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teutonic terror

Mash Temps

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Hello guys!
I did my 7th BIAB recipe yesterday and I need some input on the mash temps.
I mashed in at 167, a little high I know, but I'm using a relatively light aluminum turkey fryer for a brew pot! I usually let it set for 75 mins. When I pulled the bag, I checked the temp and it was down to 147.
Now, Ive read that most of the conversion happens in the first 20 mins or so, and I've also read to try to keep the temp around 150-154 for the full hour.
Is only one right, or are both right?
Also, I'm not doing a mashout. I usually use some 170 water and let the bag of grain sit for about 15 mins then dunk the bag several times.
The reason I don't do the mashout is because I find I can't control the hot spots that seem to come with adding heat.
Is it important to do a mashout or is this method a decent substitute?
I'm usually pretty close to my gravity's so I don't think it's a big problem but I want to make sure I'm doing things pretty much the right way.

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So what you're saying is, you lost about 20 degrees in a little over an hour. Let's simplify that and say 20 degrees in 60 minutes. That's losing roughly 2 degrees every five minutes. So during the first 20 minutes, your temperature could have dropped from 167 to 157. Actually, it might have dropped more, and then stabilized, because adding the grain can drop the temperature quite a bit right off the bat.

So I don't think you were too high right away. Depending on the style of beer, you may get more body and a little less alcohol, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's certainly not a game-breaker.

Still, I would recommend finding a way to keep the temps a little more stable throughout the mash. I don't do BIAB, so I really can't recommend anything, but I don't think your method is so off or out of left field that you're ruining your beer. If, as you say, you're getting close to your projected OG on these batches, and the beer tastes okay, it would seem you're doing something right, so RDWHAHB.

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Sorry Dave i wasn't clear.
I took my water to 167 and after adding the grain, the temp dropped to around 157 so you were right on there!
The reason I'm taking the water so high is to compensate for the rapid heat loss.
I'm also curious if I could use a cooler to do the mash in then just transfer the wort at the end of the mash? That would certainly help with the heat loss problem!

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When I was mashing in a pot, I would pre heat the oven 170 degrees. After I mashed in, I'd kill the heat in the oven and throw the pot inside. I would generally only lose 1 degree over an hour

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I use a 1.25:1 mash thickness in my calculations, that's the ratio of grain to strike water. Once the mash thickness is established you can calculate the temperature of your strike water based on the temperature of your grains. For me with grains at 68-70F and a 1.25:1 mash thickness I know my strike temperature has to be around 168-170F to hit a 155F mash temperature.

I do all grain using a mash tun and there is very little heat loss, I even drape a few large towels beach towels over the tun for added insulation. I'm not sure if this directly helps you with BIAB but I figure you still have to deal with grain and water amounts so maybe mash thickness applies here too.

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What I was really curious about was if starting at my target temp of 154-156 and having it drop into the high 140's was affecting the quality of my beer and whether by adding another 15 mins onto the mash was helping or hurting.
I'm not brewing bad beer by my taste buds, but I'm looking to improve my technique and it may be as simple as an additional equipment purchase.
Conserver, I've considered the oven method but I think my brew pot is too tall! But, I will revisit it!
Screwy, I used a 1.5:1 mash ratio on this batch. I'll look into the calculations of the mash temp to grain temps! I also wrap the brew pot in beach towels and a couple of blankets.
Thanks for the input and look forward to any more advice you can impart!
:cheers:

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"TheConserver" post=286733 said:

When I was mashing in a pot, I would pre heat the oven 170 degrees. After I mashed in, I'd kill the heat in the oven and throw the pot inside. I would generally only lose 1 degree over an hour

I still mash in a pot, and this is what I do. Works great.

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I wrap my pot in this. http://www.lowes.com/pd_13357-56291-BP24025_4294858104__?productId=3011904&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

Cut a slot for the handle, wrap, slot for handle, wrap, slot for the handle and so on about 3-4 times, cut two pieces for the lid. Brewed Saturday and only lost 3 deg over 75 minute mash.
Just don't turn the burner on until you take it off.
I hear it will melt a little :whistle:

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"teutonic terror" post=286844 said:

What I was really curious about was if starting at my target temp of 154-156 and having it drop into the high 140's was affecting the quality of my beer and whether by adding another 15 mins onto the mash was helping or hurting.

teutonic terror - Are you wondering if you need to "re-heat" half way through versus, just letting it go and letting it fall out of the range?

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"Inkleg" post=286874 said:

I wrap my pot in this. http://www.lowes.com/pd_13357-56291-BP24025_4294858104__?productId=3011904&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

Cut a slot for the handle, wrap, slot for handle, wrap, slot for the handle and so on about 3-4 times, cut two pieces for the lid. Brewed Saturday and only lost 3 deg over 75 minute mash.
Just don't turn the burner on until you take it off.
I hear it will melt a little :whistle:

Do you have pictures of how you use this? Do you make a permanent "cap" or just wrap and unwrap each use?

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"teutonic terror" post=286844 said:

What I was really curious about was if starting at my target temp of 154-156 and having it drop into the high 140's was affecting the quality of my beer and whether by adding another 15 mins onto the mash was helping or hurting.

Is it affecting the quality of the beer? No.
When you mash at a higher temp (157 range) you create less fermentable sugar than when you mash at a lower temp (149 range). Depending on how long you are holding at 157 you may be all done with conversion of starch to sugar before it even drops. If that's the case you end up with a lot of unfermentable sugars which means a 'fuller' bodied beer.

If the temp starts dropping right away then you'll have a combination of unfermentable sugars along with the fermenatables created at the lower temp and you'll end up with a lighter bodied beer.

There's certainly nothing wrong with it either way. But if you want to have more control over this for certain style (dryer, thinner beer for a saison or thicker/heavier beer for a porter) then you will want to work on holding the temps steady to ensure you get what you want.

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Thanks for the input! You all have given me a bit to consider!
KokomoSam, I tried reheating on one of my recent brews and I found it difficult to control hot spots. Some were 10 degrees higher than what I wanted. I haven't figured out how to heat slowly with the propane burner yet!
That one just went in the bottle so the jury is still out.
Inkleg, that is BRILLIANT! That's gonna be a project before this weekends brew session.
I had also thought of a hot water heater blanket, but I think they have fiberglass in them.
Kealia, what I have noticed is the temp will hold at 155-157 for about 10-15 mins then starts descending. Towards the end of the 75 mins is when, logically, it starts falling a little quicker. From what I've read most of the conversion is usually complete in the first 20 mins or so, so it may be a moot point.
Also, while I think to ask, I need recommendations on a good thermometer. I have a decent digital. I know it's one degree off, but if you get a little water around where the probe attaches to the wire it goes bonkers! So, I have to check it again every brew day!
I had it reading 122 one night while cooling a brew when the pot was cool to the touch!
Thanks again BORG!

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Been pussy footing around with asking this so here goes. I have been interested in BIAB and understand a lot of the science behind it. I guess what I get lost about this is how to figure out how much water (strike water and boil water to add/sparge) you will be using. I have to get a few more things to get started on this, but I will most likely have a 16qt brew pot. I will be doing 2.13 gal sized batches. So...

Do you go ahead and use hopville, qbrew etc to figure your recipe and use the amt of grains in your recipe to figure up the volume of water i.e. 1.25:1 ? OR would I say that I am aiming for 2.13 gal batch and figure out the grains from there?

I know the difference b/t a no-sparge and a regular BIAB. I will most likely be aiming for a no-sparge BIAB. Can they both provide a good efficiency equally?

I am going to try my hand at some partial-mashes to get some experience with mashing along with extract.

Thanks :cheers:

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Pangous04, there aren't any hard-and-fast rules. There are recommendations, and some methods are better than others, but if you ask ten brewers the same question about technique, you'll likely get 15 different answers.

For myself, I figure 1.25 quarts per pound of grain. It's what works for me. Others use up to 1.5 quarts, and others use as little as 1 quart. Since I'm getting around 75% efficiency, I'm not going to complain.

So let's say I'm going to use 10 pounds of grain. That's 12.5 quarts of water, or just over 3 gallons. Because I'm lazy, I'm going to use 3 gallons in my mash. My experience tells me this will yield about 1.5 gallons of mash liquor. I like to do two separate 15-minute batch sparges, and I've learned that I'm likely to boil off about a gallon of water during a 60-minute boil, so for a five-gallon full-volume boil, I need six gallons of wort to start with. So each of my sparges will be around 2 1/4 gallons or so.

I use qbrew to calculate my recipes, but I've come to learn that, for a 5-gallon batch, 10 or 11 pounds of grain will do most times (for the recipes I like, anyway). For a LBK batch, I'd cut it in half, re-enter it in qbrew and see what it gives me.

I don't have much experience with BIAB, so I can't address the no-sparge issue.

But that's my method for a full-volume mash using a tun, and as I say, I'm getting good results. Maybe I could improve my results, but for where I am right now, it's making good beer.

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That's exactly what I have found out about the different opinions. I read one place and it states this and another site states that. I really do appreciate the info about the grain to water ratio., it cleared up a lot of cloudiness for me.

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I do BIAB for my LBK sized batches. I've found (through 3 batches so far) that I have to do sparge as my 16qt pot doesn't hold all the water needed for the boil with the grain weight displacement. I need a 3 gallon boil to get down to about 2.3-2.5 gallons after 60 min boil. So I start with a mash at 1.25:1, then drain the grains over the pot. It takes about another 1 to 2 gallons after the mash to get to 3 gallon boil level, so I heat that ammount in another pot to 170* and pour it over the grain sack into the pot. Luckily the 3 gallon mark is pretty close to the bottom of the screw handles, so it's pretty easy to judge where to stop.

I wish I could just do full volume BIAB, but my 16qt pot is just not big enough.

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"Gizmo" post=287245 said:

I wish I could just do full volume BIAB, but my 16qt pot is just not big enough.

I've done full volume traditional BIAB, and have much better luck doing it similar to you. I use a more traditional mash thickness then a separate batch sparge and get much better efficiency this way.

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"teutonic terror" post=286899 said:


Also, while I think to ask, I need recommendations on a good thermometer. I have a decent digital. I know it's one degree off, but if you get a little water around where the probe attaches to the wire it goes bonkers! So, I have to check it again every brew day!
I had it reading 122 one night while cooling a brew when the pot was cool to the touch!
Thanks again BORG!

I have and use this one and I am happy with it.
http://www.amazon.com/RT600C-Super-fast-Water-resistant-Digital-Thermometer/dp/B002GE2XF8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348674291&sr=8-1&keywords=thermowork

I came upon this one after several swings and misses...

2012-05-1510-57-15318-M.jpg

2012-05-1511-00-33764-M.jpg

2012-05-1511-01-5138-M.jpg

2012-05-1511-08-16424-M.jpg

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"pangous04" post=287160 said:

Been pussy footing around with asking this so here goes. I have been interested in BIAB and understand a lot of the science behind it. I guess what I get lost about this is how to figure out how much water (strike water and boil water to add/sparge) you will be using. I have to get a few more things to get started on this, but I will most likely have a 16qt brew pot. I will be doing 2.13 gal sized batches. So...

Do you go ahead and use hopville, qbrew etc to figure your recipe and use the amt of grains in your recipe to figure up the volume of water i.e. 1.25:1 ? OR would I say that I am aiming for 2.13 gal batch and figure out the grains from there?

I know the difference b/t a no-sparge and a regular BIAB. I will most likely be aiming for a no-sparge BIAB. Can they both provide a good efficiency equally?

I am going to try my hand at some partial-mashes to get some experience with mashing along with extract.

Thanks :cheers:

I've done about 10 BIAB batches and for a full volume and I do the following:

You need at least a 20 quart pot. I start with 4 gallons of water. After mash I put my grain bag into a collander and let that drip into the pot (I will gently push down on the grains a little to speed it up). This will result in between 3 to 3.5 gallons for the boil. After a 60 minute boil I end up pretty close to 2.5 gallons.

If I sparge (which I have started doing everytime) I do it just like Gizmo.
I have found that by sparging I get a higher OG as it helps to extract a little extra fermentables from the grains which gives me better efficency.

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