First AG = ~8 Hours!

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Dec 5, 2007
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Sanford, NC
Well, today was my first shot at All-Grain. I started around 8:00 AM and just put her in the primary. All in all nothing seemed to go too wrong other than the fact that I forgot to take a pre-boil SG so I'm not sure that I can get my efficiency. Also I think I need to change my mash tun (small leak).

I'm sure that as I get more used to it, it will go faster. Any hints/tips to help make it go faster? Of course, they do say that good things come to those who wait. I guess we'll see in about 6 weeks.:eek:
Uh, well, we need more info about your process. A standard-gravity (~1.055) AG with my hodgepodge system takes about 4 hours from the minute I fire up the burner to heat the strike water to the point where I'm all cleaned up. With practice comes efficiency. You come to expect things, you know what you need to do when, and you utilize the time better. For instance, now that I have a 60-qt kettle, I can wait for the hotbreak, then just leave the kettle boiling relatively unattended, and come back only for the hop additions. In the meantime, I clean up the stuff that won't be used again, get my carboy sanitized, and take care of any miscellaneous stuff.
once you really know your system, and can start anticipating heating and or cooling times which will speed things up. Once you know your system, you will trust it enough to know exactly where you are in the process, and can then start multitasking more.

being able to do multiple things at once is when you start getting down into the 4 hour range.
My first AG took a long time, too. But my last AG only took 3.5 hours from mash-in to pitch. Its a learning experience. Once you get comfortable with the process you'll find ways to shorten it.

Some things that help me are:

Print a recipe/brew sheet (I use BeerSmith) and use it for taking notes and keeping track of times
Prep ingredients while heating strike water.
Be ready with your mash out and sparge water.
Make use of mash and boil "down times" to clean, sanitze, and get ready for the next step.
Have a good burner so can get to boiling as fast as possible (15 minutes or less).
Have a good chiller so you can cool down to pitching temps as fast as possible (20 minutes or less).
Use an O2 tank and diffusion stone so you can aerate in 1 minute.
Don't start drinking too soon.

I used to do a lot of prep before getting started. For example, I used to clean and sanitize everything and have all my ingredients weighed out and ready to go even before putting on the strike water to heat. Now I just start with the strike water and do everything else as needed. Same with cleanup. Don't wait until the end to clean, do it as you go along.
All good suggestions. I'll add one more.

One thing I do that helps get me going is to have the recipe and volumes, etc. sorted and printed out in advance. Then the first thing I do is start heating my strike water. During that time I finish dragging out and setting up the rest of my equipment. I've got a digital thermo w/ an alarm that tells me when the strike water is up to temp. By the time the alarm goes off, everything else is out and set up, I've crushed the grain, and I'm ready to dough in.

On the other end, I've got most everything put away by the time the boil's over, leaving me with little to do once I'm done chilling.

I remember how the first few times I got mesmerized by what was going on during the different steps. Now it's easier to walk away and piddle with the other things I could be doing.
Thank you guys for all of the responses. I will keep all of these suggestions in mind as I move forward. All in all i'm not disappointed just slightly surprised at the length.

I think the boiling/heating times were one of the major problems, I was outside in the 20 degree weather (gotta love Western NY).

Thanks again all.