Author Topic: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)  (Read 1438 times)

Offline Jeff M

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MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« on: March 02, 2013, 10:58:09 PM »
So My Buddy and I just ventured into All-Grain.  The setup I purchased.
15 G Stainless Steel BC Pot W propane Burner, Weldless spigot to follow
10 Gallon Red Rubbermaid Drink Cooler
50 Ft Stainless steel immersions chiller, with a therminator waiting for when we are ready
8” gravity fed Fly Sparge Arm attached to an old leaky(ha) truebrew bottling bucket.
I also bought every chemical known to man and a whole bunch of other sundries which I had read where handy, such as a Thermopen.  How I lived without a Thermopen I just don’t know.
 
The Story of our first All Grain Batch.
My buddy Rob called me Thursday night and we arranged to brew.  It had been a while and we had stuff stacking up.  I had all this shiny new All Grain Equipment sitting in my house waiting to be used but knew that it would take a certain amount of prep before it was ready.  Hoses needed to be measured out, spigots needed to be checked for leaks and everything had to be cleaned.  So being the overzealous person that I am, I suggested to Rob that we drag all this stuff to his house so we could check it out while we brew an Extract Kit that we have had for a while.  He swings by my house about noon and we toss everything into his car and away we go.  After a stop at CVS for Yellow Kitchen gloves to save us from PBW and Iodine for starch Tests we hit his house.  After a small amount of conversation we decide to All Grain because why not.  Our LHBS recently started selling All grain kits and we chose to do the Dogfish Head 90 Min Clone kit I bought instead of a doing the recipe I found on the AHA forums for Old Richards Ale that I had pieced together that had very poor instructions for Newbies.  The Kit came with solid instructions and we knew what needed to be done.

The Instructions
16 lbs American 2-Row 1 lbs English Crystal Malt 2.75 oz Amarillo pellets 1.2 oz Warrior pellets 1.2 oz Simcoe pellets 1 tsp Irish Moss Dry English Ale Yeast Two Days before Brew Day
• Recommended: Prepare a 1.5 Liter yeast starter, using the yeast starter reference guide on www.beer-wine.com. Brew Day Prepare your water • Add 10.52 gallons of water to your Hot Liquor Tank; heat to 163.7° F. Mash
• Transfer 6.12 gallons to your Mash/Lauter Tun. While stirring with mash paddle, slowly add grain to the Mash/Lauter Tun to avoid dry pockets. Stir until mash temp reaches 150° F
• Cover your Mash/Lauter Tun & steep grain for 75 minutes @ 150° F. While steeping, heat the
remaining water in the Hot Liquor Tank to 168° F. After the 75 minute mash slowly drain 1 qt of wort at a time into a pitcher & pour gently back into the Mash/Lauter Tun until the wort is running clear. Fly Sparge
• Over 60-90 minutes, trickle the water from the Hot Liquor tank into the Mash/Lauter Tun while slowly
trickling the mash into the Boil Kettle. Adjust the ball valves to achieve equal flow rates. Stop the flow
when the Boil Kettle volume reaches 7.68 gallons. Use the thief and hydrometer to record the
temperature and gravity readings, adjust for temperature. Boil Schedule
Time Action Heating – untimed Heat the wort in your Boil Kettle to a full boil 0 minute mark Add 0.45 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 15 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 30 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 45 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 60 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 75 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets & Irish Moss 85 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 90 minute mark Remove from heat, Cool the wort to 70°F using a wort chiller. Oxygenation
• Drain 5.5 gallons of chilled wort into a clean & sanitized primary fermenting bucket/carboy. • Draw a sample with a thief; record temperature and gravity readings, adjust for temperature. • Oxygenate: stir vigorously or transfer wort between your fermenter and a second cleaned/sanitized
bucket. Fermentation
• Pitch the yeast into the wort • Seal with the lid and insert airlock. • Ferment in primary for 7 days at 68°-72° F. Transfer to secondary & dry hop with 1 oz Amarillo, 0.50 oz Warrior, & 0.50 oz Simcoe pellets until final gravity has been reached, about 10 days. • Keg or bottle as preferred; refer to beer-wine.com for further information

Fast Forward to 2 O’clock.  After a ration of $#%@ from Robs wife for all the new boxes in their kitchen, we are off to the races to All Grain!!!!!  The New kettle, Immersion Coil, and a few other Stainless items have been Cleaned with PBW and I am grinding the 17 LB grain bill on our 20 dollar Corona Mill.  I moaned about buying a better Mill while cranking away and kept checking our crush.  Shredded hulls everywhere!  After getting our water to the suggested temp we start slowly adding our grains to the Cooler with about half a LB of Rice Hulls that I had bought at our LHBS because I just had one of those feelings.

Disaster #1
 After Mashing for about 30 Min we check the temp and we have dropped to about 146F, the recipe suggests 150F.  We got an additional ~1 gallon of water to a boil and added it and got back to 153F and put the lid back on.   Disaster avoided, although we have much more water in the MT then we really wanted.  At the end of our 75 min steep we were still at 151F and I was happy that our new Cooler held temps so well.  After some fidgeting we are ready to pull the wort.

Disaster #2
We start pulling the First L of Wort out of the MT to recirculate the wort and there is grain in it!  We had a false bottom in the MT and that just shouldn’t of been happening, I could only assume that the False bottom became disconnected from the bulkhead and we were pulling grain and all.  The Spigot quickly became clogged.  The only thing I could think of was to empty the MT back into our kettle to reattach the False Bottom and transfer everything back.  25 Scoops of hot Grist later and we get to the bottom.  The False Bottom is still connected and the Grist had managed to get under the False Bottom.  After a small amount of fidgeting we clear out under the False Bottom and transfer the Grist back into the MT.  Try #2 has no Grain in it and the wort is looking great!  Disaster #2 Avoided! Time to RDWHAHB.

As we start sparging we play with our Spigot to keep the Flow into the LT about the same as the flow coming out of the Sparge Arm.  Im pretty sure we failed this step but it is what it is.  There was some serious confusion between Rob and I because the Instructions told us to collect ~8 Gallons of wort during Sparge and we collected about that but had tons left.  We drained the remained of the wort into our 5 Gallon Pot and decided to boil it down to see if we could make a small batch of something.

We boiled the Wort for 90 Minutes and hit all our Hop additions on time and the wort was starting to smell hoppy and great.  We bring the Pot full of wort back in the house and start up the Immersion Chiller.  Why hadn’t we used one of these before! What an awesome device.  The 45F Tap water cooled that wort down to 68F in about 6 minutes.    Time to check the Gravity!

Disaster #3
1.061…. Why are we so low, we seemed to hit our temps and boiled down a good amount of the wort and had about what we needed volume wise.  We couldn’t exactly measure how much Wort we had, because our Kettle has yet to be measured and marked.  OG is marked on the Instructions as 1.084 so we are hugely off.  I did a little math and saw our Potential Gravity was 612 points but we only hit 427 Points.  So our Mash Efficiency was 70%, which was good considering some of the numbers I had seen.  But we were still super low.  I later found out that I had only ground up 12 Lbs of grain, which gave us a  Potential gravity at 432, so our Mash Eff was rather high in the 90% range, is that possible?  SO we fill up our Carboy and finish cleaning up.

Questions/comments I have about the process.
 We didn’t adjust our Water in any way.  We used Tap water, I don’t know what the mineral profile is for the Water we use, but we need to address that
We didn’t check PH in any way shape or form.  I did try once with the PH Test strips I had purchased, but the color on the Strip wasn’t anything near any of the example.  When should we be checking PH and does anyone have a PH meter they recommend?
We made a 1.5L starter for this beer, which is currently working away. Is one vial of yeast enough to make a starter of that size?
How do people clean their Kettles? 15G Pots are huge and just don’t fit in sinks.
The Propane Burner we used had most of the paint charred off due to the heat, is there a way to protect this piece of equipment from the rust im sure will be forming on it in the near future?
I tried doing a starch test and I never saw the color change that was suggested would happen.  I purchased Iodine at CVS, But it was Called Iodine-(something) is there a specific type of iodine needed for this test? Will a refractometer be better for me?

Thanks for reading all of this, I look forward to comments and suggestions to help my All Grain experience to be all the better,
Jeff
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline guido

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 03:25:38 AM »
Your first AG session went better than mine.  A few random thoughts:  forget about the iodine.  The grain wants to convert in the worst way.  I've heard rumors that conversion is far shorter than 60 minutes. You probably didn't need to sparge so much since you added extra hot water to keep the mash temp up.  If you have to do that again, let the cooler drain a while before starting the sparge.  Keeping the mash temp steady in a cooler is a pain and a crap-shoot at best.  I mash in the kettle.  I stir about every 15 minutes and add heat as needed.  I can keep an exact mash temp and step mash/mashout as needed.  The next step is to transfer the grain with a 1-gallon pitcher to the cooler and then re-circulate.  The big kettles are a pain to clean.  I have to set them on the counter beside the sink or when the weather is warm, used the garden hose and a scrub pad outside.  I know with my system, compensating for the hot wort temp (150F) and the wort loss from boil off, that my OG will be 30 points more than the reading before the boil.  I just sparge until my gravity is 30 points lower than my target gravity, so I hit it perfectly all the time.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 03:28:42 AM by guido »
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Offline guido

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 03:33:52 AM »
People drive themselves crazy about water, too.  I know I did.  For almost everyone, water is no problem.  Use the pH strip to test if the Star San is good.  Try to find out if your water is hard or soft just to get an idea of what you're working with.  My water is very soft, so I add some gypsum for hoppy beers--but that's about it.
Well...I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer

     -"Roadhouse Blues,"  Jim Morrison

Offline bboy9000

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 09:01:19 AM »
Adding some extra water to the mash isn't uncommon.  Mash temperature is something I'm still struggling with and I'm on my 12th grain batch.  I have a 10 gallon Igloo mash tun and I preheat it with a gallon of boiling water while I'm waiting for the strike water to heat.  I pour out the preheated water right before dough-in.  Using the strike temperature formula in Palmer's How to Brew doesn't get the rest temperature where I need it so I over estimate my strike temp and still often add at least a quart of boiling water to the mash to get it where it needs to be.  If I need to do a rest around 148-152F I'm usually okay.  If it needs to be higher, I'm adding the boiling water.   

I've reached a water-to-grain ratio of 1.7qts./lb. by adding extra water due to not hitting the correct temperature. 2.5-3.0 qts./lb. is high but is still okay from what I've read although the conversion takes longer.  If you get this high of a water to grain ratio may need a longer protein rest.

If you keep having problems with the false bottom consider switching to a bazooka screen (~$20) or stainless steel braid from a supply line hose.
Brian
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Offline duboman

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 09:05:56 AM »
Quote
Questions/comments I have about the process.
 We didn’t adjust our Water in any way.  We used Tap water, I don’t know what the mineral profile is for the Water we use, but we need to address that
We didn’t check PH in any way shape or form.  I did try once with the PH Test strips I had purchased, but the color on the Strip wasn’t anything near any of the example.  When should we be checking PH and does anyone have a PH meter they recommend?
We made a 1.5L starter for this beer, which is currently working away. Is one vial of yeast enough to make a starter of that size?
How do people clean their Kettles? 15G Pots are huge and just don’t fit in sinks.
The Propane Burner we used had most of the paint charred off due to the heat, is there a way to protect this piece of equipment from the rust im sure will be forming on it in the near future?
I tried doing a starch test and I never saw the color change that was suggested would happen.  I purchased Iodine at CVS, But it was Called Iodine-(something) is there a specific type of iodine needed for this test? Will a refractometer be better for me?

1. IMO, if your water is fine and tasty to drink there is nothing to worry about
2. Unless your water has extremely high PH, adjustments are not necessary, the grain bill itself will usually drop the PH to an appropriate level
3.The starter was probably adequate but get in the habit of using a calculator like www.yeastcalc.com-plug in the numbers and it will give you the appropriate pitch rate
4. I brew outside and do everything outside, even in the dead of winter:)
5. Really no maintenance required, if the holes get plugged up with debris just ream them out
6. Never have done a conversion test, most grain today is highly modified and easy to convert
7. Refractometers are good for taking readings until alcohol is present so pre-boil and post boil are good but to find FG they can be innacurate and require conversion which can still be un-reliable. I just use a hydrometer

A couple notes: Crush is the first thing to look at when gravity is not being met, a poor crush can lead to poor mash/lauter efficiency-if you plan on continuing with AG brewing invest in a mill for a consistent crush. Use a couple handfuls of rice hulls in the mash to prevent stuck sparges. Wrap a blanket around your mash tun to prevent heat loss or cut a piece of foam board insulation to lay over the mash if there is room. Stir the mash several times and prior to sparge to increase efficiency. Get some brewing software to help with your brew day process and take notes. There are many to choose from, some are free and some are not, I like BeerSmith.

All in all it sounds like you had a great day so RDWHAHB and as you get some more AG beers going it will all become a lot easier!
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline Jeff M

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2013, 09:25:53 AM »
Mill is the first thing on my purchase list! I also need to make a Hop spider, because we lost a lot to hop pellets at the bottom of the kettle and no way to filter it all out.  whirlpooling only seems to work for Hop Flowers, or am i doing it wrong?

Can anyone check my math for my eff, i keep having this nagging thought that something is wrong.

Batch 1 was 1.060 at 65F and 7 Gallons.
Back 2 was 1.015 at 73F and 2.5 Gallons.(we added a bunch of corn sugar to this to see what would happen.  Free beer is free beer
The grain bill was 17LBs total.
If you could please show you work that would be awesome. im pretty sure i did it correctly, but its nice to know for sure.

I purchased Beersmith a few weeks ago, but didnt input the recipe because it was a kit.  Il going to put it threw and see what it says.

Mashing.  We also preheated our MT with about a gallon of boiling water and emptied it before adding the grist and water.  Im fairy certain it was at about this point our false bottom started floating and the grain got under it during the heavy stirring to make sure the grain didnt doughball to the bottom.  Im going to invest in a bazooka screen anyway, they seem cheap and its just a fun thing to play with.  I may use it in my kettle once i install the weldless bulkhead.

Water. Im going to research the water we are using and figure out what needs to be added. Ive been reading Gordon Strong's book and he recommends adding 2 different chemicals, one is gypsum and the other is calcium chloride?  He also suggests using physphoric acid for PH.  Ill figure out that whole mess in time.
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline gymrat

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2013, 09:54:54 AM »
Rather than a hop spider I got me one of these





When making a really hoppy beer I do need to scoop it out a few times as I pour my wort from my kettle to my bucket. But it catches everything coming out of the kettle.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2013, 09:55:56 AM »
Everything could have been avoided if you bought a blue cooler instead of red....... :D

Welcome to all grain! 

Dave 
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 10:07:42 AM »
Everything could have been avoided if you bought a blue cooler instead of red....... :D

Welcome to all grain! 

Dave

LOL ive read about the awesomeness of blue coolers, but Lowes only had Red(which seemed weird to me considering their colors, and Home depot only had a horrible orange one.
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
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Offline fmader

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 10:08:46 AM »
I've had the debate about using a hop spider on the forum not too long ago. I used one...now I don't lol. I do like the idea of the strainer over the bucket shown above. I currently attach a sanitized knee high leg stalking to my hose with a zip tie. I run my wort into a bucket first. The hose catches mostly everything. I then dump by bucket through a funnel with a screen into my carboy. By this point, there is very little debris on the screen. This also gives the wort some nice aeration. Anyways, here's the thread where this was debated quite extensively.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14289.0

Welcome to all grain! Fortunetely for me, my transition was smoother, but if I was still brewing extract beers, I probably wouldn't be brewing anymore. The beer is better, and you brew more authenic beers.
Frank

Offline repo

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 10:10:21 AM »
To get your mash efficiency you need to know your preboil volume and gravity, or your post boil volume and o.g.  Your post boil volume is not what ends up in the fermentor. You also need to know your grain bill. Accurate measurements are necessary.  I highly recommend learning how to do all calcs by hand before getting into brewing software, you will fully understand what is all happening this way.

Say 10 #s of grain with 36 pts potential = 360 possible points.  Say you got 7 gallons of wort preboil and its gravity was 1.050 would = 350 points  then 350/360= efficinecy= 97.2222%
 
The number of points wil not change, just the volume as you boil down. So if you boil off 1 gallon you will have 6 gallons of about 1.058 wort.    350/6 =58.333.

Offline fmader

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 10:11:44 AM »
Everything could have been avoided if you bought a blue cooler instead of red....... :D

Welcome to all grain! 

Dave

Yes, and blue coolers are awesome! It's proven that they maintain heat better and prevent stuck sparges from occurring!
Frank

Offline denny

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2013, 10:24:49 AM »
Everything could have been avoided if you bought a blue cooler instead of red....... :D

Welcome to all grain! 

Dave

Yes, and blue coolers are awesome! It's proven that they maintain heat better and prevent stuck sparges from occurring!

AND you get 134% efficiency!  ;)
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline bboy9000

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Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2013, 07:08:47 PM »
Im going to invest in a bazooka screen anyway, they seem cheap and its just a fun thing to play with.  I may use it in my kettle once i install the weldless bulkhead.

I believe bazooka screens are meant for the kettle but I installed mine in the 10G Igloo.  I had to bend the last inch up to get it to fit but it works well.
Brian
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