Author Topic: Another sour mash question water/grain ratio?  (Read 756 times)

Offline dzlater

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Another sour mash question water/grain ratio?
« on: May 27, 2011, 06:41:23 AM »
I decided (at least for the moment ) to just mash all the grains in my 5 gallon cooler for 24 hours for the sour mash.
My grain bill is 7.75 lbs and I need a total of 7 gallons water for the mash and the sparge.
Usually I just split my total water volume half for the mash and half for the sparge.
If I do that in this case I use 3.5 gallons of mash water which is 1.8 quarts per lb. which will leave me with about 1.75 gallons of head space in the mash tun. Everything I have read says to fill to the top when sour mashing to minimize exposure to air.
If I used 4.25 gallons of mash water @ 2.2 quarts per lb it would pretty much leave no headspace in the mash tun but then I would only need 2.75 gallons for the sparge which might hurt my efficiency.
So I guess what I am trying to figure out is which is better a thin mash with less sparge water or risk the exposure to oxygen with a thicker mash and equal volumes of mash and sparge water?
Or am I once again way over complicating things.
Dan S. from NJ

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Another sour mash question water/grain ratio?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2011, 09:27:30 AM »
I don't think the oxygen exposure is really going to be much of a risk.  I'd go that route.

On the flip side I've been mashing with 3-3.5qt/lb as a no-sparge method and its been giving me pretty close to the same efficiency I was getting with a single infusion and batch sparge.

In other words, either way has a high probability of success.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline dzlater

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Re: Another sour mash question water/grain ratio?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2011, 04:24:14 AM »
I mashed the whole grain bill @ 150º for an hour, with 4 gallons it filled my cooler just about to the top. Let the temp drop to 120º put a few handfuls of grain on top of the mash. I put some foil and a dinner plate on top to keep the exposure to air down, put on the lid and let it sit 24 hours.
After 24 hours the temp was still above 100º.
I was expecting a disgusting reeking mess, when I opened the mash tun but, it smelled pretty good.
The top of the mash was just starting too get scummy, scrapped off maybe a tablespoon of crud. Then sparged and boiled as usual.
The wort was nice and  sour no nasty smells or tastes. It might actually be too sour.
Dan S. from NJ

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Another sour mash question water/grain ratio?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 07:52:48 AM »
Sounds like an excellent result.  Too sour is better than not sour enough.  I bet the sourness attenuates by the time you ferment and if it doesn't you can always blend.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline smizak

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Re: Another sour mash question water/grain ratio?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 08:19:35 AM »
I've had great success with sour mashes. I do them for my saisons. They key is to keep it above 100F and limit the O2. Doing it this way I've never experienced any off-aromas or flavors, just clean sourness. I just let it go until I see the fizzing slow down. It still leaves a lot of residual sugar, so the bacteria must stop after the ph has dropped to a certain level. I also find the lactic flavor adds a richness and complexity along with the sourness. Two day, two pound sour mashes for a 12 lb total grain bill has been the sweet spot for my saisons.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Another sour mash question water/grain ratio?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 05:40:52 AM »
I'll have to give the mini-mash thing a go, I'm down to my last bottle of Berlinner.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO