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Old 02-12-2013, 05:20 PM   #1
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Default Ideas on mash process

I had an idea to help increase efficiency and get the most out of the grains for a typical 5 gallon batch. When I look at the grain bed in the mash tun, theres quite a bit above the water line and unless you can continuosly stir the grains, my thought is that there will be some loss. So why not have either a "false top" to keep the grains below the water line or something like a pump to circulate the mash?
Another thought is to maybe have an aquarium water pump to continuously take the wort from the bottom of the tun and with a sparge arm or false top to spread the wort on top of the grains for the whole mash process before the sparge. This would be enclosed in the tun to prevent heat loss.
Thoughts, experiences?

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Old 02-12-2013, 05:26 PM   #2
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that's a recirculating mash, and many use that method. Many also do not use that method because they get consistently high efficiency without it. For the most part, 10% efficiency loss is going to cost you a few bucks, tops. If you buy grain in bulk, it's more like 75 cents.

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
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I use a RIMS in my setup and I love it. I get great efficiency and consistent mash results.

One thing to note is that when you are recirculating, you will lose heat so you need a way to keep the temp stable.

Just a quick question. Why do you have so much grain above the water?

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Old 02-12-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
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I wouldnt say a lot above water but enough that isnt submerged. Just looking for ways to be more efficient. If the goal is to extract as much sugars as possible, my thoughts are to keep the grains submerged and stirred. I think there would be a point where you cant get more sugars from the same strike water you started with. Sparging takes care of that.

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Old 02-12-2013, 06:52 PM   #5
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If I'm reading this correctly, it looks like you might not be using enough water in your mash? If you use 1.1 quarts/pound of grain, it should be more than enough to fully cover the grain as it sits. Are you not accounting for dead space underneath, perhaps?

Also, you don't want to compact the grain bed while it is mashing, that would defeat what you are trying to accomplish...

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Old 02-12-2013, 06:57 PM   #6
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When you say above the water line, do you mean floating? If grain is floating, is it because it is whole and has not been crushed? If it is sitting above the water line I would think that your mash is too thick and you aren't using enough water. A minimum of a qt should cover a pound of grain regardless of the container it's in, unless you have a ton of dead space that you aren't adding to your strike water total.

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Old 02-12-2013, 07:20 PM   #7
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I dont have any issues with dead space or too small a mash tun or the way the grain is crushed, all Im trying to say that if there is one grain sitting in water, one side will be under water and the other side out of water. When the tun is full, there will be a thin layer, a wet thin layer but not completely under water. Would it be better if the entire bed of grains be completely under water? Or maybe its just such a minimal amount and not an issue. Just throwing out ideas to better understand the whole process.

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Old 02-12-2013, 07:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heathcom View Post
I dont have any issues with dead space or too small a mash tun or the way the grain is crushed, all Im trying to say that if there is one grain sitting in water, one side will be under water and the other side out of water. When the tun is full, there will be a thin layer, a wet thin layer but not completely under water. Would it be better if the entire bed of grains be completely under water? Or maybe its just such a minimal amount and not an issue. Just throwing out ideas to better understand the whole process.
When you put strike water in to the tun, then the grain, then stir, there shouldn't be any grain above the water...or else you're not using enough water. A very, very few pieces of grain might float near the top, but for the most part all of it should be submerged under the water.

The only time grain should be above water is as you're draining wort during the sparge.

If you're truly using enough water (like 3+ gallons for a typical 5g batch that has say 8lbs. of grain) then no, whatever few pieces float wont make any difference in efficiency
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heathcom View Post
I dont have any issues with dead space or too small a mash tun or the way the grain is crushed, all Im trying to say that if there is one grain sitting in water, one side will be under water and the other side out of water. When the tun is full, there will be a thin layer, a wet thin layer but not completely under water. Would it be better if the entire bed of grains be completely under water? Or maybe its just such a minimal amount and not an issue. Just throwing out ideas to better understand the whole process.
I think the problem is just overly-obsessive thinking

A good stir at the begining and a good stir before sparge is all you need, 100 or so half grains not being completely submurged will not change a thing with your efficiency. They already got a soaking, are being warmed, and will get mixed in again and rinsed like all the others. Plus, it's .001% of the total mass, and wouldn't make much difference regardless of it's individual effeciency per grain.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:43 PM   #10
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I think you nailed it. Over obsessing... Since I started this hobby, all I dream about is ways to make more beer...

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