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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: genekeady on May 24, 2010, 11:46:47 PM

Title: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: genekeady on May 24, 2010, 11:46:47 PM
Hey ya'll...

I've been having some trouble getting my mash temps where I want them. I'm mashing in a 5 gallon round Coleman with a SS braided hose. I was using 10 pounds of grain at a 1:1 ratio.

The mash was at 150F and I was trying to mash out at 170. I added 1.5 gallons of boiling water and it only raised the overall temp to 162. Is there a good reference for determining amount and temperature for step mashes?


Any advice?



Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: Kaiser on May 24, 2010, 11:55:37 PM
I was using 10 pounds of grain at a 1:1 ratio.

You can mash a bit thinner. E.g. 1.5 qt/lb. This way you get more water and more thermal mass which will keep the temp more stable. And you should still have enough room for a boiling water addition to reach 170. But even if you miss that 170 you don't have to worry.

Kai
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: bspisak on May 25, 2010, 12:19:00 AM
Running the calcs in BeerSmith, it should have worked for your situation. But then, it's never worked for me either! 

Assuming BeerSmith is correct and you hit 162, then your water was really at 185F.

Take it FWIW, but those infusion calcs never worked for me and I never found any better that did. Could be my boiling water was cooling quite a bit on the trip from the stove to the tun out on the back porch.

Sorry no real help.

Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: denny on May 25, 2010, 02:17:44 AM
I haven't found any calcs that are accurate when you're using a cooler for a mash tun.  My guess is that none of them are accurately accounting for the thermal "resistance" of the cooler and grain.  The best way I've found to change temps by infusion is just to stir in boiling water til I hit the temp I'm going for.  And as Kai mentioned, it's really not a big deal if you don't hit 170.
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: yugamrap on May 25, 2010, 03:41:54 AM
I've had pretty good luck with the Rest Calculator here: http://www.krotchrott.com/calc.html  It gets me close enough for mash-out temperature.  It's also pretty good for step mashes, but I always prep a few extra quarts of boiling water in case I need it.  I use the calculator to get close, then do like Denny & Kai and just add as needed to get to the target temperature for the step.
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: bo_gator on May 25, 2010, 05:27:07 PM
One word: HERMS
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: denny on May 25, 2010, 07:13:19 PM
One word: HERMS

Let's see... a big pile of complicated tubing and pumps or a pan of boiling water??  WWDD???  :)
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: whl on May 25, 2010, 08:22:52 PM
I've had good results with the tastybrew.com Infusion Calculator: http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/infusion.html (http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/infusion.html) (It's based on John Palmer's formulas, math which I can no longer do myself.)
Also, I read somewhere to calculate the boiling water as 194 degrees. In your case it would have called for 2-1/2 gallons for a 170 degree mashout.
 
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: bo_gator on May 25, 2010, 11:03:24 PM
One word: HERMS

Let's see... a big pile of complicated tubing and pumps or a pan of boiling water??  WWDD???  :)
No my friend, WWBGD ;D
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: denny on May 26, 2010, 03:36:26 PM
 ;)
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: babalu87 on May 28, 2010, 03:43:58 PM
One word: HERMS

Let's see... a big pile of complicated tubing and pumps or a pan of boiling water??  WWDD???  :)

A friend of mine has one of those convoluted systems (HERMS/RIMS.............? )
He built it and its beautiful.

I am proud to say I have not a freakin clue as to how either one of them work.
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: brewchez on May 31, 2010, 01:27:39 AM
I have the same type of cooler set up and batch sparge.  I had the same troubles you describe.
I have had good luck, bringing one gallon of water to a boil as I get close to the end of the conversion period.  I pull one gallon of wort and add it to the boiling water.  Just as the two gallons starts to come to the boil I add it all back to the mash and stir well.  Gets me pretty close to 170F mash out.  The advantage to that is that you're overcoming some of the mashes low temperature that you need to over come, and not diluting the wort with just more boiling water.

As Denny said though, its sort of an art thing.  You need to figure out for your own system how much water at what temp you need.  The calculators will get you close, but you need to experiment with your real world conditions to get it to work for you.
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: genekeady on June 01, 2010, 02:24:41 PM
Thanks for the replies.

This weekend I used Denny's method of adding water until I hit 170. It seemed to work fine. I used tastybrew.com to figure how much water they recommended as a check. The amount of water that I used was within +0.3 gallons of what tastybrew.com recommended.
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: ndcube on June 03, 2010, 02:42:12 PM
I usually hit within a degree sometimes two using Beersmith as long as I have the mass of the cooler and cooler/grain temp entered correctly.

If I do undershoot for some reason I've done small decoctions with good results.
Title: Re: Step Mash Temperature Control
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 25, 2010, 02:29:36 AM
One word: HERMS

Let's see... a big pile of complicated tubing and pumps or a pan of boiling water??  WWDD???  :)

A friend of mine has one of those convoluted systems (HERMS/RIMS.............? )
He built it and its beautiful.

I am proud to say I have not a freakin clue as to how either one of them work.
N o need to understand how it works.
It just works.  8)