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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: dano14041 on December 29, 2010, 03:57:37 PM

Title: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: dano14041 on December 29, 2010, 03:57:37 PM
I am confused on some of the basic's. Hopefully these won't make me look too foolish.  ;)

When you preheat a mash tun, does it matter what temp the water is? What temp are you preheating the mash tun to?

On my first AG batch I didn't preheat my mash tun, it was around 100F outside, and I hit my mash in temp. The second and third AG batchs I did preheat my mash tun with around 170F water, temp was in the 60'sF outside, and my mash in temp was way low. On my last batch, I preheated my mash tun with boiling water, outside temp was 42F, and my mash in temp was way high. I think I am making things harder than they need to be.

When you sparge with 168 - 170F water, is this the water temp or mash temp? I thought I had read that you needed to raise the mash temp to 168 or above to stop the enzyme activity, but other things make it sound like you just sparge with 168F water.

Thanks in advance!
Dano
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: denny on December 29, 2010, 04:32:34 PM
When you sparge with 168 - 170F water, is this the water temp or mash temp? I thought I had read that you needed to raise the mash temp to 168 or above to stop the enzyme activity, but other things make it sound like you just sparge with 168F water.

Thanks in advance!
Dano

You want the grain to be in the 168-170F range.  For me, that means using water that's 185-190F.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: EHall on December 29, 2010, 04:36:45 PM
I think you're making this harder than it needs to be... I don't preheat nor do I think you need to. If I need to mash at 152F, I bring my liquor to about 163/164F, add it to MT and dough in. 98% of the time I hit my point. If you don't, boil some more water and it a little at a time until you hit your target, you'll figure out over time how much higher than your mash temp you need to be for your system.
As for sparging, I believe you need to be at 168F or higher to properly stop conversion... I've seen folks who sparge anywhere from 168 all the way up to 190F... I'd personally wouldn't go higher than 175F.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: denny on December 29, 2010, 04:53:16 PM
If you're concerned about tannin extraction, just keep your pH in line and temp won't be a problem.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: mabrungard on December 29, 2010, 04:57:23 PM
I'm on board with the need to keep the sparge water pH right, but I've heard Gordon comment strongly on temperature too.  I personally don't exceed 170F with my sparge water in addition to acidifying to under 6.0
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: jeffy on December 29, 2010, 05:09:22 PM
There are some nice calculators online that help to calculate the temperatures you need.  Here's one that I use:
http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
Once the water is in the mash tun, THEN check the temp before adding the grain.  You can change it with hot or cool water according to what is required.  I try to keep the ratio of water to grain the same as I raise or lower the temps, but I rarely have any issues because my mash tun is a converted keg.  I just heat up the water to what I need and add grain. 
You could put a fire under your picnic cooler, but I don't like the smell of melting plastic.   ;)
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Mark G on December 29, 2010, 05:11:15 PM
I've gotten more consistent results since I stopped preheating my mashtun and letting Beersmith take the temperature of the grains and my mashtun into account when calculating strike temps. Now I always seem to be within 1-2 degrees F (I know I just jinxed myself for my next brew).
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: tygo on December 29, 2010, 05:32:56 PM
I've gotten more consistent results since I stopped preheating my mashtun and letting Beersmith take the temperature of the grains and my mashtun into account when calculating strike temps. Now I always seem to be within 1-2 degrees F (I know I just jinxed myself for my next brew).

This is what I do as well.  It takes a little trial and error to figure out the adjustment you need to make to the thermal mass of your equipment in Beersmith but once you have it dialed in it's usually pretty close.

I generally err on the side of heating the water up a couple of extra degrees above what it's telling me to account for differences in ambient temperature and then waiting until the temp of the water in the mash tun is at my desired strike temp.  I'd rather have to stir and wait a little for the temp to come down than have to pull some of the water back out to reheat (or add additional hot water).
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: denny on December 29, 2010, 05:48:40 PM
I'm on board with the need to keep the sparge water pH right, but I've heard Gordon comment strongly on temperature too.  I personally don't exceed 170F with my sparge water in addition to acidifying to under 6.0

Martin, as an experiment, try using hotter water.  While I respect Gordon's comment, I also have hundreds of batches of experience with using 185-190 water without problem.   Try it for yourself and see what you think.  The key is to keep the grain bed temp in line, and hotter water can still keep it under 170.  Now, if your mash is already near 170 when you start your sparge, of course you don't want to use the hotter water.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: mabrungard on December 29, 2010, 06:08:43 PM
I do typically mash out with my RIMS to 168F, so my mash is already hot.  I suppose I shouldn't play with the higher temperatures because of that?
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: denny on December 29, 2010, 06:12:16 PM
I do typically mash out with my RIMS to 168F, so my mash is already hot.  I suppose I shouldn't play with the higher temperatures because of that?


You're correct.  Since you've already achieved that temp, there's no reason to go with hotter water.  Since by the end of my mash I'm typically around 150ish, using 185-190F water gets me into the 168(ish) range.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Mikey on December 29, 2010, 06:39:21 PM
I thought cold sparging was the accepted practice around here. ;)
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on December 31, 2010, 01:13:29 AM
I'm on board with the need to keep the sparge water pH right, but I've heard Gordon comment strongly on temperature too.  I personally don't exceed 170F with my sparge water in addition to acidifying to under 6.0

Regarding 170F magic number. Czech brewers regularly sparge at 172F (convert to the C on your own).
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: euge on December 31, 2010, 07:11:37 AM
Only to echo others: as a batch-sparger I've found mash pH to be more important than mashing out to hit 168+. However I'm mindful of both aspects so everything is considered. However in my experience when mashing lower into the 140's even boiling water won't bring temps up to 168 unless you use extra.

I am confused on some of the basic's. Hopefully these won't make me look too foolish.  ;)

When you preheat a mash tun, does it matter what temp the water is? What temp are you preheating the mash tun to?

On my first AG batch I didn't preheat my mash tun, it was around 100F outside, and I hit my mash in temp. The second and third AG batchs I did preheat my mash tun with around 170F water, temp was in the 60'sF outside, and my mash in temp was way low. On my last batch, I preheated my mash tun with boiling water, outside temp was 42F, and my mash in temp was way high. I think I am making things harder than they need to be.

When you sparge with 168 - 170F water, is this the water temp or mash temp? I thought I had read that you needed to raise the mash temp to 168 or above to stop the enzyme activity, but other things make it sound like you just sparge with 168F water.

Thanks in advance!
Dano

As you've experienced the ambient temp will affect how your tun heats. It might not need preheating at summer temps. In winter compensate.  A handy quick save is ice. If you overshoot your temp then a handful or two of ice stirred in well can drop you into desired range. Or a frozen plastic bottle. That's not as effective IMO.

Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: oscarvan on December 31, 2010, 04:20:40 PM
OK, reading all the above I am assuming that most of you add grain to water of the right temp and not the other way around?
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: andrew on December 31, 2010, 04:37:18 PM
OK, reading all the above I am assuming that most of you add grain to water of the right temp and not the other way around?

water to grain here. grain in the tun with liquor of 165 to 170 flowing in.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: denny on December 31, 2010, 04:54:26 PM
OK, reading all the above I am assuming that most of you add grain to water of the right temp and not the other way around?

That's the way I do it.  I've tried it both ways and it seems to have no effect on beer quality.  Adding grain to water just makes it easier for me.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Hokerer on December 31, 2010, 05:00:01 PM
OK, reading all the above I am assuming that most of you add grain to water of the right temp and not the other way around?

That's the way I do it.  I've tried it both ways and it seems to have no effect on beer quality.  Adding grain to water just makes it easier for me.

Same here.  It's simplest to have the water in the cooler and then gradually add/stir in the grain.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Mikey on December 31, 2010, 05:03:18 PM
I add water to grain. It has never been a problem for me.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on December 31, 2010, 05:09:48 PM
OK, reading all the above I am assuming that most of you add grain to water of the right temp and not the other way around?

That's the way I do it.  I've tried it both ways and it seems to have no effect on beer quality.  Adding grain to water just makes it easier for me.

+1

I like to add about 1/3 of the grist at a time to the water and mix.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: kgs on December 31, 2010, 06:02:39 PM
I have tried it both ways, and at least for my setup, I have found that adding grain to water was significantly easier and ensures that the grain is uniformly wetted. I pour it in not-too-fast while stirring with a 22" whisk I bought at a local restaurant supply store. The whisk prevents dough balls.

Another advantage to adding grain to water is I can take a temp of the mash water before adding the grain, and adjust accordingly. Finally, if I'm going to be splashing myself anything, I'd rather it be milled grain than 168-degree water.

I do slightly preheat my 5-gallon MT with a gallon of hot tap water, just to take the chill off. I hit my temps, which is what matters!
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: euge on December 31, 2010, 06:46:05 PM
I add my grain to water as well. The whisk is a great idea for busting up dough-balls. Next time I visit the restaurant supply store prices will be checked. Mixing in the grain effectively is a technique all on it's own.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Mikey on December 31, 2010, 06:54:40 PM
I add my strike water around the edges of the the cooler, so it goes to the bottom and wets from the bottom up. Based on that, I'm kind of add grain on top of water.

I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: tubercle on December 31, 2010, 07:11:03 PM
The Tubercle method:

 Add ~175f water to tun, stir until it gets to strike temp which is usually about 15f above desired mash temp - YMMV. Usually about 5 minutes less.

Add grain slowly and stir making sure all grain is wetted thoroughly. No dough balls to date.

Check temp to make sure it is desired range. Stir some more to lower or add readily available boiling water to raise. This is very rare since experience has indicated proper strike temp for certain water/grain ratios.

 Close and secure cooler lid and let nature take its course.

Open another beer.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: oscarvan on December 31, 2010, 07:28:45 PM
I add my strike water around the edges of the the cooler, so it goes to the bottom and wets from the bottom up. Based on that, I'm kind of add grain on top of water.

I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.

That gives me the idea to run the water into the drain valve of the cooler.... It would fill from the bottom up.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Mikey on December 31, 2010, 07:35:27 PM
I did that a few times with my earlier mash tun and it worked very well. I haven't done it with this one simply because I haven't figured out an easy way to plumb it. That, and running down the sides works about as well.


FWIW, I use a pump and go around the sides in a circle, several times, until I've added enough water. Then I start stirring very slowly with my mash paddled until I don't see anymore dough balls.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: kgs on December 31, 2010, 07:59:39 PM

I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.

A good thing to consider, but I don't "whisk" per se (the traditional circular air-into-mass whisking action, like whisking egg whites); I simply stir gently. The tines of the whisk (are they called tines? whatever)  slice through the wetted grain better than a spoon.

I do use the whisk, cleaned and sanitized, to aerate my wort after brewing. I slosh the wort into a sanitized bucket and whisk (this time just like for egg whites) for 5 minutes solid, then funnel it into the carboy. Probably only effective because I brew small batches.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Mark G on December 31, 2010, 08:21:39 PM
I mill my grains directly into the mash tun, so I add the water to the grains. Yes, I get some dough balls, but nothing that doesn't break up with a couple minutes of stirring.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: denny on December 31, 2010, 08:27:37 PM
I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.

Why is that a problem?  And if it is, couldn't you use the whisk to mix gently?
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: bluesman on December 31, 2010, 08:31:12 PM
I recently started adding grain to water and find that it's easier to dough in. YMMV
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: malzig on December 31, 2010, 09:13:15 PM
OK, reading all the above I am assuming that most of you add grain to water of the right temp and not the other way around?
I've done both.  It doesn't seem to make a difference.

I never mash out any more and I never use a "hot" sparge.  I sparge with water at an alpha rest temperature range, anywhere from 150-162F, approximately, usually whatever my last rest temperature was.  I have this probably irrational belief that it has improved my beer clarity, as it is one of a few things I changed right before I started getting crystal clear beer every batch.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: tschmidlin on December 31, 2010, 10:51:04 PM
I've got a direct fired mash tun, so grain gets added to water.  Whatever is easiest for you.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: kerneldustjacket on December 31, 2010, 11:18:42 PM
I've done it both ways; I have had success either way.

Now days I do a no-sparge mash, water in first, grain in after calculated strike temperature of water is reached. (after thermal loss to cooler)
I work the grain in using a restaurant sized potato masher (pictured below)...I don't believe there is a huge risk of causing hot-side aeration with the mixing that is typically required....or at least I can say I've not had it happen...
(http://i1227.photobucket.com/albums/ee437/johnanthonywilson/mashpaddle.jpg)
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: oscarvan on January 01, 2011, 01:08:27 AM
I've done it both ways; I have had success either way.

Now days I do a no-sparge mash, water in first, grain in after calculated strike temperature of water is reached. (after thermal loss to cooler)
I work the grain in using a restaurant sized potato masher (pictured below)...I don't believe there is a huge risk of causing hot-side aeration with the mixing that is typically required....or at least I can say I've not had it happen...
(http://i1227.photobucket.com/albums/ee437/johnanthonywilson/mashpaddle.jpg)

OF COURSE! That's a masher!
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Mikey on January 01, 2011, 04:20:55 AM
I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.

Why is that a problem?  And if it is, couldn't you use the whisk to mix gently?

It may not be, but why take a chance? Yes, you can stir slowly, but I tend to go pretty wild when I have a whisk in my hand.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: bonjour on January 01, 2011, 05:49:05 AM
Other than using pure O2 excessively, I don't think anyone has to worry about over oxidation.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: gmwren on January 01, 2011, 01:27:46 PM
Grain to water in a direct fire mash tun, then use a combination of mash paddle and grout stirrer attached to my trusty grain mill drill to break up the dough balls.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: kgs on January 01, 2011, 02:51:06 PM
I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.

Why is that a problem?  And if it is, couldn't you use the whisk to mix gently?

I'm glad you asked. I'm guessing the concern is "hot-side aeration." I don't have the expertise to say definitively, but for homebrewing (versus commercial brewing) is that a real problem or one of those brewing myths?
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 02, 2011, 12:26:12 AM
I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.

Why is that a problem?  And if it is, couldn't you use the whisk to mix gently?

I'm glad you asked. I'm guessing the concern is "hot-side aeration." I don't have the expertise to say definitively, but for homebrewing (versus commercial brewing) is that a real problem or one of those brewing myths?
I haven't tested it, but the guys at Basic Brewing Radio did some shows on HSA.  If I remember right, it wasn't a concern unless you really whip the mash.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr03-16-06.mp3
http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr06-22-06.mp3
http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr11-02-06.mp3
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on January 02, 2011, 11:41:45 PM
I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.

Why is that a problem?  And if it is, couldn't you use the whisk to mix gently?

I'm glad you asked. I'm guessing the concern is "hot-side aeration." I don't have the expertise to say definitively, but for homebrewing (versus commercial brewing) is that a real problem or one of those brewing myths?

Charles W. Bamforth says it is a myth. He said it on Brew Strong show.
If you want to find it, look for his name on Brew Strong.
I think he has two shows there.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: Mikey on January 02, 2011, 11:52:44 PM
I would never use a whisk in my mash. Too much aeration.

Why is that a problem?  And if it is, couldn't you use the whisk to mix gently?

I'm glad you asked. I'm guessing the concern is "hot-side aeration." I don't have the expertise to say definitively, but for homebrewing (versus commercial brewing) is that a real problem or one of those brewing myths?
I haven't tested it, but the guys at Basic Brewing Radio did some shows on HSA.  If I remember right, it wasn't a concern unless you really whip the mash.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr03-16-06.mp3
http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr06-22-06.mp3
http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr11-02-06.mp3

When I whip it, I whip it good.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: timmyr on January 03, 2011, 02:30:42 PM
Charles W. Bamforth says it is a myth. He said it on Brew Strong show.
If you want to find it, look for his name on Brew Strong.
I think he has two shows there.

I have a feeling Charlie Bamforth is right, but on a side note Siebel still addresses it as a concern at the pro-brewer scale.  I batch sparge and do not THINK I've experienced any issues as a result of this method.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: denny on January 03, 2011, 04:56:28 PM
As a batch sparger, I stir often and pretty strongly.  I'd be a prime candidate for HSA, yet I've never experienced it.
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: oscarvan on January 03, 2011, 06:24:36 PM
As a batch sparger, I stir often and pretty strongly.  I'd be a prime candidate for HSA, yet I've never experienced it.

That's good to know..... Have large paddle. Careful for the screen tube.... ;D
Title: Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
Post by: bluesman on January 03, 2011, 07:30:01 PM
As a batch sparger, I stir often and pretty strongly.  I'd be a prime candidate for HSA, yet I've never experienced it.

I was thinking about the effects of HSA yesterday while stirring the mash of my barleywine yet I'm not even sure if this effect will even alter the taste of the finished product.  ???