Author Topic: First time all grain - part two  (Read 1208 times)

Offline 1stnspc

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First time all grain - part two
« on: July 26, 2010, 08:25:50 AM »
Success! I was able to brew my first all grain batch with minimal difficulty. The recipe was pretty straightforward, so I didn’t have too much to worry about. The biggest problem was that I chose the hottest day of the year in Central PA to sit by a propane burner! The OG was supposed to be 1.038 and I ended up with 1.036, so I guess that’s ok for a Mild Pale Ale. I finished with just a touch over five gallons – maybe enough to fill an extra beer.

I do have a few questions based on my experience.

Using the 8.25# that I discussed in an earlier post, I did as suggested and added 8.5 gallons of water. I collected six gallons of wort and boiled for an hour. I noticed that there was some liquid left, so out of curiosity, I collected what was left. I was able to drain off an additional two gallons. Could those two gallons be used to make additional beer, and, if I make this recipe again, should I use two gallons less to mash with?

Thanks again for all of the help in making my first AG batch run smoothly! My next attempt involves step mashing, so I’ll return shortly for some more assistance.



Online euge

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Re: First time all grain - part two
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 09:31:24 AM »
So now you know your absorption level which was 0.5 gal for the 8.25#. You can use the extra to make starters or even another beer. It's a technique called parti-gyle.

You used about 1 gallon per pound which might be a bit excessive but it appears to me you did a no-batch sparge. Probably you should reduce this ratio by a quart per pound.

Your boil-off (evaporation) rate appears to be 1 gallon per hour. Looks good! Congratulations on your success?

Any initial impressions you'd like to share about the process?
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline 1stnspc

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Re: First time all grain - part two
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2010, 05:52:24 AM »
With as much reading/research that I did, this first batch wasn't that hard. Mainly b/c the recipe wasn't difficult, which was nice. I hit the temperature numbers almost exactly due to the fact that I was using ProMash. That program helped out a alot as well as the advice that I received on this forum. I did have to recycle the wort four times before it got clear. One thing that I didn't check before I started was to see if the tubes that I currently have would fit over the barbed fitting that is on the ball valve - they didn't, so I had to drain straight from the ball valve, which was a little difficult, but now I know to get more tubing before my next brewday.

I purchased the Pre-Prohibition Lager from Northern Brewer which involves step mashing. This one looks pretty straight forward as well, it doesn't look like there's anything really advanced in it. I'll just have to run ProMash a few times to get the hang of adding the correct temperature water to raise the wort temperatures. That's probably my biggest concern for the next batch.

I like the article on CDAs in the latest issue of Zymurgy, so that might be my next attempt after the lager.

Offline tmaurer

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Re: First time all grain - part two
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2010, 07:04:35 AM »
Where in central PA are you?  I live in Altoona.  And yes brewing in the heat sucks bad especially when the humidity is high.  But when I brew on hot days, I'll get the boil going and leave it go while I sit in the AC.  I'll check on it every so often to make sure the deck isn't on fire.  But once you have the boil going, unless you have to make a hop addition or something, you really don't have to babysit the kettle.

Offline denny

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Re: First time all grain - part two
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2010, 08:39:36 AM »
I purchased the Pre-Prohibition Lager from Northern Brewer which involves step mashing. This one looks pretty straight forward as well, it doesn't look like there's anything really advanced in it. I'll just have to run ProMash a few times to get the hang of adding the correct temperature water to raise the wort temperatures. That's probably my biggest concern for the next batch.

A step mash is likely unnecessary, although if you feel like doping one, go for it.  Also, don't be surprised if the temp/volume calculations from Promash don't get you to the temp steps you expect.  I've found that if you mash in a cooler, the thermal buffering from thew cooler can throw the calcs off.  On the rare occasions I do a step mash, I simply stir in boiling water until I hit the temp I'm going for.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline 1stnspc

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Re: First time all grain - part two
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2010, 11:58:11 AM »
I guess when I said central PA, I should have said south central PA, about 5 minutes across the river from Harrisburg.

Anyway, I saw a video on youtube and the brewer said he usally goes a few degrees higher than what promash says. So, the program told me to put in 155 degree water. I went up to 157, put it in the mash tun and let it sit for a few minutes. It was at 154 when I put the grain in and I after I stirred, it dropped to 150.9, right in the middle of my target of 150-152. Of course, I could have gotten completely lucky. After a few more tries, I'll see how things go. I'm currently using the demo version of promash and haven't purchased it yet.

I never thought about adding boiling water to raise the temp. If I end up doing a step mash, I'll be sure to use your tip, thanks Denny!

Offline jeffy

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Re: First time all grain - part two
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 01:58:13 PM »
There's a very nice free mash calculator at this site:
http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
It's been working well for me for years, thank you Green Bay Rackers
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995