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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > BIAB Brewing > Having trouble with mash temps and whirlpool

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Old 11-12-2013, 10:29 AM   #11
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Okay, so for mash, I should stir less and try to do a better job of insulating the kettle? Makes sense for maintaining consistent temperatures (though not necessarily even through the pot) but I thought stirring BIAB was supposed to increase efficiency by giving the grain more contact with the water? I'm definitely struggling with efficiency (~60%), so I don't want it to get even worse; my next attempt, I'm going to tighten my Corona mill as tight as it can get while still being able to turn.

And for the whirlpool, does it really only work with cone hops? I feel like a lot of people whirlpool and most people use pellets, so I would be surprised if I had to use cones (which aren't available to me) to get the proper trub cone.
To get the best efficiency my Corona mill has its plates rubbing when empty. If I let them loosen just a little, my efficiency goes down. You want your particles of grain to be pretty small for the best efficiency. When you stir in the grain, it should have all the grain in contact with the water. More stirring won't get it any wetter.

If you have iodine available, you should do a test for conversion. It only takes a drop of iodine and a drop of wort. If the iodine/wort combination turns blue, you stilll have starch. When the color no longer shows any blue/purple the conversion is over and further mashing might only be making the beer more fermentable as the beta amylase keeps breaking down long chain sugars. At 30 minutes of mashing, my beers seem to be plenty fermentable as I typically get a higher OG than expected and a lower FG than predicted by the software.
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Old 11-13-2013, 04:48 AM   #12
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To get the best efficiency my Corona mill has its plates rubbing when empty. If I let them loosen just a little, my efficiency goes down. You want your particles of grain to be pretty small for the best efficiency. When you stir in the grain, it should have all the grain in contact with the water. More stirring won't get it any wetter.

If you have iodine available, you should do a test for conversion. It only takes a drop of iodine and a drop of wort. If the iodine/wort combination turns blue, you stilll have starch. When the color no longer shows any blue/purple the conversion is over and further mashing might only be making the beer more fermentable as the beta amylase keeps breaking down long chain sugars. At 30 minutes of mashing, my beers seem to be plenty fermentable as I typically get a higher OG than expected and a lower FG than predicted by the software.
Alright, so my first order of business is tightening up my mill, then. That'll be easy enough. I'm also wondering if the cheap and potentially low-quality grain I'm using might have an effect, but at the same time I don't want to spend $60+ ($7.50/lb) for base grains for a test batch using the quality stuff (Briess, Weyermann, etc) that most of you are using, and I don't have a suitable pot to do a small test batch that would cost less.

Would PVP-I (Povipone-Iodine) Iodophor be suitable for the iodine test, or does it need to be pure iodine?
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:48 AM   #13
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Alright, so my first order of business is tightening up my mill, then. That'll be easy enough. I'm also wondering if the cheap and potentially low-quality grain I'm using might have an effect, but at the same time I don't want to spend $60+ ($7.50/lb) for base grains for a test batch using the quality stuff (Briess, Weyermann, etc) that most of you are using, and I don't have a suitable pot to do a small test batch that would cost less.

Would PVP-I (Povipone-Iodine) Iodophor be suitable for the iodine test, or does it need to be pure iodine?
Other people have mentioned using Idophor but I have no experience with that. Give it a try. You could try it with a little corn starch in water so you'd know before you made a batch of beer. It should turn blue/purple with starches. It only takes a drop of each so don't mix up a big batch of corn starch.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:38 PM   #14
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Iodophor works fine for the conversion test, just be sure to throw away the sample. Too much iodine is poisonous for people and yeast alike.

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Old 11-20-2013, 05:47 PM   #15
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I did my third BIAB this past weekend as well and while i did manage to get my efficiency up to 67% without double milling I did have trouble maintaining the mash temps. I hit strike temp at 166 and when I put the grain in the temps fluctuated quite a lot. I stirred the water before I put the grain in to get a good even mixture but still saw crazy temp mixing when the grain was in. This got me nervous as it would read anywhere between 145 and 165! So I stirred and let it sit, then stirred more, then let it sit, etc... I mashed for 90 mins and eventually got a solid reading of 152 and threw the lid on a said screw it I will wait it out (this was 45 minutes into the mash). My pot is a 10gal with the basket and a grain bag in that. Going to try again Friday I think, would really like to figure this all out, maybe it is just understanding your equipment? Open to any suggestions! Oh, and I smashed the absolute crap out of my grain after the mash to get everything out of it.

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Old 11-21-2013, 12:14 AM   #16
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It took me several batches to figure out how to get my temps under control. At first I was constantly checking/stirring/adding heat, and my temps bounced around like crazy. Now I start a few degrees too high and stir like crazy until it comes down to the right temp, then cover it and don't touch it again until its done. I like to use my 5 gallon pot because I can put it in a pre-warmed oven, but if I'm using a bigger pot I zip my winter coat around it. I think having no head space in the pot helps too.

I don't understand the point of whirlpooling. I just pour it through a strainer, which aerates it and separates out the gunk at the same time.

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