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Old 08-18-2012, 04:04 PM   #1
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Default Mash temp, times, body, ABV issues

I have a pretty good knowledge about mashing temperatures and its effects. As most people I guess, I pick bits (and chunks) of info from these forums, other sites and books.

However, I haven´t found the ultimate chart, or the ultimate "formula" that mixes all the variables involved in acquiring certain body to the beer and with certain level of ABV. All of this influenced by the time and temperature of the mash and grain to water ratio or the addition of unfermentables.

I mean, we know how to get more body (generally speaking): By mashing at higher temps, by adding crystal malts, oats, malted wheat, unmalted barley, and so on.

We know how to get a more fermentable wort: By mashing at lower temps to allow Beta amylase to convert more starches´chains into sugars.

We know that we should mash for a longer time if we mash at lower temps.

We know, or I think I know that a thick water to grain ratio will give me a more dextrinous beer that a lighter ratio.

HOWEVER:

No one seems to have ever made some king of chart where we can see all of these variables interacting.

Like, How can I brew a high ABV beer with a full body?. Should I add more base malt than usual, use a lot of crystal malts for mouthfeel and unfermentables, oats, unmalted barley, etc. and still mash at 155-156?. For how long?.....

How do you do a full bodied Imperial Oatmeal Stout with 10 ABV ?

Brewing high gravity beers (and high ABV) with full body is what raises all this doubts in my mind. Because the mashing theories say that mashing high will give you a sweeter less fermentable beer. and the opposite if you mash lower

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Old 08-18-2012, 04:11 PM   #2
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If you want the full body and high ABV the most consistent way is to up the grain bill to meet the needs of OG, downfall is you may run out of tun room before you hit it.
I have heard of others doing half a mash at normal volume and temp to get the body then another half at lower mash in temp then combine them in the boil, not sure if this is just pub talk, but it would be interesting to try.

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Old 08-18-2012, 04:39 PM   #3
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If you want the full body and high ABV the most consistent way is to up the grain bill to meet the needs of OG, downfall is you may run out of tun room before you hit it.
I have heard of others doing half a mash at normal volume and temp to get the body then another half at lower mash in temp then combine them in the boil, not sure if this is just pub talk, but it would be interesting to try.
I guess it would.

Well, I guess that´s the fun part about homebrewing, right?. Since its not a perfect science we have the chance to experiment. Maybe the best way to find out is to stick to a recipe and change one or two variables at a time and see the results.
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:43 PM   #4
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So, typically, if I want a full body beer with a high ABV the best way to go is adding lots of malt to compensate for the lower conversion of starches into sugars (due to the weaker effect of the Beta amylase on the starches) by mashing at a high temperature?

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Old 08-18-2012, 04:57 PM   #5
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So, typically, if I want a full body beer with a high ABV the best way to go is adding lots of malt to compensate for the lower conversion of starches into sugars (due to the weaker effect of the Beta amylase on the starches) by mashing at a high temperature?
In my experience, conversion is still complete. It's just that alpha amylase is more active, leaving more "longer chained" (complex) sugars. So, the OG is the same but the FG will often be higher.

The reason for a lower efficiency (a lower OG) isn't that the conversion doesn't happen properly- it's that generally a larger grainbill is sparged less because the boil kettle is full before the runnings get as low as 1.010, so the sparge is stopped.

I hope that makes sense!
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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We know, or I think I know that a thick water to grain ratio will give me a more dextrinous beer that a lighter ratio.
Nope.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:09 PM   #7
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In my experience, conversion is still complete. It's just that alpha amylase is more active, leaving more "longer chained" (complex) sugars. So, the OG is the same but the FG will often be higher.

The reason for a lower efficiency (a lower OG) isn't that the conversion doesn't happen properly- it's that generally a larger grainbill is sparged less because the boil kettle is full before the runnings get as low as 1.010, so the sparge is stopped.

I hope that makes sense!
Interesting

I am assuming this is where a batch sparge may help in final gravity as opposed to a fly sparge?
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:10 PM   #8
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Interesting

I am assuming this is where a batch sparge may help in final gravity as opposed to a fly sparge?
I don't think so, but I'd like to hear your reasoning in case I'm missing something.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:14 PM   #9
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I don't think so, but I'd like to hear your reasoning in case I'm missing something.
Well from what I gather is that batch sparging allows for a better sparge of the grains and passing all fermentables more efficiently to the boil kettle.

Fill with water and drain on first pass, fill with water, stir let set then drain again and repeat until desired volume is reached in boil kettle. Which in the end would increase OG with same amount of grains (sometimes marginal sometimes noteable).

I haven't played with batch sparge due to the volume I am brewing at makes it unrealistic, so theory is what I know at this point on it.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:51 PM   #10
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Well from what I gather is that batch sparging allows for a better sparge of the grains and passing all fermentables more efficiently to the boil kettle.

Fill with water and drain on first pass, fill with water, stir let set then drain again and repeat until desired volume is reached in boil kettle. Which in the end would increase OG with same amount of grains (sometimes marginal sometimes noteable).

I haven't played with batch sparge due to the volume I am brewing at makes it unrealistic, so theory is what I know at this point on it.
No, not really.

The key there is "volume". In order to maximize the efficiency, you'd have to use a ton more sparge water whether fly or batch sparging. So, if you had nothing better to do, and an unlimited supply of propane, you could put 3 quarts of water per pound of grain through your grainbed. That would maximize efficiency without risking oversparging. That would be 19.5 gallons total of water, for a 26 pound batch. 3 gallons or so would be absorbed. So, if you started with 16.5 gallons of wort, and boiled down to 5 gallons you would maximize the efficiency by getting the most sugars out of the grain.

But no one wants to spend the time and energy to do that. Plus, you may have some unwanted maillard reactions anyway. So most people will stop sparging when they have enough wort- in this case the mash runnings alone would give you enough wort for your 5 gallon batch.

That's an extreme example, but I hope it helps to explain why larger grainbills often have lower efficiency- it's NOT conversion which is still complete. It's instead that in order to get all of the sugars out of the grainbed, more water would be needed than is sometimes desirable.
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