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Re: Cost of batch


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I'd like to learn more about that! Where do you buy your bulk grains
and what are you paying for a certain amount?



Re: Cost of batch


I will say that I have an unfair advantage, I buy my base grain and
specialty malts from a brew pub at $5.00 over cost. (I'm an all grain
brewer) I also buy my hops in bulk. When yeast goes on sale I buy that as
well. Also when I transfer my beer into secondary, I have a new batch
waiting to rack over onto the yeast. I start from light ale and each beer
after that is darker than the other. You may want to look into All-grain
brewing. It's not as hard as you may think.

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Re: Cost of batch


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Interesting stuff! I really DO want to look into all grain. Is there a
substantial savings even if you buy your grains from a local
homebrewer? I figure after I get it figured out, like which base
grains to keep around, I'll buy bulk over the internet. So, if I
understand you correctly, if I transfer from my primary to my
secondary, the trub that's left in the primary, I can just add new
wort to? Hell, that's a $7.50 savings right there! Why would each
batch need to be darker than the first? Thanks for the information!


Re: Cost of batch



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I buy from a LHBS.  They are pretty high.  My last all-grain batch, a
pale ale, was about $28.  That's still about $0.55 per bottle, still
lots cheaper than off-the-shelf (~$7.00/6 = $1.17 ea).

I pay a little more to use a local supplier (I'd like for him to stick
around!).


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That would reduce the costs.  I've not done that yet (I've not bought a
mill yet).


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You are correct.  There are a few simple "rules" to this that folks on
here have learned by experience:
    1. Don't do it more than about 4 or 5 times or you'll risk
        a. increasing bacterial infection (bit me!), and
        b. yeast mutation (probably not significant for a LOT of
            generations).
    2. You can use primary or secondary yeast.  Primary is dirtier
        but the yeast may be more floculant.  Secondary is
        cleaner, but *may* not floculate as well - tho' many
        people use secondary yeast without any problems.
    3. You don't need all of it... you can use, say, a cupful or
        so.  Especially if you re-use multiple times, you
        certainly don't need more and more and more yeast.
    4. If doing different styles, do the lightest first and then
        more dark.  I suppose that this is to prevent the dark
        leftovers from darkening the new, lighter, beer.
    5. If doing different gravities, do the lighest gravity first,
        then heavier, and heavier.  IMHO color may not matter
        much, except to darken you next, lighter, batch too much,
        but fermenting a heavy gravity beer will take a larger
        toll on the yeast health, so you don't want to use the
        weaker yeast to start the next batch.
    6. You can save the yeastcake for some period of time between
        uses, either in the fermenter or poured into a sanitized
        jar (quart, etc).  The shorter time-period the better
        (weeks are OK).  Refridgerated would be best (not frozen).
        A loose cap would prevent pressure buildup from breaking
        your jar, etc.
    7. You can also build up a yeast batch from the dregs of a
        previous homebrew bottle, using several iterations of
        starters.  I've done that with excellent results on
        occasion (if you have the time).

These are general rules and you can break any one or two of them within
reason.  Ie., I wouldn't sweat doing a 1.0050 then a 1.0040 after that
(breaking rule $5), but I wouldn't do a 1.100 then a 1.035!  Or, if the
5th iteration had absolutely no off flavors (usually sourness), then you
might go a 6th, etc.

A yeast reuse would have reduced my $28 batch cost above to just over
$20 (but I wanted to try a different)!

Derric



Re: Cost of batch


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<snipped the excellent advice!>

I've printed all of your advice that I snipped to save for future
reference, thanks! So, do you buy in bulk from your LHBS, or just the
amount you need per batch? If you buy in bulk, what do you personally
use as a base grain?



Re: Cost of batch



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I only buy each batch and have them crush it.  I only make a handful of
beers ordinarily and my base is always Pale or Pilsner malt.  The only
other base that I might consider would be Munich - my occasional
Oktoberfest can be 50/50 Pilsner/Munich (or even more Munich if I feel
like it).  So, I'd get a bag of Pale, Pilsner, and probably a Munich.
Then some medium crystal and I could make most of my beers.

I like to keep onhand a good pale ale and a pilsner (lager).  I also
often make an Oktoberfest, a Sam Adams Boston Lager clone, and a CAP.
Right now I also have a stout and Denny's Rye IPA (these were two that
were unusual for me to make).

Derric


Re: Cost of batch


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Okay, I'm getting ready to build a mash tun / lauter tun out of a 10
gallon Gott cooler. I figure I'll go with the ten gallon to give
myself enough volume so that I can do ten gallon batches in the
future, but the diameter of the Gott will give me enough grain bed if
I do five gallons. Sound right? I'm going to make a manifold for the
bottom out of copper pipe with slits in it cut with a hacksaw. For the
fly sparge, in the lid, I'll have a round pipe formed with holes in
it. Now the NEW questions after reading and such. Let's say I do  5
gallon recipe. Initially, you use 1.25 quarts of water per pound of
grain, correct? Then when it comes time to sparge, you just sparge
until you reach your five gallon level? This is where I'm confused! I
don't know when to turn off the sparge water and let the mash drain!
Do I just let the sparge water run until I get five gallons then shut
everything off? Thanks again for your help.


Re: Cost of batch


basskisser wrote:

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http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/
Excellent information on mashing, sparging, building a mash tun etc. The
"bible" on homebrewing: http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html
Jason

Re: Cost of batch



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Check Denny's link that the last poster gave for an alternative (the
rectangular cooler is much cheaper and the batch sparging is simpler
for most folks).


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That's what I have ... it works great.  Here's a picture of mine:
   http://www.geocities.com/derric1961/gadgets/mlt/mash-tun2.html Denny uses the stainless hose braid, which you'll see in his pictures.


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Right. Anywhere from 1.25:1 on up to 2:1 is fine.  I usually use 1.5,
just because the mash isn't so thick.

One point you didn't mention was the strike water, temp and volume.  The
www.howtobrew.com website has some simplified equations that you can use
by hand, or do as most folks do and use some sort of brewing software to
figure it (Promash, Strangebrew, etc.).


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Actually, there are several points here.  In all-grain, you usually
sparge enough out so that AT THE END OF YOUR BOIL you have your 5 gallons
(or whatever your target it).  For me, that's about 7.5 gallons and a
90 minute boil.  For a 60 minute boil, you'd need about 6 gallons out.
There *is* one limit, which you probably won't worry about, it is,
if you fly sparge, you sparge NO LONGER than when it reaches 1.010
(temperature corrected, which is about 1.000 uncorrected).

(Note if you don't have a 10 gallon pot, you CAN split the wort and boil
separately.  Many of us have done that successfully.)

Denny's page talks about batch sparging, which I suggest you at least
try a time or two.

Finally, the sparge volume isn't horribly critical.  You can always
add water to you boil if it gets too low, etc.  You can also add water
in your fermenter if your gravity is too high.  (However, it is more
difficult to remove water! :).

Derric


Re: Cost of batch


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How much to sparge is a vexed question.  I sparge and take hydrometer
readings until the specific gravity drops to what ever set point I am
looking for.  This number changes based upon what I want my original
gravity to be, and I calculate it based upon the initial runnings
gravity and so forth.  Then I allow a little for the evaporation,
unless I am going to add makeup water during the boil.

Being an environmental chemist, I am hesitant to use copper in my
brewing just because the copper erodes in an acidic environment.
You'll notice that the copper comes out of the brew pot nice and shiny
even if it went in kind of dull and dark.  All the dull and dark went
into the wort.  I use CPVC which is the high temperature pvc piping
for my lauter manifold.  I do use copper in my immersion chiller but
pvc is a lousy heat transfer medium.  It's hard to beat copper for
this, I suppose gold would work really well, but buying 50 feet of
gold tubing sounds like a positively rediculous expense.  The copper
that goes into the beer probably isn't going to be enough to do any
harm, but it's my opinion that the dissolved copper will inhibit the
yeast's full potential.  Copper is a powerful anti-microbial agent
used commonly in the anti-fouling paints on the bottoms of ships etc.
I've never tested the copper addition to wort via the solution from
assorted fixtures, and enough brewers are using it with great success
that I figure that it can't be real problem, but I just decided that I
was going to eliminate it from my brewing process as best I can
anyway.  I will say that I can pitch a packet of dry yeast into room
or slightly higher temp wort and it will be bubbling away within 3-4
hours since eliminating the copper parts in my brewing.  Previously, I
didn't see the bubbling until 7-8 hours had passed.  The down side is
that if I put 5 full gallons in a 6 gallon fermentor, I need a blow
off tube for the first day because the krausen will come through the
top.  It's not really a scientific analysis of the situation, just my
experience but I don't really brew scientifically anyway.
D


Re: Cost of batch


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Another question has arisen for me! I've learned from reading, that
batch sparging isn't as efficient as fly sparging. I intend to do a
double batch sparge, with half of the needed sparge water being used
each time. I'd think that that would be pretty effective, maybe as
effective as fly sparging. Would I need to add extra grain for this,
or not? Some things I've read said that 5% more grain is a good idea,
some not. Thanks.


Re: Cost of batch



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Don't worry about it.  Over several batches, if you have trouble meeting
your expected final gravities, then you can add more grain for the next
batch (or boil on down and have less volume).  I get 85% batch sparging -
as much as I ever got fly sparging anyway.

Bottom line is that you have to adjust for your system's efficiency, no
matter what sparging method you use.  BUT - you can do that over time
after you get some experience.

Derric


Re: Cost of batch


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Thanks! Just how DO you calculate efficiency? Also, I've looked at
some all grain recipes, and they really don't tell what size batch
they make, such as this one:

Ingredients:
8 pounds of English 2-row
1 pound of wheat
2 1/2 pounds of clover honey
1 oz Willamette
1 oz of hallertau
Irish moss
gelatin (secondary)
WYeast 1007

Procedure:
The mash schedule was:
95 degrees for 15 minutes (Acid Rest)
122 degrees for 30 minutes (Protein Rest)
152 degrees for 45-60 minutes (until passed iodine test)

Specifics:
OG: 1064
FG 1010
ABV: 7.09%

Comments:
While this beer did have some honey character, the alcohol taste was
stronger. I don't think creating a brew so high in alcohol that the
yeast quit, thereby giving the honey flavor is the way to go. I think
we just need to find a good yeast that will leave some of the honey
profile. This one did mellow a bit, but was not one of my better
beers.
I just recently brewed a honey beer from canned malt..... Don't
remember the specifics but it was something like 3.3 pounds liquid
malt extract, 2 1/2 pounds clover honey and other goodies...... I
again used WYeast 1007, this time is was 3 times removed from the
packet. It fermented everything. I now have a very pleasant brew, but
no honey profile.
One side note..... I don't know if it's because of the honey, but the
brews I have used it in all seem to be a bit more clear. Then again,
it could just be the gelatin!!!

So, what do I do, keep sparging until I hit the OG, then whatever wort
there is, is what I get??


Re: Cost of batch


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I have found that when I use the clover honey, I have to let the brew
sit for a while before it's consumed.  Generally I find the taste of
the batch to be a little harsh until it's mellowed.  Orange blossom
honey however didn't need nearly as much time before that went away.
I would expect that the honey from the clover has some trace compound
in it that needs to be broken down before consumption that the orange
blossom didn't need.  I would consider trying it again with a
different honey.  I tried buckwheat honey once, it was interesting,
but needed a long sit on the shelves before it was ready and the honey
flavor was definately buckwheat honey.
D


Re: Cost of batch


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The formula I am aware of is (Post boil volume * 0.96 * original
gravity(Original Extract in deg Plato/100))/mass malt*100
All units are SI(liters and KG).  If you want to use gallons (US) and
pounds multiply the top by 3.75, and the bottom by 2.2 the 0.96 is a
fudge factor to account for how much is lost into the trub in the
fermentor.

Degrees plato can be calculated by:
(deep breath)
degrees P=-676.67 + 1286.4 SG -800.47SG^2 + 190.74 SG^3

The easy way is to download a copy of the spreadsheet like byorec.xls
from byo.com and let your computer do it. ;)




Re: Cost of batch



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A good question! :)  First, I'd suggest looking at howtobrew.com where
he'll explain all the details.  But, in general, you:
    * Calculate the IDEAL amount of sugar you could extract from
        your fermentables.
    * Measure the sugar you get out of your mash.
    * Compare (divide) the two.
    * It's easiest to use sugar "points" (points of sugar per
        pound of grain per gallon).  You just drop the "1.0"
        from a SG measurement, like 1.040 is 40 points.

For example, for 9# pale malt, 1# crystal, the ideal sugar points for
those two are 38 points and 24 points, so:
    Theoretical: (9*38+1*34)=376 points, that's the TOTAL POSSIBLE
        sugar points you might get from these grains.

I measured 1.041 in my boil pot out of the mash and 7.5 gallons, so:
    Actual: 7.5 gal * 41 pts = 307.5,

So the calculated efficiency is: 307.5/376 = 81.8%.

(I used qbrew PPG values, howtobrew.com has a table of point values also
and all the brewing software has them built in as well - they are not
always the same and your grain will even vary a little too.)

The above is your "mash" efficiency, which is most often referred to.
If you calculated from the ideal until your actual fermenter, you'd be
calculating your total "brewhouse" efficiency (which includes any losses
in the boil kettle, absorption by hops, etc.).


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Most make 5 or 6 gallons.  That recipe has 9# grain and 2.5# honey,
so it probably makes a 5 - 6 gallon batch.

Go put some recipes into the spreadsheet at:
    http://www.hbd.org/recipator and play with grain and batch size.  You can do this and tweak the recipe
until you get what you want out of it.  (Ie., by putting in 8# 2-row,
1# wheat, and 2.5# honey and since you know he got 1.064 out, you can
tweak the batch size until it comes out that way, then you'll have it!).

For purposes of this, you should probably use about 75% efficiency for
your system until you know exactly what you're getting.


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Not exactly...

Here's a brewlog of a recent pale ale.  I have most of the details in
there (you can see the batch sparge, efficiency, and other calculations):
    http://www.geocities.com/derric1961/history/brew056.html
Note that I batch sparge a little differently than some others, I boil
for 90 minutes, and I try to end up with around 6 gals at the end of
the boil (so I need 7.5 gals of wort to start with)... I:
    0. I mash-in with a 1.5:1 water:grain ratio, usually about 3.75
        gals water.
    1. When the mash is done, without adding water, I vorlauf
        (recirculate) and drain.  At 1.5:1 water:grain mash-in
        ratio, I usually get 2.5 gals of wort out from this.
    2. Knowing I want 7.5 gals, I need 5 gallons more.  So I then
        add 2.5 gals to the mash, stir, vorlauf, and drain.
    3. Finally, I add the last 2.5 gals, stir, vorlauf, and drain,
        for a total of 2.5 + 2.5 + 2.5 = 7.5 gals into the
        boiler.
    4. Stir the boiler very well, then measure the gravity and the
        total volume (should be 7.5 gals) and record it.

I do NOT worry about the final gravity in the mash and I do NOT worry
about the gravity in the boil pot (but you DO need to measure gravity
and volume if you want to calculate efficiency).

If my gravity is a little bit light, then I can boil longer and reach
it, but with less volume into the fermenter.  If the gravity is too
high, you can dilute with some water.  (This will mess with your hops
bitterness, but usually it isn't a noticable problem).


The best thing for you to do is just make yourself a lauter tun and do a
batch!  Everything will become clear very quickly! :)  You don't even
have to worry about any of this stuff the first time or two!!!!!

Derric


Re: Cost of batch



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Okay, I just went through the exercise to see IF I'm on track. Given
the data in the recipe I posted, I ended up with 4 gallons in the
primary, given some waste and a gallon of evaporation. Do you get
about the same?



Re: Cost of batch



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I put the numbers into "qbrew" (a Linux brewing program) and got, for
75% efficiency, that it would produce about 4.5 gallons of 1.065 wort.
    Using: 1# Honey @ 35 PPG, 8# 2-row @ 38 PPG, 1# wheat @ 39 PPG.

At 85% efficiency, the result is 5 gallons @ 1.065.

There are a lot of variables.  No doubt, when you really do it, you'll
be somewhere in-between.  Depending upon the recipe and how I'm feeling,
sometimes I try to adjust to hit the gravity, and other times I adjust
to try to hit a certain volume.

Again... don't sweat it, just take all your measurements and adjust the
next time.  If you do several similar recipes, you'll pretty quickly get
a good feeling for how your system is going to work.  ((Again, anything
you do is probably going to produce GOOD BEER - tho' maybe not exactly
what your recipe predicts.))

Derric


Re: Cost of batch


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Thanks! I used Suds 6.0 to get just a tad over 4 gallons. I bought a
60 qt. ice chest that instead of the bottom being wide and long, is
actually the same size footprint as the 40 qt, just taller. I believe,
that by taking your advice to batch sparge, there will be enough grain
depth when I do five gallons, and it will hold enough to let me do ten
gallons. I'm going to build a baffle this weekend. I'm stoked!


Re: Cost of batch


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All grain is my way now, and I haven't looked back for years.  An
average batch for me runs between $14 and $18, with only specials
going higher.

Grains I don't worry about too much.  I buy a big lot from one of the
online merchants.  Lately it's been Williams Brewing.  This I place in
a plastic container for safe keeping.  The hops I frequently do buy
larger quantities of, and I always make sure that there's a couple of
packets of the dry yeast around in case my cultures (I do keep my own
culture of yeast going that I got from the local brewpub
masterbrewer).

The difference is mostly in the time it takes to brew.  No 1.5-2 hours
mashing, sparge time,etc. Not too mention the cost.  Bulk grains
generally cost about $1/lb, specialty (wheat,black patent etc.) closer
to $2/lb.

Use enough of a decoction mash and I can turn pale malt into a nice
brown ale.
D


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