Author Topic: Quick recirc question for the weekend  (Read 889 times)

Offline phillamb168

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Quick recirc question for the weekend
« on: October 15, 2010, 09:53:14 AM »
Hey all,

I just got a new rotating sparge arm which attaches to my HLT and I use it for fly sparging. I'm planning on doing a recirc post-flameout to get a whirlpool going, but I'm wondering: in addition to the sparge water for mash out, should I also be doing a recirc into the mash tun during (or before or after) the sparge? Or during the mash? Should I use the rotating sparge arm for that?
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 09:54:58 AM by phillamb168 »
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Offline wingnut

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2010, 09:59:41 AM »
in addition to the sparge water for mash out, should I also be doing a recirc into the mash tun during (or before or after) the sparge? Or during the mash?

Doing a Recirc during the mash is OK... The extra movement may darken the wort slightly (you probably will not notice it), will help filter a little better, and will provide a more even access of starches to enzymes.   HOWEVER, the contribuition of each of these will be very small. 

The recirc during mash out will set the grain bed, however, and that may take some addional time off your brew day as some of the time spent on mashout... waiting for the running to come clear... will not be needed.

Bottom line, the recirc is not needed, but it won't hurt.

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Offline dak0415

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2010, 10:12:10 AM »
Don't try to recirc through the sparge arm.  Any grain bits that get through the false bottom/manifold will get stuck in the arm rendering it useless VERY quickly.  The only thing you should pump through the arm is hot water!
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2010, 11:53:51 AM »
Agreed, don't recirc through a sparge arm.  I only recirc after my mash as much as necessary to get clear wort.  YMMV
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Offline timmyr

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2010, 05:35:51 AM »
I recirc through an Autosparge utilizing a March pump. I used to recirc constantly during the mash, but found I only need to do so now when I need to heat my mash tun via direct fire.  Typically this occurs in my process now during the last 10-20 minutes of the mash as I raise to mash out temps and then it is running clear.

I'd also advise caution with the sparge arm.  It seems like it'd get clogged with bits of husk and grain material.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2010, 07:01:34 AM »
I ended up keeping the sparge arm just for sparge water and running the recirc through the march 809. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it mashed out, the grainbed held quite nicely!

This was my first time using whole leaf hops, and the real trouble came last night at about 1am after flameout when I started up the CFC and immersion chillers. The immersion chiller worked fine, of course, but - silly me - I didn't install my hop blocker tube thing and the outlet for my boiler got stuck toot sweet. Too bad, because I really wanted to see if using both the CFC and the immersion chillers combined would reduce my time to chill. As it was, the immersion chiller (combined with 15 deg C groundwater) got it from 100 c to 22 c in about 15 minutes. Almost seems like overkill to try the immersion chiller too, but hey, why not?

One last question for you guys: I've heard a lot about cold break and how a whirlpool is supposed to help get all that material into the center of the boiler so you get nice clear wort coming up. However I've -never- had clear wort, nor have I -ever- had clear beer - it's always had some haze to it. What might I be doing wrong? Should I have the recirc running longer than the time required to drop to yeast pitching temp?
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Offline wingnut

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2010, 07:29:48 AM »
"Clear" may depend on your definition.

In my mind:
For mashing out, "Clear" means no bits of grain/husk.  The wort is basically free from visual debris, however, there are still starch and proteins that keep the liquid from being able to see through clearly.

After the boil, “Clear” to me means that there are no visual bits of tube, hops, break material…   The wort is clearer than before the boil, but not translucent (can see things through it)  Although it is fairly close.

After fermentation “Clear” to me, means that if I put a picture on the other side of the glass (assuming it is a lightly colored beer), I can see the picture on the other side. 


You say that you have never had “clear beer”.  I will concentrate on this one, since, in my opinion, “clear” in all the other steps has more to do with how long you have allowed the particles to settle/filter.

One thing to check is the calcium in your water.  50 to 100ppm is a good number.  Also, use irish moss or other similar product during the last 10 -15 minutes of the boil. 

If your beer is still not clear in the end, after these two steps (this has always worked for me), you can try fining before kegging/bottling.  Gelatin is a popular one, but there are many others such as polyclar to try.

One other thing that I can think of, is to check your sparging.  If you are sparging too much, you may be extracting extra tannins.  Essentially, chill haze is derived from tannins and proteins combining to form a haze matrix.  If you can lower your protein or lower your tannin levels, that will reduce the ability for the haze to form. 

One other thing I have heard some people doing, is to have a rest around 130F (could be wrong on the rest temp) to allow the enzymes to reduce the long chain proteins and create more “FAN”. (Free Aminio…nitrogen?)   I would have to re-consult with Greg Noonan’s Book “Brewing Lager Beer” to recall the rest temp for sure.  I also think I recall there being a protein content needed by the malt for this rest to provide a significant benefit.

If you do the 130F rest, it should only be about 10 to 15 minutes, or too much protein may be converted!

Good luck
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2010, 07:44:17 AM »
Ah, sorry, I'll clarify (har har!): yup, I was referring to post-fermentation clarity. I've heard of "drop bright" but have yet to experience it in person. The first two steps have pretty much always been clear according to your definition, so it sounds like it's either calcium in the water (you should see our shower doors - I pretty much only use "eau du source," like Evian, at least until the plumber can install the whole-house filter.

I DO however do all of my CLEANING with tap water - I've noticed that a lot of my SS tubing gets crystalline deposits on it when I soak it in no-rinse oxidizer, and I try to shake it off, but maybe there's enough lingering CaCO3 to have an effect?

For your other idea, is that a rest at 130 f BEFORE mashing at 150-155 or after? If I'm doing a 90-minute mash would I include the time used for the protein rest in the time for the overall mash?
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Offline wingnut

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2010, 08:42:55 AM »
I DO however do all of my CLEANING with tap water - I've noticed that a lot of my SS tubing gets crystalline deposits on it when I soak it in no-rinse oxidizer, and I try to shake it off, but maybe there's enough lingering CaCO3 to have an effect?

For your other idea, is that a rest at 130 f BEFORE mashing at 150-155 or after? If I'm doing a 90-minute mash would I include the time used for the protein rest in the time for the overall mash?

I am afraid if CaCO3 is an issue in your house, the whole house filter will make the water taste better, but not do anything for the residue (unless by filter you are going to go Reverse Osmosis).  Instead, you will need a water softner to remove some of the CaCO3... however, the salt it adds to the water will make it less suitable for brewing.   

I have vienna like water with hardness around 275 to 300... so I know what you mean!  The good news is that the CaCO3 is not a factor in your clairity at all.

As for the protein rest... it is derrived from decotion mashing used for undermodified malts.  By resting at between 122F and 131F, enzymes cause the proteins to change and also, cuase the release of more soluable starch for the other rest steps to work.  The common tale is that these days, with todays highly modified malts... that a protein rest is not needed... and for many malts that is true.  Although, now that I think about it, I do a protein rest for my vienna/octoberfest beers.   Those beers have a large proportion of Munich and Vienna malt that may benefit from the protein rest.  Most beers that are mostly 2-row or pilsner malt, I do not do a protein rest.  My useing a protein rest for Vienna/Octoberfest is just a hold over from recipies I used as a starting point.  Since it produces awards, I have not strayed from the schedule on those beers. 

Regardless, the 2 step decoction method starts with a dough in around 122-130 for a protein rest, pull a portion of the thick part of the mash to boil and add back int to hit 149-158, then rest until conversion is complete.  Then pull the thin part of the mash(liquid) and heat to boil and then dump that back in to reach mash out temps.

Note, that starch conversion is going on at 130F.  Because of that, you may want to step to a higher second temperature than you would normally do.  Essentially, at 130F, you are getting some Alpha action, but no Beta.  By giving the Alpha a head start, you may change the balance of sugars in your wort to be more fermentable and wind up with a thinner beer.  So if you normally do a single infusion of 152, then you may want to do a mash schedule of 130F for 10 to 15 mintues, then ramp/infuse/decoct up to 158F until conversion is complete.

So after all that, what I think you may want to try is doughing in to 130F for 15 mintues, then stepping up to 155-158 F for 45 to 60 minutes.  Do an iodine test to see if conversion is complete, and then mash out.

Don't forget to check for Calcuim...as CaCO3 is not the same as just Ca....
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2010, 09:31:45 AM »
I am afraid if CaCO3 is an issue in your house, the whole house filter will make the water taste better, but not do anything for the residue (unless by filter you are going to go Reverse Osmosis).  Instead, you will need a water softner to remove some of the CaCO3... however, the salt it adds to the water will make it less suitable for brewing.   

Yup, it's a dual filter, water softener cartridge followed by a ~5 μm filter for "purification." Maybe I should start another thread because we're moving more into water territory, but one of the things that I've noticed is a very distinct chlorine smell (seriously, fill up my mash tun with tap water and come back the next day to smell a municipal pool in my basement), I'm hoping that the filter will mitigate some of that, otherwise I guess I'll need to keep going with the bottled stuff. I'll post my "water report" in the "Post your water report" thread for more on that.

I've always been afraid of decoction mashing because it sounds really labor intensive and easy to screw up, but your description lays it out pretty well - I know have a lagering fridge so maybe I could try a Vienna Lager with tap water and do some decoction.
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Offline wingnut

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2010, 10:10:53 AM »
Note, the decoction is not needed in my opinion... hitting the rest temps are. 

The decoction is acually more for melenoiden development, and for the most part most of that flavor can be had with the right mixture of malts.  Besides, there are really few people who know what to look for to appreciate a decocted beer.

So the decoction effort is not needed, just hit the steps via infusion or direct heat if you have the capabilty.

Good luck
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2010, 06:41:20 AM »
Quick update, now that I've racked to the BetterBottle: this is my first truly clear beer! Doing an immersion chiller + recirc through a counterflow really seems to have done wonders.
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2010, 09:06:37 AM »
Sorry I couldn't help >:(

 My Superfly batch sparging doesn't need a rotating sparge arm ;D

 I digress and only post to get my count past 400. :o

 
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