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Old 05-18-2011, 05:35 AM   #1
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Default Easier turbid mash?

So we all know the traditional method of doing a turbid mash, using the basket/sieve-like device to push down on the grain in order to be able to scoop up some starchy "mash liquid" - I don't want to call it sweet wort - without getting any of the grains (which would probably result in something more like a decoction mash.)

So I'm planning to do my first lambic this weekend, and wondering if there isn't an easier way. Instead of going out and buying a sieve, why not just run off that "mash liquid" through the valve like you would normally drain the mash tun? I can see this being a problem with bigger batches where running off what you need would take so long that more conversion would take place, but a 5-gal batch through a 1/2-inch full flow valve (and in my case, also using MoreBeer's new high-flow March 809 pump with the performance of an 815), it doesn't seem like it should really be a big issue.

At worst, a small amount of grain could be reserved and thrown in right before heating to 172+ in order to maintain 100% of the available starches - but even that seems unnecessary. Though I know some people throw maltodextrin in the boil to provide more starches as well.

So I'm wondering what you experienced guys have to say about this - particularly why all sources mention the traditional scooping from the top using that basket thing, and yet I've never seen a single suggestion of running off through the valve instead, since the MLT's already-present filter (braid, screen, manifold, false bottom) should be functionally identical to the strainer basket...

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Old 05-18-2011, 01:44 PM   #2
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That's exactly what I've done for turbid mashes without issue. As far as I am aware the basket thing is actually the way Belgian brewers did all of their lautering, it wasn’t a special thing reserved for turbid mashing.

Good luck!

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Old 05-18-2011, 06:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldsock
That's exactly what I've done for turbid mashes without issue. As far as I am aware the basket thing is actually the way Belgian brewers did all of their lautering, it wasn’t a special thing reserved for turbid mashing.

Good luck!
Awesome. That should simplify things a ton.

I wonder why Wild Brews and every other source I've read will refer to that basket thing without mentioning it's unnecessary. I think that book (or maybe somewhere else) even gives rudimentary instructions for making a fairly traditional one, in addition to suggesting a modern substitute, which gave me the impression that most homebrewers did it this way as well.

I thought I was being smart by realizing it really accomplishes the exact same thing as modern lautering techniques, but I guess it was just really obvious

Thanks a lot!
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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It's all about liquid separation no matter how you get it done.

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Old 05-20-2011, 06:27 AM   #5
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Or you can just throw a bit of wheat flour in the wort at boil time.

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Old 05-20-2011, 11:44 AM   #6
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We filled a 60 gal barrel last June with a lambic we did a turbid mash on. There were five or six brewers and about half just ran off and half used colanders and autosyphons. There wasn't an issue with either.

I would guess the reason for the "seive method" is to avoid stuck mashes but you're doing a beta glucan rest as part of the schedule so it is taking a lot of the "gummyness" out of the wheat up front.

We were really surpised how easy it was to run off.


(side note: wait ubtil you see thay runoff... Its like milk.... Almost pure white)

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Old 03-15-2012, 12:21 AM   #7
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I also have a question...I have a recirculating mash tun...can't I just heat the mash up to the desired temp, then drain out some wort...add more water and recirc. the temp up to the next temp, then drain off that wort...etc...until I work my way through all the temps?

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Old 03-15-2012, 11:43 AM   #8
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You can, but I doubt you'll be able to effectively run your recirculation. I just did this wednesday last week and the first rest the mash was so thick I just mixed it by hand like it was bread dough. The mash is so thick until you get the second to last step where you add all the pulled away wort back to the main mash. It was thick to the point that just using gravity to drain wort off took forever. So I don't know if it'd flow out of the mash fast enough for you to use a pump.

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Old 03-15-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinghole View Post
You can, but I doubt you'll be able to effectively run your recirculation. I just did this wednesday last week and the first rest the mash was so thick I just mixed it by hand like it was bread dough. The mash is so thick until you get the second to last step where you add all the pulled away wort back to the main mash. It was thick to the point that just using gravity to drain wort off took forever. So I don't know if it'd flow out of the mash fast enough for you to use a pump.
I am wondering if you really need to use so little water. It is my understanding it was done this way so they could fit the amount of water they needed in smaller mash tuns, since they were taxed on the size of the tuns during that period in history.

If i just mash in in at say 1.3qts/pound, recirc to 113F(or whatever the first rest is at), then pull off some wort...then add new water to replace what I removed, recirc it up to next temp...and so on...


I am waiting for my book Wild Brews, and will see what that says for the mashing schedule....

Thank you for your input!
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:13 PM   #10
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The ratio of water to grain affects enzymatic activity also. So it's not just a tax thing but this is how they got around the taxes. Don't quote me because I'm trying to go by memory here. Thick mashes promote proteolytic activity where thinner mashes promote enzymatic activity. So just following the same temps won't net the same result as a super thick turbid mash.

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