Author Topic: Some basic knowledge help, please.  (Read 2515 times)

Offline dano14041

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Some basic knowledge help, please.
« on: December 29, 2010, 08:57:37 AM »
I am confused on some of the basic's. Hopefully these won't make me look too foolish.  ;)

When you preheat a mash tun, does it matter what temp the water is? What temp are you preheating the mash tun to?

On my first AG batch I didn't preheat my mash tun, it was around 100F outside, and I hit my mash in temp. The second and third AG batchs I did preheat my mash tun with around 170F water, temp was in the 60'sF outside, and my mash in temp was way low. On my last batch, I preheated my mash tun with boiling water, outside temp was 42F, and my mash in temp was way high. I think I am making things harder than they need to be.

When you sparge with 168 - 170F water, is this the water temp or mash temp? I thought I had read that you needed to raise the mash temp to 168 or above to stop the enzyme activity, but other things make it sound like you just sparge with 168F water.

Thanks in advance!
Dano
Tulsa, OK

Offline denny

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 09:32:34 AM »
When you sparge with 168 - 170F water, is this the water temp or mash temp? I thought I had read that you needed to raise the mash temp to 168 or above to stop the enzyme activity, but other things make it sound like you just sparge with 168F water.

Thanks in advance!
Dano

You want the grain to be in the 168-170F range.  For me, that means using water that's 185-190F.
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Offline EHall

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2010, 09:36:45 AM »
I think you're making this harder than it needs to be... I don't preheat nor do I think you need to. If I need to mash at 152F, I bring my liquor to about 163/164F, add it to MT and dough in. 98% of the time I hit my point. If you don't, boil some more water and it a little at a time until you hit your target, you'll figure out over time how much higher than your mash temp you need to be for your system.
As for sparging, I believe you need to be at 168F or higher to properly stop conversion... I've seen folks who sparge anywhere from 168 all the way up to 190F... I'd personally wouldn't go higher than 175F.
Phoenix, AZ

Offline denny

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2010, 09:53:16 AM »
If you're concerned about tannin extraction, just keep your pH in line and temp won't be a problem.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 09:57:23 AM »
I'm on board with the need to keep the sparge water pH right, but I've heard Gordon comment strongly on temperature too.  I personally don't exceed 170F with my sparge water in addition to acidifying to under 6.0
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 10:09:22 AM »
There are some nice calculators online that help to calculate the temperatures you need.  Here's one that I use:
http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
Once the water is in the mash tun, THEN check the temp before adding the grain.  You can change it with hot or cool water according to what is required.  I try to keep the ratio of water to grain the same as I raise or lower the temps, but I rarely have any issues because my mash tun is a converted keg.  I just heat up the water to what I need and add grain. 
You could put a fire under your picnic cooler, but I don't like the smell of melting plastic.   ;)
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Offline Mark G

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 10:11:15 AM »
I've gotten more consistent results since I stopped preheating my mashtun and letting Beersmith take the temperature of the grains and my mashtun into account when calculating strike temps. Now I always seem to be within 1-2 degrees F (I know I just jinxed myself for my next brew).
Mark Gres

Offline tygo

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 10:32:56 AM »
I've gotten more consistent results since I stopped preheating my mashtun and letting Beersmith take the temperature of the grains and my mashtun into account when calculating strike temps. Now I always seem to be within 1-2 degrees F (I know I just jinxed myself for my next brew).

This is what I do as well.  It takes a little trial and error to figure out the adjustment you need to make to the thermal mass of your equipment in Beersmith but once you have it dialed in it's usually pretty close.

I generally err on the side of heating the water up a couple of extra degrees above what it's telling me to account for differences in ambient temperature and then waiting until the temp of the water in the mash tun is at my desired strike temp.  I'd rather have to stir and wait a little for the temp to come down than have to pull some of the water back out to reheat (or add additional hot water).
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Offline denny

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 10:48:40 AM »
I'm on board with the need to keep the sparge water pH right, but I've heard Gordon comment strongly on temperature too.  I personally don't exceed 170F with my sparge water in addition to acidifying to under 6.0

Martin, as an experiment, try using hotter water.  While I respect Gordon's comment, I also have hundreds of batches of experience with using 185-190 water without problem.   Try it for yourself and see what you think.  The key is to keep the grain bed temp in line, and hotter water can still keep it under 170.  Now, if your mash is already near 170 when you start your sparge, of course you don't want to use the hotter water.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010, 11:08:43 AM »
I do typically mash out with my RIMS to 168F, so my mash is already hot.  I suppose I shouldn't play with the higher temperatures because of that?
Martin B
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Offline denny

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2010, 11:12:16 AM »
I do typically mash out with my RIMS to 168F, so my mash is already hot.  I suppose I shouldn't play with the higher temperatures because of that?


You're correct.  Since you've already achieved that temp, there's no reason to go with hotter water.  Since by the end of my mash I'm typically around 150ish, using 185-190F water gets me into the 168(ish) range.
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Offline Mikey

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2010, 11:39:21 AM »
I thought cold sparging was the accepted practice around here. ;)

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2010, 06:13:29 PM »
I'm on board with the need to keep the sparge water pH right, but I've heard Gordon comment strongly on temperature too.  I personally don't exceed 170F with my sparge water in addition to acidifying to under 6.0

Regarding 170F magic number. Czech brewers regularly sparge at 172F (convert to the C on your own).
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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2010, 12:11:37 AM »
Only to echo others: as a batch-sparger I've found mash pH to be more important than mashing out to hit 168+. However I'm mindful of both aspects so everything is considered. However in my experience when mashing lower into the 140's even boiling water won't bring temps up to 168 unless you use extra.

I am confused on some of the basic's. Hopefully these won't make me look too foolish.  ;)

When you preheat a mash tun, does it matter what temp the water is? What temp are you preheating the mash tun to?

On my first AG batch I didn't preheat my mash tun, it was around 100F outside, and I hit my mash in temp. The second and third AG batchs I did preheat my mash tun with around 170F water, temp was in the 60'sF outside, and my mash in temp was way low. On my last batch, I preheated my mash tun with boiling water, outside temp was 42F, and my mash in temp was way high. I think I am making things harder than they need to be.

When you sparge with 168 - 170F water, is this the water temp or mash temp? I thought I had read that you needed to raise the mash temp to 168 or above to stop the enzyme activity, but other things make it sound like you just sparge with 168F water.

Thanks in advance!
Dano

As you've experienced the ambient temp will affect how your tun heats. It might not need preheating at summer temps. In winter compensate.  A handy quick save is ice. If you overshoot your temp then a handful or two of ice stirred in well can drop you into desired range. Or a frozen plastic bottle. That's not as effective IMO.

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Offline oscarvan

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Re: Some basic knowledge help, please.
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2010, 09:20:40 AM »
OK, reading all the above I am assuming that most of you add grain to water of the right temp and not the other way around?
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