I to did my first AG today.

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Sager Brewing Co.

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It sure was a lot of fun, but nerve racking. I was constantly worried about the mash holding temp. I refrained from opening it up every 5 minutes to check the temp, I only opened it once after 30 min. I made a cooler mash tun, but I noticed the top is hollow, so I put a quilt on it to help hold in the heat, It did real good, it never dropped below 150. But when I sparged I didn't hit 170, I used a web calculator for the temp but it was not high enough. I am guessing that effected my efficiency. I think my next purchase is going to be a bigger boil pot, mine is only 7.5 and it was hard to get a good boil going, and I need a hot water tank. I had to use two smaller pots for hot water, what a pain.

My pre boil SG was 1.042, and my post boil was 1.046, If I figured correctly, I think my efficiency was about 61%. Which is better then I thought I would get. Thankfully it stayed within style guidelines although just barely. It smelled great going into the carboy, I cannot wait till it is ready.
 
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Grain crush, not temperature, is the go-to culprit in low efficiency. Sparging a little cool may affect the efficiency, but it shouldn't drop it THAT low.

Tighten the mill gap until you're scared...
 

JoMarky

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Grain crush, not temperature, is the go-to culprit in low efficiency. Sparging a little cool may affect the efficiency, but it shouldn't drop it THAT low.

Tighten the mill gap until you're scared...
Agreed. I thought for sure with my first home crush I was gonna get one of the dreaded stuck sparges, instead I got 87% efficiency and perfect flow
 

fratermus

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I was constantly worried about the mash holding temp. I refrained from opening it up every 5 minutes to check the temp, I only opened it once after 30 min. I made a cooler mash tun,
There are digital kitchen proble-type thermometers for about $20 that have a pretty long probe cord. So you can put the probe in the mash and put the lid back on. That way you can see the temp every time you walk by it. Or set alarms for when the temp rises or falls to a particular setting.

The Polder one I have uses a nonwaterproof probe, so I hang it in the mash but not completely submerged.
 

Saccharomyces

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Nice job! Congrats on #1!

I don't know why but I have not had luck with digital thermometers. I'm on my third probe thermometer (first two got water in them and ruined). I have two instant read digital thermometers and neither of them is giving a reading within 40* of reality, one is brand new so I'm going to return it. I think I'm going to give up and get a brewmometer to mount in my mash tun. I have had good luck with the floating alcohol thermometers for heating strike and sparge water but they don't work well in the mash.
 
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