My First Ag - Finally!

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Maintain the Rage!
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After assembling most of the gear back in late Feb/early March I finally took the plunge and did my first AG brew on Saturday - a 'premium lager' style with 4.5 kg JW Pilsner malt, 500gms Munich, POR bittering and Hallertau Mittelfrau flavour/aroma. Things went reasonably smoothly and Brewsmith certainly helped!

I struggled in a few areas though. I found it hard to get the wort to clear when recirculating - still had some floaty content even after 6 or so recirculations. Not heaps but still some grainy bits. Hope I don't get too astringent a beer :unsure:

Also undershot my final quantity - need to up my estimate on quantity left to trub and on sparge water a little I think. Still, my final gravity matched Brewsmith's suggestion spot on so I am happy about that. Now I've cracked my duck it is time to perfect the process. So long as SWMBO will give me another 6 hour weekend leave pass ;)

Was a top way to end a big day for me too by the way. Sat night was the latest gathering of the 'Newcastle exotic beer club' for a beer dinner. Mmm, 8 top beers and a great meal AND I got to bore people to death with my first AG stories!! Top darts!

Thanks to all on this site who have helped me improve my brewing over the last year or so,

Shawn. :chug:
Great to hear buddy.
And to top things off the ol Knights had a big win.
Well Done, Gough

This brewing caper only gets more addictive now.... :lol:

Let us know how it turns out.

What is the design of your mash tun?

I have had no trouble with the wort running clear and in fact have not needed to recirculate at all.

I slotted my PVC manifold with the thinnest hacksaw blade I could find, with a spacing of around 10mm.

There is a pic here on page 3 of the post


Thanks SJW and Crispy.

My mash tun is a 48 litre Coleman esky and a rectangular copper manifold I made up myself. I cut hacksaw slots in it at roughly (very :) ) 10mm spacing. I didn't search for the thinnest possible blade though, so maybe that's my problem. I also might have been recirculating incorrectly or something - was my first go with this volume of grain and water. I'm pretty hopeful it will come out OK - if it doesn't then I guess I've got something to change for next time ;)

By the way Crispy, when I was looking at the earlier post you linked me to I came across the discussion about brass parts. My ball valve tap, pipe and nuts are all brass and I didn't soak in vinegar before use. Will I go blind? :eek: Hope not. Will have to pull it all apart again and soak for next time I guess...

Thanks again,


( Oh and SJ, about time those bloody Knights won again :) )
Good work Shawn.

No worries anyway, you'll sort out all the little bits and pieces over the next brew or two. Just wondering of you may have been drawing the liquor off your mash a little quick, hence is was sucking pretty hard through the manifold and not clearing up very quick. Did the run off eventually clear? If so then you just needed to keep circulating until it did. The amount of circulation required can be quite variable, sometimes it clears quick other times it takes a bit longer.

Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much the beer should turn out fine. Congrats anyway on getting it all going.

Cheers, Justin
Just a thought Shawn, i wonder how deep the grain bed is in the mash tun? with my set up , depending on how much grain i mash, the grain bed on Friday night, when i did the Oktoberfest, was about 200mm deep. As i have a smaller, but taller type of esky.Maybe that is why i get clear running within about 200ml. And my manifold is very similar to Crispys, but out of copper.
Just a thought
Thanks again SJW and Justin. Could be related to both those things I guess. My grain bed was approx 150-200mm thick by draining time so not quite the full 200 you mention. I was also probably draining a bit fast now you mention it Justin. Will try it a bit more slowly next time. Hopefully should fix it up without having to build a new manifold. The beer looked fairly clear going into the fermenter, or at least no cloudier/grainier than any of my partials. Time will tell.

That is the best thing about this site - good feedback and minimal ego. Top darts AHBers!

Well done Gough.

You will fine tune the setup over the next few brews.

I agree with the earlier comments, slow up the sparge.

My grain bed is about 500mm deep. I recirculate about 20-30 litres, and it is still not really clear. If I run off too quickly, it never seems to clear. About halfway through the sparge it does clear up. The runoff into the fermenter after the boil is clear.

Check out the bottleshop in Hamilton, on the main drag with all the restaurants, they have an excellent range of beers.

A suggestion for your next lager, instead of using POR for the bittering, use the same noble hop for flavouring and bittering. Leave the POR for a good Oz lager or ale. Using noble alpha hops for bittering and flavouring will cost a bit more, but in the overall cost, not too much. If you cannot afford the noble for bittering, use Perle, which has a higher alpha rating.
Thanks p-o-l. Sounds like another Newcastle brewer on the board. Good stuff...

I've actually brewed lagers a fair bit using extract 'n grain/partial mash. In the past I've used Perle as my main bittering hop and Saaz or Hallertau as the main flavour/aroma varieties. I actually used the POR this time just to see how it would go, and to replicate a more 'Aussie' Premium style just for a change. Never used POR before, so thought I'd give it a go.

The Beaumont Street Bottlo is good. I've got a mate that works there so I get the occasional 'special' price :p I've just discovered the Kahibah Bottlo as well. Probably not the same number of beers all up but a really interesting variety. I'll be using both in the future for 'research and development'.

Thanks for the tips on recirculating. Like I said I'm still hopeful all will be well, I just didn't expect it to be as difficult to clear as it was.

Thanks again,