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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Do Not Fear All-Grain Brewing - A Primer

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Old 12-04-2012, 02:57 PM   #51
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I remember staring AG two years ago and 30 batches and I needed a plan like this. Thinking about the process before hand to "craft" my process is better for me than using a cook book process. Even now I have learned a lot from this thread (both agreeable and not) and am thankful I am part of this community.
The OP has donated a great gift, thank you

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Old 12-04-2012, 07:33 PM   #52
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Holy thread revival! But it's definitely an excellent read. Thanks for dredging this thread back up! I'm currently using the BIAB method, but there's plenty here to help me improve my own process.

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Old 12-04-2012, 07:39 PM   #53
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I've found the dough-in and achieving mash temp sections to be invaluable, and a stray from the norm of what most folks do these days. I use the method outlined by jfowler and find it very easy to do and simple to remember. Basically, a couple calculations, add in some buffer/wiggle room, and you're set in regards to achieving a good mash temperature without much fuss.

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:13 PM   #54
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I've been thinking about my low efficiency problems and what I can change, and the last couple of batches have used the dough in procedure you outline, and I have realised a potential pitfall of that method: If your HLT water is too hot, then you could end up with a mash that's too thick. Admittedly it would have to be a big error, but I think that may be what happened to me last time. I use a plastic cooler, and it doesn't absorb nearly as much heat as I anticipated, so I ended up with a mash that was about 1.1 Q/lb. I'll know for next time, but unless I'm mistaken, doesn't that mean that you saturate the liquid in there with sugar?

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Old 02-01-2013, 02:09 PM   #55
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As you continue to add sugar into water, it becomes increasingly more difficult to dissolve more sugar into the liquid, especially once you reach a fairly high amount of it. So, with an overly-thick mash, I could see it becoming more difficult to get good efficiency, as the final bit of sugar won't extract as readily from the grain.

Using the BIAB method myself, I tend to use a very thin mash, and tend to have pretty decent efficiency numbers (in the 70% range). Keep in mind that efficiency also depends on the grain you're using, too. Some grains just don't lend themselves to high efficiency numbers anyway.

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Old 02-01-2013, 02:54 PM   #56
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I always dough-in using this method, and my most recent batch was an ESB that aimed to use a 1:1 water:grist ratio. I started at about 0.8:1, mixed in the grains, and then added water to reach my mash temp. I would say that I was VERY close to my desired ratio of 1:1 because I knew what amount of water would achieve my desired ratio and I added pretty close to this amount. This was a 60 minute mash. After completion of the batch my overall brewhouse efficiency was ~73% which is very typical of my norm (72-75%). If I had to say that a thick mash affects efficiency then I would say that it only affects it very little (a percent or two).

Additionally, there are many folks on these forums that use a thick mash, especially those english beer brewers, and I don't think they'd stick with it if it meant they have to endure 60% efficiency hits every time. Perhaps if your ratio was REALLY thick you'd have a decent hit but I'm thinking like 0.6:1 or thereabouts - of course, you'd seriously question this when stirring your mash because it would be ridiculously thick. I highly doubt that your regular low efficiency problems are caused by using the method outlined by the OP.

Also, I do believe that it's been determined that very thin mashes (2:1) increase efficiency by some margin, maybe a few percent, and if you have the space in your MLT then I can't see why not try it out. This would be a definite way of increasing efficiency by a few points but not an overall remedy for low efficiency problems.

To solve a nagging low efficiency problem I would review your brewing process, volumes, crush, trub loss, etc and see if you can spot a potential large efficiency loss. Many folks find large losses due to the actual crush of the grain not being good enough. If you have control over this then this is an easy place to look (i.e. mill twice). Also, if you want help determining where you're taking a big efficiency hit then create a new thread in the appropriate forum with a detailed explanation of your brewing process and the nice folks here will gladly throw out some ideas (a picture of your crushed grain is always a help).

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Old 02-01-2013, 03:35 PM   #57
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Thanks.

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Old 02-01-2013, 04:06 PM   #58
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As another about to do their first AG batch, thank you! Very good write-up.

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Old 02-01-2013, 04:32 PM   #59
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If you're worried about a too-thick mash, add some cool water and then more hotwater to balance. That's what I had to do my last batch, worked fine.

I think the method is a great baseline, but it isn't a hard and fast 'thou shalt' . . . Make it work for you.

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:59 PM   #60
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Just a quick thanks for this - have been able to consistently hit my mash temperatures spot on since adopting your dough-in method. No more 'dump and pray', followed by frantic efforts to get closer to my target temps. Cheers!

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