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First AG Brew....suggestions?

Hi all,
I am going to be brewing my first AG batch (finally!) as soon as I pick up my burner and 10 gal pot this weekend. I have brewed 5 extract kits and 6 mostly-mash batches (mash enough to collect 4 gals wort, boil, add small-ish quantities of LME or DME, top off to desired volume with water, etc.). I feel fairly confident with my procedures and the variables in my mash tun (5 gal Rubbermaid w/ false bottom), so I don’t think I’m going to run into anything new.
So, the big question is…what to brew? I’d like to brew a saison based on NB’s Saison kit (but for 5.5 gals instead of 5).
Anybody like to share their first AG brew suggestions? Looking for something fairly easy just to get the hang of the full-boil, no-safety-net brewing.

Thanks all!

I’d recommend brewing low to medium gravity brews for your first few batches while you get the feel for your process and equipment. Big beers are a bit more tricky in terms of water amounts, efficiency, boil times, etc.

Thanks GM…that’s kind of what I was thinking as well.
Maybe a 1.040 - 1.045 pale ale?

I suggest doing a SMASH beer, single malt and single hop. Pick up some base grain, 3-5 ounces of hops and some yeast and you are set.

avoid light color and lager beers they will show any small flaws. A pale ale would be as basic as it gets and the hop flaver will help hide small off flavors. Once you get your process down move on to more challenging styles.

Thanks for the input…
Garret: I have been reading about SMaSH recipes (BYO had a write-up on it recently with recipes). I may give that a go.

Sonex: One of the main reasons I have for going AG is paler beers. The palest beer I have brewed so far was a Sierra Nevada Celebration clone (altered for partial-boil and mostly mash) that you could actually see through when held up to a bright light (tasted awesome BTW) :slight_smile:
Lagers are still waiting…besides the brewing, the equipment needed to properly manage fermentation temps is on my wishlist.
I found a recipe for Founders Pale Ale (one of my favorites) that looked fairly straight forward and was a favorite at the gate for my first AG attempt.

FYI, I do have a refractometer that I have been using during my mashes to get used to it’s functionality. I may be a little too cocky about my ability to brew AG…

I second the Pale Ale approach. Skip the Saison or anything light with pilsner malt until you’re used to your kettle and boil and are familiar with DMS and getting rid of it.

A nice, hoppy Pale Ale will be interesting, while hiding and flaws and is dead simple to brew with low likelihood of it not being what you expect.

90% 2-row
5% Munich malt (9L)
5% Crystal 40

Single infusion mash at 152 to allow for variation in actual mash temp.

Hop with 30-40 IBUs of your favorite hops
something like some 4 Cs (even though this is way more complex than it needs to be)
.5oz Chinook at 60
.5 oz Centennial @ 15-20
.5 oz Columbus @ 15-20
.5 oz Cascade @ 15-20
1 oz Cascade at flameout

Dry hop with the leftovers after fermentation. I didn’t take into account AA% or do the math so don’t necessarily go by that schedule.

Or, like the other poster said, go single hop like all Cascade or something at 60, 15, 5

Pitch on a pack of US-05 (throw it in dry to keep it simple)

I’ve made a great Sasion with 2row. French Strisselspalt and WY3711. Maybe add a 1ld of Munich. I’ll see if I can find the recipe later.

The SNPA clone in this thread
http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?t=15532
is a solid Pale Ale recipe.

Are you planning to batch sparge or fly sparge? I ask because if you are doing a fly sparge, it can be tricky to know when to stop collecting wort. Brewing something darker like a brown ale will help a lot, as the color of the draining wort gets lighter in step with the sugar concentration.

Thanks folks!
bbrew: The PA recipe you posted is quite similar to the one I was eyeing:

US 2-Row Malt 8lb 0oz 80.0 % In Mash
US Carapils Malt 1lb 0oz 10.0 % In Mash
US Munich 20L Malt 8oz 5.0 % In Mash
US Caramel/Crystal 40L Malt 8oz 5.0 % In Mash

This recipe recommended a 154* single infusion, so I’ll shoot for 153*

The hop schedule was very similar with emphasis on Centennial (perfect hop for a spring beer IMO)
I will be using either WLP001 California Ale or WY1056 American Ale in a 1L starter.

GM: Thanks for the link…yet another option!

rebuilt: I do batch sparging. Thus far, I have no reason to monitor the SG of the wort while draining the tun…I just drain until I achieve my 4 gal boil volume, then measure the SG. I have read that you should stop collecting wort form the mash tun when the SG hits 1.010, correct?

I am not expecting my first AG to be a perfect beer, but considering what I have been able to produce doing the ‘mostly’ mash method I am hoping to improve the taste and clarity by moving to AG…and make SWMBO happy by getting the hell out of her kitchen :slight_smile:

[quote=“EvilKitty Brewing”]rebuilt: I do batch sparging. Thus far, I have no reason to monitor the SG of the wort while draining the tun…I just drain until I achieve my 4 gal boil volume, then measure the SG. I have read that you should stop collecting wort form the mash tun when the SG hits 1.010, correct?[/quote]If you’re batch-sparging, you should be using the correct volumes in the mashtun to achieve the correct volume in the kettle with nothing leftover. There are many calculators for figuring the volumes, but you can get very close using a simple equation to get the sparge volume: (gallons in the kettle) - (gallons in the mash) + (lbs of grain * 0.125). (The last term accounts for the wort that is absorbed by the grain in the mash.)

[quote=“EvilKitty Brewing”]I have read that you should stop collecting wort form the mash tun when the SG hits 1.010, correct?[/quote]That would be for fly sparging. With batch sparging you calculate your total pre-boil volume and split that for your mash and sparge water and drain completely. I shoot for 7 gallons pre-boil, on a batch with 10# of grain I would mash in with ~4.5 gallons, let it rest for 60 minutes, drain completely, then sparge with 3.5 gallons and drain it completely, that gets me close to 7 gallons.

Thank you GM!
That would give you quite the runny mash, no? If I calculated it correctly, that would be 1.8q/lb. I have tried to keep my mashes at 1.25q/lb.
Plus, I only have a 5 gal. mash tun. 4.5 gals + 10 lbs of grain could be quite tricky…

Shadetree: Sorry I missed your post. That is precisely what I have been doing!

My first AG was a version of the NB Chinook IPA. Couple grains, one hops, easy schedule.

Best of all, the beer is great! Drinking it now and really liking this one.

Oh sure, kgetch, rub it in…I’m at work and all this talk about beer is making me mighty thirsty!! :slight_smile:

As am I and dont forget…You asked my friend!

:cheers:

[quote=“EvilKitty Brewing”]That would give you quite the runny mash, no? If I calculated it correctly, that would be 1.8q/lb. I have tried to keep my mashes at 1.25q/lb.
Plus, I only have a 5 gal. mash tun. 4.5 gals + 10 lbs of grain could be quite tricky…[/quote]I used to do my mash in volume by X.XX quarts per pound then I got lazy and just started mashing in with half of the pre-boil volume plus whatever the grain would absorb and the dead space in my cooler, which is only a cup or two. Occasionally I’ll hold back the amount that the grain absorbs, bring it to a boil and add it at the end of the mash right before draining, sort of a pseudo mash out. It rarely brings the the temperature up enough to denature the enzymes, though it usually gets me a couple more points in efficiency. I rarely do it any more though, like I said I get lazy.

Do you plan to do 2 sparges with your smaller mash tun?

At least 2 sparges. Once I drain after the mash, I’ll sparge until I have my pre-boil volume. I’ve found that BeerSmith is pretty good at multiple sparge volumes based on my equipment.

http://suburb.semo.net/jet1024/beer/sof ... tware.html

I find JT’s Mashwater3.3 program to be a good stand alone program for water calculations. Keep an extra .5g of hot water in case you are off.

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