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First All-Grain/First Brew Notes

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daholl01

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A month or so ago I posted on here asking everybody's thoughts about a newbie going straight to all-grain. Well, last night I did it and it was a lot of fun, but not perfect. The recipe my roommate and I did was EdWort's Haus Pale Ale. A few notes:

- First off, this was my fault, I used 1 lb. of the Crystal 10L instead of half pound, My order was from MoreBeer and they just sell by the pound and I completely forgot to only use half and put the whole pound bag in. What impact is this going to have?

-Missed the mash temp, we were a little low, about 145, but put some hot water in and got the temp up about 15 minutes into the mash. We preheated the cooler, but did not take into account how much heat the grain was going to absorb.

-Lautering went well, we collected about 5.5 gallons after the first runnings and the first sparge, which we knew was too low. We had about 3 qts. of water to do another sparge with, and my next dumb move was to stir this in the MLT. We ended up collecting hardly any of that last sparge and I knew our sparge was stuck. Next time I should not stir this, just gently pour it in and leave the grain bed in tact, correct?

The boil and everything thereafter went off without a hitch, however, our post boil volume was only about 4.5 gallons and our gravity was 1.056, as opposed to the recommended 1.051. I am assuming this is because the extra half pound of Crystal the fact that we only boiled down to 4.5 gal.

For a first ever brew day I am happy (our beer is bubbling away this morning), and I am pretty confident that we can make some adjustments for next time to gain a little more precision in things like temps and volume. I'd appreciate any comments or feedback.
 

scottthorn

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daholl01 said:
I used 1 lb. of the Crystal 10L instead of half pound, What impact is this going to have?
Some extra sweetness. No worries - this is not a huge mistake.


daholl01 said:
Lautering went well, we collected about 5.5 gallons after the first runnings and the first sparge, which we knew was too low. We had about 3 qts. of water to do another sparge with, and my next dumb move was to stir this in the MLT. We ended up collecting hardly any of that last sparge and I knew our sparge was stuck. Next time I should not stir this, just gently pour it in and leave the grain bed in tact, correct?
I don't think that was a "stuck" sparge, which usually comes about from too fine of a crush (too much flour) or using large quantities of wheat or rye. You just added too little water - the grain in the MLT absorbed what you put in and there was none left to collect. You had collected 5.5 gallons but needed at least another gallon in the brewpot (to end up with 5+ gallons after boil-off). You'd need to add more than a gallon to the MLT in order to get a gallon out. There are plenty of brewing calculators to help you figure how much H2O you need at each step.

I always stir after adding my sparge water, then put the lid back on and let it sit 15 minutes before draining. The goal is to rinse the sugars from the grain that didn't come through with the first runnings. A good stir will help that process immensely.

Congrats on jumping right into all grain! It sounds like you've made a batch that will be extremely tasty, and learned a few things to make your next batch even better.
,
 

wildwest450

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I don't know if you have brewing software or not, but beersmith saved my life. Im doing my first ag brew today and would be lost without all the temp and water calculations it does.
 

Lil' Sparky

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wildwest450 said:
I don't know if you have brewing software or not, but beersmith saved my life. Im doing my first ag brew today and would be lost without all the temp and water calculations it does.
+1 Brewing software will make your preparing for your brew day much easier, and will help you be more repeatable.
 

menschmaschine

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Hey, that sounds like a pretty good brew day! Congrats (from a fellow straight-to-all-grainer)! I rarely have a brew day without some sort of little hitch. I think your beer is going to turn out just fine. :mug:
 
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daholl01

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scottthorn said:
I don't think that was a "stuck" sparge, which usually comes about from too fine of a crush (too much flour) or using large quantities of wheat or rye. You just added too little water - the grain in the MLT absorbed what you put in and there was none left to collect.
Yeah I definitely didn't add enough, but in the low spots where I had stirred I could see standing water but nothing was coming out of the valve. Probably just needed more water to loosen everthing up near the braid.


Thanks for the comments everyone, I will be getting Beersmith.
 

GrantLee63

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Ditto the BeerSmith software - excellent product from an excellent guy. :rockin:
 

Finn

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Wow, I wish my first all-grainer had gone that smooth. I think you're gonna like the result. Plus, your mistakes cancel each other out, at least in part! The extra dryness from your low-temp mashout (for the first 15 minutes) will be balanced out by the additional sweetness from the extra crystal.

Now comes the hardest part of all: Not getting into it and drinking half of it before it's ready!:ban:
 
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