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Old 08-27-2009, 03:41 AM   #121
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Don't sweat it too much. Just aim for 6.5 gal pre boil and start your timer when it starts to boil. After that first batch you'll have an idea of how much boils off. It will prob be in the 1 to 1.5 gal per hour range.

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Old 09-10-2009, 12:59 PM   #122
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hi everybody,
I'am a begginer and I have been reading this forum finding many very useful information.

Since I am just about to make my first all grain batch, there is one thing I just don't understand - it is the mash temperature.


If my target temperature is let's say 153F, and of course I have to get my water couple of degrees more which I can calculate using software.... so this is not a problem...


but for me the proble is how to maintain my mash temperature for 60 minutes???

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Old 09-10-2009, 02:42 PM   #123
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Quote:
but for me the proble is how to maintain my mash temperature for 60 minutes???
Some brewers use a kettle mash tun, and throttle a burner up/down to keep the temps stable. To me it's much easier to make a mash tun out of a chest cooler (rubbermaid/coleman), and just throw blankets over it to hold the temps stable. As long as you put your strike water in first, a few degrees above your calculated strike temp, and let it pre-heat for a few mins, you'll have no problems.

Search the forum for cooler mash tun, and you'll see plenty of info on how to do it.
Good luck.
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:37 PM   #124
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I preheat my cooler mash tun, hit my temps exactly (using this calculator) and then wrap it around the sides with blankets and bungee cords and throw a pillow on top. I can leave it for hours without a single degree drop in temp.

The more volume you have and the less headspace, the better it will hold heat.

Don't mess with it too much, either. The more you open it up and stir and check your temp, the more loss you are getting. It's ok to check and stir a couple times, but every 10 minutes and you're going to get loss.

As for initial strike temp, leave your thermometer inside and let it sit for 10 minutes before checking the temp. The mash tun needs time to equalize and if you take an "immediate" reading, it may be off. Many people try to adjust their mash temp, when really it was right to begin with.

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Old 09-13-2009, 03:39 AM   #125
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I preheat my cooler mash tun, hit my temps exactly (using this calculator) and then wrap it around the sides with blankets and bungee cords and throw a pillow on top. I can leave it for hours without a single degree drop in temp.
Simplicity is elegant to me. I've only done partial mashes so far and have used bath towels to wrap a small stock pot on the counter-top with great success. Lately I've been turning on the oven for a few minutes and just throwing the pot in there after heating the water on the stove and mixing in the grain and then shutting it off. Honestly, when going to all grain I think that holding temperature is probably one of the easiest things to figure out. There are so many insulators in our homes.
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:29 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by cuinrearview View Post
Simplicity is elegant to me. I've only done partial mashes so far and have used bath towels to wrap a small stock pot on the counter-top with great success. Lately I've been turning on the oven for a few minutes and just throwing the pot in there after heating the water on the stove and mixing in the grain and then shutting it off. Honestly, when going to all grain I think that holding temperature is probably one of the easiest things to figure out. There are so many insulators in our homes.
I might try this for my first batch. I'm always trying to save money!!
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:39 AM   #127
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So, people are making it seem that an 8 gallon kettle pot is too small for medium sized beers.

1/2 gallon per lb of grain for sparge? Meaning if my recipe called for 13lbs of grain I would collect around 2.7 gallons of initial mash runnings, then I would need 6 gallons of sparge water for a total of 8.7 gallons of wort to be boiled down to 5 gallons?

I thought all you needed to know was how much preboil volume you need to be boiled down to 5 gallons and that number never changes. Meaning if I need 6.5 gallons of wort to be boiled down to 5 gallons in 60 minutes then the strength of the beer is not a factor as the only thing that changes is how much initial mash water you will add.

Ok, let's say I just follow the beersmith brewsheet and the target abv for the beer is 7%, am I going to end up with a 5% beer, because I didn't double my sparge water? If the difference in efficiency is only by a few points then I'm not even going to bother wasting another hour of boiling down wort just for a small gain in efficiency.

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Old 10-22-2009, 11:11 AM   #128
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I made a partial mash stout yesterday. My mash tun is a 3-gallon cooler that I wrap in a wool blanket to keep it warm. My mash temp started to drop after 30 min. Which is odd because last year it held temp for the full 60. Anyway, during the mash, if the temp drops, what is the harm, if any, in adding a little hot water to bring the temp back up?

I didn't worry about doing that yesterday, but thought I'd ask the question.

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Old 10-22-2009, 12:53 PM   #129
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Adding some hot water is fine if needed. My guess is though, that the spot you took your reading had cooled, or you stirred it up before checking, which can kill a few degrees. I'm sure you're fine.

Emgesp1: I make my 5 gal batches (6.5 pre boil) in a 10 gal kettle. The hot break has boiled over once when I was not paying attention, but it usually gets up there pretty high. An 8 gallon pot you will have to watch very closely. Get some fermcap to kill the foam and you should be fine.

For calculating volumes needed, I take first runnings, and measure with a dipstick, then I know exactly how much more water I need. At that point grain is saturated, so what goes in = what comes out. Don't over think it. Hope that helps.

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Old 10-23-2009, 01:06 AM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masonsjax View Post
For calculating volumes needed, I take first runnings, and measure with a dipstick, then I know exactly how much more water I need. At that point grain is saturated, so what goes in = what comes out. Don't over think it. Hope that helps.
Great idea and nice explanation!
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