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FIRST all-grain: Apricot Ale

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btrammel:
Hi folks!  So - I started brewing a couple months back and now have 3 recipes/batches under my belt: Midwest's Smooth Nut Brown and their Liberty Cream Ale, and my own extract recipe, a honey wheat.  They've all turned out great (with rave reviews!) so  I've decided it's time to go ahead and try my hand at all-grain.  I went ahead and purchased the full copy of BeerSmith 2 and have designed my first recipe, an apricot ale.  I wanted something similar to Pyramid's apricot ale.  I've done research and have gathered quite a bit of info about their recipe and have come up with my own "clone", although it won't be exact.  I've put my own spin on it to make it my own.  Please review this recipe, keeping in mind that this will be a BIAB (brew in a bag) batch in a 5.25 gallon pot.  Please critique both the method involved and recipe (both noted).  One big question I had is this - is it necessary to mash out with BIAB, or can I just fly sparge with the remaining amount of water?  And do I need to test ph levels to confirm saccharification?

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 4.08 gal
Post Boil Volume: 3.33 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 4.78 gal
Estimated OG: 1.046 SG
Estimated Color: 4.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 26.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.8 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs                  Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)        Grain         1        45.7 %       
4 lbs                  White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)             Grain         2        45.7 %       
8.0 oz                Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)            Grain         3        5.7 %         
4.0 oz                Honey Malt (25.0 SRM)                     Grain         4        2.9 %         
0.50 oz              Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           5        21.9 IBUs     
0.50 oz              Chinook [13.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min          Hop           6        4.4 IBUs     
1.0 pkg              Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)  Yeast         7        -             
3.90 oz              Apricot Extract (Bottling 5.0 mins)      Flavor        8        -             

Mash Schedule: BIAB, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 12.0 oz

----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Saccharification  Add 18.88 qt of water at 154.8 F        147.9 F       90 min       
Mash Out          Heat to 168.0 F over 7 min              168.0 F       10 min       

Sparge: Remove grains, and prepare to boil wort

sparkleberry:
looks good to me but I'm not sure about the -apricot- flavor addition.

biab doesn't need a sparge since the full water volume is added at mash in. you could certainly do one but at that point you might as well get a cooler and do a batch sparge. do raise temp to mash out if you can. I had good success doing biab. my efficiency never got above about 75 but it was consistent. make sure you do a good job wrapping the kettle during the mash.

btrammel:
Thank you Sparkle.  What would you suggest wrapping the kettle with?  I would be wrapping to keep the temp level up, correct?  If I don't have anything to wrap with, can I "goose" the stovetop if need be?

sparkleberry:
 also I'm guessing you will be topping off the fermenter to achieve your 5.0 gallon batch as the pot seems to be too small to do a full volume biab and end up with 5 gallons.

sparkleberry:
yeah, goosing is fine. I used a towel and then a down vest. but not both. that would be a nasty fire hazard.

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