First AG Brew

Discussion in 'Beer Brewdays!' started by matt76, Oct 21, 2018.

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  1. Oct 21, 2018 #1

    matt76

    matt76

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    Let me start by saying I assume I'm not the first person to start a brew in the evening and find themselves still up in the wee hours tidying up after all is said and done

    Last night I did my first AG brew, and only my second brew ever! I followed clibit's Simple AG recipe and scaled it up to make ~10L. I'd done some experiments beforehand and did the mash in my brew kettle in the oven set to 65degC having heated the water first to 72degC using the electric kettle which ended up bang on 65degC when I added the grain.

    Worth mentioning, I also discovered Wyeast smack packs need quite an almighty whack!

    I got in a bit of a muddle trying to separate the grain from the liquid: Initially I tried using a colander & muslin which was just way too slow. In the end I switched to a fine sieve, spooning the grain into a couple of large bowls as I went and collecting the wort in my big plastic FV.

    Similar process for the sparge - add the grain to the brew kettle and add water from the electric kettle to get the temperature back up to 80degC, then back in the oven for 10 minutes at 80degC. Sieve + spoon + bowls again to separate the grain and catch the rest of the wort in the FV.

    Having followed the recipe I now had 14L of wort at around 60degC - I knew it would fit in my brew kettle but I had some concerns whether my gas hob (no wok burner, just the large ring) would have enough to bring it to a rolling boil and keep it there (I am an engineer after all!). But sure enough the temperature came up and got it to where it needed to be.

    1 hour boil done and hops added (EKG at the start, fuggles 5 mins before end), I dunked the brew kettle in a sink of cold water to cool it, gently stirring both as we went and draining and refilling the sink with cold water from time to time. I got it down to 40degC easy enough but the last 20degC were tougher. In the end I added ice and picnic ice blocks from the freezer to the sink to bring the cold water temp down and force the wort down to 18degC. Cooling took 35mins in the end.

    Yeast pitched, FV sealed up and tucked up for bedtime - it's now sitting happily today, bubbling away gently

    A few numbers - I calculated the sugar as 30ppg, giving an efficiency *I think* of just shy of 80% (not sure what is the max ppg for maris otter???) and OG=1.056. I think I'm pretty pleased with that, if anything this could end up with slightly higher ABV than I'd like (4.5-5.0% ideal for me). According to the marks on the FV I have about 2.8-2.9 USGal, so about 10.5-11.0L in there.

    Lessons learned:
    - 10L brew is about optimum for the resources I have
    - Sieve works well enough for separating wort from grain; colander + muslin doesn't! (maybe worth - considering a proper mash/lautering tun to make process more efficient)
    - Bigger electric kettle would help me heat more than 2L at a time
    - Perhaps a wort chiller will help me reduce cooling time

    I'm excited to see how this brew turns out!

    Cheers,

    Matt
     
  2. Oct 22, 2018 #2

    Oneflewover

    Oneflewover

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    Sounds like a pretty successful first brewday all told, and you should end up with a very good beer acheers.
     
  3. Nov 10, 2018 at 12:27 AM #3

    matt76

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    Update:

    After 3 weeks in the FV I decided it was time to bottle.

    Final yield was 15 x 500ml bottles (plus a half bottle for a cheeky taste ;-) )

    It's a pleasing pale gold colour. Cheeky taste was very pleasing, not at all sickly sweet like my first (kit) brew, nor too dry - perhaps a hint of fresh orange juice (no idea how though with this combo of grain and hops!)

    FG pretty much bang on, about 1.010 (1.008 from the FV near the trub, 1.012 from bottling bucket including sugar)

    I simply cannot wait to try this once it's conditioned for a couple of weeks - really excited now :-)
     
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  4. Nov 10, 2018 at 1:28 AM #4

    Dutto

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    Er ... using the 2+2+2 method (you are already on your way for the method) it will need to carbonate for a "couple of weeks" and then condition for a "couple of weeks".

    Well done - now be patient and get the next brew on while you are waiting!
     
  5. Nov 10, 2018 at 6:57 AM #5

    Oneflewover

    Oneflewover

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    I appreciate that the 2+2+2 thing is a good rule of thumb, but I just wanted to point out that it isn't gospel. I drank a beer last night that I brewed 3 weeks ago (2 weeks in fv, 6 days in bottle). It was great. I say if it's ready get stuck in, particularly in respect of beers best drunk young
     
  6. Nov 10, 2018 at 8:19 AM #6

    matt76

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    Spoilsport! :p

    (Good tip, thanks, didn't know that)

    And actually, AG#2 has already been in the FV a week, same thing (albeit only 5L) except a *LOT* more hops and some dry hopping still to come :-)

    And the grain for AG#3 -Black IPA - is looking at me saying "please brew me" ;)
     
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  7. Nov 10, 2018 at 8:32 AM #7

    braziliain

    braziliain

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    Sounds like your brewing adventure is well under way!

    Have you thought about mashing your grains in a mesh bag? No messing about with a seive and a spoon that way, you just lift the bag out. I had my bag custom made to size for my pot by BJ Filters on eBay for about £7.

    IMG_20180520_175130.jpg
     
  8. Nov 10, 2018 at 9:23 AM #8

    matt76

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    I think obsession would be closer to the truth! :D

    Thanks for the tip - yes, someone already suggested that so for AG#2 I already got a grain bag off of eBay. You're absolutely right, it saved a whole heap of time separating the grain from the wort!
     
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  9. Nov 10, 2018 at 9:50 AM #9

    braziliain

    braziliain

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    Great stuff.
    Reading your thread it sounds like your entry into brewing was similar to mine.

    I brewed a kit beer and was bitterly disappointed with it. Being an Engineer like yourself I had to know why and how to improve it. A whole heap of reading later I stumbled on Clibits post and went straight to all grain with a pot on the stove.

    Be warned, I have since built vast amounts of kit and taken over 60% of the house and garage! In only 2 years! Obsession you say...
     
  10. Nov 10, 2018 at 10:42 AM #10

    matt76

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    Yup - as an engineer I'm painfully conscious of the thermodynamics of trying to boil large volumes of water on a regular kitchen gas hob. In particular the rate you can put heat in vs . the rate at which heat is lost - hence I'm limiting myself to around 10L brews!

    Although, Xmas *is* coming, and i *could* do with something newer and shinier...

    I'm not obsessed - I could stop any time i wanted (not!) :D
     
  11. Nov 11, 2018 at 2:36 AM #11

    Dutto

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    The easiest way to get your own system is to buy SWMBO a brand new hob with a Wok Burner and then say "I could use that for my brewing."

    You will immediately be given permission to buy a Paella Burner, a Propane Gas cylinder, a 30 litre pot and banished to the garden!
     
  12. Nov 12, 2018 at 8:21 AM #12

    matt76

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    Hmm... well i do occasionally make a paella as it goes, and I already have a gas cylinder for the BBQ...

    Out of interest, any idea how paella burners stack up against the specialist brew burners? Heat is heat I guess, so is it just six of one, half a dozen of the other?
     
  13. Nov 12, 2018 at 10:06 PM #13

    Dutto

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    Never owned anything that is "specialised for brewing" as I find them too expensive!

    This is similar to my burner ...

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CB4CU5G/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

    The two rings give me a lot of flexibility because:
    1. I can boil the wort like mad or just simmer it.
    2. I use the inner ring with a saucepan to heat/boil water to:
      • Make Hop Tea.
      • Sanitise Hop Bags.
      • Dissolve Oxi-Chem.
      • etc etc.
    I've had two problems with using a gas burner and both of them have been resolved:
    1. Brewing outside on a cold day the Butane refused to boil off sufficient gas to boil the wort. (Bought a cylinder of propane.)
    2. I ran out of gas half-way through a boil. (Bought a second cylinder of Propane.)
    Sod's Law - it was when I ran out of Propane that I discovered that the Butane refused to boil enough off to keep the wort boiling! I have the female end of this attached to the gas burner ...

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008R68QF0/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

    ... and male connectors are attached to the end of the Butane and Propane regulators.

    It makes for flexibility and a quick change-over of fuel if I ever run out.

    Enjoy!
     
  14. Nov 12, 2018 at 10:24 PM #14

    matt76

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    Thanks @Dutto , that's interesting...

    A more powerful burner would get me round my self-imposed 10L (ish) brew limit, and being banished to the garden would stop my 7yo daughter complaining about the smell (of the brewing, not me!)

    And then bigger brews would probably necessitate/justify a proper mash/lauter tun...

    And a shiny SS Brewtech kettle (so shiny).....

    Not that I'm getting carried away or anything :D
     
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