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Old 03-14-2011, 08:20 PM   #1
treesmcgee
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Default Best way to fix missed mash temp.

I've been noticing lately the efficiency of my saccharification rest has been going down, with noticeable drops in starting gravity, even after boil. I had been checking the temp of the mash, and checked it, for instance right at the end of my 60 minute mash, (11 lbs 2-row, and a couple lbs of specialty grains), and saw the temp of the mash at around 148-149, 6 or so degrees below my target mash temp. I suppose I don't know when exactly, or how fast the temperature dropped below target mash (I single infuse, with a Gott cooler, and batch sparge, infusion temp: 170.5 for a 68 degree grain bed, adjusted for equipment temp, no pre-heating) temperature, but I am supposing this is the culprit in the drop in my efficiency (For instance, with that same recipe, I was getting 1.058-1.060 starting gravities, now I'm getting 1.051ish). If this is indeed the issue, is my solution (for the time being, as it is so cold around these parts) an increase in strike water temp equivalent to the missed temperature? Or?

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Old 03-14-2011, 08:23 PM   #2
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If you preheat the cooler, you won't drop more than 1 degree in an hour or 75 minutes.

I can't imagine that would affect efficiency though, unless you're not getting complete conversion.

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Old 03-14-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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Best way to preheat a cooler? Throw in some hot water?

Isn't a cooler mash not going to get full conversion out of the grain? Say for instance if I missed completely and had a mash at 148 the entire time? And if that isn't the case, and I have not varied from my recipe, what is the most common culprit of a lack of conversion? Grain? Grind? (I grind pretty well) Sparge? (I batch sparge in two or three separate stages with proper temp and pH)

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Old 03-14-2011, 08:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treesmcgee View Post
Best way to preheat a cooler? Throw in some hot water?

Isn't a cooler mash not going to get full conversion out of the grain? Say for instance if I missed completely and had a mash at 148 the entire time? And if that isn't the case, and I have not varied from my recipe, what is the most common culprit of a lack of conversion? Grain? Grind? (I grind pretty well) Sparge? (I batch sparge in two or three separate stages with proper temp and pH)
Yes, near boiling water (but not too hot- it'll warp the cooler) for 15 minutes, then drain. I used to do it with my strike water- just add my strike water at 180 and let it cool to strike temps, but when it's cold, it actually drops to below strike temps!

You'll get full conversion at 148, but it might take longer. Usually, mashing at 154ish means the mash is often converted in 30-40 minutes, though. I've mashed at 156 and checked for conversion in 20 minutes and had full conversion! Cooler temps take longer, of course, but unless the mash was at 149 or less the whole time, 60 minutes is almost always sufficienct.

I'm thinking that something else is going on. Different crush? Different water chemistry?
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:38 PM   #5
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When I bought my cooler setup the sales guy said he sees a drop of 15 degrees with the coolers. I shoot for 15 degrees above mash temp and have be hitting the numbers I need.

www.brewheads.com has a calculator that'll tell you how much water and at what temp to add to raise your mash temp.

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Old 03-14-2011, 08:38 PM   #6
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Do you happen to use a braid as a filter? I ask as when I did I got consistent efficiency for my first few batches, then my percentages got erratic. I don't know if it was channeling or the braid floating up or getting stretched or what it was. Switched to a copper manifold and I have been consistent, with improved efficiency ever since.

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Old 03-14-2011, 08:40 PM   #7
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When I did 5 gallon batches, my strike temp would drop 13 degrees. With 10 gallon batches it drops 18 degrees. Give or take.

I pre-heat.

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Old 03-14-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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I crush pretty finely, a 1.5 on the Barley Crusher at my LHBS. I do all the crushing myself, so no LHBS issue there. My water chemistry has been the same, I started using my local tap water and had the first few awesome, and the next few not so much, so it can't be a change in water chemistry. I'm thinking it has to deal with the mash temp or possibly my sparge?

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:00 PM   #9
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Possibly missing your temperature on your batch sparge. If you don't get the grainbed up to 170 or so, the sugars won't be as viscous and not as easily washed from the grains.........just a thought.

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:16 PM   #10
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I mash at 149 all the time and get full conversion. Anything above, what 147-165 ish range should get you full conversion, its more about ensuring you have consistent mash crush, and no doughballs for the most part. Otherwise, maybe just wait a bit longer to ensure you're complete or do a ph test?

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