Author Topic: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.  (Read 19859 times)

Offline quest4watneys

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Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« on: March 13, 2011, 09:43:11 PM »
I've been inching towards all grain brewing and I'm trying to learn as much as I can so I have as much info as possible to make for a nice, stress free brew day (ha ha ha). I have noticed that John Palmer recommends as much as 2 qts. of water per 1 pound of grain but I've seen it as low as 1 qt. per 1 lb. What determines the actual amount? And has anyone heard of using glass marbles in a brew kettle to control boilovers? Should you add the strike water to the grain or the grain to the strike water? I'm sure I'll have a few more questions before I make the leap.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2011, 10:20:28 PM »
Re: water amount, anything in that range will be fine.  1 qt/lb will be rather thick, 2 qt/lb will be on the thinner side.  Mash thickness supposedly affects conversion, but I'm not convinced it makes a difference on a homebrew level.

You can add marbles to give nucleation sites during the boil, that might help.  I don't do it.  A big enough kettle and some anti-foam stuff works for me.

I add grain to water, but you can do it either way.  I direct fire my mash tun, so it makes sense for my equipment.

Feel free to ask questions :)  Go for all-grain sooner rather than later, once you try it you'll stop being so intimidated by the process.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline oscarvan

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 01:01:35 AM »
I'm at about 1.8 and that allows you to break the clumps up and get it all nice and stirred in just 20-30 seconds so you can stop the heat loss and put the lid on the thing. Wouldn't go much thinner
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
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Offline Tim McManus

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 01:18:25 AM »
We usually dough-in with a .75 ratio just to saturate the grains.  Then we infuse and bring the ratio to 1.25 for a thick mash.  What determines the ratio is you.  As long as you are between 1 and 2, you'll be fine.  Over time you'll find the ratio that works best for your recipes / brewery.

Warm water goes into the tun and then the grain is added and stirred into the water.  We pour some grain in, stir a bit, pour some more, and stir until it all get in there and is wet.

I wouldn't put glass into a boiling kettle.  Ingesting a glass chip is a horrible experience, so I would be somewhat concerned about that.  We don't put anything in the kettle to control boilovers, however, we always have one hand on the gas flow valve for the burner.  Dropping the flame on the kettle manages boilover as do several other methods.
Tim McManus
Haskell, NJ

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 05:12:06 AM »
I don't think glass beads or marbles are going to help control boilovers.  A boilover happens due to some protein being partially denatured and forming a thick floating foam.  Once it completely denatures it becomes more dense and sticks to the sides of the kettle.

I adjust my ratio so the grist fits in my MLT.  I have an MLT that is volume limited with big grain bills.  I've used everything from 1.25-2+  qt/lb and get pretty similar results.
Lennie
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 06:30:59 AM »
I generally adjust my ratio to balance first and second runnings. For example, I started figuring 1.5qts/lb for a batch this weekend but found that, by moving that to 1.78qts/lb, I'd get equal first and second runnnings (and no mash out).
Joe

Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 07:29:48 AM »
For boilovers, get yourself some food grade silicone.  A few drops right when it is going to boil reduces the foam and stops boilovers. 
Justin
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2011, 08:56:11 AM »
I don't think glass beads or marbles are going to help control boilovers.  A boilover happens due to some protein being partially denatured and forming a thick floating foam.  Once it completely denatures it becomes more dense and sticks to the sides of the kettle.
There's two kinds of boilovers, the kind you're describing and the kind that comes from superheated wort that suddenly boils up as a huge bubble and spills over.  Marbles might help with the latter, not with the former.  I've also heard of people using pennies or a small piece of copper pipe for the same reason, plus it adds a little copper to the wort.
Tom Schmidlin

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2011, 10:07:55 AM »
Is adding copper to the wort a desirable thing? if so why? just curious

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2011, 10:32:54 AM »
It's an enzymatic co-factor required for yeast health.  It is unlikely to be an issue on a homebrew level unless you continually repitch your yeast and have no copper in your brewery.  But if you've got copper pipes in your house, chill with a copper chiller, etc, then there will be plenty of copper for the yeast.  And if you are getting fresh yeast from any of the yeast houses it's not something you need to concern yourself with.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline maxieboy

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2011, 10:46:34 AM »
1.3 qts/lb has always worked well for me. Copper p/u tubes in HLT and BK.
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Offline euge

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2011, 11:40:20 AM »
I've settled on 1.6 qt per pound but that's not set in stone either.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2011, 12:10:25 PM »
Hey I used to always do 1.25 qt./lb.  Now I usually do 1.5 qt./lb., or even a little higher than that, as it stirs easier.

For really big beers, I might do 1.1 qt./lb. so it will all fit in the mash tun.  This will help you decide if you can get it all into your mash tun.  Go down to "Can I Mash It?"
 http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
Jeff Rankert
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Offline tygo

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2011, 12:22:00 PM »
What's the downside to going above ~2 qts lb?  pH?
Clint
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Offline dzlater

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2011, 12:28:57 PM »
I generally adjust my ratio to balance first and second runnings. For example, I started figuring 1.5qts/lb for a batch this weekend but found that, by moving that to 1.78qts/lb, I'd get equal first and second runnnings (and no mash out).
That's pretty much how I do it.
I figure my total water need divide by half, and if that's somewhere between 1 and 2 quarts per lb. I go with it.
I also only have a 5 gallon mash tun so I have to make sure it will fit, So sometimes I have to adjust for that too.
Dan S. from NJ