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First All Grain Brew Help

Hi All!

After about a month I finally got my Brewzilla in the mail the other day. Not only was this my first brew in the Brewzilla but it was also my first all grain brew in general. The only hiccup I had prior to sparging was that I had the valve on the pump open to much so it was not running as efficiently as it could have. Once I found out to only have the valve open about 20% everything was running much smoother. Then came the sparge. I mashed 6 pounds of grain in a little over 3 gallons of water at 147 degrees for about 80 minutes. I then brought it up to 175 degrees and lit it sit for 10 minutes before I took the mash out. When I pulled the mash out in order to start the sparging process it was just barely trickling out the screen on the bottom. I slowly added 4 gallons of piping hot water and still there was only a trickle. After about 90 minutes there was still a bunch of water that needed to be drained through so I stirred it up and the speed did pick up drastically, however the wort has become extremely cloudy. Is this normal? I am currently bringing it to a boil but am unsure if this batch is a lost cause.

Welcome to the forum and AG! So a few questions:
1 What was your process to determine your volumes?
2 What is your beer style?
3 Where did your step temperature values come from?
I need to go look at this system but I think bringing your mash to 175 is not a great plan. You run the risk of generating astringency from the grain husks. Usually we never expose the grains to anything above 168 degree water.

Beer is never a total loss until you taste it and go ugh! Sometimes not even then. :wink:

Okay so it’s a brew in a basket system. Cool setup! The cloudiness is not a problem. I do traditional AG and recirculated the last 10 min of the mash and will stir the grain. I batch sparge and stir it as well. I do my best to keep husks out of the boils down drain through a screen and some times the wort is pretty cloudy. Don’t think that’s an option here but your malt tube should keep the husks out. You should be fine {unless there’s a negative effect from the 175}. :sunglasses:

Thank you for your help. I am trying a low carb beer and got the recipe from brew father. That is where I got all the volumes and such from. Do you have an idea on why it would take over 90 minutes for the sparge water to trickle through?

Sometimes if your grain crush is a little fine it’ll get sticky. Some grains are stickier than others. What was your recipe?

2 Pounds of Flaked Corn

2 Pounds of 2 Row Pale Malt

2 Pounds of 6 Row Malt

This was mashed in a little of 3 gallons of water.

Mash was plenty loose. I’ve not brewed with flakes corn so maybe that was it. Perhaps some peeps on here that use it might chime in.

Happens often enough to me that I consider it normal. As mentioned, sometimes the grain sticks to itself more than usual. This creates sort of a plug in the mash tun, preventing good outflow.

If this happens, I usually stir it up nicely but then I vorlauf again. Stirring it up should fix the “plug” but risks allowing solids to now escape with the liquid.

These all-in-one systems are designed not to sparge. Your mash is recirculating constantly so it clears your wort. The sparge took so long as you were trying to get the water to run through the grains then through a tight SS mesh that is gummed up by the beta glucan that it has caught during your recirculation (I’m avoiding calling it a vorlauf since it’s constantly recirculating). It’s cloudy because you stirred the wort and didn’t vorlauf. When you vorlauf you set your mash bed for filtering.

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So you mash with the intent to get full volume or do you top up?

Usually you full volume mash. But I’m sure you could mash in bigger grain bills and top off.

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It seems there is a lot of water for mashing.

Thank you so much. I will definitely vorlauf the next time. This was something I didnt even know to do.

You’re good. No reason to vorlauf if it’s recirculating during the mash. If you disturb the grain bed like you did then you’ll need to vorlauf. I would use it as designed next time so you can get to know the system.

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I’m a three vessel brewer for over 20 years. I got my brother into this hobby with a mash and boil system. He mashes in like me traditionally with 1.3 qts water / lb of grain. He has a separate hit liquor tank that heats to 168 and holds 4 gallons to spare with. He does not recirculate his mash and I do not either. I personally have found no benefit. After 60 min mashing he raises his basket and sparges. Then it’s just boil away!!!

You may try some rice hulls in your mash to aid with lautering. Traditionally you want to set up a good filter bed and do not disturb it.

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