Author Topic: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?  (Read 782 times)

Offline brewsumore

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Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« on: May 17, 2014, 07:59:58 PM »
I've seen where some batch sparge brewers will stir their mash one or more times during the 60 - 90 minutes mash, to  keep the temperature uniform in their picnic cooler mashtun.  Due to temperature loss from opening up and stirring, they have to compensate by adding enough boiling water to get back to the desired mash temperature.  I'm just wondering how many of you do this, or just live with the inevitable range of temperatures inside the mashtun due to hot and cold spots.

I've always just hit my desired mash-in temp, closed the rectangular cooler lid, and left it alone until the mash is over.  As I brew outside, if it is cold outside I throw a couple blankets over the cooler to prevent additional heat loss. 

I believe that I receive the general desired effects from the mash temp I've selected, but I have nothing to compare this to.  My range of temps at the end of the mash due to hot and cool pockets inside the mashtun varies, but can vary by as much as about 3.5 degrees, but normally just 2 to 3 degrees.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 08:02:54 PM by brewsumore »

Offline quattlebaum

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2014, 08:19:24 PM »
I do as you do. I do add a bit of rice hulls to my mash it seems to allow for a more even temperature throughout the grain bed when checked it varies by only 1 degree  instead of 2 or 3 like I had before 

Offline brewsumore

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2014, 08:27:02 PM »
Interesting.  I might have to try that.  I have two coolers, both Rubbermaids,a 60-qt and a 75-qt.  Offhand as I recall, I get less variation in the the thicker walled one (75 qt), which is a 5-day cooler.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 08:32:20 PM »
I don't stir either. It seems like a lot of effort for no return. 2 to 3 degrees isn't going to make that much difference anyway why mess around.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2014, 06:19:17 AM »
I don't stir either. It seems like a lot of effort for no return. 2 to 3 degrees isn't going to make that much difference anyway why mess around.

+1. I don't stir after closing the lid either. I could easily see LOSING 2 or 3 degrees in the end by dong this.
Jon H.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2014, 07:20:37 AM »
There is zero advantage to stirring after the first 5 minutes.  If you crush enough and sparge with the right volumes, you can hit 90% mash efficiency just by mixing 'er up at the beginning, and shutting the lid for 40+ minutes.  That's another thing... anything longer than 45 minutes is pretty much a waste of time.  You only gain 1-2 efficiency points beyond that mark.
Dave

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Offline denny

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2014, 07:23:49 AM »
I don't stir.  I don't use rice hulls.  I don't open my cooler once the mash has begun.  I lose maybe 1-2F over a 60-90 min. mash.  If you mash in a cooler, it really shouldn't be necessary.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2014, 07:37:32 AM »
I don't stir either. I use rice hulls because it helps with the lauter on most of my beers, but I'm using a Brutus 10 type single tier system with a fly sparge. If using my cooler mash tun I don't need to use rice hulls and I don't stir...and I usually lose a degree or two.
Ron Price

Offline brewsumore

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2014, 10:03:36 AM »
Thanks guys for your insights.  I learned the batch sparge method from Denny's site back early in 2005, and have very happily stuck with it (with a few equipment modifications), and see that you all likewise have little or no concerns about a few hot or cold pockets in the MT.

At no time did the idea to open and stir sound desireable to me, for all the reasons you captured well.  But I have encountered quite a few examples of people who promote it.

Another good reason to RDWHAHB!
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 10:22:41 AM by brewsumore »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2014, 09:00:54 PM »
I only brew 3 gallon batches, so I have even less thermal buffering capacity than most other brewers. I typically lose 2-3 degrees over the course of a 75-minute mash. I tried stirring mid-mash on a couple of occasions, and ended up losing 6-7 degrees. I stopped stirring after that :)
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