Author Topic: newb question  (Read 1400 times)

Offline dukes7779

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newb question
« on: May 23, 2011, 11:29:50 PM »
I have done a few kit brews with good success.  Next I want to try to go all grain.  I have been doing some reading in books and online but am still confused about how much grain to use for a batch and how much sparge water to use.  Is there some where that I could find formulas for these?  Do I have to limit myself to 5 gallon batches?  What if I wanted 10 or 15 gal?

thanks!!!

Offline Hokerer

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Re: newb question
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2011, 11:47:32 PM »
You mention reading books - does that include John Palmer's "How to Brew"?  The 1st edition is available online at http://howtobrew.com.  Do yourself a favor, though, and buy the 3rd edition.
Joe

Offline dukes7779

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Re: newb question
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2011, 11:59:14 PM »
Charlie Papazian's "The Comlete Joy....." plus online info.

Offline rabid_dingo

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Re: newb question
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 01:52:51 AM »
I have done a few kit brews with good success.  Next I want to try to go all grain.  I have been doing some reading in books and online but am still confused about how much grain to use for a batch and how much sparge water to use.  Is there some where that I could find formulas for these?  Do I have to limit myself to 5 gallon batches?  What if I wanted 10 or 15 gal?

thanks!!!

It depends on the recipe. More grain translates to more alcohol, flavors, colors, texture and what not.
and along those lines you would need more sparge water with more grain. Sparging is the rinsing of
the grain bed in an effort to extract converted sugars from them. There is a limit though. You can over
sparge and end up with too thin a wort to boil and it changes the length of the boil to reach a certain
volume, such as 5, 10, or 15gal.

On average you're looking at about 6-10lbs of grain for a 5gallon batch and as far as sparging more
variables get involved when you figure the size of your mash tun, the boil kettle, your boil off rate and
so forth.

Probably didn't directly answer your question but I hope you have more ideas as to where to go.  :)
Ruben * Colorado :)

Offline euge

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Re: newb question
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 05:54:59 AM »
Have you looked at http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/?

The first couple of AG batches will be spent getting to know your system and what it will/won't produce.

Also one must accept and anticipate water loss through grain absorption and evaporation throughout the whole process. The losses can be a significant percentage of the total water used in the recipe. Usually for a 6 gallon batch I'll have to start with at least 9 gallons of water.

Again water is critical when brewing beer in that it is the major component and if it tastes bad or is not suited for the type of beer you want then you will have to overcome these obstacles. Read the water portion of How To Brew carefully since it actually does matter when it comes to grain brewing. Normally it isn't an issue with extract.

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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: newb question
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 07:03:19 AM »
I have done a few kit brews with good success.  Next I want to try to go all grain.  I have been doing some reading in books and online but am still confused about how much grain to use for a batch and how much sparge water to use.  Is there some where that I could find formulas for these?  Do I have to limit myself to 5 gallon batches?  What if I wanted 10 or 15 gal?

Before you build or acquire the additional equipment needed for AG, you can familiarize yourself with mashing by doing partial-grain brews. Start by steeping specialty malts like crystal, then try doing a "mini-mash" with just a couple of pounds of base malt to get the hang of things. You can easily do that sort of stuff using a standard 2-3 gallon stock pot or crock pot. Alternately, find a more experienced all-grain homebrewer and have them walk you through the process using their system.

Any good homebrew book will have formulas for calculating mash and sparge liquor volumes. As a rough rule of thumb, you use 1-2 quarts of water per pound of grain, depending the desired "thickness" of your mash. Different styles, mashing techniques and ingredients might demand a thinner or thicker mash.  Sparge water volume is roughly equal to total batch volume minus mash water, plus allowances for loss of liquid during the boil, water retained by grains and whatnot.

Maximum batch size depends on the size of your system and desired OG for the beer you're brewing. The bigger your system, the bigger the batch you can brew, but if you're brewing a big beer, you collect less wort so that it's more concentrated. Since AG brewing requires more time, many brewers step up to 10-15 gallon batches when they go AG, since it doesn't take that much extra time to grind, mash and sparge larger quantities of grain.

It's relatively simple and cheap to step up to AG brewing if you just do 5 gallon batches, or perhaps a 10 gallon batch split two ways so you can still use a 5-7 gallon stock pot and perhaps a stove-top burner. Going to 10+ gallon batches requires more time, money and planning to get a system that works well.

Scaling up means that you have to rethink how you brew, due to the safety factors and thermodynamics of heating, cooling and transferring larger volumes of wort. You might also need to rethink how you handle your yeast and how your ferment and store your beer due to the increased volumes. Going big also means less flexibility in what you brew and bigger potential losses if a batch goes bad. Are you likely to drink 15 gallons of a particular beer?

Offline Will's Swill

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Re: newb question
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 11:40:23 PM »
Good summary, the only thing I think I would disagree with is the flexibility part.  Going to bigger AG batches has increased my flexibility.  The AG first by allowing me to choose from a wider array of base malts and mash schedules/techniques; and size second by allowing me to ferment the same recipe and splitting it to try a different yeast or process, or even partigyle.  If AG decreased my flexibility, I'd probably go back to extract.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: newb question
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2011, 01:53:58 AM »
Do you belong to a local Homebrew Club? Most clubs have members that are willing to share their homebrewing experiences by allowing you to join in on a homebrew session to learn how to brew all-grain. Many Homebrew stores offer homebrew "How To" sessions.

Here's a link to "Find a Club"

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/directories/find-a-club
Ron Price

Offline weazletoe

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Re: newb question
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 07:24:00 PM »
 How much grain you use is outlined for you in what ever recipe you are using. Most recipe are written for5 gallons. If you want to change that, you can use a program like ProMash to rewrite it for what ever size batch you want. Look at the percentages for each grain in the recipe as it is written. Then, change your recipre volume, and keep fiddling with the amount of grain untill you get the percentages back to where they were. Also, adjust your hops to achieve the IBU for each hop addition, as it was in the original 5 gallon recipe.
  For your water, google Mashwater 3.3. It's free, and is spot on every time. Simple to use, too.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: newb question
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2011, 12:42:49 PM »
Good summary, the only thing I think I would disagree with is the flexibility part.  Going to bigger AG batches has increased my flexibility.

There's no doubt that going AG increases your options as a brewer, and that splitting batches of hopped wort is a great way to make variants of the same beer. My point about limited flexibility is that going big means that you have more of the same wort. And, unless you have the extra time to process batches of wort serially, or multiple kettles to process them in parallel, you're stuck with a larger volume of the same hopped wort. Even if you split it out into different carboys and ferment split batches differently, it's still going to be roughly the same beer.

So, going big and splitting batches is good if you're wanting to explore different yeasts, hops, or other things you can do when the wort is in the kettle, the fermentor or conditioning carboy. It's not so good if you're wanting to experiment with different malts or mashing techniques. Going big also means greater expense, problems with finding space for your new equipment and scaling up your cold side operation (carboys, fermentor/storage space) and perhaps having way more beer than you can drink.

Offline violaleebrews

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Re: newb question
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2011, 11:25:27 PM »
if you've read some books and done some online research and if you think you're ready, GO FOR IT!!!  just don't stop learning.  there are too many aspects to brewing for anyone person to list in one reply on this thread.  learn as you go.  if there are any questions that are hard to find elsewhere, the people here help make this forum the best site on the web.

just remember... 'relax and have a homebrew'

Offline euge

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Re: newb question
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2011, 06:38:12 AM »
Do I have to limit myself to 5 gallon batches?  What if I wanted 10 or 15 gal?

If you want 15 gallon grain batches then you need to find some way to boil at least 17 and more likely 18 gallons. You'll need a minimum of a 20 gallon pot though I recommend 30 (120qt). A big mash tun as well- a 70qt Coleman Extreme is a great choice. Then to heat it. Most popular is a propane or natural gas burner (turkey fryer) followed by electric (water heater elements). Then you need some way to chill and ferment all this beer. Can you do it all at the proper temps?

It's a big step off into the abyss.

Conversely, producing large top-up extract batches from an appropriately sized kettle can be very effective in terms of results, time and cost.



The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis