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High Gravity All Grain - how?

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dabrews

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I've been AG brewing for two years now and have been very satisfied making beers around 5.5abv and under and getting decent efficiency 73-76%. However, whenever i want to make something 7%abv or above i have to resort to partial mash/extract. This is because my max boil capacity is just under 7 gallons - I can't sparge all those grains with the proper amount of water because i simply don't want to do a two hour, double pot boil to condense all that wort down to 5.5 gallons, that's just a pit-ass.

I was thinking about running off most of the mash, heating these first runnings up to 190 or so, and adding that back to the main mash so that it raises the entire temp to 168F to mash out. the sugars would flow better and my efficiency wouldn't suffer so much. but this is still not great...

How does everyone else deal with this problem when making big beers with a limited boil capacity? any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!
 

carnevoodoo

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What size pot do you have? I tend to be ok making beer up to about 12% in a 10 gallon pot no problem. Sure, my efficiency starts to suck doing batch sparge with that much grain, but it is still entirely possible.
 
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dabrews

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Its 7 gallons max, so i usually boil 6.5 gallons hard for an hour to yield 5.5 into the primary
 

ericm

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if you don't want to sparge more and boil down, then you could just mash more grains. you'll probably take an efficiency hit, but that's not really a big deal.
 
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dabrews

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yeah i was thinking that might be my last resort...i'm a cheap bastard and don't like having to buy extra grains. i guess i could go British style and use the first runnings for the high gravity beer and then use the second runnings as a small beer - that's a long brew day though
 

mkling

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Yep, my boil capacity is 7.5 gallons, and run into this problem. I would aim for mashing more grain and having two boils/making two beers. Take the first runnings for your high gravity beer and the second runnings for a small beer. The last time I did this, I got a 5 gallons of 1.076 doppelbock and 3 gallons of low gravity dunkel (1.039) Both have turned out great. Doing this, if I only look at my big beer, I get ~60% efficiency, if I add the gravity of both though, I'm getting more than 75% efficiency.

Do a search for partigyle to see one description of how this is done.
 

sirsloop

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If you are limited on boil volume you can do a large partial mash. You could also pull as much first runnings out as possible and keep adding more as you boil down. You could use two separate pots. You could buy a 50QT stock pot and get on the train to imperial awesomeness.
 
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dabrews

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ok, looks like parti-gyle might just be my best bet. thanks all!
 
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dabrews

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You could buy a 50QT stock pot and get on the train to imperial awesomeness.
I would definitly hop on that train, although being a poor college student that ticket is gunna have to wait
 

dr_finklestein

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I just brewed a Wee Heavy that had 23lbs of grain. I ended up with 11 gal of wort. My main brew pot is only 10 gal. so I split the liquid. I put 8 gal. in my main pot on a turkey fryer, and then the remaining 3 gal on my stove (it was a 3 hour boil). All my hop additions were in my main pot. As evap. was happening, I slowly added liquid from the small pot to my main brew pot until all was gone. It took a long time (8 hours total from start to finish) but so far it was worth it!
 

RayInUT

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Don't feel bad about throwing in a couple pounds of DME if that is what you need to do. Or, as someone else said, continue boiling it down to four gallons and have stronger batch. The sugars in the solution are finite but your possibilities are only limited by you. In other words, your grain has a limited amount of sugar regardless of how much water you use. Boil it further and have a stronger beer or boil it less and have a lower gravity. Get a cheap refractometer on Ebay and you can follow your sugar content easily as you boil and adjust accordingly. They are $35 delivered. Have your girlfriend or parents buy it for you for a birthday present or something. If you are a college student you should be able to find a keg somewhere to make a keggle with. Instant 15.5 gallon kettle!
 

bandt9299

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I think I would either add grain or add DME, in the end money wise, it would even out
especially if your using 1-2 hours worth more of propane, and adding hours to your brew day by boiling longer.
 
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