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Old 04-09-2009, 09:04 PM   #1
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Default To Clarify....

New to AG so I wanted to ask a few quick questions.

1 If I do several rests (protien, starch, mash out) do I run off the wort and heat that up to mash temp after the protien rest or add 'clean' heated water?

2 If I need to boost the temp during the mash, again do I use the mash water or 'clean' water?

3 just how clear will the wort get after I pull off a gallon or so before the sparge?

After I did my 1st AG these were just a few of the things I wasn't sure about!

Thanks!

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Old 04-10-2009, 02:50 PM   #2
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Ok. I'm not the most experienced brewer, but I'll take a stab at it.

1. While the mash process is up for debate, generally, you do not need to do a protein rest unless it's a wheat beer with a lot of unmodified base. Doing so without a need can actually hurt head retention.

A Mashout is also being debated. Some say they get higher than ever eff. % with it. Some don't.

The ideal way is to add your mash water then heat the MLT to each stage, rather than try to deal with infusing water to heat it up. I don't do anything but a single Starch conversion, so you'll have to search around.

2. Again, I'd either heat the vessel or do an infusion of hot "clean" water. You can heat the wort but how would you heat it, say, over the MLT?

3. Clear in what sense? After vorlaufing, you should not have any bits of grain or other pieces. Color wise, the runnings will not become clearer until after sparging.

Just my experience. Hope this helps a little.

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Old 04-10-2009, 09:03 PM   #3
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Thanks Dude, Up until yesterday I didn't know this forum was here. Been doing nothing but reading books. Theres a ton of "gee I wish I knew that" information on here. I'm using a converted round cooler to mash in so I can't heat that. I noticed during my first mash the temp got a little low so I just added water, not thinking, I used my heated up sparge water to boost the temp. This of course robbed me of about 3-4 qrts of sparge water. Duh! I think next time I will condition the mash tun better before adding the mash water. I think that will help hold the temp better. Learn as you go ya know!

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Old 04-11-2009, 03:57 PM   #4
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I noticed during my first mash the temp got a little low so I just added water, not thinking, I used my heated up sparge water to boost the temp. This of course robbed me of about 3-4 qrts of sparge water.
This is how I correct mash temps. I have my sparge water measured out and heating while mashing. If I need to add heat, I take it from the sparge water, so that all my volumes still end up as planned. I use it boiling though, to use as little as possible.
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Old 04-11-2009, 05:21 PM   #5
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But it robs you of the sparge water right? I mean, isn't the correct amount of sparge water just as important? Do you add more water to your hot water to make up for it?

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Old 04-11-2009, 06:28 PM   #6
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But it robs you of the sparge water right? I mean, isn't the correct amount of sparge water just as important? Do you add more water to your hot water to make up for it?
No I don't add back to the sparge water. I do 2 batch sparges that together equal roughly 50-55% of my final pre-boil volume. By adding some water boiling from my first sparge into my mash, I'm not changing the ratio by much at all. It doesn't help much to be too picky about your mash water/sparge water ratio anyway. Roughly half-and-half is fine.
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Old 04-13-2009, 03:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snafu View Post
New to AG so I wanted to ask a few quick questions.

1 If I do several rests (protien, starch, mash out) do I run off the wort and heat that up to mash temp after the protien rest or add 'clean' heated water?

2 If I need to boost the temp during the mash, again do I use the mash water or 'clean' water?

3 just how clear will the wort get after I pull off a gallon or so before the sparge?

After I did my 1st AG these were just a few of the things I wasn't sure about!

Thanks!
Hi SNAFU

If you need to step more than once, you're better off directly heating the mash tun or doing decoctions. It takes a lot more boiling water than you'd think to raise the mash temp due to the thermal mass of the mash. You don't want to run off the wort from your mash tun and heat that to the next step temp because it would barely budge the overall temp of the mash when added back, and you definitely don't want to boil the wort because you would kill off your enzymes.
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Old 04-13-2009, 04:14 PM   #8
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Minky, Yeah, I think i'll just stick to single infusions with maybe a mash out. that shouldn't take but a couple of extra qts. Mash tun is a cooler so no heating.

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Old 04-13-2009, 04:50 PM   #9
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Random thoughts:

Quote:
You don't want to run off the wort from your mash tun and heat that to the next step temp because it would barely budge the overall temp of the mash when added back, and you definitely don't want to boil the wort because you would kill off your enzymes.
You can do that...people do it all the time.

If you infuse hot clean water then it's called an infusion.
If you pull wort from the mash and heat it and then return it to the main mash then it's called a decoction. Decoctions are often boiled for a while.

Many people do a mash-out decoction because it would take too much water to do it via infusion and you'd be using up your precious sparge water. So they just pull a thin-mash decoction consisting of mostly or all liquid...heat it and possibly boil it...then return it. EDIT: Thin-mash decoctions work well for mashing-out because the wort is already converted. If you were using a decoction to increase the temp earlier in the mash (before it was all converted)...you would typically pull a thick-mash decoction. Most of the enzymes are in the liquid.

Remember that it takes a lot more hot water to go from 158 F to 168 F than it does to go from 108 F to 118 F...even though they are both a 10 degree increase.

Luckily, when you do lower temperature rests they typically benefit from a thick mash and as you increase the temp the mash benefits from being thinner so infusing your way up works very well...thick at the beginning and thinner at the end.

If you want to practice it...you could try starting at something like 145 F for 30 minutes then infuse (or decoct) up to 155 F for 30 minutes. Even if you miss by a few degrees it should still be fine.

The wort going into the kettle doesn't have to be that clear, just no grains/husks/chunks. If it's got some really fine particles in it that's OK...you don't want it really cloudy...but it doesn't have to be super clear either. Besides...it will clear more as you go so only the very first runnings will be that turbid (and it will all settle out...the beer will be crystal clear).
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Old 04-13-2009, 08:46 PM   #10
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Hi SpanishCastle,
Yeah, I was afraid maybe my answer was a little too vague. If you'll notice, I did mention decoctions as a means to stepping up mash temps, and made a distinction (rightly or wrongly) between that and drawing off the liquid wort and heating it. I was afraid that SNAFU would think that he could draw off the entire liquid portion, boil it, and return it to the mash as a means to step from a protein rest to the sacharrification rest. It would definitely be a legitimate way to mash out, but an enzyme killer at any other stage.

Additionally, I must say that I have attempted to infuse my way through several rests beginning at 122 deg., and you definitely need a lot of room in a mash tun to do it.

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