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Big_D

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Don’t want to double post this, but realized I might have been better off posting it here. I’m trying to get started on my first brew day, just need a little advice and maybe a kick in the a** to get going. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Link


-David
 

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Start with an extract kit with steeping grains. It will enable you to begin learning the processes while still producing drinkable, maybe even good, beer. Get a book, John Palmer's How to Brew or Charlie Papazian's The Joy of Homebrewing to help you learn the basics. Good luck and welcome to the obsession!
 

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Wow...where to start? I guess that's your question, too. @Franktalk is right...most of us start with extract, move on to all grain. Read the books, twice! I wouldn't get overwhelmed by water adjustments, which are not necessary with extract. With those fermentors, you need some temp control. Most of us start with plastic fermentors in a freezer with a temp control plug in. For you, you will need a 65 degree spot in your house or a large ferm chamber (refrigerator). Or a Glycol system. Or use yeast that is not so temp sensitive like Kveik.

Put your liquid yeast in the fridge for later and use dry yeast for the first few batches. Make a blonde ale or a pale ale. I see you have kegs, you can try a closed transfer with your CO2 tank, or just do a gravity open transfer for your first few brews. You need a way to dispense your new beer...I bought a three tap kegerator and used that. If that's not an option, you can dispense with a simple picnic tap from a chilled keg in a refrigerator.

There is so much more...but you need to start simple. With your setup that's actually hard to do :) .
 

Sammy86

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Start with an extract kit with steeping grains. It will enable you to begin learning the processes while still producing drinkable, maybe even good, beer. Get a book, John Palmer's How to Brew or Charlie Papazian's The Joy of Homebrewing to help you learn the basics. Good luck and welcome to the obsession!
Wow...where to start? I guess that's your question, too. @Franktalk is right...most of us start with extract, move on to all grain. Read the books, twice! I wouldn't get overwhelmed by water adjustments, which are not necessary with extract. With those fermentors, you need some temp control. Most of us start with plastic fermentors in a freezer with a temp control plug in. For you, you will need a 65 degree spot in your house or a large ferm chamber (refrigerator). Or a Glycol system. Or use yeast that is not so temp sensitive like Kveik.

Put your liquid yeast in the fridge for later and use dry yeast for the first few batches. Make a blonde ale or a pale ale. I see you have kegs, you can try a closed transfer with your CO2 tank, or just do a gravity open transfer for your first few brews. You need a way to dispense your new beer...I bought a three tap kegerator and used that. If that's not an option, you can dispense with a simple picnic tap from a chilled keg in a refrigerator.

There is so much more...but you need to start simple. With your setup that's actually hard to do :) .

Ya'll didn't see the link to his OP on another forum...i would check that out you'll be surprised.

As far as you go @Big_D...get going and use that awesome equipment!
 

RCope

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@Sammy86 ,You're right...I did read it but not close enough! So, new advice for @Big_D ...read the literature on your Grainfather...follow those instructions, generate some fermentable wort, transfer to your fermentor of choice and pitch your yeast when the temp is in the appropriate temp zone for that yeast. You will make beer! Then 2 or 3 weeks later, transfer to your keg, set your regulator at 9-12 psi (depending on your serving temp and your line length and your desired CO2 level). Let it carb up for a week or more and enjoy...that's all I got :cool:
 
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Big_D

Big_D

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Start with an extract kit with steeping grains. It will enable you to begin learning the processes while still producing drinkable, maybe even good, beer. Get a book, John Palmer's How to Brew or Charlie Papazian's The Joy of Homebrewing to help you learn the basics. Good luck and welcome to the obsession!

‘Thank you sir.. wish I would have asked before ordering my kits!
 
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Big_D

Big_D

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give yourself a lot more time than you planned for. you will need it.

it takes a few tries to get into the rhythm of a brew day.

As of today, I’m off work until next year! 😎 I know this first run will probably be more of a learning experience than anything, but hopefully something decent will come out of it.
 

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I think that I would grab a friend that knows the processes and makes good beer and ask them to join you on your first brew day. They should be able to get you through the day. The basics for me that need to be right are, clean, sanitize, and making sure the temps are were they are supposed to be. everything after that can and will be learned from experience. Have fun and Cheers.
 

FromZwolle

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I think that I would grab a friend that knows the processes and makes good beer and ask them to join you on your first brew day. They should be able to get you through the day. The basics for me that need to be right are, clean, sanitize, and making sure the temps are were they are supposed to be. everything after that can and will be learned from experience. Have fun and Cheers.
it'd be more fun for the friend if they joined on your fourth or fifth brew day. they get to have a chuckle at the stuff you're doing the 'hard way'.
 

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I think that I would grab a friend that knows the processes and makes good beer and ask them to join you on your first brew day. They should be able to get you through the day. The basics for me that need to be right are, clean, sanitize, and making sure the temps are were they are supposed to be. everything after that can and will be learned from experience. Have fun and Cheers.

+1 on this. I wouldn’t have gotten into it if it weren’t for an old friend of mine who brewed. Join a local Homebrew club and I guarantee you’ll find someone willing to tag along. Most homebrewers (aside from the few “cool guys” you find in any hobbyist group) are super inviting and willing to offer a hand.

If for whatever reason that isn’t feasible you’ve already found the second best option which is this forum. A wealth of knowledge I haven’t even dipped a full toe into yet.

Best of luck and enjoy your first brew day. Few things I would recommend…
  • Sanitize everything. Twice. Or four times. A million times. But overkill is better than underkill here. Get a spray bottle and fill it with star San solution, it’ll come in handy.
  • Record everything. Temps, times, what you did wrong, what you did right, in real time take note of everything you’re doing. It will help down the road.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself. At the end of the day you’re going to make beer, and it will likely taste good. Learn what you can within reason before hand and then just do it.
  • Invest in a fermentation chamber if you plan on sticking with it. It will pay you back in dividends.
  • Let your beer sit. It sucks waiting but the longer your beer can ferment/condition the better it’s going to be. Four weeks in your primary then bottle or keg (in general for all you sticklers).
 

bracconiere

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seriously @Big_D ! YOU need a kick in the ass to get going? hmmm, i'm down to my last keg, got 10 gallons about done fermenting....


and you just gave me the kick, I need, to get some barley malting. so i can brew in 4 days...otherwise it's going to be MHL.

;) :mug:
 

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Do the best you can, or at least best are wiling to do, effort wise, brewing first batch.

If you find it amusing, and you can enjoy what you make, there is room to move in direction to making the beer you really want to drink.

And yes it is a darn good pastime... that can be fun and productive.
 

Jag75

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@Big_D - did you download the Grainfather app yet? If not I strongly suggest it . If so just make the recipe . List the ingredients that came in your kit . It will tell you how much mash water you need and how much sparge.

The app has been on point with every single brew. It's a no brainer . Wifi connection with the app , it's great . You said you have an all grain kit you bought right ? Don't worry about water profiling just yet . If you have chlorine water just use a campden tablet . If you don't have that just use half tap water and half distilled or spring.

So let's say your the GF app tells you it's 4.5 gallons in the mash and 3.5 in the sparge. Just add the total of 8 gallons the treat with campden tablet . After that just pump out 3.5 gallons into a pot so you can heat up for the sparge .

The nice thing about the app is when you select the beer recipe you wanna brew it already adjust for the mash temp that you entered previously into the recipe maker. So you just wait for the temp , the alarm sounds and you mash in . Add some grain , mix . Add some more grain then mix . Do this until all the grain is added . Do a final mix , set the top screen on the malt pipe . Make sure the recirc hose valve is open, push the start mash button and it starts recirculating the wort. Adjust the valve so you have a good flow into the malt pipe. Not too much though . You want to see a nice steady roll over into it.

It gives you a warning of when to heat your spare water . I always heat to 160-165. Once the mash time is up an alarm sounds. The pump stops . Take off the lid , move the recirculating hose to the side . Lift the basket up and turn so it sits on the brackets . Now push down a little on the top screen . You want to compact the grains a little bit . Don't push down with everything you got , just a little bit. What that does is keep the sparge water from channeling through the grain . That will hurt your efficiency. You want a nice slow sparge. As I pour the sparge water in I never go above the grip tabs on that top screen . I keep the sparge water to that level.

As your sparging push the proceed to boil button. By the time your sparge is done you should almost be to boiling temp. Once you hit boil , just a nice rolling boil is all you need hit the boil timer button. Your alarm will sound off letting you know to add your 60min hop addition ( if you have one). For every hop addition that you put on your recipe an alarm will sound . It's really great brewing equipment.

I forgot to add , once your sparge is done and you set the basket aside put the lid on the grainfather until boiling starts . It helps speed the process . Then once boiling temp is reached take the lid off .

Okay , now back to the end of the boil. Get your CFC ready . What I do is set a barstool next to my GF and set the CFC on it . I hook it up to the sink . Blue hose to faucet , red hose to the sink. Main silicone hose to the recirc pipe. Once your boil time ends push the end boil stage button. Now take the outlet long silicone hose of the CFC and hang it into the GF. Turn the pump on and the wort will pump through the CFC and out that long silicone hose back into the GF. This sanatizes the chiller. I run it for a few minutes then I turn the cold water on at the faucet. This cold water goes through the chiller in the opposite direction of the wort , cooling the wort.

Beware of the water coming out of the red hose. It's super hot and will burn the heck out of you. You can either drain it in the sink , or drain it in a big 5 gallon bucket to use for cleaning . Keep the wort flowing back to the GF until you reach the desired temp. Keep a thermometer handy and sanatize with starsan and check the temp periodically.

When I have about 20 min left in the boil process I roll my Cf5 into the kitchen , fill with water and Starsan. When the temp of the wort exiting the chiller is the desired temp I drain the water from the Cf5 , turn the pump off , move the outlet hose to the fermenter turn the pump back on. Make sure your valves are all shut on the fermenter before you turn the pump on . It's all bad. Your starter should be ready to go already by this time. Once your wort is all transferred and at the right pitching temp oxygenate the wort . Then pitch the starter , close lid add blow off tube or airlock.

Hopefully you have a temp controller. It really is an important part of brewing right behind cleaning and sanitizing. Rinse out the Gf , fill with water , heat up to 140 , add pbw run the pump . I will use the mash recirc hose first , then the CFC next. I run each for about 15 minutes. It easier to do the CFC last because one the time is up just move the outlet hose to the sink drain so the GF empties. Your not running cold water through the chiller during this step lol. It's only to cool the wort . Sorry I'm just trying to make sure you understand everything.

Once the pbw solution is is pumped out fill with hot water and heat up to 150 and so the same schedule as the pbw clean. Always use hot water after PBW wash. I dry mine once it's done.

Good luck man , I know it seems overwhelming but you can do it . Watch videos on YouTube. David Heath was mentioned . I watched all his stuff and used his mods . I love my GF , it really is easy to use. Sorry for the long post, I'm just trying to be helpful , I remember my first dance 😁 . Don't hesitate to ask any questions. Brew on !
 
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Big_D

Big_D

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I appreciate all of the replies, and the kick in the ass @bracconiere !! Tomorrow is cleaning day, then I’m going to run through a few things to make sure I don’t hit any major roadblocks. Hopefully Friday will be brew day!
 
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Big_D

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@Big_D - did you download the Grainfather app yet? If not I strongly suggest it . If so just make the recipe . List the ingredients that came in your kit . It will tell you how much mash water you need and how much sparge.

The app has been on point with every single brew. It's a no brainer . Wifi connection with the app , it's great . You said you have an all grain kit you bought right ? Don't worry about water profiling just yet . If you have chlorine water just use a campden tablet . If you don't have that just use half tap water and half distilled or spring.

So let's say your the GF app tells you it's 4.5 gallons in the mash and 3.5 in the sparge. Just add the total of 8 gallons the treat with campden tablet . After that just pump out 3.5 gallons into a pot so you can heat up for the sparge .

The nice thing about the app is when you select the beer recipe you wanna brew it already adjust for the mash temp that you entered previously into the recipe maker. So you just wait for the temp , the alarm sounds and you mash in . Add some grain , mix . Add some more grain then mix . Do this until all the grain is added . Do a final mix , set the top screen on the malt pipe . Make sure the recirc hose valve is open, push the start mash button and it starts recirculating the wort. Adjust the valve so you have a good flow into the malt pipe. Not too much though . You want to see a nice steady roll over into it.

It gives you a warning of when to heat your spare water . I always heat to 160-165. Once the mash time is up an alarm sounds. The pump stops . Take off the lid , move the recirculating hose to the side . Lift the basket up and turn so it sits on the brackets . Now push down a little on the top screen . You want to compact the grains a little bit . Don't push down with everything you got , just a little bit. What that does is keep the sparge water from channeling through the grain . That will hurt your efficiency. You want a nice slow sparge. As I pour the sparge water in I never go above the grip tabs on that top screen . I keep the sparge water to that level.

As your sparging push the proceed to boil button. By the time your sparge is done you should almost be to boiling temp. Once you hit boil , just a nice rolling boil is all you need hit the boil timer button. Your alarm will sound off letting you know to add your 60min hop addition ( if you have one). For every hop addition that you put on your recipe an alarm will sound . It's really great brewing equipment.

I forgot to add , once your sparge is done and you set the basket aside put the lid on the grainfather until boiling starts . It helps speed the process . Then once boiling temp is reached take the lid off .

Okay , now back to the end of the boil. Get your CFC ready . What I do is set a barstool next to my GF and set the CFC on it . I hook it up to the sink . Blue hose to faucet , red hose to the sink. Main silicone hose to the recirc pipe. Once your boil time ends push the end boil stage button. Now take the outlet long silicone hose of the CFC and hang it into the GF. Turn the pump on and the wort will pump through the CFC and out that long silicone hose back into the GF. This sanatizes the chiller. I run it for a few minutes then I turn the cold water on at the faucet. This cold water goes through the chiller in the opposite direction of the wort , cooling the wort.

Beware of the water coming out of the red hose. It's super hot and will burn the heck out of you. You can either drain it in the sink , or drain it in a big 5 gallon bucket to use for cleaning . Keep the wort flowing back to the GF until you reach the desired temp. Keep a thermometer handy and sanatize with starsan and check the temp periodically.

When I have about 20 min left in the boil process I roll my Cf5 into the kitchen , fill with water and Starsan. When the temp of the wort exiting the chiller is the desired temp I drain the water from the Cf5 , turn the pump off , move the outlet hose to the fermenter turn the pump back on. Make sure your valves are all shut on the fermenter before you turn the pump on . It's all bad. Your starter should be ready to go already by this time. Once your wort is all transferred and at the right pitching temp oxygenate the wort . Then pitch the starter , close lid add blow off tube or airlock.

Hopefully you have a temp controller. It really is an important part of brewing right behind cleaning and sanitizing. Rinse out the Gf , fill with water , heat up to 140 , add pbw run the pump . I will use the mash recirc hose first , then the CFC next. I run each for about 15 minutes. It easier to do the CFC last because one the time is up just move the outlet hose to the sink drain so the GF empties. Your not running cold water through the chiller during this step lol. It's only to cool the wort . Sorry I'm just trying to make sure you understand everything.

Once the pbw solution is is pumped out fill with hot water and heat up to 150 and so the same schedule as the pbw clean. Always use hot water after PBW wash. I dry mine once it's done.

Good luck man , I know it seems overwhelming but you can do it . Watch videos on YouTube. David Heath was mentioned . I watched all his stuff and used his mods . I love my GF , it really is easy to use. Sorry for the long post, I'm just trying to be helpful , I remember my first dance 😁 . Don't hesitate to ask any questions. Brew on !

This is an incredible post @Jag75 !! Thank you for taking the time to write this up!!

I have downloaded the app, but I didn’t realize the recipe builder would do everything including calculating mash and sparse water measurements. I’ll go build the recipe now!

I’ve spent a lot of time reading and researching over the last week or so, and I was surprised (and very pleased) in the fact that every word you typed made perfect sense and I understand every bit of it. I’ve watched a couple brew day videos with the Grainfather, I could actually picture every step you typed in my head. As long as I’ve got everything I need tool wise, I’ll be brewing Friday! 😎

Again, THANK YOU ALL!! I know it takes time and effort to put thoughts to text on here, I really appreciate it!!
 

Lost Nutz Garage

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My advice to a new brewer is this:
1. Learn to enjoy cleaning. Cleaning & sanitizing aren't the fun or sexy part of this hobby, but are absolutely critical to being successful. Finding a way to find some joy in the process and end result will take the suck out of this needed task.
2. Find a way to organize your gear. You have or will accumulate a lot of stuff. Keeping it organized and and accessible when and where you need it will vastly improve your enjoyment of the hobby.
 
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Big_D

Big_D

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Alright… So, no one told me that cleaning day was like playing a full contact sport! I’m beat! Everything is super clean though! That PBW does an amazing job. I spent about 5 hours cleaning, and that was just on the Grainfather and the Brewtech unitank. Everything is drying, the fermenter side of things will get a Star San treatment tomorrow before they get used.


4F1E2557-069A-4E9C-BBA9-CAD1BD7F482D.jpeg



EA938275-B9FB-44EE-B1CD-E42102ABC413.jpeg
 
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Big_D

Big_D

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After reading @Jag75’s post last night, I headed over to the Grainfather site and spent a little time building my recipe. The recipe builder is incredible! Very easy to use, and like he mentioned, it gives you a lot of parameters like your starting water volume and sparge volume. I was a bit worried when I started cleaning everything tonight though, I didn’t see anything on my controller indicating it was Bluetooth. That would mean it was a manual model. A manual model still would have worked, but would have been a little more challenging. After I got everything cleaned and rinsed off, I brought the controller in. After doing a little research, I was able to easily get it connected and load the recipe to it.



751A3775-E30B-4BE7-8CE4-E859405E41F8.jpeg
 

Sammy86

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So, given all of that… tomorrow’s BREW DAY!!

I’m gonna give her hell and hopefully produce something drinkable! 😎

Good luck! Take notes, whether voice memos, on your phone or handwritten! Brewing is all about the details! And on the first one don't go too hard on the drinking, clear mind as Jackson Browne once said!

oh yeah, have some fun!
 
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Big_D

Big_D

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Appreciate it @Sammy86

Sorry for no updates, ran into some issues prior to getting started. Mainly, just about all of the seals on the Brewtech were shot. Had to source some local, delayed me a couple hours. 🙄

Doughed in at this point though.. it’s on!!! 😎

08AD67E1-C8B9-4A61-AC1C-792E11DFDA87.jpeg



4BBE1F44-3A8F-42B7-8512-03C342861652.jpeg
 
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Big_D

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More cleaning prior to getting going too.. 🙄

Star San in the Brewtech. Served multiple purposes.. sanitized and checked for leaks! 😎


BEA5F0F5-D503-407E-87D0-CA39C79FBCE4.jpeg
 
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Big_D

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Sparging takes forever!!

Didn’t like the looks of this when I pulled up the basket… 😐

I kept the overflow at a very minimal rate, so hopefully there’s not a lot down on the filter!


EC7DA267-40C2-405A-AAF2-006D040733FD.jpeg
 

FromZwolle

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have you considered some kind of brewcast?

plenty of free streaming platforms out there...
 
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Big_D

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have you considered some kind of brewcast?

plenty of free streaming platforms out there...

Sorry.. am I posting too much? I didn’t think I’d have time to take pics, let alone post.. but it’s not as intense as I thought it would be.

I do have a question though.. when do I check the initial PH and OG?
 

FromZwolle

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Sorry.. am I posting too much? I didn’t think I’d have time to take pics, let alone post.. but it’s not as intense as I thought it would be.

I do have a question though.. when do I check the initial PH and OG?
not enough posts! we'd watch the whole thing in live action.

i don't generally take any ph post mash. og as soon as it's pitching temps.
 

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Sorry.. am I posting too much? I didn’t think I’d have time to take pics, let alone post.. but it’s not as intense as I thought it would be.

I do have a question though.. when do I check the initial PH and OG?

When I take pH, it's usually just ten minutes or so into the mash. No point to taking any ph readings after the mash is done. OG should be taken after the boil, ideally after you cool because temperature impacts gravity readings.

You can also take a gravity reading of your mash before you start the lautering process to make sure you've hit the level of conversion you're shooting for. It can be very helpful as you're learning how to do all grain. Brewer's friend has a great mash efficiency calculator. You can plug in your grains and your gravity reading, and it will tell you the percentage of potential sugars you've pulled from the grain. Pretty much anything above 70% is good to go, though I hit 82% on my mash this morning. Depends on your equipment, the grain and the day. But I almost always measure mash gravity before I finish a mash because sometimes I'm only at 60% for some reason, so I let it sit for a bit more until I've gotten more sugars out.
 
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Ok.. the Grainfather app states my OG should be 1.048 per my recipe. I just pulled a sample, let it cool to room temp and tested it.. I’m at 1.051. Is that bad?
 
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Did this top screen just fall when you were cleaning or did you install it at the bottom?

It was still in place on the top, but seems to have shifted during the mash. May be due to the cam lock conversion I put on. I opted to get the Robobrew (I think) arm which is taller than the Grainfather arm. Due to that, my silicone hose is above the liquid level when pumping, I‘m thinking it might have compacted/channeled the grain causing it to shift. I’ll get another hose before next brew day to confirm.
 
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We’re at a boil.

This is awesome in so many ways! One, there’s 6 gallons of potential awesomeness sitting there boiling! And two, I made it!!! 😁

First round of hops in the spider shortly! 😎


0AC2E2CD-8CB7-4219-8CA8-EFEA64975B00.jpeg
 

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Ok.. the Grainfather app states my OG should be 1.048 per my recipe. I just pulled a sample, let it cool to room temp and tested it.. I’m at 1.051. Is that bad?

Nothing wrong with that!! In homebrew numbers you pretty much nailed it.

Keep track of the numbers. If your next 2-3 batches come out the same (.003 over expected) you can make adjustments.
 

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Ok.. the Grainfather app states my OG should be 1.048 per my recipe. I just pulled a sample, let it cool to room temp and tested it.. I’m at 1.051. Is that bad?

No that's good!. So your efficiency was a tad better then thought .
 
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Big_D

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Nothing wrong with that!! In homebrew numbers you pretty much nailed it.

Keep track of the numbers. If your next 2-3 batches come out the same (.003 over expected) you can make adjustments.
No that's good!. So your efficiency was a tad better then thought .

Awesome.. so I’m headed in the right direction!

Couple this with one of my mean briskets and I’m in heaven! I love cookin, especially when it’s something I enjoy! 😎


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Jag75

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I'm smoking a turkey as we speak . I'll be putting a brisket on at 11 pm tonight . That Brisket looks amazing!
 

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