All grain first time questions

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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All grain first time questions

Postby jayhawk » Wed Sep 04, 2002 1:11 pm

Just finished my first all grain. Everything went fine. The most trouble came from getting my new counterflow chiller online. Anyway, my questions:
1) How do you get an accurate hydrometer reading while sparging? The runoff temp is way above the calibrated temp of 15C (??F). My HBS guy gave me a temp correction chart for the hydrometer, but are these correction #'s really accurate?
2)What is the evaporation rate during a 60 min boil?
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Ph

Postby Freon12 » Wed Sep 04, 2002 2:18 pm

PH is a better way to check when to stop sparging I use a self corrected meter. Also, there is a calculator for how much water to use so you can just use that amount and not worry about it.
I know someone here knows where to find that, I can't recall.

My evap rate is about 3 qts per hr. in my system. yours my be = or - a qt.(humidity factor and how hard the boil.)

You will love this all grain stuff!
Steve
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Sampling & Evaporation

Postby BillyBock » Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:36 pm

While you're sparging, just pull off a sample and check the gravity. It's best to cool your sample to get an accurate hydrometer reading. Besides, the hydrometer glass may not care for the thermal stress of boiling temps (I know, I've broken a couple). I believe the charts are accurate up to 120F, no guarantee above that (if I'm mistaken someone please holler.) I assume you're wanting to know when to stop sparging by monitoring the runoff gravity. Like Freon, I prefer going by the pH. I make it easy on myself...I acidify the sparge water to pH 5.7. This way the runoff won't rise above pH 6.0 and leach tannins. So I can sparge to my hearts content to get my volume.

As Freon mentioned, your evap rate is system dependent, I avg. about 12%, YMMV. Run a test with a known starting volume of water and cook it for an hour to figure your evap rate. Or if you kept notes on this batch, you might be able to estimate it. However, 10% seems to be a common default for planning purposes if you don't know it. Hope this helps.

v/r
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Sparge Ph

Postby jayhawk » Wed Sep 04, 2002 9:58 pm

How do you acidify your sparge water? Also, doesn't excessive sparging lower the wort's SG if the runoff SG falls below 1010?
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PH Meters on EBay

Postby andytv » Thu Sep 05, 2002 3:03 am

I noticed that Ebay has digital PH meters (hanna instruments- Check1) for $28 shipped. Has anyone used these things? Do they work?
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Sparging

Postby BillyBock » Thu Sep 05, 2002 3:09 am

I acidify my water with lactic acid--you can also use phosphoric acid or hydrochloric acid. I think someone here uses citric acid.

I use Promash for most of my recipe formulation; however, I use the program Brew Water mainly to help figure out how much acid to add in its pH adjustment calculator. You need to know your water's composition and it's pH to use it. Check it out, you can get it here http://home.elp.rr.com/brewbeer/
Scroll down until you see the section "Software for Brewers."

The act of sparging will continually dilute your wort SG. It's only "excessive" if you hit the barrier where you leach tannins off of the husks (mouth pucker astringency)--usually defined as pH of 6+ or SG below 1.010. I recently read where some folks taste the runoff--if it's sweet they keep sparging. If it's starting to taste watery, they stop. Most texts will suggest you monitor one or the other of the runoff so you avoid this barrier. Imagine sparging a mash (at pH of 5.2) with sparge water of pH 9.3, as I had in Nebraska. The runoff's pH will quickly rise once enough sparge water diluted the grain bed and would probably get higher than pH 6.0. So I got in the habit of acidifying the water first. That way I was mixing two solutions essentially of pH 5.2 & 5.7 which when combined won't ever reach pH 6.0. Now I just acidify and sparge until I get my volume (since pH isn't a concern now). The big factor is your starting water. If it was highly alkaline like I had, I think it's best to do something with it. When I'm done sparging, I'll then measure the volume, SG, and pH of the wort in the kettle to figure my extraction. I shoot for a pH in the kettle of 5.0-5.3 and a finished beer pH of 4.5 or less.

Do you have the analysis of your local water? If so post it and I can give you a hand.

Hope this helps, there's a lot to remember when all-graining. So if I can simplify my life I will.

v/r
Bill
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You Betcha

Postby BillyBock » Thu Sep 05, 2002 3:12 am

That sounds like the one I have--red case and black tip, right? Works like a champ. I even dropped it into sparge water once. I thought it was dead...once it dried out it kept right on working. It holds it's calibration too.
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Good news!

Postby andytv » Thu Sep 05, 2002 7:28 am

Thats good to know, because I just bought one. I told myself that I wouldn't ebay this week, but who could resist?
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How Much do they Normally go for??

Postby dartedplus » Sun Sep 08, 2002 6:39 pm

How much are they normally??? I can only ebay if its a great deal, like my refractometer for $12.
Ed
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It Varies

Postby BillyBock » Sun Sep 08, 2002 7:14 pm

When I originally bought mine it was about $70. But I saw a number of months ago that Morebeer.com was selling them for around $30.
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Thanks

Postby dartedplus » Mon Sep 09, 2002 12:18 pm

thanks for the info, maybe I'll make a run at one of them and see if I can get for under 20
Ed
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