Prepping for first AG

well, i’m making the jump to AAA now. still quite the newb though. would appreciate all the help i can get. 1. was going to make both 7 gallon coolers but after reading palmer’s(and after i already bought one 7 gallon kicks self) is that really necessary for a 6.5 gallon batch? because it seems you only really need ~3-4 gallons in the sparge and lauter/mash cooler. i know this is kind of a basic question… 2. i seemed to confuse the hell out of the ACE hardware guy trying to get two bulkhead setups and they didnt have the nylon hose fitting… ive searched around a bit but i was curious if people think it’s just cheaper to buy it through NB seeing as the expensive part(brass valve) seems to cost the same? 3. finally, does purchasing a grain grinder really make that much of a difference? i mean being a biologist it makes sense to me why due to breakdown of protein, but has anyone experimented by making a batch by grinding by self vs shipped crushed?

Are these round drink coolers? If so, if you have not made any modification to them I would return them for 1 rectangular cooler.

Stores like NB normally will not grind the grain very fine. Fearful of stuck sparges and unhappy customers. If you have your own mill you can keep adjusting the gap until you get scared. :slight_smile:

Those links are both solid starting points for beginning setup. As for the crushing all I have to say is that that is the first recommendation to every brewer trying to increase efficiency. For me personally it made the difference from 65% to 75% efficiency.

thanks guys. unfortunately cant return without paying shipping which just isnt worth it. thanks for the grain answers! ill see what my efficiency is first 2-3 times(giving newb error deviation a chance) and if im not satisfied ill just buy the grinder. seeing as im from iowa city and i checked water report, shocked how low the solute levels are, but pH is high at 9.3. any suggestions on beer style and additives that would work best? calcium on low side and magnesium is on the mid-higher end. no significant carbonate values due to liming process. water is very soft.

Sorry but water chemistry is not my thing so I’ll take a pass on that one. As far as the newb learning curve with grain I would recommend having a package of Extra Light DME on hand just in case. It never hurts.

yes i got one for yeast farming. thanks for the help!

You might want to check out Martin’s “Bru’n Water” program.

If you already have the stats for you water, start reading and just follow the directions.

It’s easy to sub distilled water for part of the water in the program, and add back anything you need.

Gotta go, racking a Belgian.

that is EXACTLY what i was looking for! an excel sheet with formulas. thanks

i decided to go with a czech pils since the water suited it pretty well(although pH is a little high, but if it has an alarming effect ill have to adjust next time). used continuous/fly sparge. so i have a question: what volume for mash and sparge would you use to get a final volume of 5G? i found from extracting that usually starting at boil to end i should have at least 6.5gal when starting to boil. i came up almost a gallon short and i didnt want to mess with OG so i just went with that in a 5 gal ferm. couldnt really find too much on mash volume and sparge volume for continuous, but there was a lot of info on batch. thanks all for the information. really appreciate it. im getting a little obsessed with this hobby, driving the woman crazy!

Work backwards from the volume into the fermenter. Say you want 5.5 gallons. You’ll typically boil off 1-1.5 gallons and since this is a pilsner-based beer you’re doing a 90-minute boil so go with 1.5 gallons to evaporation and you’ll have 7.0 gallons at the start of the boil. Take your grain weight and divide by 8 to account for wort left in the grain and add to this any dead space losses; for instance, if you had 12 lbs of grain and leave a half-gallon in the mashtun, you’d need 12/8 + 0.5 = 2.0 gallons extra, so 7+2 = 9 gallons total.

Mashwater 3.3 will help confirm you water calculations. If you don’t have a “full feature” recipe program.