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Nealoneal

Advice please, All grain or 5 gal batch? or both?

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Hey folks,

I am a newb with 7 batches under my belt. I have been doing all extracts until the last 3 when I introduced steeping grains to the mix, thanks to the help of bugladen and the recipe collaboration.

So I was planning on doing a mr beer sized all grain batch using the BIAG method. I have been researching it a lot and I think I have my head wrapped around it.

Then my neighbor shows up yesterday and gives me his old 5 gal bucket fermenter and a 6 gallon glass carboy. So now I am all mesmerized by the thought of making 5 gallons.

I don't want to get in over my head so I am looking for advice. Should I stick my course and try all grain in a mr beer sized batch or should go for the gusto and use the new toys with an all grain batch? OR should I just try and make another beer along the same line of difficulty, extract, steeping grains and hop boils, just in a 5 gal batch size.

Which is a more logical step?

Thanks in advance you guys rock!

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If you have a big enough brew kettle go for the gusto.

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Or you could split the difference and do a 5 gallon partial mash.

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Here are my initial thoughts on your next step:

1) if you do a LBK all grain, you can see how it goes and not waste too much $$ on ingrediants if things go south
2) if you do a 5gal (AG or Extract) you may learn you might need bigger/different brewing tools (ie. larger siphon, funnel, etc) than you already have.
3) if you do a 5gal batch, you will get 2x more beer

So i guess it depends what your interested in. Which ever you choose, you will gain some experience.

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"Gymrat" post=257474 said:

If you have a big enough brew kettle go for the gusto.


+1 - What size pot do you have? For a 5-gallon BIAB, you will need at least a 30 qt pot, 35-40 qt is ideal. You can do an LBK-sized BIAB batch in a 12-16 qt pot.

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I have a 9 gallon pot and some of my 5 gallon BIAB's are very close. Get the largest you can afford. 8 gallon would be the absolute smallest I would go for with 10-12 being ideal. Larger if you're going to use a propane burner.

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Take it from someone that was in the same boat as you like a month and a half ago. Not only will you go to brew and realize you are VERY short on materials required to pull it off, but you will also realize how much more difficult it is to keep that temp steady.

Split the difference for a batch or 2 and go Partial 5 gallon. THEN when you have a better idea of everything you need step it up to All Grain. I did 2 Partial Mashes and a Cider in my 5 gallon containers, and I'm glad I didn't jump in like the guys at the LHBS suggested.

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Ok thanks. My pot is 16qt. My neighbor offered his turkey fryer. But i think i will do a partial mash with my pot and add some extract o getup to 5 gallons. Thanks for the advice! Iam going to attempt this weekend ill let you knowhow it goes.

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Ok so here is what I ended up doing.
I did a partial mash. I was making a Great Lakes Eliot Ness clone. I halfed the all grain recipe except for the hops and added 3.3 lbs of munich LME.
The recipe roughly was:
2lb 2-Row Malt
2lb Light Munich Malt
8oz Crystal 30
8oz Crystal 30
3.3lb Munich LME
.75 oz Tettnang 60min
.75 oz Hallertau 60min
.15 oz Gelena 60min
.25 iz Tettnang 7min
.25 oz Hallertaus 7min

I used my 16 qt pot filled up to about 12QT of 175 degree water. Dropped in the bag of grains. and then my digital thermometer broke. I guess it sat at 160ish for 60-70ish minutes (got on a phone call and timer beeped fro a while.)

Here is where I may have screwed up. When I lifted the bag and dropped it a colander, the grains, no matter how much I squished them sat above the top of the pot. I dumped what I thought to be 170ish degree water on top but a lot of it spilled out onto my stove top and made nice burnt wort smells.

I think I did a lousy sparge. Rather I know I did a lousy sparge.

So then I boiled for 70 min. Adding hops at the above intervals. Last ten minutes I added a whirfloc tablet. First time with that and from what I noticed it put a lot of protein at the bottom of my pot which I did not put in the fermentor. Correct?

Anyways I added the LME at the last 15min of boiling. Honestly iw asn't sure when to add that. Didn't want to boil it the whole time.

I cooled and added to 5 gal fermenting bucket. I added water up to 4.5 gallons to allow for lousy effieciency with my grains. Was this right to do?

I used the yeast cake from a previous batch of an Irish Red that I bottled while this batch was boiling.

It was bubbling in an hr or so. today (next day) it's going pretty darn good.

This is my first attempt at a partial mash and a 5gal batch. How bad did I screw it up? If I had to do this again i would get a much bigger pot and not try and bottle two batches from a LBK at the same time. It was bordline stressful juggling all of this. Oh and this 5gal batch was almost the price of my normal 2.5 gal extract batches. The grains added about 6 bucks and I reused the yeast which seems to have worked out pretty darn well. This saved me about 6 bucks. I'm digging it.

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Pretty typical for a first try. Dont get discouraged, you learnrd alot i'm sure.

I leave the protein behind too

You can add lme at flameout or at 5min. Not much harm at 15 though

Next time if you still have the same pot, try a cooling rack or grill grate instead of a colander. It works great for me

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