General advice for higher ABV needed

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Jonny the Brewer, Jun 9, 2020.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you're getting it! I do apologize if I came off as arrogant advising you to read a website.
     
  2. Jonny the Brewer

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    Not at all. Thanks for the pointers!

    I wonder why the brooklyn kit instructions suggest pouring wort over the grain bed? (a second sparge)
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I read through them but read over that part, missed it completely.
     
  4. Jonny the Brewer

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    They are here https://brooklynbrewshop.com/pages/instructions-new-england-ipa

    The section is pasted below. The offending line I've highlighted in red.



    2: The Sparge
    If you're familiar with brewing coffee, you should have an idea of how The Sparge works. During The Sparge, you put the grain in a strainer and pour hot water over it to draw out all those sugars you created during The Mash.

    • Heat additional 4 quarts (3.8 liters) of water to 170°F (77°C). (If possible, start this during The Mash to save time.)
    • Set up your “lauter tun” (a strainer over a pot).
    • Carefully add the hot grain mash to the strainer, collecting the liquid that passes through.
    • This liquid is called “wort” (pronounced “wert”). It will be your beer.
    • Slowly and evenly pour 170°F (77°C) water over the mash to extract the grain’s sugars.
    • You want to collect 5 quarts (4.75 liters) of wort. You will lose about 20% to evaporation later on, so you want to start with a bit more than you’ll end with.
    • Re-circulate wort through grain once.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Ah! I see the confusion! They are referring to vorlauf, where you pour the wort from the runnings back through the grain bed to clarify it. The sequence is what confused you: The recirculation step should have come before the "Slowly and evenly pour..." step. It made perfect sense to me but then I've made a bunch of batches of beer, both extract and all-grain. I'd contact them and let them know that the instructions are confusing....
     
  6. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Jonny
    No need to make it complicated, you can skip that step entirely. Just do the pour over sparge, and call it wort!
     
  7. Jonny the Brewer

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    Thanks. Can I just confirm then, that this guy is doing it wrong?


    He blatantly sparged then pours wort over the grain...

    Thanks!
     
  8. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    He even says that he is doing it to rinse more sugar from the grains, which is like rinsing your soapy clothes with soapy water, this not an accepted practice. Note that he then says that his gravity is 1.020. If he his yeast attenuates to 1.010, his ABV will be around 1.31%. Any fool can post a video...
     
  9. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    @Herm_brews makes small batches, and it sounds like he makes great beer, maybe he would chime in with his process...
    Brewin beer is cooking. Every cook uses a recipe,but every cook has different pots and pans,and different ways of doing things.
    You should try and separate the recipe from the process. The recipe and ingredients you have are no doubt good. What you need to figure out is the process. Once you can move forward on that you will find that your results will get better and better!
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    No, everyone brews differently and you don't know if it's this guys hundredth batch or his second. You can do it that way and it's not wrong per se but you'll have to account for losses to the grain, as you've already discovered.
     
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  11. BrewPatgonia

    BrewPatgonia Well-Known Member

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    Jonny, if you are using a similar process as the video you attached... you might get better results with a 'batch' sparge method.
    collect your grains from the wort and move the grains or wort to a seperate container.. (preferably move the wort into a boil kettle)
    place your grains back into the (now empty) container and pour your sparge water onto it (sparge water just below 170 deg.) stir the grains with the new clear water and then let this sit for 5 minutes, then remove the grains from the water (now wort.. second runnings) and add this wort to the boil kettle with the first runnings wort. then proceed with your boil as usual.

    A 'batch' sparge is typically a little less efficient than a fly sparge but considering the limited ability using a kitchen strainer and no good way to shower the sparge water evenly and slowly.... a 'batch' sparge would be a better option.

    The gentleman in the video may be following similar instructions from the kit supplier. The provided instructions work..but are not optimal.
     
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  12. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    #52 Mark Farrall, Jun 14, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
    And there's also full volume or no sparge mashing (that's the jargon if you're doing a search). The thinking goes...

    The highest gravity beer is the first beer you get, before you do any sparging. Sparging is done to capture the sugar you couldn't get when you removed the wort (or in BIAB, removed the bag with the grains). As grains are relatively cheap and we're homebrewers that don't need to worry about costs that much and generally don't brew at scale, we can just add a bit more grain to the recipe to make up for the sugar we don't get from sparging.

    I do full volume a lot of the time and with BIAB and your own mill you can crush your grains a bit finer and won't notice the hit to efficiency. If you're getting your LHBS to mill your grains ask them to mill them twice. It won't be as efficient as sparging, but it won't be that bad.

    Sorry for the too many choices. Personally I think batch sparging is the simplest for a new BIAB brewer in a kettle that can't hold the full volume. Full volume mashing is simplest if the kettle can hold the full volume.
     
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  13. Jonny the Brewer

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    Thanks guys. In the end I went with doing what seemed safest - pour the first extract over the grain again, then sparge once. I don't use brew bags as I found I just make a mess. Instead I use a very large strainer and really go to town pushing down on the grain to extract as much liquid as I can. I also make sure I pour the sparge water over the grain slowly and also that all the grain is covered. I also kept the lid on for half the boil.

    I got an OG of 1060 which I think is pretty decent?

    I used half a packet of S-04 and it's bubbling away very nicely right now. I'll wait three weeks until bottling.

    Incidentally I bottled one I brewed three weeks ago - OG 1089 FG 1011... Which is 10.24% using the calculator.

    I think it's safe to say my low ABV issue is now resolved. Thanks again
     

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