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Old 03-12-2007, 05:16 PM   #1
Mk010101
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Default First partial mash and some questions

I took the plunge on my 5th brew and tried a partial mash. Actually, I did a lot of new things, the first being making my own recipe. I also used dried malt extract for the first time. Needless to say it was fun, even with a less than perfect setup. Here is the recipe for 5 gallons:

3.25 lbs. Extra Light DME
4.00 lbs. 2-row
0.50 lb. Crystal 40L

1/2 oz. Centennial (60min)
1/2 oz. Amarillo (15min)
1/2 oz. Simcoe (15min)
1/2 oz. Amarillo (5min)
1/2 oz. Simcoe (5min)

I have a 2 gallon cooler that is NOT converted to a mash tun so I used a nylon bag to hold the grains. It was crushed at AHS where I ordered all the ingredients. Based on some pictures I have seen, the crush looked fairly good so I didn't bother trying to crush it any more.

My water is perfect for pale ales when diluted 50/50 with distilled water. So I did this. I heated the strike water (5.5 qts) to 165 and dumped it into the cooler and stirred the grains with a spoon. The temp was just around 156 degrees, so I added a bit of cool water and got it down to 152. I checked the temp twice at 20 min intervals. The water temp dropped to 148 in the first 20 min and so I added a bit of boiling water to move it back up to 152. The second check and final check were at 150, so I was happy about that. Total mash time was about 70 minutes. Ph was right where it was supposed to be: 5.3-5.5

I recirculated the wort (sorry, I forget the correct terminology) and then drained off the wort into the kettle that had 1/2 gallon of boiling water. I then added 180 degree sparge water (about 7 qts) and let it sit for 10 min. Then recirculated once and drained into the kettle. I only collected about 2 1/4 gallons when I should have had almost 3 gallons. One thing I know is my sparge water was a bit low, so that will be remedied next time. My efficiency suffered because of this (I think) and I calculated it around 60%. I was hoping for 70%, but I am happy with what I got on my first try.

45 min into the boil, I added the DME. I took the pot off the heat and it took almost 15 min to stir in the DME! I added it very slowly--enough so it would dissolve quickly. I didn't want clumps. I was a little surprised how long it took, and at it's ability to soak up the steam as I was pouring it in.

So now my questions which are various in nature:

1) Did I do the partial mashing correctly? I know I could have used more sparge water and I will next time. Also I will convert the cooler so it is much easier than holding the spigot.

2) In adding the DME: does it normally take this long to add 3 lbs of DME? Does the burner have to be turned off? Any other suggestions on adding DME?

3) To help my wort cool faster, I put it in my kitchen sink in 15 gallons of ice cold water. If I leave the lid on and move the 3 1/2 gallon pot around in the water it takes about 30 min to cool to 80-90 degrees. If, however, I stir the wort I can get it to 80 degrees in about 12 min. Is stirring hot wort advisable? I didn't even think about this until yesterday. Is there any risk of hot-side aeration?

For now these are all the questions. Please comment on anything you see that I may have done wrong, etc. I am not worried about the beer coming out bad or anything, just want to know more to improve my efficiency, and to improve the process. Thanks!

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Old 03-12-2007, 05:32 PM   #2
uwmgdman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk010101
1) Did I do the partial mashing correctly? I know I could have used more sparge water and I will next time. Also I will convert the cooler so it is much easier than holding the spigot.
It sounds like you did things correctly. About the volume of your partial mash. You used 12.5 quarts (just over 3 gallons of water). The grain soaks up and retains water, so what you lost sounds reasonable. Someone should be able to tell you an average qts lost per lbs of grain, I can't think of that now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk010101
2) In adding the DME: does it normally take this long to add 3 lbs of DME? Does the burner have to be turned off? Any other suggestions on adding DME?
It takes me 5, maybe a few more minutes to add 4-5 lbs of DME. I always remove the pot from the hot burner and add 1-2 lbs at a time, stirring and chopping chunks, repeat. I can't think of another way to add DME.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk010101
3) To help my wort cool faster, I put it in my kitchen sink in 15 gallons of ice cold water. If I leave the lid on and move the 3 1/2 gallon pot around in the water it takes about 30 min to cool to 80-90 degrees. If, however, I stir the wort I can get it to 80 degrees in about 12 min. Is stirring hot wort advisable? I didn't even think about this until yesterday. Is there any risk of hot-side aeration?
As long as your stir quietly (don't splash around and make lots of bubbles) you'll be fine. I always stir the wort while in the ice bath for the same reason you do and haven't had a problem. I don't have proof but to me HSA seems to be a lot of hot air. I suppose there might be long term storage and flavor problems, but I've had beer around 6 months with no ill-effects, maybe 1 year there would be.

Good luck with the brewing, enjoy your beer.
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Last edited by uwmgdman; 03-12-2007 at 05:36 PM.
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