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Plastic Brewkettle

Plastic Brewkettle

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@RM-MN So I would probably buy a grain mill (I've been looking at them anyway) but I'm not quite ready. Northern Brewer has the hand crank one but it strikes me as entry level and I don't want to be buying another one in 2 years. If I get a mill, that means I start buying grain in bulk and roasting my own. Geez. Then I've got to start a hop garden and a yeast nursery. Then I'll need a water well with a treatment plant. All this on a garage-brewer's salary.
 

hotbeer

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@hotbeer I'm putting 5 gallons in the fermenter. I tried a 6.5 down to 5.5 (or so) gallon boil a batch or so ago and still had low OG numbers.
I guess I ask an incomplete question. And maybe the info has been given already but I haven't looked yet.

When you put 5 gallons in the fermenter was there much wort leftover that didn't get used? If so, then that is lost sugar that could have been used to give you a higher SG.

So other than leaving yourself enough to maybe have for an OG sample your total wort produced should generally be the total amount you plan to put in the fermenter plus the water you need for evaporation losses during the mash and boil. Again, any wort you don't use is sugar you are throwing away that might have added to your SG.

You grain crush might leave you not extracting enough sugars too. For a traditional mash and sparge it might not work well, but I've been using a very old coffee grinder to mill my malts for BIAB. A burr grinder not a blade grinder. I get really good numbers for how much sugar I'm extracting.
 

RM-MN

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@RM-MN So I would probably buy a grain mill (I've been looking at them anyway) but I'm not quite ready. Northern Brewer has the hand crank one but it strikes me as entry level and I don't want to be buying another one in 2 years. If I get a mill, that means I start buying grain in bulk and roasting my own. Geez. Then I've got to start a hop garden and a yeast nursery. Then I'll need a water well with a treatment plant. All this on a garage-brewer's salary.
You can spread those purchases over a few decades. I bought a Corona style mill and a paint strainer bag to start all grain and brewed a 2 1/2 gallon batch, full volume, no sparge and got a much higher OG than the recipe was written for. I've used one of the paint strainer bags for a 5 gallon batch (several actually) but went back to 2 1/2 gallon batches due to bad back and the desire to have more varieties of beer without drowning myself in beer.

This is the type of mill I have. They have gone up a bit in price since I got mine but still reasonable. With a little grinding I managed to fit a socket onto the shaft and with an adapter can run it with my cordless drill. (hammer drill to get sufficient torque to turn it).

 
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