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Brizbrew

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I am finally a member of the all grain club and it was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be, nothing went wrong (Apart from adding too much hops but that was human error, my system worked very well) and I had plenty of time between steps to prepare the next step and visualise what I would be doing etc. I can't wait for the next one and have already penciled it in for next weekend.

I decided to make a pale ale and followed a basic recipe.

5kg pale ale malt
0.25kg crystal
fuggles (pellets) and saf04

The brewing started at around 7.30 yesterday morning, I put the water on to heat and got on with my first crush in anger, I had to put it through twice in the end but I have read that is common.
I heated the water to 70C and drained 14L into my esky and slowly stirred in the crushed malt, it did not give me any problems. The temp came dowm to 66C so on went the lid while I had a coffee.
I stirred it a few times during the hour mash while getting sparge water ready and preparing the fermenter. Plenty of time to get on with other things, I expected it to be far more labour intensive.
The next thing was recirculating the first runnings, the braid did it's job and I only needed 4 litres for it to run crystal clear so I drained into the kettle and added sparge water to the esky, stirred and had another coffee then recirculated a few more litres before making the kettle volume up to 30L and starting the boil.

It did not take long to get to the boil and I had a very big boilover, I think having the NASA going full throttle was a mistake so after turning it down to almost off it got down to a rolling boil without creeping over the top of the keg, I waited 15 minutes before adding any hops, I did not want an overly hoppy beer for my first go so I was going to add 30g-20g-10g at 60 30 and 5 minutes but somehow due to reasons known only to myself I added 70g 40g and 20g :unsure: anyway they are in there now so there is no point crying over it.

The rest of the process went as planned, no major dramas. I put the IC in and got it down to 24C with the aid of a pre-chiller submerged in ice and airated, pitched and it started bubbling within a few hours and is going strong today when I checked it after getting home from work, although it did stink of hops. :blink:

My OG was 1042 so I am guessing my efficiency was crap but I enjoyed myself and learned more from actually doing it than I have learned from all the reading and research I have done. I really enjoyed it and would say to anyone thinking of giving it a go to just go for it.

Here are some pics of the day.

Hotbreak

Boilover

First runnings

Immersion chiller

Siphoning to fermenter

Look at those hops stuck to the side of the kettle!!!

Things I have learned included (but are mot limited to :rolleyes: ) I need a bigger funnel/hopper for my mill, I used an upturned 2L pop bottle with the bottom cut off, I needed one hand to hold/balance the bottle full of grain and the other hand to operate the drill, a third hand would of been handy to keep filling the hopper, 5Kg was something like 5 or 6 bottles full so it was a major PITA so something more permanent is required.

Another thing which I only realised when I calibarated my sight glass was it does not even register the first 18L in the HLT which is not a major problem if you want to dump any more than that as it drains all but a cup full, but if I require less water than 18L I would have to boil up more and drain it down using the crude measurements I drew up, does this make sense?

The biggest suprise of the day had to be the amount I ended up with in the fermenter, 19L off a boil that started with 30L. I lost about a Litre to the kettle trub so that makes I boiled off 10L in 75 minutes! I did lose about a Litre over the side in my boilover but still this is a big factor.

I just hope drinking this hoppy creation is half as much fun ans making it. How much hops is too much? :lol:
 

Guest Lurker

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Sounds like a good day. Hopefully the hops did get stuck to the kettle, cos if they were fully utilised I would guess you are over 50IBU, which in a 1.042 beer might make it hard to taste those delicate all grain malt flavours. But I'm sure it will taste good anyway.
 

Borret

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Sounds like you had some fun which is what it's all about.
Perhaps you can get together with stagger and between you come up with a blend of your over and under bittered beers. :p
Hope it turns out well.

Cheers

Borret
 

warrenlw63

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Top stuff Briz.

I too fired my NASA in anger for the first time on Sunday. After 7+ years of using an electric boiler it was quite a revelation.

They're a savage beast to be sure, however can be tamed with a bit of patience. I actually managed to boil 40 litres in a 50 litre keg. I got from 66c to boil in a little over 15 mins. This is fantastic.

Trick to keeping the thing in check is to watch it like a hawk until the boil settles down.

What I did was run it full stick until the break/foam started to form on the surface, when this happens gently stir the surface with your spoon, as soon as you see some traces of rolling turbulence on the surface, turn the boiler down to it's lowest setting.

From here the activity will drop a bit. Then just slowly crank it up until you get a moderate boil, skim of the scum from the surface this lessens the potential for boilover.

Once you've got a steady simmer put your lid 2/3rds of the way across the top and watch for about 10 mins. Then add your first lot of hops.

I reckon the key to these things is resisting the temptation to boil the guts out of your wort and and keep it tame. I just added some boiling water from the HLT in the last 20 mins. to cover the evaporation losses. :beerbang:

For those who don't believe 40 litres can be boiled in a 50 litre keg here's some proof. :D

Scary, but can be done quite easily.

Warren -
 

Jase

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warrenlw63 said:
Top stuff Briz.

I too fired my NASA in anger for the first time on Sunday. After 7+ years of using an electric boiler it was quite a revelation.
Warren -
[post="73339"][/post]​
Hi Warren,

I am deciding whether to use gas or electric for my AG setup, and as someone who has used both electric and gas, which would you recommend?

Cheers,
Jase
 

warrenlw63

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G'day Jase.

Without any doubt whatsoever gas for the boiler. Electric is OK but tends to be a little slow and more difficult to control.

For a HLT electric is good because you can control your temps via a thermostat. Just think large Tea Urn.

Warren -
 

Jye

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Hey Brizbrew

Sounds like the same recipe I used for my first a few weeks ago except I used cascade.

It did not take long to get to the boil and I had a very big boilover
:D the same thing happened to me and it came on really quick and scared the crap out of me... I was totally not expecting it.

I calibarated my sight glass was it does not even register the first 18L in the HLT
I made a similar mistake when making my HLT and Kettle but I can read down to 12L which I thought was bad, thanks for making my feel better B)

It sounds like you had a similar experience to me boil overs low volume bad efficiency ... oh the fun of it all :party:
 

Brizbrew

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We live and learn...I am going to have to learn fast because I am going to undertake my second AG brew this weekend. :super:

I wish I had drilled that sight glass an inch lower. :(
 

TidalPete

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Brizbrew said:
We live and learn...I am going to have to learn fast because I am going to undertake my second AG brew this weekend.
Just a little way behind you Brisbrew.
I have just given my system a dry run & was suprised to find that I have to allow for 6 litres of trub, hop sludge, etc after draining into my fermenter. That, combined with a 5 litre\hour evaporation loss with the lid on in a 90 minute boil means (if my calcs are correct) I need 37.5 litres at start of boil which is a lot, so it's a good thing I've got a 70 litre kettle.
My IC cooled the wort down to 32 deg c but my idea of tossing in 3- 3 litre milk containers of ice only dropped the temp down to 23 (not my chosen target of 20 deg c). All this cooling took an hour which is far too long.

Brisbrew,
What temp did your pre-chiller get your wort down to ? :blink:
How long did it take? :blink:

Warren,
Making up for the evaporation loss with boiling water from the HLT sounds a good idea. It should allow me to reduce my pre-boil volume to a more reasonable 30-32 litres thus allowing for a faster boil using less gas.

If anybody has any other timesaving ideas or knows how to get the wort temp down faster with an IC please let me know. There's a long, hot summer coming up. :)

:beer:
 

warrenlw63

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Tidalpete said:
Warren,
Making up for the evaporation loss with boiling water from the HLT sounds a good idea. It should allow me to reduce my pre-boil volume to a more reasonable 30-32 litres thus allowing for a faster boil using less gas.

If anybody has any other timesaving ideas or knows how to get the wort temp down faster with an IC please let me know. There's a long, hot summer coming up.

[post="73513"][/post]​
G'day Pete,

Don't worry too much. First few batches will always be a bit of trial and error. Just keep noting down what you need to change and it will get far easier each batch.

I just top up the boiler when I put the cooling coil in. IIRC correctly I lost about 3 litres during the boil (40 litres). As I said to Briz earlier it's a good idea to treat the NASA with kid gloves. eg; run it flat out and when the break forms, turn it right down, adjust and when you're happy, put your lid about 2/3rds of the way over. This will also reduce evaporation far more than having the lid completely off. However you said your lid was on and you still lost 5 lts and hour? You were obviously running the burner and a fairly high setting? :unsure:

You really don't need an overly-violent boil. :blink:

As for cooling with an immersion chiller. There's 2 paths you can take to reduce the pitching temp further. BTW Getting down to about 25c in an hour sounds fairly normal. What was your tap water temp?

Anyway solution 1. Would be a pre-chiller. Basically another immersion chiller sitting in a bath of ice-water connected in-line to your IC. Water passes through the first coil, cools the tap water then hits the IC at a lower temp. This is good to get your wort down another few degrees.

Solution 2 which is what I use other's MMV is an immersion pump in an Esky full of ice slurry. I fill the esky with water and metho (metho lowers freezing point) a day or 2 before brewing and stick it in the freezer in the garage.

Brewday I smash up the ice into a slurry, stick in the pump and recirculate through the IC. This can get you pretty substantial temp drops on a good day. If I'm persistent enough I can get 40 litres of wort down to 11-12c for lager pitching temps.

Note: :excl: Don't employ either methods until your wort is below 30c. Otherwise you eat ice up at an alarming rate. The tap water part needs to be utilized first.

Hope this helps Pete. Stick with it mate. :beerbang:

Warren -
 

Darren

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Pete,
Jiggling the IC during cooling helps a lot too. I usually drop my temps as low as I can then put the fermeter in my ferment fridge overnight, then pitch the yeast
 

Darren

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Also squirting the outside of the boiler with tap water during cooling helps
 

Justin

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All good responses.

Stir and you'll chill at maybe twice the rate.

Only add ice to the prechiller once your wort temp is down to say 30C as said above. Otherwise you just waste ice.

Water on the outside of the boiler cools your frame and the chime of the keg as well as helping suck a bit more heat out of it. It's rust your burner pretty bad too though.

Sounds like you had the basics covered and all things went like they should have. Just a trick that I do, I measure out all my hops before I start and away from the brewery (sometimes I do it while the mash is on but you know what I mean). That way I don't get distracted by other bits a pieces and stuff up. I stick the measured amount of hops in glass jars with 60, 20 and 5 or whatever the additions are so that it's clear and easy to identify and grab. Then when it's boiling I have a nice clear setup of what to add and when. (Actually I do make some hop calculations on the fly if I end up collecting more than planned or higher/lower efficiency but for starters keep it simple)

In summary, sounds like you had a pretty successful day Brisbrew, good work. There is a lot going on on that first AG so don't stress too much about how it went.

This next one will be a ripper. :beerbang:

Cheers, JD
 

TidalPete

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warrenlw63 said:
As I said to Briz earlier it's a good idea to treat the NASA with kid gloves. eg; run it flat out and when the break forms, turn it right down, adjust and when you're happy, put your lid about 2/3rds of the way over. This will also reduce evaporation far more than having the lid completely off. However you said your lid was on and you still lost 5 lts and hour? You were obviously running the burner and a fairly high setting?
Warren,
Thanks for your quick response.
I think that the reason why I am loosing so much to evaporation even with the lid on is because the kettle is 450mm in diameter & the larger surface area allows for greater precipation. I turn the NASA to it's lowest setting as soon as the boil starts.
As for cooling, your suggestions sound good I was all set to get a pond pump when the frozen milk bottle thing popped up on the forum. The cold water temp up here at the moment is 19 deg c. You're lucky to have room in your freezer for an esky as I will probably just smash up ice cream containers of ice & put in with the esky water to pump that way. I suppose you recirculate until the water warms up or you reach your target temp? :unsure: Can't afford not to stick with it Warren. There's no turning back now. :p

Darren,
Thanks for your input. I do jiggle the IC but am wary of spraying the kettle as it still sits on the NASA at the moment & a sudden change in temperature could crack the cast iron. When I make up my brewstand with the kettle clear of the NASA I will be able to do this.

Justin,
Just read your post. Thanks for your comments. I am a bit like you & get everything weighed, milled, (starter well under way) the evening before for an early start on brewday.

:beer:
 

Justin

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I have to do it that way :rolleyes: otherwise I stuff things up LOL. It's rare that I can donate 100% of my time and focus to the brewing process it's usually a bit of a juggle between brewing and other bits and pieces that need doing around the home so it helps if I plan and do the important bits when I'm not distracted.

I've had all the things possible happen during a brew day. Ran out of gas mid boil (and midboil was at bloody 8:30 at night, not too many gas places open then :( ), overflowed the mash tun (doesn't take long in a 19L esky if your not watching closely ;)), left hops at home when brewing elsewhere, left the tap open on the fermenter when transferring chilled wort, etc. It's all good fun.

Makes me sound like a nonghead but these things don't happen very often, but I guess the moral is a bit of preparation makes brew day go smoother.

Cheers, JD
 

Jye

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left the tap open on the fermenter when transferring chilled wort
lol....I've done the same thing :lol:

DCP01890a.JPG
 

warrenlw63

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Justin said:
Makes me sound like a nonghead but these things don't happen very often, but I guess the moral is a bit of preparation makes brew day go smoother.

Cheers, JD
[post="73533"][/post]​
Justin, fellow "nonghead" :lol:

Don't you just love it when somebody rings you on your mobile just as the boil is starting to happen? <_<

I've developed a standard answer... Piss off! I'm brewing. :blink:

Warren -
 

Gough

Maintain the Rage!
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Subtle Warren... Does it work?

Shawn. :p
 

Gough

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Might give you a bell next brewday to talk water chemistry :p What time do you start your boil? :ph34r: :lol:

Shawn.
 
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