Too much water into boil kettle?

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by NamNori, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. NamNori

    NamNori New Member

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    After 4 all-grain sessions under my belt, I'm still having issues getting my predicted water volumes out of the mash and into my kettle. Clearly user-error somewhere... On the pumpkin beer I did a couple of days ago, the water calcs gave me: 9.79 gal total, 7.41 strike vol, 2.41 sparge vol, -2.47 grain absorption, -.25 mash dead space to yield 7.08 gal into my kettle. Yet I had almost exactly 8 gallons! I may have put something like 7.5 into my mash (vs 7.41; my measuring cups aren't quite that accurate), but that can't possibly account for an extra gallon! Could the grain absorption number be that far off? Then of course with extra water, my pre-boil gravity was off so instead of a 60 minute boil to reach the expected 5.5 gallon-to-fermenter, I had to boil 2 1/2 hours to get to 1.082 (expected was 1.083). So while I think I'll have a beer that I expected when it's all said and done, I sure would like to dial in everything better to have a more repeatable process. thanks for any advice!
     
  2. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I would like to see your recipe to be sure, but I think that your estimate for grain absorption is too high. I usually calculate .5qt/pound of grain, so for a 10lb grain bill I would lose 5qt, and I know that some here calculate as little as .3qt/pound.
     
  3. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    To answer your question - yes differences in grain absorption can make a big difference in how much water you'll need. I typically get about 0.1g/lb (or 0.4qt/lb) but it does depend a little on what type of grain I'm using. Biggest tip is just stop sparging when you're at your desired volume. Your overall efficiency may take a small hit but it shouldn't really be that bad and definitely better than tacking on an extra 90 minutes of boiling.
     
  4. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    To keep it easy, 1/10 gal/lbs. is a good starting point. So for every 10 pounds of grain, you lose 1 gallon to absorption.
    That's easy to remember and calculate.
    Depending on your system and process, you may need to adjust a bit, but this will get you really close to start.
    Don't get discouraged, things get easier and make more sense the more you do them.
    Good Luck,
    Brian
     
  5. NamNori

    NamNori New Member

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    Thanks everyone. If I had a second fermenter I'd brew another batch of something this weekend!
     
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  6. JT_YYC

    JT_YYC Member

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    I've decided to change from proper fermenters to home depot buckets for a few reasons. The biggest is how much easier to break down and clean. It's a simple modification to install a bung hole (hahahaha), and if you want to be really fancy, you can install a drain spigot. Second reason, is they are cheap. I think they are $15 Canadian, so that's like $5 American. I brew 3.5 gallons or 13.2 liters so the size is perfect for me, but that may be the only downside to the buckets.

    I also created a spreadsheet that allows you to calculate mash in and sparge volumes based on grist weight. Its set up in liters, and kilos right now, but can be converted to gallons and pounds. The fun part about excel, is if you know your boil kettle volume, you can set up "if then" rules. So I can calculate mash in and sparge, boil volume, and boil off rate.
     
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  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Others will comment no doubt, but I wonder about using the homo depot buckets. I suspect that they are not made with food grade materials. It may be possible that something may leach out of the plastic and affect your beer. I can't say that this will be the case, and I would be pleased to be wrong about it, but I would suggest getting other opinions on this.
    The food grade buckets from the local home brew store aren't all that expensive.
    Cheers, good luck.
     
  8. JT_YYC

    JT_YYC Member

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    They have food grade specific buckets.
     
  9. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Perfect, did not know that
     
  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I have a few I use for wort transfers. Nothing wrong with using one of those but I have fermonsters right now and I like them cause I can watch the yeast swirl around. If they had a 7 gallon bucket I'd probably just use those all around.
     
  11. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    This also exists in Brewers Friend by using the water calculation which already accounts for the grist as well as your system details you enter. Bottom line is as soon as you have your system dialed in it's pretty straightforward.
     
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  12. JT_YYC

    JT_YYC Member

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    Now that I have more experience it works great!

    While i was gaining experience I struggled to find the perfect mash in ratio. Through some interweb searches, I was able to find approximate boil off rates. So using the approximate boil off rates, I was able to calculate that if I start with between 17.8 and 19.3 litres, I will complete my boil with the perfect amount of wort after a 1 hour boil.
     

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