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Dead Ringer IPA all grain

I am planning my first all grain adventure next weekend.

I have the all grain set up from NB with 10 gal coolers. Since my city water comes from 5 different sources and can then be mixed with another municipal supply we decided to just get 8 gallons of Poland spring water which has the characteristics posted. So I have the additives to bring everything into a good mid range. Not trying to do anything fancy with the water this time.

I am trying to think through my process…I am thinking:

  1. Put the 8 gallons of spring water into the sparge cooler and treat with necessary additives.

  2. Put the required amount of mash water from this sparge cooler into my pot and heat to the prescribed temp.

  3. Pour heated water into the mash tun then slowly pour my 12 lb of grain into the tun while slowly stirring .

  4. Monitor temp and adjust if needed to reach desired mash temp , then seal it up and stir and temp check each 15 min. I also ordered a ph meter and will research when to check ph and what to do if I need to adjust or stabilize it.

  5. Maybe 15 min from end of mash transfer remaining water from sparge cooler into pot and heat to sparge temp. ( perhaps take some warmer water first for a 10 min mash out ?) .

  6. Then begin sparge / slow flow into my 10 gal brew pot.

Beer smith is calculating a 7.25 gal pre boil level. I really don’t know what my boil off rate is, seems like a lot of wort for a 60 min boil but maybe not… I just want to have good beer and not dilute too much with too much sparging… It’s 12 lb of grain, is there a limit to what a reasonable pre boil level can be? I’d rather have less good tasting beer than more not so good brew…

I was planning on stirring my mash with my long handle stainless brew spoon, I see there are also " mash paddles " with holes etc. yes everything is just another 50 bucks… Then 50 more… Just not sure if it’s worth it or not for stirring the mash ?

Sorry for the long winded post.
Any hints, suggestions and words of wisdom are welcome and appreciated !


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Congrats on going all grain!
I would tackle your first all grain brew as above but without worrying about the ph meter this go round. There is always a lot going on in an all grain brew day without messing around with a ph meter( not a fan). Maybe after you have the overall process down a bit later.
I would always try to use the thing but could never get it to calibrate quickly and time would go spinning by…

Also I’m still using my big spoon instead of a mash paddle, probably a worthwhile purchase but see if you can get it for cheaper than 50 bucks. Maybe used?


Thank you for the advice. I started reading the new John Palmer How to Brew and it gets pretty involved once you hit the water quality and mash ph sections. All of a sudden I started feeling like I was not ready to brew all grain.
Ya maybe I will skip the ph stuff unless I can manage to get a reading and just note it for the future.

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Once you get familiar with Brun water, Brewers Friend,EZ water or similar, many brewers(me included ) come to trust the results of the programs, and don’t routinely test ph. But…some always test…if I was brewing commercially with real money at stake I would test.

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Checking temp every 15 minutes will drive you nuts. Just let it go… If you’re at your strike temp, you’ll lose more heat opening the tun to measure. Most of the conversion happens pretty fast, to be honest.

I use a Danish dough whisk to stir… A big whisk or spoon is fine.

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Thanks! You guys are making it much easier. Even if I ignore the repetitive temp readings, should it be periodically stirred, or just leave it till sparging ?

I stir like crazy while heating to strike temp then I take them at their word for mash rest; I don’t stir, I rest.

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The best can often be the enemy of the good (or the good enough … for your first attempt).

Lots of people (including me) are brewing good all grains beers without being concerned about pH or mineral additions.

Nothing wrong with setting aside a couple of chapters from How to Brew for a couple of batches.


Alright Tom, RDWHAHB, you are WAY over thinking things, really. Now about the mash spoon and $50.00 bucks… go to the dreaded Walfart and get the SS paddle for $8.99. Now, usually you heat your strike water to 20* over your mash temp. Read that again, if you will… Then add to your mash tun, 12LBS to 2 quarts ( don’t beat me up you drier mashers) stir, and be sure the dough balls are gone… Since you have an insulated mash tun, leave it alone until about a half hour, stir well again, then after about an hour your good to go! Sneezles61

As a relatively new to all grain guy, it seems like alchemy when you first go down the AG road. It ain’t. You can make it as complicated as you want or not. As my son says, “we’re just making beer dad.” RDWHAHB and enjoy! Cheers!
(By the way, still using my big stainless spoon as a mash paddle.) :sunglasses:

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All good advice above . I personally shoot for about a gallon boil off. 7.5 for 5.5 for my system would be high. I boil 6.5 gallon s for 5.5 ending volume. I’d rather top off with a little cold water than add DME. With way works but I know I always have water DME sometimes not. Good luck sounds like you’re on your way.

At my house i dont worry to much about the ph level. But at the brewery i start to work more with the ph level. But bit confused. Reading now the. Water book. And did send off a sample to the lab last friday. Got some info from the waterplant. Here on island. But not compleet answer. Can lower the ph level in the mash tun. But for the rest right now. Got to wait untill more info. Haha should had paid more attention to chemistry on school. Went the civil engineering way

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Thank you for all the help. I will put the book down for a bit and just play and do it. I really just want to make good beer and avoid any disasters.


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Judging by your earlier posts you’ve got things under control from a disaster avoidance perspective. I think it sounds like you’re on point! :+1:

Worrying about sanitation, techniques and all the basics doing extracts laid the foundation for us to go to AG similar to you guys. My son and I are making some pretty decent drinkable beer for being pretty new (if I do say so myself LOL) and it sounds like you guys are too. Go for it and have fun!

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A couple of thoughts. Skip any mash out. You really don’t need it. Preheat your MT. Just use hot tap water to heat up the inside then pour it out. It helps a lot to not drop the strike water temp. You don’t need to fill it just use as hot as your tap water gets and slosh it around with the lid on.

OK maybe a few thoughts. I agree, no peeking. They say everything that happens, happens in the first 15 min. of the mash so screwing around with the temp after that won’t get you anything. Sure stir half way but I would skip lots of temp readings. Shoot a little high on the strike water. It’s easier to bring it down with cold water than heat it up.

Don’t worry if your mash temp is off a couple of degrees. You will never notice the difference. Chances are that you will get different readings at different places in the mash bed, even after stirring. Try to get close but don’t agonize if you are shooting for 155° and get 153. You will make beer between the high 140s and low 160s. Sounds like from your research you already know a lot of this stuff already but i thought I would throw out how laid back I am with it and still end up with beer.


Thanks for the thoughts, it takes a lot of stress out of the situation.

I am worried that beer smith is estimating too much wort for the pre boil…like 7.25 gal. I want to end up with 5 gal into the primary. It sounds like it could be ok if I finish the boil a little low and then top off with water?

I have a 10 gal kettle and will use the dark star burner for the 60 min boil. Maybe I can start with 6.25 gal or something. I sort of hate to blow though a bunch of propane to calculate the boil off before hand but maybe I will have to do that. I don’t want to dilute the wort with too much water , I don’t have a firm understanding of how much wort the 12 lb of grain can support and still make good beer.


I have a 10 gallon kettle and I target roughly 1 gal/hour of boiloff for my system. There are several factors that go into it depending on how vigorously you boil and how much you lose when you transfer etc. I shoot for 6.5ish gallons preboil as a target for a typical 5 gallon batch. If there’s a lot of hops, I may bump that up some to account for absorption but it’s a pretty safe starting volume. That nets me between 5 - 5.5 gallons into the carboy for fermentation depending on the batch. Also, on propane usage, I get roughly 4-5 batches out of a tank of propane.


Beating the horse a little more, I figure about 6.5 to 7.5 gallons boil volume to cover boil off and trub loss to end up with 5 gallons in the keg or bottled. Adjust up or down depending on hops. More hops more wort, less hops less wort. I’ll also adjust the grain based on the boil volume for ABV target. I’m not dialed in enough yet to be super consistent but getting a better feel for my system and various boil off rates.

Well I do have a lot of hops with this kit. 4.75 oz total, with 1 oz of that dry hopping a week before bottling.

Maybe I will start with 6.75 gal of wort and see what I end up with. This batch is going into the keg ( another first for us here). I am going to dry hop into a 5 gal glass carboy for the secondary. Is there any clever way to use a bag for this or should I just toss the pellets in? Just thinking how I can reduce the trub at the bottom etc.

Thank you !


If you’re kegging this, then you probably want to skip the carboy completely and secondary in the keg.

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