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Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

Moderator: slothrob

Postby camelfilter » Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:11 am

slothrob wrote:I'm confused by this. You had 5.5 gallons of 1st runnings, ended up with 8.9 gallons, so you must have had 4.4 gallons of 2nd runnings. Right


No, 5.5 + 4.4 = 9.9,... I got 8.9 in the kettle. 1st runnings = 5.5 (predicted 4.4) & 2nd runnings = 3.4 (predicted 4.5),...Yeah,...I know, it's wierd, but I measured my 1st runnings in the kettle with my story-stick and the full kettle once the second runnings ran dry.

slothrob wrote:Also, stirring at Mash Out, or just prior to 2nd runnings is important. Frankly, crush beats most all other variables as the primary influence on efficiency. Without your own mill, so that you can progressively tighten the gap until you max out, it's difficult to know if you're crushed well enough. I can't tell a good crush just by looking at it.


I guess you're right,...I'm still waiting for my mill to show up,...dang ground delivery.

slothrob wrote:
Just a question,...all you batch spargers out there
1) put your strike water into the tun at the calculated temp.
2) stir in your grain to arrive at the correct saccrification(protein etc.) rest temp,...right?

Yes.


that's what I thought
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My method

Postby billvelek » Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:57 pm

camelfilter wrote:snip ... Just a question,...all you batch spargers out there

1) put your strike water into the tun at the calculated temp.

2) stir in your grain to arrive at the correct saccrification(protein etc.) rest temp,...right? ... snip
Crap. I had a nice reply drafted and somehow I managed to close the tab before sending it. Anyway, I'll just cover the main points.

First, I don't know if it makes any difference, but I don't pour my grist into my strike water, but rather dump my strike water into my grist that is already in the tun. I then spend two or three minutes stirring it with a paddle, and I have never had a problem with any doughballs or dry grist on the bottom of my tun. EDIT: The reason is that I measure my grains a pound at a time and dump them into the tun; I wouldn't want the water cooling or wait to stir during the time it takes to weigh the grain, although I suppose I could measure it into a plastic bucket and then dump the bucket all at once into the strike water. It just never occurred to me to do it that way; is there any perceived problem with dumping the water into the grist?

Second, I usually stir at several intervals between mashin and my first runnings; I then stir very well for a minute or two after adding sparge water; this is essential to dissolve as much sugar as possible.

Third, I have a very light-weight plastic 'picnic type' dinner plate that floats, and I set it on top of my mash during vorlauf. This allows me to pour the runnings onto the center of the dish and transfer the force of the wort into a lateral plane that goes pretty much in all directions rather than downward into my grain bed, which would just stir up the bed. Be sure to remove the plate when you finish your vorlauf and before draining, so that the weight of the plate -- what little there is -- won't compress your grain bed. Now that I think of it, a styrofoam plate would probably be ideal. This has worked very well for me.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
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math and mash

Postby slothrob » Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:18 pm

Camel (I was more of a no-filter guy, back when I smoked),
:oops:
Sorry for the really stupid math error.
...I guess I should stick to typing while completely sober!

In that case, you're not getting the water out that you put in.
Losing 10% of your sparge will cost you 4% efficiency, alone.

I got 50% efficiency from one homebrew shop's mill, went to another and got 65-70%, got my own mill and got 75%, optimized my crush and now I average 80% efficiency (with a couple around 90% with a double crush).

Bill,
I shouldn't have given such a terse answer, I guess.
First, what I meant was that adding grist to water is a perfectly acceptable way to do it, not the only way. I think it can help in avoiding doughballs, but mostly I add the grist to the water because it allows me to double check the strike temperature. Having the water in the tun allows me to make sure that the predicted amount of heat was lost to the tun and avoid surprises such as those caused by an overly cold day or tun which results in a missed mash temp. I live near Boston and we have some pretty wild temperature swings in just a few hours, so room temp doesn't mean much. I weigh out all my grain and grind it right into the waiting strike water.

Second, a lot of people stir between mash in and mash out, but it doesn't seem to make much difference in efficiency, according to Denny Conn. I've never done the side by side experiment, but the top 5 efficiencies I've had were after stirring in, stirring just prior to first runnings, and stirring prior to 2nd runnings, only.

Third, I do something similar, I just use a plastic Indian takeout food cover that happens to float. As I don't fly sparge, I don't worry about the top of the grain bed much, but I hope it helps cut down on hot side aeration.
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Re: My method

Postby camelfilter » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:22 pm

billvelek wrote:
camelfilter wrote:snip ... Just a question,...all you batch spargers out there

1) put your strike water into the tun at the calculated temp.

2) stir in your grain to arrive at the correct saccrification(protein etc.) rest temp,...right? ... snip


billvelek wrote: Crap. I had a nice reply drafted and somehow I managed to close the tab before sending it. Anyway, I'll just cover the main points.


Hah! If I had a nickel for everytime I've done that! Now, I'm in the habit of doing a ctrl-A (select all) and a ctrl-C (copy) to put my text into the clipboard. Should I 'lose' my beautifully composed post, I can hit ctrl-V to paste it into a new post,...I've had to utilize this more than a few times and am glad that I started doing it.

billvelek wrote: First, I don't know if it makes any difference, but I don't pour my grist into my strike water, but rather dump my strike water into my grist that is already in the tun. I then spend two or three minutes stirring it with a paddle, and I have never had a problem with any doughballs or dry grist on the bottom of my tun. EDIT: The reason is that I measure my grains a pound at a time and dump them into the tun; I wouldn't want the water cooling or wait to stir during the time it takes to weigh the grain, although I suppose I could measure it into a plastic bucket and then dump the bucket all at once into the strike water. It just never occurred to me to do it that way; is there any perceived problem with dumping the water into the grist?


I doubt it does,...This last brew, I actually had my strike-water in a small kettle with a spigot,...I checked the temp of the strike water, opened the spigot and while it dumped into the tun, I stirred in my grain,...kind of doing 'both-at-once' if you catch my meaning and was spot-on (closest I've ever been) on my rest temp. I think this is the way I'm gonna do it from now on and it was actually easier and saved time.

billvelek wrote: Second, I usually stir at several intervals between mashin and my first runnings; I then stir very well for a minute or two after adding sparge water; this is essential to dissolve as much sugar as possible.


I could probably do a better job with this,...I've always been so concerned about 'releasing heat' while stirring the mash that I tend to just get in, stir quickly, and get out as fast as I can. I do try to stir the complete mash, but I don't know if this 'one pass' type of stirring is doing the job. I try to do it every 15 minutes,...but maybe I need to get a little more aggressive.

billvelek wrote: Third, I have a very light-weight plastic 'picnic type' dinner plate that floats, and I set it on top of my mash during vorlauf. This allows me to pour the runnings onto the center of the dish and transfer the force of the wort into a lateral plane that goes pretty much in all directions rather than downward into my grain bed, which would just stir up the bed. Be sure to remove the plate when you finish your vorlauf and before draining, so that the weight of the plate -- what little there is -- won't compress your grain bed. Now that I think of it, a styrofoam plate would probably be ideal. This has worked very well for me.


That's a pretty good idea,...I'm usually pretty careful about recirculating and probably take an inordinate amount of time to vorlauf,...I think a light plate (styrofoam like you suggest) would speed up this process and actually be more effective and gentler to the grain bed. Thanks for the input!

Ryan
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