First Ag Completed

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Hop Junky
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Hey All,

Well my first AG brew is done and it was a busy day so I'll just start from the beginning.

Ended up waking up early since I was too excited to sleep, so its of to the HBS for supplies,

5kg pale
250g crystal
6 plugs of cascade
and a thermometer, the final piece of the puzzle.

I sterilized everything last night so I was set to go. Heated the HLT to 76 C and mashed in with 15.8 L which gave me a start temp of 69 C...little pat on back since I expect to have a temp that was to low since I forgot to preheat the MLT. 15 mins into the mash and the temp is 68 C, 45 min 67 C, 60 min 66.5 C. Being quite happy with the temps I began to drain the mash, FIRST MISTAKE :angry: I forget to recirculate and about 100ml of wort gets into the kettle before I realise.

Ok...recirculation done... tun drained, time to sparge. The water in the HLT has held its temp at 75 C so no heating required, into the MLT, stirred like hell then drained... I remembered to recirculate this time ;)

All of the wort is in the kettle and I have achieved my preboil volume SECOND MISTAKE - I turn my back for a second and the wort bubbles up out of the keg :blink: the things alive, is this called the hot break? After a couple of minutes it has settled to a rolling boil and in goes 28g of cascade, another 28g for 15 min and another 28g for 5 min.

The chiller was put in with about 20 mins to go and ended up cooling the wort to 28 C in 25 min. I finished draining the wort into the fermenter and fall sort on volume, must have boiled to hard <_< So I ended up with 20L which I then shook the hell out of to aerate and pitch some hydrated safale S-04.

Now I just have to wait an hope it starts to ferment.

One question I have is about trying to calculate my efficiency, in beersmith do I adjust my batch volume down to 20L (instead of the intended 23) and then change the efficiency until I get my correct OG value?

Good question. I asked then same thing and ended up sending an e-mail to the bloke who wrote the beersmith program. What I did wrong was have my batch volume as 25 litres and my final boil volume at 28 litres. As the OG is only worked out on the batch size. So all I do now is put the batch size as 28 litres knowing full well that I will only get 25 litres in the fermenter, ju st remember to adjust the volume for the carbonation rate.

This was my question to Mr Beersmith,

The question: With a all grain brew, when I add an amount to the "Loss to boil trub & Chiller" in the My Equipment part, how come the Estimated OG is not reduced? As I guess the Batch size is what I want in my fermenter (25 litres) and to get that I need about 28 litres in the kettle after the boil. But if I add 2 or 3 litres or even 20 litres to the "Loss to boil trub & Chiller" part, the Estmated OG is not changed. Maybe I am doing something wrong but the way I see it the Estimated OG must be reduced with the more lires in the "Loss to boil trub & Chiller" part. Even the "calculate total boil amount" is increased but the Estmated final OG is always the same.
Hope this makes sence, has anyone noticed this?

Congratulations Jye, a very good effort for your first go. With regards to your Brewhouse efficiency, do as follows:

Open your Recipe View in BeerSmith, click on Brewhouse Efficiency. You will see on the right hand side all the Estimations that BrewSmith calculated for you like your Estimated SG etc. All you need to do is complete the Left hand side yourself from the measurements you made like your Measured OG. When all your measurements are entered, your actual efficiency is calculated by BeerSmith for you and will appear on the right hand side. For your next Brew you can change the Brewhouse Efficience by scaling the recipe and insert your last Actual Brewhouse Efficiency. BeerSmith will automatically change the amount of grains that you will need for that efficiency.

Hope that makes sence.

Well done Jye, another all grain brewer out of the blocks.

First of all, I cannot help you about Beersmith.

Treasure your thermometer, it is absolutely vital to your brewing. They break as quickly as hydrometers. Do not leave them lying down on a bench, they will roll off. Do not leave them in the sink, they will break. I leave mine standing in a jug and have backups just in case. It is a 2 hour return drive to the shops.

Re your sterilizing. It is best to have everything clean on brewday, then use your favourite sanitizer just before using it. Once the surface is dry, anything can land on it. I have a bucket witha few litres of iodine made up. great for popping in funnles, airlocks, spoons etc. Also, it is only necessary to sanitize everything that contacts your beer after it boils. Pre boil, just make sure everything is clean.

That first boilover has to be seen to be believed. And then, same thing happens when you chuck the hops in. Hot break is the flakes of protien that form as the wort heats up, often not obvious in the depths of the kettle, but readily observed in a saucepan.

Well done Jye, bet you have planned the next five recipes.
Cheers guys,

Peter, I can't believe I didn't see that. My efficiency turned out to be 54%.. <_< must do better next time.

POL, I zipped tied my thermometer to my spoon so when I stir the mash I can get an average temp and hopefully I wont break it as easy.
I filled everything with sanitizer last night so all I had to do was rinse, I get paranoid when things get dry :lol:

Well done Jye, hope you enjoyed yourself.

If you've wound up with a shortfall of 3 litres and your OG is accordingly higher just top up the fermenter with some cooled/boiled water.

I always have a couple of litres of water sitting in the fridge to compensate. Either that or I just top up the boiler with HLT water in the last 15 mins. This also lowers to the correct gravity. Note: I do 40 litre batches.

Welcome to the lunacy. :beerbang:

Warren -
Welcome to the lunacy. :beerbang:

Happy to be here. :blink:

My Beersmith values were 23L, OG 1.048 with an estimated efficiency of 70%

Ended up with 20L and OG 1.043 which gives me an efficiency of 54% according to Beersmith. Since I came under in my OG I thought it would be better not to top up and reduce the gravity, would this be correct?

I wouldnt add more water but then the biterness will be higher but give it a few brews and the eff will be u and try batch sparging as it is easy
Have just been into the garage and is was greeted with the noise of the airlock bubbling away, about once every 5 seconds... so good news its alive :D

Then I heard the dreaded noise of an empty keg :angry:
Well done Jye.
Sounds like you had an enjoyable day.
Don't get too hung up on efficiency as it can be a devious beast.
I've been hitting around 80% for ages, but swapped out to my backup boiler on last weekends brew and ended up hitting 88% which threw things off a little. Luckily it was a very hoppy over the top brew so it just won't be as in your face :lol:

try batch sparging as it is easy

I tried batch sparging since reading how easy it was, this is what I did...tell me if there is anything I can improve on. 3 L per kg of grain (15.9 L) and ended up with a temp of 69 C, stirred it every 15 min for an hour and at the end of the hour the temp had dropped to 66.5 C. Drained the tun as fast as possible and then refilled with about 16 L at 75 C and stirred like hell, left it for a few minutes to settle and then drained as fast as possible.

Hey Doc do you fly or batch sparge and if you batch is the process much different to mine?


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