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Old 12-09-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
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Default 2-part PM question for Oatmeal Stout

Hi all-

I took the plunge into the world of mashing yesterday when I picked up a Brewer's Best Oatmeal Stout kit (partial mash with extract). I've got two questions:

Part 1-
In terms of grains, it comes with:

1 lb. flaked oats
12 oz. pale 2-row
10 oz. Victory
6 oz. Dark Chocolate

The mashing directions it comes with (which they call "Steep-to-Convert") say to use a 2:1 ratio of lbs. grain to gal. water (i.e. 2 qts. per pound).

Ergo, for this grain bill of 2.75 lbs., they call for 1.375 gal. of water.

However, from everything I've read about mashing, the ratio most people use is somewheres in the range of 1.25-1.5 qt/lb. Should I actually listen to these directions with the hope that BB knows what they're talking about, or would I be better off lowering the volume down to that 1.25-1.5 range?

Part 2-
This mash will be done with a grain bag, and I've read that after the mash is complete, that instead of sparging by pouring more water through, another technique you can use is to have another pot of water going at the proper temp. and, after removing the grain bag from the pot and letting it drain, taking the bag and steeping it in the second pot for another few minutes to in effect rinse the grains and then add that second amount of water to the first.

Does anyone else use this technique, and is it effective? Or should I just pour the sparge water through? (1/2 gallon at 150 as per BB directions)


Thanks for any advice y'all can provide.

Cheers!

_________________________________
Primary: none (yet)
Secondary: Scottish Wee Heavy
Bottled: White House Honey Ale, Devil's Milk barley wine, Sandy Wheat, Ex-Pat 1800 try#2
Drinking: India Black Ale, Nefarious Blonde, Ex-Pat 1800 Eng. IPA, Pumpkin Spice Porter, Belgian Honey Wit

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Old 01-19-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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Just to close this out, I thought I'd provide details as to what actually happened:

Brewday: 12/15/12
Brewer's Best Oatmeal Stout
OG: 1.056-64
FG: 1.016-20
ABV: 5.5-6.0%

I mashed on my stovetop, but had a helluva time trying to figure out what the actual temperature of the mash was. I was aiming for 148-152 degrees. The edges were around those numbers, but when I put the thermometer in the middle of the grains it was upwards of 180. Long story short, I have no idea what temperature I actually mashed at. There is definitely room for improvement (for example, any kind of reliable temperature control ).

Here are the final numbers, which might shed some light:

Actual OG: 1.068 (4 points high)
Actual FG: 1.027 (7 points high)
Actual ABV: 5.4%
Bottled: 1/9/13

Not too terrible for my first foray into mashing. The high finishing gravity can be explained (I'm almost certain) by the higher-than-intended mash temps. Right?

Cheers!

__________________________________________________ ____
Primary: nothing!
Secondary: nothing! (I know, it's a shame)
Bottled: BB Oatmeal Stout, Nae Foolish Wee Heavy
Drinking: White House Honey Ale, India Black Ale, Devil's Milk Barley Wine, Belgian Honey Wit, Ex-Pat 1800 English IPA #2, Pumpkin Spice Porter

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Old 01-20-2013, 12:07 AM   #3
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The last stout I did called for a thin mash 1.75 qts/lb to help with the pH & mash efficiency. I think it has to do with the chocolate malt, but who really knows for sure. Hopefully someone else chimes in on that.

I've always poured when doing 2-4 lb grain bills, and not fly sparging, with good success (approx. 70% efficiency), but it looks like steeping must have worked with an OG of 1.068.

Your final gravity seems high. I can't help but think it wasn't done fermenting. Here in Iowa my basement floor will keep a fermenter/carboy around 60 degrees in the winter which means a really slow secondary fermentation, but I will almost always end up around 1.010-1.013 when done.

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Old 01-20-2013, 01:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sloanfamilydsm View Post
Your final gravity seems high. I can't help but think it wasn't done fermenting. Here in Iowa my basement floor will keep a fermenter/carboy around 60 degrees in the winter which means a really slow secondary fermentation, but I will almost always end up around 1.010-1.013 when done.
Yeah, the FG is definitely higher than I was going for, although I doubt it was still fermenting; my basement stays at a pretty consistent 64-65, and that 1.027 was at 2.5 weeks, and hadn't budged a single point at 3.5 weeks. I'm chalking the whole thing up to a learning experience, and RDWHAHB-ing. I'll post a tasting update in a few weeks.

Also, I used Danstar Windsor Ale yeast, which is not the greatest attenuator out there. This could be a contributing factor, considering this batch had 60.3% attenuation. Just a theory...

If there are direct effects from the chocolate malt, that'd be interesting to hear about too.

Thanks for the feedback!
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