First All Grain Batch!

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HutBrew

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7 Hour brew day, from heating up strike water to cleaning the mash paddle. And all i have picture-wise is a hydrometer reading...

Went pretty flawlessly, save for missing my strike temperature when i transferred to my cooler, had to drain half back to the kettle to heat it up, then still had to add near boiling water after I mashed in, but i hit 153*F right on the mark!

Also i noticed a pinhole leak at the 2gal mark in my kettle (bought used) but it ended up being a non-issue, somehow sealing itself when the sweet wort met the kettle

I made a slightly hoppy wheat ale, and boy was it tasty coming out of the mash tun!

I ended up with 4.5 gallons in the fermentor, because i didn't anticipate so much trub loss and boil off, next time i’ll know to let the sparge water fill her up to 7/7.5gal next time

Hit what I think is 60-65% efficiency based on brewers friend calculations, which was I was hopeful for. Should have me sitting at 6.5% ABV provided the hydrometer falls down into the 1.010’s

A question or two:
After tasting the hydrometer wort, i noticed it was rather hoppy. I used 4oz spread throughout the boil, and was curious if these would subside some after fermentation?

Also what was your “first time” with all-grain like? I felt like a little kid, playing with a new toy for 7 hours and I didnt want it to end!

I’ll post my recipe in the Ale section a bit later.

Thanks for reading!
 

Bishop9.5

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Congrats on your first venture making "real" beer! All grain is a lot more work but the sense of accomplishment more than makes up for it. You can't beat the body and mouthfeel of all grain, once you get your process dialed extract or partial mash just won't measure up.

Your numbers are well in line with first run all grain batches and if you pay attention to the details you'll only improve from there. As for the hopiness, pretty loaded question. It all depends on the alpha acids of the hops you used, when the additions were made and the total size of the batch. A total of 4oz for a 5 gallon pale ale doesn't sound crazy to me assuming that 75% of that was in the last 15 minutes of the boil. But again, depends on what you used and when you added it.
 
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HutBrew

HutBrew

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Thanks for your feedback!

I used centennial 1/2 oz at 60m & 1/2 oz at 35m
Then Cascade, citra, and lemondrop 1/2 oz each at 20m & 1/2 oz each at 5m

I was planning on dry hopping, but I think it may not play well with the wheat, and SWMBO likes her wheat ales not too hoppy
 

Bishop9.5

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At that OG, with those hop additions, you made an IPA my friend. Sounds good though!

If you're going to commit to all grain, then get some software. It's a lot to process at first, but it adds SO much to your beer and your brew day.

So far nothing sounds out of place. Post the full recipe you used, we can give you a better idea of what to expect.
 

Ralphie0523

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That actually sounds like a nice recipe for a White IPA type beer. I would bet the citrus flavors of the hops will play well with the wheat malt and with the higher OG. As Bishop9.5 said, your efficiency is well in line with what to expect on the first run with new equipment. Keep focused on the process and how to use the new equipment, the efficiency will come if that is what you are after.

My first time with all grain was a simple pale ale recipe I had nailed with extract, so I was way more focused on learning the new steps. I did the same thing, had to adjust my mash temp and had a few learnings on equipment. That being said, it was like picking up your trusty old bike or baseball bat and giving it to your kid or your cousin, learning to love something you already loved again in a new way.

Happy for you and best of luck on the new journey!
 

3 Dawg Night

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Well, on the plus-side, if SWMBO doesn't like hoppy wheats, you probably wont' have to share much with her! I think it will turn out tasty though!

Some advice you might consider: rather than trying to hit your strike temperature into the cooler, heat your water a few degrees over your strike temperature, dump it to your cooler, then stir it until it cools to your strike temperature before doughing-in. It's so much easier to cool too-hot water in the mash tun than it is to reheat too-cool water.

Welcome to AG! Like others have said, it's more work, but it's awfully satisfying!
 
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HutBrew

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Thank you all for the replies!
Here’s a link to my recipe:


What software do you recommend, Bishop? I’ve just been using the free brewers friend. Is there software I can buy that’s not like a subscription?

Ralphie, I’m not too worried about efficiency at this point, adding a pound or two of grain to a recipe seems like the logical solution at this point. As far as your comments about the bike and bat, SWMBO is very enthusiastic about my brewing (so far) and brewing with her feels this way. I get to use all the terminology and she is a good helper. I’m not sure if she just enjoys watching me have fun, or if she enjoys the process for what it is 🤔
Either way I’m happy!

Thanks for the advice 3 Dawg! I’m definitely going to heed it next batch! I have a Lawnmower recipe in mind, which should be perfect for these hot summer months to come
 

Bishop9.5

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Really can't help. All I've ever known is Beersmith, still using V2, and have liked it enough to stick with it. Tons of info on this forum, I'd just do some reading get others opinions. I just know I wouldn't go back to brewing without it. 🍻
 
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HutBrew

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Thanks for all the recommendations folks! I downloaded the fermenticus app for now
 

UncleD

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My first all grain went alot like yours. I didn't know my efficiency, turns out it was much higher than I thought. I also sparged for WAY too long (like 3 hours), when 1 hour would do. I had the opposite problem of strike temp, I overshot it by too much (like 158 DegF). Over time, each batch I did, I started getting better with the numbers and dialing in my setup. Now I am in hitting almost all my targets.

My advice, is don't change too much each time you brew. I made that mistake. I tried to fix a bunch of problems every time a brewed a new batch. This really should be an iterable approach ONLY changing one thing at a time as you improve on your process. I'm still making tons of mistakes and tweaking something each batch.

As far as software goes, most use Beersmith and swear by it, but you pay for it. It depends on how serious you are about getting equipment profiles dialed, and using all the calculators. Some guys just use simple spreadsheets. There are plenty of free options out there. I wrote my own mobile app with a web app as well to store my recipes on the cloud. The mobile app has timers and calculators that can be used during brew day. Its free if you want to try it:


Disclaimer, I'm not a professional app developer, you get what you pay for! :p
 
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HutBrew

HutBrew

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Thanks for the advice, I wont plan on drastically changing my methods then! I’ll have to check out your app! I did everything on my last brew day by the seam of my pants and a kitchen timer.
I have plans for a cream ale coming up in a several weeks, I’ll have to take your app for a spin then. Thanks!
 

NSMikeD

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I used BeerSmith for years even upgraded to v 3 but recently switched to BrewFather and loving it. While BeerSmith is the gold standard, understandingly, apps developed for the cloud play better with tablets and phones. Brewfather has the same tools calculators etc as BeerSmith making it comparable but the mobile apps is where it becomes the better choice. The BeerSmith mobile apps are limited whereas BrewFather is the same on my phone and iPad as it is on my iMac.
It’s clock is more intuitive as well.
I prefer to use my iPad and phone on brew days and leave my laptop far away from the kitchen.
 

ArizonaGoalie

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Good on ya for making the switch to all grain. Welcome to the club!

I think it's important to keep improving a little bit each time. Keep experimenting, keep learning, and keep growing your skills. Also, find your sweet spot when it comes to recipes, volume, and pipeline. And every so often make a clone, it's a great way to sharpen your skills because you can compare the final product to something.

I love the creativity that all grain allows. I also love the longer brew day. I find it very therapeutic. Crank up some tunes and make beer! :rock:
 

DuncB

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Do as much as you can before brew day, such as salts, grain mill and have the kit ready for each stage such as a clean fermenter.
Don't start on the day and then be in the stage of having to bottle the beer in fermenter, clean it and bottles whilst watching a mash/ boil etc. you'll be ragged with that approach.
A check list and notebook are essential.

And don't start drinking at the beginning of the brew day, pace yourself.
 
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HutBrew

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Arizona and Dun, you guys make some great points.

Arizonagoalie, I definitely need to tune in my volumes/measurements so i can end up with the target volume in the fermentor. As far as pipeline, i’m slightly unfamiliar with this term- I assume it means production is balanced with consumption? I definitely had a blast spending all day behind the new equipment, but could see how a long brew day every time could be limiting...

DuncB, I just installed UncleD’s App which includes a brew timer, so that should help me stay on task. Having everything prepared (I wasn’t so much on this first batch) is going to be something I fix. I managed to limit myself to 2 brews starting after the boil began, because at that point I was familiar with procedures from having done extract. But still solid advice to not over-indulge on brew day.

Thanks!
 

DuncB

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I mostly end my ferments under pressure in the Fermentasaurus and aim for a 30 litre ferment. This means 20 litres for the keg to go in kegerator and the rest gets bottled using the counter pressure filler. On a bottling day especially if I have 2 fermentasaurus to finish off in bottles that's when the have a sip of beer whilst bottle is filling can be dangerous.
Learnt my lesson when I bottled some friends commercial keg because they couldn't drink it on draught, 50 litres of bottling . So many bottles to clean and fill and that keg to move was a pain. Put me right off getting a 60litre fermenter or using 50 litre kegs. They even offered the empty keg to me, I never wanted to see it again.
But on the upside they run a business that fills CO2 cylinders as a sideline, so now I get free CO2 and Nitro mix.
So no pain no gain!!
 

UncleD

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And don't start drinking at the beginning of the brew day, pace yourself.
Blasphemy!

I just installed UncleD’s App
Haha good luck! Please keep the expectations low! But shoot me a PM if there's anything I can help you with.

I just brewed a batch last weekend. One thing I will say that I've really improved on with all grain is time management. When I first started, I would set EVERYTHING up and sanitize etc before I even started heating up my strike water. Same thing with cleanup, I had to clean up EVERYTHING after I finished. Now I have been more efficient in getting just the stuff needed to get the strike going, and then as I am done using something for the day, I clean it up and put it away. There's alot of downtime with brewing, try to utilize that time for setting up the next step or cleaning up the prior step. This can be the difference between a 6-7 hour brew day and a 4-5 hour brew day.

Cheers!
 
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