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General AG questions

Hello all. I made this batch yesterday and have two general questions. First is about the mash. I mashed with 4 gallons of water to begin with at a 1.5 ratio. Yet AGAIN I only drew out JUST over 2 gallons of wort for the first runnings. Every batch I have made is like that. Is this correct or am I doing something wrong or do I need to make adjustments and raise the amount of water I start with. Second I took my first gravity reading just as the wort had been cooled down to, what I think, was about 70 degrees. My thermometer broke during the brewing session, amongst a few other catastrophies such as a dropped mash tun half full of water and a broken bottle washer thingy. Yea it was a fun session to say the least. So I had a spare analog thermometer and at best I could see it was in the neighborhood of 70 degrees or maybe even slightly less. The reading showed 1.060. I took this reading JUST before I drained it into the carboy. Readings were calling for 1.056. Am I ok there? Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
9 lbs Maris Otter (Crisp) (4.0 SRM) Grain 1 86.8 %
12.0 oz Barley, Flaked (Briess) (1.7 SRM) Grain 2 7.2 %
8.0 oz Crystal Dark - 77L (Crisp) (75.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.8 %
1.9 oz Chocolate (Crisp) (630.0 SRM) Grain 4 1.2 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 17.1 IBUs
0.91 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 6 -
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Aroma Steep 5.0 min Hop 7 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Irish Ale (White Labs #WLP004) Yeast 8 -

[quote=“Iceman6409”] I mashed with 4 gallons of water to begin with at a 1.5 ratio. Yet AGAIN I only drew out JUST over 2 gallons of wort for the first runnings.
That’s right in the ballpark. You can up your ratio if you want. I usually mash just below 1.75 qts per Lb.

Second I took my first gravity reading just as the wort had been cooled down to, what I think, was about 70 degrees and at best I could see it was in the neighborhood of 70 degrees or maybe even slightly less. The reading showed 1.060. I took this reading JUST before I drained it into the carboy. Readings were calling for 1.056. Am I ok there?
[color=#0000FF]Your adjusted SG was closer to 1.061 at 70F. Your ok But your alcohol content will be slightly higher. You could have diluted the wort with some boiled water to bring it down to 1.056.
All in all it sounds like you made out OK.[/color]

-[/quote]

How would I dilute at that point?

You would add water that was boiled for 15 minutes. I use a dilution calculator that is part of BeerSmith. You can probably find a free one on line. To reduce the gravity to 1.056 you would add .45 gallons of water or 58 oz. You can also do this at the end of the process before you bottle or keg. Just cool the water close to the temp of the beer.

The difference from 1.056 and 1.060 could be because your finished volume is not exactly what you were shooting for.

According to this site, if you have 5g @ 1.056 and you subtract .33g you will have 1.060.

http://www.brewheads.com/newvolume.php (lots of good calculators here)

Or, your efficiency is better than what the recipe was built for.

Grain absorbs about 0.12 gal/lb. So, that means you’ll leave about 1.25 gal behind in about 10.5 lb of grain. 4 gal - 1.25 = 2.75 gal is what you should be able to drain. Any less is probably due to wort lost to dead space, which can be recovered if you add a dip tube to drain from the bottom of the tun, or tip the tun.

You want close to 1/2 of your wort to come from each running. For something like 7 gallons pre-boil, that would mean 3.5 gallons from each. For 10.5# of grain, that would mean getting 3.5+1.25 gallons = 4.75 gallons into the mash for 1.8 qt/#, which is perfectly fine.

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