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First AG - question

After 6 batches (mostly successful) of extract, I bit the bullet and did my first all grain this weekend.

I chose a recipe from Jamil’s “Brewing Classic Styles” book, an ESB.

I copied the recipe as given into Beersmith 2, and the OG was far higher for the style than the recipe indicated. I copied the recipe into iBrewMaster, and got similar results. So I reduced the base malt by a pound, brought the OG into range, and proceeded.

The recipe was also changed because the local brew shop didn’t have the specialty malts indicated in the recipe, but I’m not too worried about that.


10.5 lbs. Maris Otter
6 ozs. Caramel 20
2 ozs Cararoma
2 ozs EKG @ 60 min
1 oz EKG @ 0 min
2 vials WLP002 English Ale
Single infusion @ 152 for 60 min (hit 151)
Sparge @ 170
Pre-boil: 1049
OG: 1069 (target was 1058)

My pre-boil gravity was just about on target, which gave me some confidence in the computer programs.

My OG was 1069, about 11 points higher than expected. At this point, I probably SHOULD have diluted the wort to about 1058 before pitching. But I didn’t, I just grabbed two vials of WLP002, threw them in, and crossed my fingers.

It’s fermenting nicely.

But why was I 11 points higher than my target OG? Did I boil away too much? How do you all control boiloff?

I’m just thankful I took a pound out of the original recipe’s base malt!

Also, it was easier than I thought. I’m looking forward to the next batch.

Does the book list the efficiency that the recipe was written for?

Did you have BeerSmith set for the same effeciency?
Did you boil to much?[/color] Do you have less than 5 gallons?

Many time recipes are set for 70% efficiency. Maybe BeerSmith was set at 75%. You reduced the grain to meet to recipe OG when you should have reduced the efficiency indicator. But, your system is actually producing at 75%. This you came in with a higher OG.

Also, if the creator of the recipe has a starting boil of 6 gallons and end at 5, but you start with 6.75 and end with 5, you will have a higher OG. As you are concentrating the sugar in the wort more.

There is a little bit of an art to AG brewing. Each system is a little different so some trial and error is involved.

Another thing to keep in mind: if you ever boil in two kettles at the same time(due to a weak stovetop) you need to calculate in double boiloff. I think typical boiloff is ~0.8Gallons per hour at a rolling boil. I may be off so dont qoute me on that.

[quote=“jkezar”]I think typical boiloff is ~0.8Gallons per hour at a rolling boil.[/quote]Boil-off is dependent on the surface area of the kettle and the vigor of the boil. Two gallons per hour is typical for me, using a keggle and a rolling boil.

+1. And, for those of us where the weather can be quite variable, relative humidity and temperature come into play as well.

Your boil-off rate should be consistent within your system regardless of whether you’re doing extract or all grain. You just need to get familiar with how your system performs under “most” conditions so you can have some predictability.

Concerning your higher OG on this batch, I’d bet your efficiency was either set differently like Nighthawk said, or you just got higher efficiency somehow. My brewhouse efficiency always seems to run a few points higher than kits and published recipes are designed for, so I have to adjust the recipe and software accordingly. In my case, I know it’s a combined function of my boiloff rate and using a pretty fine crush.

About the same for me. 7.5 preboil and 5.5 in the fermenter, with a 90 min boil.

Thanks, everyone. As this was my first AG batch, I guess I should have expected to have to dial in the efficiency numbers…

I’m doing it all in one kettle, on a Blichmann burner, so no split batch. And it’s only the second time I’ve used the kettle; I did a full volume boil on an extract batch last week, but didn’t have any surprises.

I guess we’ll see what comes out of the fermenter, and make some adjustments for the next batch.

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