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1st AG This Weekend

I drove down to a brew store in Ft. Collins this past weekend and bought a 10 Gal brew pot. While down there, I decided to get the ingredients for an AG Belgian Wit, which has a grain bill of 11 lbs. Now, I realize that my 5 Gal Igloo won’t work, so I’m going to get a 10 Gal Rubbermaid at Home Depot. I have a couple of questions before I get started. I’ve tried to read most of the posts on AG, but still am confused on a few items.

  1. How do I know how much sparge water to use on mashout? I figure I’ll use the 1.3/1 for mashing.
  2. How do you measure efficiency? And what would be a good target?

Any help would be appreciated. This will be my 1st AG.


I have a simple calculator on my web site that calculates the water needed.

Basically you add the amount of water absorbed by the grain and the amount of boil off to how much you want to end up in the fermenter and that is the total volume needed. I divide the amount going to the boil pot in half and add the amount the grain absorbs for the mash and the rest for the sparge.


OK, thanks John. That sounds good. I will check out your website. I just purchased and downloaded Beersmith 2. Holy cow, that is one busy program. There is a lot on it I don’t understand yet.


It will be close, but you should be able to get 11lb @ 1.25qt/lb in a 5 gall cooler. (4.32 total space) You could start closer to 1:1, and increase the water to fit.

Cost/size wise, rectangular coolers are usually a better deal.

I recommend John’s water calculator. Simple and effective.

I have a 5 gallon cooler and routinely do two mashes, each with half the grain. I find that my system is optimized with 9qts water (1.8qts/lb) for the mash and 9 qts sparge for 5 lbs of grain. From that, I get 15qts in my boil pot…I still use my 5gal extract pot and boil on the stove…yes, two boils too.

Yesterday, I did a 3+ gallon witbeir w/6.75 lbs grain. I used 12 qts for the mash and 10 for the sparge. End with 18-19 in the boil pots. I actually moved 8 quarts to a smaller pot and had two boils going on the stove for 45 minutes. Then I pour the remains of the small pot into the large pot for the final 15 minutes and the final hop plus spice additions.


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