Homebrew Batch 41: “Gonna Quit All-Grain Brewing” Stout

This morning I set out to brew my stout recipe again.  Last time I brewed this recipe, the original gravity (and of course, the final alcohol by volume) came out a little light,  so I wanted to try to improve my mash efficiency.  I added 1/2lb of grain, and also utilized a sample of PH 5.2 powder that my local homebrew shop guy gave me to try to improve my mash efficiency by isolating the proper ph of my mash water.

The new grain bill looked like this:

4.0lbs Maris Otter

0.5lbs roasted barley

0.5lbs chocolate malt

0.5lbs Crystal 60 malt

0.5lbs flaked oats

1/2 Tablespoon of PH 5.2 powder

I mashed at 154 degrees for an hour, then sparged to get about 3 gallons of wort.

For hops, I used 0.5 oz Challenger for 60 minutes, and 0.5 oz of Styrian Goldings for 10 minutes.   I also added 2 oz of Malto-dextrin for the last 10 minutes to try to improve body/mouthfeel.  I cooled the wort to 70 degrees and pitched Safale T-58 yeast.

When all was said and done, my OG was 1.05:  a new record low efficiency (roughly 56% efficiency).

This makes me want to quit all grain brewing.  It’s basically a total waste of time and an annoyance to me at this point.  Yes: I’m frustrated.  My new 10 gallon converted beverage cooler mash tun sucks balls in terms of efficiency.   I sparged laboriously too – but not effectively, it seems:  I used a piece of foil with a number of slits poked in it, and recirculated the wort a number of times in small batches.    Maybe I’ll go back to using the pain strainer bag, and make use of the larger cooler as a vessel to hold the brew-in-a-bag system.


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