Great discussion !
Hi Gordon. I missed the submission window... I'm hoping that you have the time and energy to answer a couple more questions. I loved your book, btw.
1) When doing a step mash, everyone quotes precise times like "let rest at 135F for 15 minutes". However, most systems don't step from one temperature to another instantly. Many take several minutes to go from 135F to 155F, for example.
What I would like to know is when does one start and stop the timer on a step given that it can take 5 or more minutes to get the mash from one temp to next temp.
2) You state in your book that the enzymes brewers care about are mostly contained in the liquid part of the mash. You also state that said enzymes will be inhibited if they are heated past sparge out temps, ie 170Fish.
Given these two statements, how does one then add heat to an LT without damaging the enzymes ? I am pretty sure that the bottom of a direct fired mash tun is hotter than 170F ! How do you manage heat additions when doing mash steps ?
I'd also like to know what equipment you brew with and how good it is in these regards. Your book says you bought a 0.5 barrel system from Pico Systems and that you have made changes to it. I can't find much information on your system on the web. I'd love to know what you have changed on it and why.
3) You mention several times about heat differences within the mash bed. You also mention that hot side aeration is not the issue that people think it is. Given these two statements, have you considered a mash stirrer or continuous circulation of the mash liquids via a pump ?
I do circulate my mash continuously. In fact, I circulate even while I am sparging. Do you think this is a bad practice ?
I cringe every time I pump wort and beer with a pump, thinking that I'm aerating it or somehow damaging it. Are these fears founded or unfounded ?
I loved your suggestion of chilling the boiled wort in the kettle and letting the trub settle before racking to the primary. I am going to adopt that practice on my next batch.
If I could make one comment about your book, I wish it had pictures of the equipment you use and more on the journey you went on to get to that point. A carpenter is only as good as his tools. I'm not trying to copy your tools, but understanding what you ended up with and why would allow me to focus more attention where I need to. I know you go into detail on equipment but I found myself wanting to know more specifics, especially since I am in the middle of designing and building a new brew system.
Your book is crammed with great information. I think you are right on with your all grain versus extract brewing view. I also agree that Dave Miller's book is great reference for starting brewers. You've given me a lot to think about. Thanks for contributing so much to the brewing community.