First All Grain - couple of questions

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Dirtresearch, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Dirtresearch

    Dirtresearch New Member

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    Hello all. I have 5 partial mash brews under my belt and I want to move on to All grain by doing a Smash brew with Pale Ale Malt and Fuggle hops (may change). I was planning on 10 lbs of grains and 4 ounce of hops. Comments on the recipe are fine, but I really want comments on the process.

    I am limited by the volume of my largest boil pot. 4 gallons (safely, really almost 4.5). I will be making a mash tun out of a 7.3 gallon cooler.

    The basic question is can I achieve a 5 gallon all grain brew while limited to 4ish gallon boil?
    So if I use ~3.3 gallons of water to mash at ~154 degrees (~1.3 qt/lb), that will only leave ~0.7 gallons for mash out and sparge to get to my 4 gallon boiling capacity. And this does not account for evaporation. I know the answer could be that I just have to scale back to a 4 gallon brew.

    And my final question is about yeast. I will be washing and reusing WLP060. How do I know how much to add. If I take the old stuff and let the trub settle out and fill a pint mason jar with the good yeast, is that enough?

    Thanks
     
  2. JustBrewIt

    JustBrewIt New Member

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    I would recommend you get a bigger boil kettle. You really need some room to prevent boil over. If that is not a possibility then I would say you should scale back your batch size. If part of the problem is the cost of the bigger kettle, you might look at doing "Brew in a Bag" (BIAB) in which case you can forgo the expense of making a mash tun and spend that money on a bigger boil kettle. Brew in a Bag is real all grain brewing. In fact, I would say that it is easier to make great all grain beer using BIAB because you have less opportunity to screw up. If you are not familiar with this method, google it. It is very popular in some areas.

    With regard to the yeast. You will need to be VERY careful not to contaminate your yeast if you wish to reuse it. Make sure that everything is well cleaned and sanitized. I would recommend Star San. That quantity would be plenty of yeast. Keep in mind that the original yeast you use from White Labs is much less and has been dormant for a period of time. If you are going to repitch yeast from one batch to the next, the yeast is active and fresh. (don't leave it too long in the fridge and don't freeze it) It should take of very fast. But, one last word of caution on contamination. Many much more experienced brewers have introduced wild yeast or some other unwanted bugs while reusing yeast. If you decide to use dry yeast instead to save money, make sure you re-hydrate it in some purified water first before you pitch it on the wort. This will double the live cell count in the yeast over just pitching dry yeast on the wort. Cheers!
     
  3. griz

    griz Member

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    How about splitting your boil brew into 2 pots and just splitting the ingredients 50/50. It's been done and as long as you are fairly accurate, you should be fine. I'll assume you have the proper size container for the fermentation...I'm not crazy on your yeast idea. If you are going through the all-grain process of making beer, why take the chance. Spend a few extra bucks and get the proper yeast. Nothings worse than doing everything right up to a point, and then messing the brew up for a reason that could have been easily avoided...
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You can also boil a concentrated wort then dilute it in your fermentor to get 5 gal. This will affect your hop utilization but the recipe calculator takes this into account. Most of us start that way with extract, we boil about three gallons of wort then dilute. As long as you can get enough grain in your tun to make a five gallon batch and can change your hop charges to account for the thicker wort, you'll do fine by making a concentrated wort and diluting. It's how a lot of commercial beers are made....
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    yes make sure in your recipe you change the amount your are boiling then adjust your ibu level for the hops. just don't divide, it doesn't work that way
     
  6. DanC

    DanC Active Member

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    I would be concerned with the lack of performing a proper sparge to get the available sugars from the grains, after the first runnings are drained. Ten pounds of grains will require about 3 gallons of strike water and will absorb about one of them during the 60 minute mash. After draining the first runnings only 2 gallons of sparge water can be employed to make up the 4 gallon boil. If you only have the one boil pot then I would recommend capturing enough for two separate boils to combine in the FV.
     
  7. rouest

    rouest New Member

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    First, congrats on the move to all grain. It's super fun and rewarding.

    Second, I would recommend reading this article in BYO: http://byo.com/hops/item/237-blending-for-volume-techniques I've had a few batches where my boil-off rate was out of control and I ended up with 3.25 gallons when I was shooting for 4 gallons. I decided to blend in water at bottling and had great success. I just determined the volume I needed and boiled the priming sugar in that volume instead of the normal 2 cups. Not only have I not noticed any issues with flavors, I actually noticed more uniform carbonation from bottle to bottle.

    Hop utilization will be affected but it's something you can adjust for.

    Best of luck!
     

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