Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: SoPHiSTo on July 12, 2011, 04:04:03 PM

Title: To stir or not to stir
Post by: SoPHiSTo on July 12, 2011, 04:04:03 PM
In the recent Zymurgy there is an article that recommends not stirring your mash because it introduces oxygen and other precursors that effect beer quality.

I have always read that of course you have to stir at dough in to mix the grain with water but also stir at 15 mins to equalize the mash temp.  I have always stirred at mash out as well to make sure everything is mixed well.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: Jimmy K on July 12, 2011, 04:58:45 PM
I recently saw an infusion mash tutorial that recommended stirring every 15 minutes to 'eliminate hotspots' and it puzzled me. I stir enough to equilize the temperature (and take temperatures at different locations in the mash to make sure) and then seal it up until the next temp change. There is no way an infusion mash is going to spontaneously generate hotspots! Of course, this is not true with a direct fire mash tun. I also think that if the temperature isn't even when your done with dough-in, stir more then, don't wait 15 minutes.  You'd just be letting different enzymes do work in different parts of the mash, and that's not what you want.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: euge on July 12, 2011, 05:49:59 PM
I used to stir every 15 minutes or so. For the last year+ just at dough-in and mash-out. No problemo.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 06:01:50 PM
I've tried both stirring and not stirring.  The only thing stirring did was let heat escape.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: Slowbrew on July 12, 2011, 06:28:56 PM
For a few batches I tried stirring halfway through the mash and thought I saw a small increase in efficiency.  Now, I usually forget to do it and I don't see any decrease in my efficiency.  I take that to mean, something else helped me get more sugars (someday I'll figure out what).  At this point I stir at dough in and at mash out.

Paul
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: nateo on July 12, 2011, 07:35:54 PM
I've tried both stirring and not stirring.  The only thing stirring did was let heat escape.

Agreed. I used to be a stirrer, and my mashes would drop 5 degrees over a half hour. Now I only stir at dough-in and they drop maybe 1* at the very end of the 30min.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: beersk on July 12, 2011, 08:29:22 PM
I've tried both stirring and not stirring.  The only thing stirring did was let heat escape.
This was my first thought.  It's just gonna make your mash temp fall even faster.  I stir at dough-in and when I sparge.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 08:37:28 PM
It will help your efficiency just a bit, but at some heat loss, if you're batch sparing. Just remember, stir, not wisk.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 08:43:01 PM
It will help your efficiency just a bit, but at some heat loss, if you're batch sparing. Just remember, stir, not wisk.

It may help your efficiency, but it didn't help mine at all.  Maybe I was stirring in the wrong direction....
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 08:46:40 PM
It will help your efficiency just a bit, but at some heat loss, if you're batch sparing. Just remember, stir, not wisk.

It may help your efficiency, but it didn't help mine at all.  Maybe I was stirring in the wrong direction....

Quite possibly. Although we've had this discussion before, I still stand on the fact that if the big boys do it, there has to be some merit to it.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: tubercle on July 12, 2011, 08:47:23 PM
What Denny said.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 08:48:29 PM
Quite possibly. Although we've had this discussion before, I still stand on the fact that if the big boys do it, there has to be some merit to it.

While I'm firmly of the opinion that just because the big boys do it is no reason for homebrewers to necessarily do it.  Different systems, different methods.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: Mark G on July 12, 2011, 08:50:55 PM
It will help your efficiency just a bit, but at some heat loss, if you're batch sparing. Just remember, stir, not wisk.

It may help your efficiency, but it didn't help mine at all.  Maybe I was stirring in the wrong direction....
In the northern hemisphere, stir clockwise; southern hemisphere, counterclockwise.  ;)

I only stir at dough-in and mash-out. Like others have said, I just lose heat stirring any more than that.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 08:59:22 PM
Quite possibly. Although we've had this discussion before, I still stand on the fact that if the big boys do it, there has to be some merit to it.

While I'm firmly of the opinion that just because the big boys do it is no reason for homebrewers to necessarily do it.  Different systems, different methods.

Yeah, probably not to much to be learned from them.  :D
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 09:01:43 PM
Yeah, probably not to much to be learned from them.  :D

That's not what I said.  I said that what they do doesn't necessarily apply to what we do.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 09:06:21 PM
Yeah, probably not to much to be learned from them.  :D

That's not what I said.  I said that what they do doesn't necessarily apply to what we do.

Please note smiley face.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: oscarvan on July 12, 2011, 09:12:12 PM
I stir at mash in..... whatever the draw backs are, the lumps in there certainly can't be good.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: Slowbrew on July 12, 2011, 09:26:35 PM
It will help your efficiency just a bit, but at some heat loss, if you're batch sparing. Just remember, stir, not wisk.

It may help your efficiency, but it didn't help mine at all.  Maybe I was stirring in the wrong direction....
In the northern hemisphere, stir clockwise; southern hemisphere, counterclockwise.  ;)

I only stir at dough-in and mash-out. Like others have said, I just lose heat stirring any more than that.

I thought you stirred up to raise your efficiency and stir down to lower it.   8)
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: tschmidlin on July 12, 2011, 09:32:19 PM
Yeah, probably not to much to be learned from them.  :D

That's not what I said.  I said that what they do doesn't necessarily apply to what we do.
When you're mixing 3 tons of grain with 2000 gallons of water on a 100 bbl system, I think a constantly running mash rake would be really beneficial to make sure it is all well mixed and to break up any dough balls.  Is that not what you're doing Denny? ;)
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 09:33:43 PM
Yeah, probably not to much to be learned from them.  :D

That's not what I said.  I said that what they do doesn't necessarily apply to what we do.
When you're mixing 3 tons of grain with 2000 gallons of water on a 100 bbl system, I think a constantly running mash rake would be really beneficial to make sure it is all well mixed and to break up any dough balls.  Is that not what you're doing Denny? ;)

Sure they have to have it to mash in, but why do they keep it going throughout the mash?
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 09:36:21 PM
When you're mixing 3 tons of grain with 2000 gallons of water on a 100 bbl system, I think a constantly running mash rake would be really beneficial to make sure it is all well mixed and to break up any dough balls.  Is that not what you're doing Denny? ;)

Not for every brew, Tom....;)
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 09:37:19 PM
Sure they have to have it to mash in, but why do they keep it going throughout the mash?

Because they're not lucky enough to be homebrewers who don't have to mess with foolishness.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 09:47:01 PM
Sure they have to have it to mash in, but why do they keep it going throughout the mash?

Because they're not lucky enough to be homebrewers who don't have to mess with foolishness.

If they were only smart enough to realize that they don't need to stir and they only need to sparge with cold water, their life would be void of all foolishness. Maybe they do it so they don't get bored. :D
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 09:49:10 PM
If they were only smart enough to realize that they don't need to stir and they only need to sparge with cold water, their life would be void of all foolishness.

If they were homebrewers, that would probably be true.  But as I keep trying to point out, not everything needs to be the same for homebrewers and commercial brewers.  One of the many reasons I'm grateful to be a homebrewer.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 10:01:16 PM
If they were only smart enough to realize that they don't need to stir and they only need to sparge with cold water, their life would be void of all foolishness.

If they were homebrewers, that would probably be true.  But as I keep trying to point out, not everything needs to be the same for homebrewers and commercial brewers.  One of the many reasons I'm grateful to be a homebrewer.

I agree, as home brewers we can skirt by without doing a lot of things.  It's not like we have to meet a bottom line or anything. However, what keeps it interesting to me, is to constantly improve my system, and using efficiency as a benchmark, is a good way to tell if I'm improving or not. If that's not important to you, then I don't think you should do it either. .
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 10:08:41 PM
I agree, as home brewers we can skirt by without doing a lot of things.  It's not like we have to meet a bottom line or anything. However, what keeps it interesting to me, is to constantly improve my system, and using efficiency as a benchmark, is a good way to tell if I'm improving or not. If that's not important to you, then I don't think you should do it either. .

It's not that it's not important.  It's that since my efficiency is plenty good already, I'm not concerned about increasing it.  After 402 brews, my system is pretty well established and functioning well.  And since I don't brew on the scale of commercial brewers, I don't have to do it like they might.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 10:15:04 PM
I agree, as home brewers we can skirt by without doing a lot of things.  It's not like we have to meet a bottom line or anything. However, what keeps it interesting to me, is to constantly improve my system, and using efficiency as a benchmark, is a good way to tell if I'm improving or not. If that's not important to you, then I don't think you should do it either. .

It's not that it's not important.  It's that since my efficiency is plenty good already, I'm not concerned about increasing it.  After 402 brews, my system is pretty well established and functioning well.  And since I don't brew on the scale of commercial brewers, I don't have to do it like they might.

As I said, you probably shouldn't do it, but there are those of us that are never satisfied and we keep trying to improve. It's all part of the challenge.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: tschmidlin on July 12, 2011, 10:19:02 PM
Sure they have to have it to mash in, but why do they keep it going throughout the mash?
It's powered, so no one has to physically do it and it insures good mixing by the end of the mash.  The cost for the power is very likely to be less than the cost to fix problems created by incomplete mixing.  I don't know that that's why, but it seems reasonable.

If frequently mixing your mash consistently improves your efficiency and makes you happy then keep doing it.  I'm fine either way.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: ccarlson on July 12, 2011, 10:20:16 PM
Sure they have to have it to mash in, but why do they keep it going throughout the mash?
It's powered, so no one has to physically do it and it insures good mixing by the end of the mash.  The cost for the power is very likely to be less than the cost to fix problems created by incomplete mixing.  I don't know that that's why, but it seems reasonable.

If frequently mixing your mash consistently improves your efficiency and makes you happy then keep doing it.  I'm fine either way.

Thank you.  ;)
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: tubercle on July 12, 2011, 10:21:25 PM

Because they're not lucky enough to be homebrewers who don'thave to mess with foolishness are pragmatic.

 ;D ;D
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: a10t2 on July 12, 2011, 11:17:01 PM
pragmatic

Is that pronounced "cheap 'n' easy"?
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: denny on July 13, 2011, 12:27:49 AM
pragmatic

Is that pronounced "cheap 'n' easy"?

Around here it is...

I think I've stirred things enough, now.
Title: Re: To stir or not to stir
Post by: bluesman on July 13, 2011, 01:10:31 AM
pragmatic

Is that pronounced "cheap 'n' easy"?

Around here it is...

I think I've stirred things enough, now.

I agree Denny. I think it's all stirred now.  ;D