How exactly do I go about whirlpooling?

Also, what will under pitching do to my beer? I would imagine left over fermentables and a lower alcohol volume? Will this effect the flavor of our beer?
 

crawford

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I have AG brewed 4 times, I almost never get the Mashout temp high enough. I'm pretty certain i'm losing temp from the louter tun to the mash tun. I stop short of using all of my lauter water because for some reason i think i can't skip this step of draining from the lauter tun to the mash.. ect ect. If i can dump mashout water in the tun, hit the 165, with the right batch size... I'm good!
 

jagg

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I would suggest preheating your cooler mash tun, if your strike temp is 165, heat the water to 175, drain into mash tun then wait at least 10 min. Check the temp then, if it is still too warm, just stir until you reach strike temp, this will preheat the whole cooler and you should have very little if any loss of temp during the 1 hour mash, good luck on your nest ag:mug:
 

Hodor_Baggins

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Two pieces of advice for you:

1) Search for the thread "Improved boiling on the stovetop!"
2) Search "Fermcap-S"
 

Lil' Sparky

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Don't worry about the trub in your fermenter. It doesn't hurt anything, and may in fact add some good things for your yeast.
 
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mcjake

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Thanks for all the advice everyone. I will check out both those forums threads you suggested Hodor Baggins.

So, should I try really hard to keep the trub out of our bottles? Or does it not matter?

Heating up the cooler is something I read about but totally forgot to do. We will be sure to do it next time.
 

Yooper

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Thanks for all the advice everyone. I will check out both those forums threads you suggested Hodor Baggins.

So, should I try really hard to keep the trub out of our bottles? Or does it not matter?

Heating up the cooler is something I read about but totally forgot to do. We will be sure to do it next time.
You won't have trub in your bottles. When the time comes, you'll rack (siphon) the clear beer off of the yeast cake on the bottom. The trub will stay on the bottom, and you'll just siphon off the clear beer. I like to start my siphon with the racking cane about 1/2 way down in the carboy, so that I can simply lower it as the the level of the beer lowers. When I see that I'm right at the yeast cake (trub) level, I simply raise the racking cane and stop siphoning.
 
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mcjake

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You won't have trub in your bottles. When the time comes, you'll rack (siphon) the clear beer off of the yeast cake on the bottom. The trub will stay on the bottom, and you'll just siphon off the clear beer. I like to start my siphon with the racking cane about 1/2 way down in the carboy, so that I can simply lower it as the the level of the beer lowers. When I see that I'm right at the yeast cake (trub) level, I simply raise the racking cane and stop siphoning.
Yeah, we actually transfer it from the fermenter to the bottling bucket using a spigot on the bottom of that sits just above the yeast cake. We also dont have a racking cane. But it looks like we wont have a choice this time. The yeast cake along with the trub is actually above the spigot.
 

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Yeah, we actually transfer it from the fermenter to the bottling bucket using a spigot on the bottom of that sits just above the yeast cake. We also dont have a racking cane. But it looks like we wont have a choice this time. The yeast cake along with the trub is actually above the spigot.
Yes, that's a problem with primaries with a spigot. Most of the time, the spigot is full of trub (at least in my case!). So, go get an autosiphon with the appropriate tubing. It'll cost you about $12 or so. You siphon the beer into the priming solution in the bottling bucket, and you're golden.
 
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