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My first brew was AG

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Philsc

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Now I'm off to buy Mr Beer.

It was good fun, though. Nobody mentions the smells. It smells so good, especially that first hop addition, but everything else, including the crushed grain.

Had a few problems though. The first was my grain mill, amaco's finest pasta roller. I was too eager to get started to build a hopper and all that nonsense. I just put it on a plate and spooned the grains into the top. After about an hour of this, i made a high tech hopper out of a granola bar box and some scotch tape. I was pressing this pasta roller down onto a plate to stop it slipping around and cranking with the other hand while jiggling the hopper to get the grains out. Today my shoulders are killing me.


I also probably oxidized the wort before it had cooled. I tried to get the whirlpool action going and bubbled it a little. The problem was that there was far too little wort. While it was boiling I think someone came in and stole some. I boiled up 7L (7.4 qts) of water for the sparge and the mash and put just under 3L (3.2 qts) into the fermenter. I was aiming for 5 - 6 litres.

My guess is that the boil was too vigorous, I'll try and tone it down next time. The other thing is that I was boiling my first runnings before the sparge had come out. Perhaps with a decent sized batch it takes as long as the sparge for those first runnings to boil, but not when you've only got 2 litres.

Also, my gravity was 70. That's is a little higher than I was aiming for (I'm doing a British pale ale). Either my hydrometer's on the blink, I've misread it, or I've boiled off most of the wort. I just chucked it in the fermenter, pitched the yeast and went to bed.

I'm guessing that I boiled off most of my wort. Should I throw some boiled water into the fermenter?

Next time, I'm scaling back the heat a little, perhaps waiting till I've sparged before beginning the boil.

Any comments / suggestions welcome

Thanks

Phil
 

RedIrocZ-28

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You are supposed to oxygenate the wort before pitching the yeast!

Your gravity was higher than expected because you extracted all the sugars needed for your 5-6L batch but they are more concentrated in the 3L batch.


Boil your wort all at once, don't boil your first runnings and then add your second runnings. For simplicity's sake do it this way. There are other ways of brewing which employ your method but again, for simplicity, just wait until you have collected all your wort before you begin the boil.

Also, make sure than you calculate water loss to absorbtion from the grains. Figure 10lbs grain will roughly equal 1 gallon of absorbtion, scale your strike water (mash) and sparge water amounts accordingly to acheive the amount you want for a boil, then figure about 1 gallon of boil off in an hour.

Anything else?

Edit: cut the handle off, stick the end in the drill. And send me your rollers to get them knurled.
 

DeathBrewer

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Sounds like it went fine...a few snags, but nothing the rest of us haven't experienced. I'll bet it turns out fine. I wouldn't worry about a small amount of splashing from whirlpooling.

Why on earth would you go to Mr. Beer??
 
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Philsc

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Why on earth would you go to Mr. Beer??
Because it's easy. I was joking... partially.

I had a lot of fun; as I said, it was a spectacular experience from a purely olfactory perspective, but I started at 6pm when I got home, and finished at 3 am. I soaked a lot of stuff and am cleaning up this afternoon (luckily I have the day off today).

All that for 3 litres of beer, which I thought I had spoiled at the last minute with the splashing. It didn't seem worth it at 3am, but now I'm raring to get back in there, perfect my technique, and get my gallon of beer.

Thanks for the support and the advice.

Next time I'll collect all the wort then boil.
 
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Philsc

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You are supposed to oxygenate the wort before pitching the yeast!

Your gravity was higher than expected because you extracted all the sugars needed for your 5-6L batch but they are more concentrated in the 3L batch.
I oxygenated the hell out of the wort when it was cool, as per my instructions. I also lightly oxygenated it while it was still at about 50 degrees C (122 F). Which, apparently, is very very bad.

If there's a gallon boiled off in an hour that means I need two gallons for a 1 gallon batch. I'll have to upgrade to a bigger kettle.

Thanks for the water/grain ratios. That's goin' in my notebook.

Thanks for knurling offer. I've already scarred 'em up with a drill. Would that be a problem?

Phil
 

JesseRC

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I guess if you are making 1 gallon batches the time needed for all grain wouldnt really payoff..moneywise or satisfaction wise. Any reason why you'd be doing 1 gallon batch?
 

jeansberg

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You can dilute the fermented wort with more water when you're getting ready to keg/bottle. Unless you want a really strong beer, that is. :)
 
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Philsc

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I guess if you are making 1 gallon batches the time needed for all grain wouldnt really payoff..moneywise or satisfaction wise. Any reason why you'd be doing 1 gallon batch?
Excellent question, one I'm pondering myself after last night.

A few weeks back, on a whim, I decided that I was going to brew beer. I hit the internet and this is what I found.

Page1

Equipment

They're for very small batches. It suited the equipment I had already. I just bought the hydrometer, kitchen thermometer, bungs, airlocks. I have very very little space and can't store whopping great fermenting bins.

Also, it seemed like a cheap and easy way to test out a new hobby. I'm going to try to perfect my technique by having another couple of goes. If it goes well, I can persuade the wife that 100s of dollars on a great big electric brew kettle, yards of copper pipe and carboys is a good idea.

One thing's for sure, I'm not intending on staying at the one gallon brew. It certainly doesn't make sense time wise.

Phil
 

DeathBrewer

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Check out my partial mash thread (in my sig.) You may be able to move up to larger batches fairly quickly, and now that you have one all-grain out of the way, the rest should be easy.
 
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