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Old 12-09-2005, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default Amount of water?

Okay so I have been reading tons lately on going full mash!! Got all the equipment I need to do this, well not all, but the bare basics. I go to the brew store yesterday and get all my grains for my " Downtown Leroy Brown Ale ", my name for it.... I ask the HBS some pick their brain questions since the owner is a master brewer. I am told to pour the grains in my cooler, heat the water to around 165-168, and only cover the grain bead about an inch to 2 inches.....hunh? Everything I have been reading says to fill the cooler with about 3-4 gallons of water......am I crazy, been reading the wrong material, or just plain gone nuts here and need to drink some more homebrew before reading another piece of advice..... Would love some help with this to get more clarity!!!!

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Old 12-09-2005, 12:57 PM   #2
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First off, people have varying ideas about whether the water or the grain should be added first (I'm a water first person), but it will work either way so go with what makes the most since to you.

Second of all, since coolers come in many shapes and sizes, it's not really the best idea to base your mash volume on how many inches of water cover your grains. The proprietor may have told you that as a simple way of getting you started, but it's much better to add a set volume of water based on how many pounds of grain you're using. Most people use a number of 1.25 to 1.5 qts of water per each pound of grain. If you have 10 pounds of grain and want 1.5qts of water per pound, that gives you 10 x 1.5 = 15 qts of water, or 3.75 gallons you would add to the mash.

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Old 12-09-2005, 01:03 PM   #3
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Hmmm....okay that makes sense!! So then my next question is how do you know how much water you want per pound of grain?

Beer: Downtown Leroy Brown Ale Style: American Amber Ale
Type: All grain Size: 5.5 gallons
Color: 45 HCU (~20 SRM)
Bitterness: 58 IBU
OG: 1.055 FG: 1.016
Alcohol: 5.1% v/v (4.0% w/w)
Grain: 4 lb. 5 oz. American 2-row
5 lb. 5 oz. Belgian pale
12 oz. Dextrine malt (Cara-Pils)
4 oz. Belgian CaraMunich
4 oz. Belgian Special B
8 oz. British crystal 50-60L
4 oz. British chocolate
Mash: 72% efficiency
Single infusion, 155° F for 60 minutes.
Boil: 90 minutes SG 1.043 7 gallons
Hops: 1 oz. Centennial (10.5% AA, 60 min.)
.5 oz. Fuggles (4.75% AA, 20 min.)
.5 oz. Northern Brewer (8.5% AA, 20 min.)
.5 oz. Centennial (10.5% AA, 10 min.)
.75 oz. Saaz (3.75% AA, 10 min.)
Yeast: Wyeast 1056, 750-ml starter

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Old 12-09-2005, 01:06 PM   #4
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I don't think it's really that important. Most of my reading indicates that 1.25-1.5 qts/lb is optimal, but I also know from experience that anything in 1-2qt/lb range will work. In most cases when people go down to 1qt/lb or less it's because they're limited by the size of their mashtun or they're doing a fancy pants mash schedule. Some people set up their ratio to hit certain volumes with batch sparges or additional infusions, but that's Mashing 201, so don't worry about it just now.

You have a pretty monster cooler, don't you? I'd go with 1.5qts/lb for easy math.

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Old 12-09-2005, 01:08 PM   #5
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You generally work in the 1.0 - 1.5 qts per pound range. Thinner mashes (within reason) are suppose to be better for fermentability. Yet another variable to play with

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Old 12-09-2005, 01:09 PM   #6
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Oh, and one more thing...I see the efficiency of your recipe is set at 72%. Don't worry too much if you don't get the #'s (OG) your first go round....you may, but it usually takes most of us some practice to get eff. up where we want it, and some of us (like me) are still pursuing good eff.

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Old 12-09-2005, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GABrewboy
Okay so I have been reading tons lately on going full mash!! Got all the equipment I need to do this, well not all, but the bare basics. I go to the brew store yesterday and get all my grains for my " Downtown Leroy Brown Ale ", my name for it.... I ask the HBS some pick their brain questions since the owner is a master brewer. I am told to pour the grains in my cooler, heat the water to around 165-168, and only cover the grain bead about an inch to 2 inches.....hunh? Everything I have been reading says to fill the cooler with about 3-4 gallons of water......am I crazy, been reading the wrong material, or just plain gone nuts here and need to drink some more homebrew before reading another piece of advice..... Would love some help with this to get more clarity!!!!
Hello GABrewboy,

The idea to mashing (as you probably know) is to properly wet the grains and have them steep in hot water to release the enzymes so that they break down the starches into various sugars. There are different philosophies about the order in which you proceed: add grain to water, or water to grain. If you've ever made dough or pancakes, etc, you know that if you add dry to wet, you get clumps and this will happen when mashing if you fill your mashtun with water then add the crushed grains.
First what you do is heat you mash water to 165-168deg in a pot. You sound like you have a cooler mashtun with a manifold or a bazooka screen thing. Add some hot water to cover the manifold or screen (this will require about 2 -3 quarts). Add about half your grain, then slowly add hot water on top while trying to mix the whole. You want to avoid starch balls. Keep adding the water slowly while mixing until you get a nice thick mix, maybe a bit liquidy (not like 2in of water on top!). Add the rest of the grains, mix that into the mash, then add more water until you reach a ratio between 1.5 - 2.5 qts per lb. This is a good starting point. Check your mash temp with a thermometer. Depending on what you're making, your desired temp will be between 150 and 158 deg. If you're too high, slowly add cold water while mixing (it will drop fast). If too low, add boiling water (it's a good idea to have some boiling water ready before mashing in just in case). You need LOTS of boiling water to even raise by 1deg so be prepared. If you want to err on the safe sice, get your mashin water to 175deg, then just add water to cool it down. Much easier and you run less of a risk of running out of space in your mashtun. Trust me, I've been there.
I would suggest for your brown ale a mash temp about 153-154. You'll get a bit more body from higher sugars, and make it a bit sweeter. What's your grain bill?
Good luck with your fist mash - just remember NOT TO PANICK!
If you're mashing today, you can send me emails if you have any questions (over the next 8 hours). s.riopel@eci-co.com
Cheers,
Seb
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Old 12-09-2005, 01:14 PM   #8
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Well, I guess I got in late in to the replies!

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Old 12-09-2005, 01:18 PM   #9
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Gesshhh....beer making is a science isn't!! Yes, I have a 50qt cooler, so I am fine as far as space goes......So I should start my mashing then with about 3.5 gallons since I have 11.625 lbs of grain? Sound about right?

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Old 12-09-2005, 01:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GABrewboy
Gesshhh....beer making is a science isn't!! Yes, I have a 50qt cooler, so I am fine as far as space goes......So I should start my mashing then with about 3.5 gallons since I have 11.625 lbs of grain? Sound about right?
A bit low. Try having about 4.5 gallons of water ready to mash, mashin, then check your temp as you go. If you can hit your mash temps with 4.5gallons, you wont need to adjust. As you keep brewing new recipes, you'll get a feel for it.

Seb
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