First all-grain batch- crazy amounts of trub?

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Chaos_Being

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I got to try out my new brew equipment yesterday- 8 gallon pot, immersion chiller, and SQ14 burner- and made my first all-grain brew. All went pretty well (as I'll outline below,) but once I was done and the wort was chilled, I noticed that there was a massive amount of trub- much more than I've ever seen from any of my extract or partial mash brews. This is what I did:

The recipe is pretty simple, to make a Belgian Pale- 9lbs of Belgian Pale Malt, and 0.5lbs of Crystal 20. (I based it on the "Patersbier" kit that NB sells.) I was using DeathBrewer's stovetop mashing technique, so all of my grains were in a large strainer bag, in a 5 gallon pot which I heated on my stovetop- the final boil was in my garage. I mashed at 149 degrees, but I mashed it for nearly 2 hours due to some issues with my burner (I had to stop and start over when I was heating my sparge water due to the paint on the burner smoking off. I knew the paint was going to do that, and tried to burn it off earlier, but ended up having to sand it off and start again.) I'm assuming the long mash will end up with a drier beer- I was aiming for a dry-ish beer anyways, so no worries. I did get about 75% efficiency, which is more than I expected.

So, two hours after I started my mash, I had resolved the burner issue and started boiling 6 gallons of wort. I used whirlfloc for the first time (I usually use irish moss,) and then got a good quick chill (about 15 minutes) using my wort chiller. I whirlpooled the cool wort, and let it sit for maybe 20 minutes while I cleaned up and sanitized my fermenter. When I went to siphon it, I noticed that I had a layer of crystal clear wort on top- and a ton of trub on the bottom. Siphoning just the clear part only got me about 2.5 gallons maybe, so I ended up just siphoning all of the trub into the fermenter too. Now that it has settled (as my yeast hasn't taken off yet,) about 1/3 of my fermenter is trub.

I'm not really worried about the trub per se (I've never been really anal about keeping it out of my fermenter, and all of my beer has been good,) but I was just surprised at how much I got. I am curious though: does all-grain usually result in more trub, or was it because I used whirlfloc and got a really good hot/cold break due to a vigorous boil and quick chill? Should I have tried to keep more of it out (by letting it sit longer before siphoning, perhaps)?

Any which way, yesterday was a fun experience and I'm glad that I have the additional options that all-grain offers now :mug:
 

GunnerMan

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Well I just started AG (done 2 batches) and havent bottled any so do not know what my final trub layer looks like but so far they have looked to be about the same, maybe a little more in the AG, extracts have already gone through a hot break so so don't get as much break material from it. Also if you used lots of hops, I use pellets and they absorb water like crazy, I end up with a huge amount of hop trub but I usually don't strain much of it.

Did you do a good vorlauf when sparging? You might have gotten a bunch of grain flower or other debris.
 

Blender

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You will get more break in the all grain process but you also have the ability to scale your batches larger to compensate. There are ways to filter out some of the trub. I use a paint straining bag and a 3 gallon bucket to remove a large portion.
 
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Chaos_Being

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Man, I had to look up vorlauf to see what that meant- no, I did not do that, becuase I'm using a more unconventional method, described here:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy-stovetop-all-grain-brewing-pics-90132/

So, it is entirely possible that I got some grain dust mixed in with the normal break material. I'll probably build a more traditional mash tun eventually though. The idea of using a paint strainer bag to filter out some of the trub is a good one, I have some extras on hand as that is what I am using to hold my grain. I may try siphoning off the clear wort, and then pouring the rest of the trub-containing wort through an extra paint strainer next time.

Oh well, this just means that I'll get to try yeast washing too, after this batch is done. I was planning on using the cake to ferment a tripel, but I'm definitely going to have the seperate out some of the gunk now.
 
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Chaos_Being

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I made a second batch on Sunday (I had the supplies for both already, and decided I may as well while I actually had the time.) I tried the paint strainer at the end- I placed it over my 5 gallon kettle, and poured the trub-containing wort through it (after I had already siphoned off the clear part.) I was taken by surprise at how fast the strainer clogged, and when I pulled it up I ended up with basically a balloon of wort. I managed to slosh the bag back and forth to let the wort filter through parts that had not already clogged, but in the process my hands had some limited contact with the wort. I had been cleaning equipment beforehands and my hands were still wet with star-san, so hopefully this did not have too much of an effect. This second batch did have less trub in the fermenter, but I'm unsure if it was worth the effort (time will tell.)

Both batches are actively fermenting now (the Belgian with WLP530, and the American ale with S-05,) so we'll see how they turn out.
 

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