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Topics - hike20

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Equipment and Software / HERMS and stuck mash
« on: October 27, 2014, 10:02:38 AM »
I do small batch (2.5 gallon) brewing and recently upgraded to a HERMS setup to improve my mash temp stability. I use a 5 gallon round beverage cooler for my mash tun, with a 9" domed false bottom. I circulate with a chugger pump through a 1/2" immersion coil that I also use for chilling the wort.

My problem is that the mash becomes stuck within a minute or two of recirculating. I've tried cutting back the flow from the pump as much as possible but it still sticks. I've tried adding rice hulls (generally around 1/4 to 1/2 lb for 5-6 lbs of grain which seems like a lot) and it helps some but I still have to watch it like a hawk and it takes a lot of patience to get it flowing well.

I've tried different mash thickness as well, from 1.25 qt/lb up to around 1.75 qt/lb. It doesn't make a difference. The issue seems to be the grain bed compacts like concrete no matter how much water is in there.

Here's what my false bottom looks like:
http://www.biyhomebrewsupply.com/collections/equipment/products/9falsebottom.

Do I need a different type of FB? If so, what do you recommend? Other ideas?

Thanks!
Randy Carris

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All Grain Brewing / RO water pH
« on: September 25, 2010, 10:31:33 AM »
I'm trying to learn about water adjustments and have been following the great discussions on the topic here. I only have pH strips for testing at the moment, one strip goes from 4.6 to 6.2, another that goes from 4 to 8. I'm using the new 2.0 version of the EZ Water Calc spreadsheet to estimate my mash pH, making adjustments and using the strips to see if I'm in the ball park.

So today using the strips my mash was reading around 5.0. I was surprised that it came out so low. So I decided to test my source water. For this batch (2.5 gallon btch) I mashed with 2 gallons of water, with 6 quarts of that being RO water that I bought at the local grocery store, the rest from my well. Since my mash was so low I tested the RO water with the strips and in came in around 5.0 too! The well water was around 7.

Does that make any sense? Is it normal or likely for RO water to be that acidic? If it is, then should I try to compensate for that in my mash pH calculations? Here's all the gritty details:

Recipe:
4# Marris Otter
4 oz Aromatic
4 oz Caramel 120L
2 oz Special Roast

Well water, from Ward Labs:
pH 7.5
TDS 413
Cations/Anions me/L 8.0/7.5

Na 6
K <1
Ca 90
Mg 39
Total Hardness 388
SO4-S 13
Cl 13
CO3 <1
HCO3 355
Total Alkalinity 291

I don't have a water report for the RO water, but I assume it's pretty close to 0 on everything. I know, I shouldn't assume.

Thanks!

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