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Old 08-13-2010, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default Thermal hot-pack for multi-stage mash???

So I am trying to think of a way to do a multi-step mash in my Rubbermaid MLT.

I know there is a post here for a steam infusion device by using a pressure cooker and copper tubing, but I really don't feel like buying a pressure cooker and altering it for the steam infusion device.

What do you guys think of using a few reusable thermal hot-packs. I found a someplace where I can buy an 8"x12"x1" hot pack for $6.89

8"x12"x1" hot pack

These look like they can be heated up quickly. If you place two or three into the mash and stir like crazy would this sound like enough to help raise mash temps to say 149* to 158*?

The size of the packs and the description that it can heat up to 200* in about 3 minutes make this sound like a good option. I'm curious to hear every bodies opinion.



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Old 08-13-2010, 04:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by DirtyPolock View Post
If you place two or three into the mash and stir like crazy would this sound like enough to help raise mash temps to say 149* to 158*?
I just did a step mash last weekend and had the same rests for a saison i brewed. i doughed in at 1qt/lb, let it rest for 1 hour, and added 3 qts boiling water to the mash and hit 158 dead on and let rest for 30 more min.. I think the total grain bill was 11 or 12 lbs.

Long story short. Do your first rest thick and add enough boiling water to get you up to the second step.


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Old 08-13-2010, 04:59 PM   #3
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I suppose it would depend on how much energy it can hold. If a couple of them do have enough energy to bring up mash temp this might be an awesome idea. You could also use it in conjunction with boiling water too. However, it would mess up step mash calculators accuracy.

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Old 08-13-2010, 05:26 PM   #4
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I'm not sure of how much energy it hold but maybe somebody with a little more science can expand on this thought.

A 8"x12"x1" hot pack is 243 cubic cm, while a cup of water is 237 cubic cm (i.e mL's) So my guess is that it has the thermal mass of at least a cup of water. If not more if it can hold the energy better than water. Any thoughts about this?

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Old 08-13-2010, 05:32 PM   #5
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Not sure where your desire is with these hot packs when you can just boil water. If they had the roughly the same thermal mass of water you'd need 8-12 of these things to raise the temp of a "normal" sized mash 10°F.

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Old 08-13-2010, 05:38 PM   #6
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Read about Decoction

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Old 08-13-2010, 05:44 PM   #7
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+1 on decoction.

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Old 08-13-2010, 10:19 PM   #8
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I read up on decoction and I am just curious behind one issue with the science behind it. If you are boiling part of the mash, what is the risk of extracting tannings from the grains. Isn't this the whole point of vorlauffing, to minimize the amount of grain that will be in the boil??? I know that this has been done for a long time, but it just doesn't make too much sense to me. I think that is part of the reason why I didn't want to go down the decotion route.

Also the reason why I am trying to do it this way with the hot-packs instead of just using boiling water is to hopefully keep a consistent thickeness throughout the different mash temp ranges. I figure that with two hot packs and just a 3 minute microwave time for the packs to raise it up to a 200* temp, it should be a slightly quicker time frame to raise the temps versus the decoction process.

I think that I may end up buying two just to see how well it can raise the temperature of a pot of water. If it doesn't work too good, at least I bought two big ice packs to use for anything else.

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Old 08-13-2010, 11:43 PM   #9
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1 cup of water won't do much to raise your temperature too much. Another thing to consider is that these are designed to hold onto heat for a long period of time so you are not going to rapidly transfer energy like adding boiling water.

Decoction will not result in tannin issues.

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Old 08-13-2010, 11:54 PM   #10
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The short answer on the tannins is that they are not extracted from the grain by boiling.



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