Author Topic: Not sure .....  (Read 4301 times)

Offline noreaster

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Not sure .....
« on: April 25, 2010, 07:32:58 PM »
I've done several batches of all grain brewing after being an extract brewer before that. I batch sparge and do 5 gallon batches. I'm still working out some of my issues and learning though. I have a 7.5 gallon brew pot and a 12 gallon mash tun. I can get all my mashing and sparging temps figured out and when I'm done the sparging I try to have between 6.25 and 6.5 gallons to boil. In the past I had a pretty good boil going and, after cooling it down and trying to leave the cold break behind, I ended up with only about 4.5 gallons in the primary. Since I want to have 5 gallons at the end I end up adding water which, of course, brings down the starting gravity. In the end, I'm not sure but I think all this does is maybe lower the alcohol content and make for a lighter bodied beer, maybe.

Today I tried to use a low boil so I wouldn't loose so much to that aspect. While using my wort chiller I saw a good amount of cold break forming and I thought I'd try the "swirl" method to get all the cold break to the center so I would hopefully be able to siphon off more wort without sucking up the break. Well, I guess I better go back and read about that method again since all it did was mix the break back into the wort.  :(

Anyway, I siphoned off all I could leaving what cold break there was on the bottom and I was STILL at 4.5 gallons in the primary! Taking a gravity reading I had 1.040 when what I was shooting for was 1.042 - 1.044. Once again I added about a gallon of water and took another reading and it was about 1.030.

So what am I doing wrong to keep ending up having to add water to get my 5 gallons? Also, how do you folks handle the cold break after cooling down the wort?


Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Not sure .....
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2010, 08:36:23 PM »
Without a .bsm file it's tough to figure out, but some things sound a bit off.  A 7.5 gallon pot might be able to boil only 6.5 to 7.0 gals safely, so trying to end up with 6.25 to 6.50 is tough.  And to account for transfer losses, you may wish to target 5.5 gallons in primary so that you can keg/bottle 5.0 gallons.  So I think some of your equipment settings need adjusting. 

You may be able to figure out the BSmith entries to start with 6.5, boil as usual to around 5.0 and use "top-off" water (in the boil, so it's sanitized) of approx. 0.5 gallons so that you put 5.5 gallons of the desired SG in the fermenter.   Meaning, you would have to create a wort of slightly higher gravity than intended and then dilute with 0.5 gallons maybe at 20 mins left, so there's still time/opportunity to add sugar/DME to hit target exactly. 

Offline CR

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Re: Not sure .....
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 10:37:01 AM »
Are you leaving lots of wort in the kettle?
You might try tilting the kettle before you whirl out the trub.
That'll let the trub settle in the low spot and you can siphon accordingly taking as much or as little of the trub as you are inclined.

As it regards your  boil volume when you are done you might consider having a second pot - maybe a little two or three gallon  one filled with boiling water handy.  Make a mark on your kettle that accurately  displays the  fluid height at the various gallon points where you have the most interest. IE: 4, 5, 6   Maybe half gallon marks too if you are so inclined.

There are a couple ways t6o do this. One is by having a known true gallon container and pouring it in one gallon at a time to the kettle and marking accordingly.  Another is to use a  reliable weigh scale. 
You can also make a stick from  copper pipe,  Maple, or Beach that has marks for the gallon levels. The stick will get you out of trying to engrave your kettle.   But,  accurate and well done marks in the kettle are  a joy to have.  A dremel and a little practice will do you right.   So too an acid etching kit.

Offline BobBrews

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Re: Not sure .....
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 11:30:56 AM »
Don't worry too much about getting cold break (trub) in your primary. It looks better and makes you feel better when your primary is clear but resent tests in Germany show that trub is a very good source of nutrients for the feasting yeast. What's more the resulting beer will be clear and tasting great after fermentation. Give it time and it will clear.
Bob Brews
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Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Not sure .....
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2010, 04:27:14 AM »

Try going back to your equipment set up and revisit you losses.

1.   Lauter Tun Deadspace – Can be .25 gal or more
2.   Evaporation Loss – Typical loss is .75 to 1.25 gal in a 60 min boil, depending on the strength of the boil.
3.   Loss to Trub and Chiller – Can be .25 gal or more
4.   Cooling Loss – Default at 4% or about .25 gal

There isn’t anywhere else for it to go. Like CR said, volume control needs good volume data. I also use a copper tube to dip & measure. I make one custom for each pot.

Re-check the volume you actually have in the Boil Pot. Re-check what’s left at the end of the boil. That will give you your Evaporation data. Cooling loss will be aprox 4% of the end of boil volume + any wort left in the chiller if any.  You didn’t say but from your description it sounds like you use an IC. Correct? If no and you use a Counter Flow, significant wort can be left in the coils.

Good Luck

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