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First AG Batch Done- Thankyous and Questions!

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Econwatson

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Hi everybody.

After ignoring a large body of advice saying not to go into AG after only 3 brews, my first AG batch is now bottle conditioned. It's called Sunburn Ale since I brewed the batch outside and got cooked while I was doing it!



I'd like to thank thedragon and Crusty for helping me answer what were probably very dumb questions. Their advice was invaluable and there is no way I could have done the batch properly without their help.

I do however have a few questions that I hope you guys could answer.

1. I am wondering how long to let my urn run off after whirlpooling. I was informed that I should just let the tap run until it stops itself. However, I think my urn was fitted with a modification. There is a brass pipe that runs into the urn and is about 7 or 8mm off the bottom of the urn, like so!



2. I have also done my second batch, Tony's LCBA recipe, which went well, or so I thought! However, I ended up with a very small fermentation volume. Maybe 16 litres? 4 litres has disappeared! I brewed the second batch outside and it did get a little cooler later on. Could I have lost that much through the temperature difference?

Anyway, I loved the experience and can't wait to put my next brew down. Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

Phillo

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Well done Econ. It's a rewarding experience isn't it?

You certainly do have a modded urn if that's it in the photo. That's a pickup tube, designed to get every last drop out of your kettle if you so desire it.

When I whirlpool, I drain slowly until I can see the cone of crap start to break up and sink to the end of the pickup. If I'm short of volume I usually just say "hell with it" and drain a bit of break and shit into the cube.

As for loss in volume, do you have a sight gauge on your urn or have you calibrated it for depth and evap losses etc?
 

Crusty

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Well done Econ.
The pick up tube is just to drain the urn as much as possible, leaving the trub behind. I don't have a pick up tube in mine & just let it run to the cube until it stops on it's own & I do get a little bit of cold break into my cube & into the fermenter but it has proven to be something to not worry about, it simply doesn't matter getting some cold break in there as well. In the past with my old 3V system, I did whirlpool but ended up ditching the whirlpool & just let it rest for 30mins after the boil & then run it off to the cube.
I've mentioned this to you before but BrewMate is awesome. I'm not sure why you ended up with such a small fermentable volume this time unless you mashed in with not enough water. Is the Urn a 40lt?
If so, you should be looking at around 32lt water for strike in for a 23lt batch, 10% boil off, 0.60l/kg grain absorption. I end up with 24lt of total wort produced, 20lt into the no chill cube, 4lt lost to trub, 1lt of this is actually cooling loss ( 4% )
If you need a hand to set up the defaults in BrewMate, send me a PM & I'll go through it with you.
Cheers
 

Phillo

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A much better answer than mine. :lol: :ph34r:
 

Econwatson

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Thank you both for the responses!

I may have been a little short on water, the recipe only called for 30 litres of strike water which I thought was odd, but I followed the recipe like a sheep. On the plus side I've got a nice high gravity reading and the brew looks like it will finish at something like 5% ABV so that's good news!

Unfortunately I use a Mac so using Brewmate is a bit of an issue. I do have Bootcamp installed though so I should really just boot into windows on a brew day.

I'm having a little get together to celebrate my birthday on Saturday so I thought about showing people the brewing process (even though I'm a bit of a novice!) I will have to dig out a recipe!

That pipe is great though I suppose it will make things a little tricky when determining when to stop the tap, probably better to have it than be without it though!
 

Florian

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Someone 'needs' some new beer glasses for easter...
 

thedragon

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Econwatson

Mate, glad to hear that your first brew turned out well. Most importantly you enjoyed doing it and you sound more excited about AG now than you did before you put down your first batch. Others have talked about the importance of research before moving to AG, which I agree with, but i like your attitude of reading a bit, asking questions, attending a g&g brew day and then giving it a crack. As long as you enjoy the process, learn something from every brew and get a kick out of sharing your beer with family and friends, I say give it a go.

Whirlpooling.... Can't remember who said it (there's a thread on ahb) but if you put the lid on when you whirlpool the trub settles much faster and you get a stronger cone. I typically whirlpool and then drain in to my no-chill cube until I start to see more trub than wort come through. But others have said that they just chuck it all in, trub and all, in to the fermenter and swear by it, however as I no chill I, perhaps unnecessarily, I want to separate the wort from the hops used in the boil.

I'll pm you the recipe for Aussie Amber Ale that was on the recipeDB - it's one that I really enjoy.

Cheers
Daniel
 

Econwatson

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Much appreciated mate, sounds great!
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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Econwatson said:
Hi everybody.

After ignoring a large body of advice saying not to go into AG after only 3 brews, my first AG batch is now bottle conditioned. .....

Anyway, I loved the experience and can't wait to put my next brew down. Does anyone have any suggestions?
This is a classic reason why no one should discourage going AG straight away.

I had another brewer in Brisbane that launched into it after trying one of my beers.

Once, I made the comment that if I had my time (and the BIAB thread) when I started, I'd have jumped to AG 10 years sooner than I did. I then got lambasted by a small segment of the kit population (and I would say, not representative of the opinions of kit brewers in general), who seem too intent on discouraging those who want to make the jump, because they don't have the courage to do so themselves.

Not everyone is going to want to or be able to jump straight into AG, but there are those whom it would suit very well.

</rant>
 

bum

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Lord Raja Goomba I said:
This is a classic reason why no one should discourage going AG straight away.
You're talking about someone who doesn't know what a pickup tube is or even remotely understand thier losses.

Plenty of reason why most people shouldn't go AG right away. Thread after thread here shows numerous brewers who have absolutely zero understanding of AG fundamentals because someone told them that knowing how to wet grain is all you need to make good beer.
 

Nick JD

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bum said:
You're talking about someone who doesn't know what a pickup tube is or even remotely understand thier losses.
How will you find about about pickup tubes without brewing all-grain?

EDIT: I brew all-grain and I have never used a pickup tube. Whirlpool is a brand of whitegoods.
 

Crusty

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Lord Raja Goomba I said:
This is a classic reason why no one should discourage going AG straight away.

I had another brewer in Brisbane that launched into it after trying one of my beers.

Once, I made the comment that if I had my time (and the BIAB thread) when I started, I'd have jumped to AG 10 years sooner than I did. I then got lambasted by a small segment of the kit population (and I would say, not representative of the opinions of kit brewers in general), who seem too intent on discouraging those who want to make the jump, because they don't have the courage to do so themselves.

Not everyone is going to want to or be able to jump straight into AG, but there are those whom it would suit very well.

</rant>
I agree here.
The fact is that All Grain brewing is not really complicated at all & with the differing opinions & methods of brewing, it can & does get a bit confusing.
I think we have all been down this path at some stage & for me, I picked a method that worked for that brewer & copied his method. Once I gained some more experience, I then started changing things to suit myself better.
In all honesty, I would strongly discourage anyone wanting to take up brewing & wanted to do a kit beer. We all know it taste like shit & this fact alone is why so many newbies take up brewing only to realize that it's not what they'd hoped for & leave the hobby with the concrete view that home brew is crap. Yes you can make a kit drinkable by steeping grains, adding hops etc but wouldn't it be so much simpler to just get some grain cracked from the HBS, download a free brewing software programme & ask questions on here for some help doing the first beer.
I've helped heaps of people crack their first Biab with a simple Pale Ale recipe & these guys are off & running.
I think as brewer's we need to emphasize that making beer is not rocket science & you can make fantastic beer with very minimal equipment.
Just dive in & go for it, you'll never regret it......................................... :beerbang:
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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bum said:
You're talking about someone who doesn't know what a pickup tube is or even remotely understand thier losses.

Plenty of reason why most people shouldn't go AG right away. Thread after thread here shows numerous brewers who have absolutely zero understanding of AG fundamentals because someone told them that knowing how to wet grain is all you need to make good beer.
I agree. I didn't say that most people shouldn't go to AG straight away, just that it shouldn't be discouraged by those who themselves often lack the knowledge and/or confidence to do it themselves.

You need more understanding that just how to wet grain, again I absolutely agree. But if you read @OP, at least he's started the path, read up, asked plenty of questions, and is happy with the result (currently). I'm also, despite being an avid reader, of the opinion that there is only so much theory you can take on board, before you get your hands dirty. Heck, you likely will make mistakes - but that's where practice cements theory and then the further questions come.

He'll learn what a pickup tube is and how to understand losses in time. At the moment, he's just started making beer that he's really happy with. Isn't that the name of the game? The rest will come in due time.

I've never used a pickup tube in my AG life, and I have a couple of awards saying I'm okay at this AG caper.

One bloke who I got into it, has better equipment that I had or will soon have or will ever likely have :D

I'm more ranting against the 'scaredy cat' mentality, rather than commenting on someone's ability or knowledge or whether they're ready for AG.
 

Econwatson

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bum said:
You're talking about someone who doesn't know what a pickup tube is or even remotely understand thier losses.
It's hardly my fault that the urn was fitted with something that wasn't stock. Of course I know what the tube is for, it's set lower than the original outlet and out to the side, so I collect less trub and more wort. I'm not an idiot. Not knowing the technical term for something doesn't impede my ability to understand what it does. My question was when I should stop collecting wort since the consensus of "stop collecting when the tap stops of its own volition" doesn't apply to me.
 

Crusty

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Econwatson said:
It's hardly my fault that the urn was fitted with something that wasn't stock. Of course I know what the tube is for, it's set lower than the original outlet and out to the side, so I collect less trub and more wort. I'm not an idiot. Not knowing the technical term for something doesn't impede my ability to understand what it does. My question was when I should stop collecting wort since the consensus of "stop collecting when the tap stops of its own volition" doesn't apply to me.
Econ,
You basically stop collecting when you decide that it's enough.
Most people slow down the drain speed & just watch as the kettle starts to run pretty empty.
As soon as the pick up tube starts sucking up some cold break, stop collecting. If, like me, a little cold break into the cube doesn't bother you, just let it run until it stops on it's own. My urn has an exposed element & I find it difficult to get a decent cone from whirlpooling so I don't bother doing it any more. I just flick on the tap & let it run until it stops on it's own. If you use the pick up tube, you will get a little more form the kettle & a bit less loss to trub so factor that extra volume into your brewing software to nail your numbers.
 

r055c0

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Somewhat off topic but is there any big difference in the end product if you suck in a bit of trub?

I had a brew a week or so ago (LCPA clone) that didn't form a cone during whirlpool and I sucked quite a lot of trub into my no chill cube. When I poured it into the fermenter there was about 2 inches of trub at the bottom which settled down to about 1cm thick after a couple of days. The beer tasted ok when I bottled it the other day.

Not a good judge of taste at the momen as I'm still in single figures for the number of all grain beers I've made so they all tase amazing compared to my old kit beers ;)
 

wbosher

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I agree with just jumping in and getting dirty, best way to learn IMO. Obviously you need to know the basics but the rest you can learn on the job, so to speak.

I did I think 3 K&K brews before trying my hand at AG (BIAB), some have been a resounding success, others, not so great...still learning and proabaly always will be.
 

Crusty

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ro55c0 said:
Somewhat off topic but is there any big difference in the end product if you suck in a bit of trub?

I had a brew a week or so ago (LCPA clone) that didn't form a cone during whirlpool and I sucked quite a lot of trub into my no chill cube. When I poured it into the fermenter there was about 2 inches of trub at the bottom which settled down to about 1cm thick after a couple of days. The beer tasted ok when I bottled it the other day.

Not a good judge of taste at the momen as I'm still in single figures for the number of all grain beers I've made so they all tase amazing compared to my old kit beers ;)
I used to be fanatical about getting zero cold break / trub into my fermenter & got side tracked doing the drain once & transferred quite a bit to my cube. The resulting beer had no ill effects, off flavours or taste than my usual no sediment transfer. I still like to keep my sediment transfer to a minimum but as far as negatives on the beer, none whatsoever & identical to all my other beers. I've read that cold break / trub is actually beneficial to yeast health & am happy to report that this is proving to be correct.
 

Liam_snorkel

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ro55c0 said:
Somewhat off topic but is there any big difference in the end product if you suck in a bit of trub?
It's been debated a bit - some people tip the whole lot in (trub & all) and report no negative effects. Obviously you will end up with more trub in the fermenter, which could be an issue if it ends up higher than your fermenter tap level.

EDIT: beaten by Crusty :)
 

Nick JD

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ro55c0 said:
Somewhat off topic but is there any big difference in the end product if you suck in a bit of trub?
There's a podcast where these chaps in the 'States asked a bunch of brewers (one of them is an AHB member) to do side by side tests where they transfer the first half of the wort crystal clear into one fermenter - and the other half (including all the hotbreak) into another and report back with blind tasting on a few people.

Results were surprising. In many cases (and styles) more than half of the tasters prefered the one with all the break material added. More than half reported higher clarity and better hoppiness.

I tip all the crap in since listeing to it.

No idea where to find it now though. Someone else might remember. Worth listening to (as are all the brewing radio casts).

So someone like Bum might insist on the need to know what a pickup tube is - but the flat reality is he's brewing from rote. Had he been a bit more advernturous and clever, he'd have found out that pickup tubes are by-and-large a waste of time. It does crack me up that very often ignorance and arrogance go hand in had with brewers. The "elite" are the worst.

Brewing is a very simple process. Ignore anyone who feels the need to complicate it for you. Complicate it for yourself if you so desire.
 

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