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Messages - dmtaylor

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So... I was listening to an old Basic Brewing Radio podcast (I believe it was, and they brought up an idea for experimentation that I think deserves some exploration.

The question is: Why do we heat up the strike water alone to 170-190 F then mix with the grain to hit 150s?  Why do we not heat it all up together?  Assuming we have direct heat capabilities (not possible with a cooler mash tun), why not dough-in the grain with the usual 1-3 qts/lb water at room temperature, then ramp up the whole mash together to 150 F?

This might be even more feasible with smaller batches where temperatures will not linger in the protein rest and beta amylase zones for too long before hitting the alpha range.  However it will guarantee that you get through at least a brief sort of acid rest, beta-glucan, protein, everything, and you would also have the opportunity to easily step mash if desired, stopping for rests along the way as desired.  This is all contingent on having direct heating equipment that could handle it.  Personally I’m most interested in this technique because I brew small 1.7-gallon batches all the time, so it would of course be very easy for me to experiment with.

Unfortunately I do not brew very often these days so it would be some time before I can come up with any results on my own.  But of course I wanted to throw this idea out there for anyone else who might like to try it, or who might already have any experience with it.

One theory about all this, also discussed on BBR, is that the resulting beer might be lighter in body and have less head compared to the traditional single infusion strike at 150-ish since it goes through some period of time in the protein and beta zones, breaking down proteins and starches more than you’d get otherwise.  However this won’t stop me from experimentation!  Who knows... where personal preference comes into play, you might find you like this method better than the traditional way.  When I run my batches, I am not actually going to step mash and make any rests along the way.  I’m just going to crank up the heat from room temp to about 140 F, then back off and coast up to 150 F.  Then I’ll get some idea of the difference between this and traditional strike water mashing.

Thoughts??  This isn’t an original idea and has probably been toyed with for centuries, but I really don’t know exactly what to expect until I try it for myself.  Sounds like fun to me, and I really don’t think it will ruin anything -- it will still be making good beer!  At least I believe so.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Scaling recipes
« on: March 15, 2014, 04:57:13 AM »
I have been brewing small batches for many years.  Everything scales linearly but I do use homebrewing software just to make certain.  I have not noticed any general rules like you always need to add more dark grains -- have not noticed that at all.  The big adjustment to me when stealing others' recipes is always my 85-90% efficiency.  It is easier to get high efficiency with small batches because you need to sparge more to account for the high boiloff rate.

Ingredients / Re: Bog Myrtle
« on: March 15, 2014, 04:50:30 AM »
I got all my herbs at

You probably just need to replace all plastic and rubber components, then your problems will disappear.  It happens.  It's happened to me a dozen times or more.  Eventually I switched to glass fermenters and I'll never use plastic again.  Can't get away from the tygon hoses but I'll just replace those every couple of years.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer blending
« on: March 13, 2014, 02:37:09 PM »
I've blended beers before with varying success.  Go for it.

Dissolved solids (e.g., maltose and other grainy stuff) will tend to increase the boiling point of water above 212 F.  Elevation also comes into play.  I would expect that at sea level you could experience a boiling point of 213-214 F.  At higher elevations, no, it probably won't happen.  Bottom line is that it's always going to be someplace between 205 and 215 F, and the behavior and reasons for doing the boil are all the same regardless, so...... this is truly trivial knowledge and nothing more.  I don't put a thermometer in my boil kettle because I can tell by looking at the wort what it's doing.  With experience, even during heatup I can tell approximately how much longer it will take before it hits full boil.  I've noticed there seems to be a point around 160 F or thereabouts when the sweet wort makes a lot of strange popping noises as if it's boiling deep down on the bottom, then that goes away but a protein foam begins to form on top.  The closer you get to a boil, the more foam there is.  Then 5 minutes later, the foam falls back in, and you can crank up the heat as high as you want without fear of boilover.  It's the foamy part of heatup and boil where you get your boilovers.  Yadda yadda yadda.....


Ingredients / Re: Head retention
« on: March 13, 2014, 09:01:39 AM »
Flaked barley and wheat work great.  So does rye although it will darken or "gray" the color a smidge.  In darker beers, rye is king, IMHO.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: priming sugar
« on: March 12, 2014, 06:42:41 AM »
I've used nothing but volume measurements for my 100+ batches and haven't had any carbonation problems.  You need about 5/8 cup cane sugar per 5 gallons.  If you only have 4.5 gallons, then use closer to 1/2 cup.  If you have 5.5 gallons, use more like 2/3 cup.  It sounds swaggy but it works like a charm.

Beer Recipes / Re: Adjusting bitterness post-fermentation
« on: March 11, 2014, 11:34:40 AM »
Those that liked the sweet ones were wrong.

I'll drink to that!!

If it tastes light then I would enter it as Specialty.  If it tastes just like normal strength then enter it as a Blonde Ale.

All Grain Brewing / Re: small batch, high gravity and efficiency
« on: March 09, 2014, 12:19:00 PM »
I get a little better efficiency with smaller batches because then you can sparge more as the boiloff rate far exceeds the typical 15-18%.  With 2-gallon batches my boiloff rate is like 32%, so by sparging a lot more to get your appropriate pre-boil volume, you can extract extra sugars.

Beer Recipes / Re: Adjusting bitterness post-fermentation
« on: March 06, 2014, 11:44:41 AM »
That should work!

Beer Recipes / Re: Adjusting bitterness post-fermentation
« on: March 04, 2014, 02:20:17 PM »
I have tried adding bitterness by making a 1-gal batch of beer to add to a 5-gal batch of beer and that was helpful.

I've done this and it works great.  Make a little extract batch of 100 IBUs and add it in.  Problem solved.

All Grain Brewing / Re: 100% Vienna
« on: March 03, 2014, 10:30:46 AM »
A 100% Vienna beer is excellent.  Very malty and a very good idea for a pale ale.

As for the color thing, a10t2, I'm not sure but my guess is the same as yours... either it used to be quite a bit darker, or the Mexicans have decided to add coloring agents to make the beer look distinctive and more malty (which of course, it is).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mash steps
« on: March 03, 2014, 10:23:45 AM »
It's going to feel thin, watery, lifeless... and it will probably be clear as crystal instead of cloudy.

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