First time all-grain ?s

A friend and I brewed a Belgian Pale Ale Brewer’s Best BIAB kit. How much water is needed per pound of grains? The instructions said 6.5 gallons for the 10.5 lbs. of grains. It also said to rinse grains with 1 gallon of water. However my friend has a 10 gallon water cooler with a false bottom that we used as a mash tun instead of the grain bag. So we heated 6.5 gallons to 165-167 degrees and put it into the cooler then added the 10.5 lbs. of grains and the temp stabilized to the 153-155 degrees per the instructions. After 60 minutes we attempted to transfer the wort to the kettle but we had a stuck sparge. We opened the valve slowly to avoid this but it didn’t help. We tried blowing back through the valve and it started to flow but then clogged up. We ended up bailing it out and pouring it through a strainer. Which worked but we will know better the next time. Also what is the correct process for rinsing the grains using a mash tun?

Denny’s website will answer all your questions regarding batch sparging.

1 Like

You need to set the grain bed by recirculating a few times. You can do it with a pot. That you do with the drain tube off. When it runs clear you put the drain tube on and drain to the kettle. If you do a batch sparge you do it again. If you fly sparge you just slowly add more water as you drain.

1 Like

I also USED to use the same type set up. I got stuck a few times too, so I found that I’d put in 4 gallons strike water, add malt then vorlauf a few times to set the bed right off the start. Then I added enough HL to cover the bed by an inch. I did a fly sparge so when conversion was done I’d vorlauf again and when it was at a slow run off start to add HL to the mash tun until I reached my volume for pre boil… Sneezles61

The “correct” process for runoff/sparge should be very simple, and sounds pretty much like what you did. I have no experience with a false bottom so I can’t really comment.

When I’ve had slow/stuck runoff problems I believe it was largely due to running off too quickly. Just out of curiosity, did you stir the mash prior to running offf? When you first opened the valve, did you get flow that then stopped shortly after?

As posted above, this link is extremely useful:

A couple other things…

There is no single number for water/grain ratio, as it depends on several factors. As described in the link, you want to start from where you need your boil volume to be and work backwards, using the rule of thumb that you’d like your first and second runoffs to be roughly equal.

In my experience, the directions you followed will give you less than ideal efficiency. Was your OG what you expected or did it come out low?

Also, every system is different, but I suspect your boil volume may have been lower than ideal for getting 5G into the fermentor (which can certainly be corrected using top-up water, but there’s no real benefit to doing it that way).

Hope this helps.

OK, so at the least yer grains will hold one pint to the pound. I figure to closer to one quart, stuff left in the tun also… so times that by 10.5… you do the math and tell us what you get. Now, in the boil I lose a gallon… How short are you? And why is yer volume off? This part of the brewing you will git to know as you brew… There are all kinds of computer stuff that can tell you what to do, but I beg to differ about that until you can figure it out on yer own and prove to yerself why…. It takes time, we can help, but you have to also do the work and the thinking about why and how…. Brewing is really fun, do look at it as that! Sneezles61

1 Like