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Old 04-05-2007, 02:36 AM   #1
LarMoeCur
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Default Dough in process

I've been having some major effiniecy issues. I've been down a bunch of roads. Batch sparge, fly sparge, finer mill, thinner mash, thicker mash, water pH, Mash pH. I've been reading a lot of post here and on the other boards. I'm thinking! With all my years of brewing have I just been on auto-pilot as of late? Have I been just doing things to do them. I just read a post about someone who figured out his low eff. was due to a bad mixing of the grains and water. He figured this out by adding the water to the mashtun then mixing in the grains.

I mix my grains pretty good but I wonder if I have just become lazy with my mixing. I always add 1/4 of the grains then water and mix. 1/4 more grains more water and mix. ect...ect... Anyway who here adds the water first then adds the grains? I'm wondering if a poor mix has been my problem all along. Has anyone here gotten better eff. just by spending more time mixing?

When I brew this weekend I'm going to feel pretty stupid if this was my problem.

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Old 04-05-2007, 02:52 AM   #2
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I'm not sure I can tie it to doughing in process. I've tried it a number of way and find that adding the water first and then stirring in the grains is a relatively easy way for me to get doughed in well and hit my strike temps.

One thing I did with my Doppelbock that is pretty much a "throwback" method was to dough in with cold water a couple hours early (very, very thick mash). This allows the grist to become very well hydrated. You then infuse with hot water to your first rest (which could be a saccharification rest if you're not doing acid/protein/etc).

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Old 05-10-2007, 09:47 PM   #3
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Anyone else have a comment on this?

Should you add the grains to your water, or add your water to your grains in your MLT? or does it matter at all?

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Old 05-10-2007, 09:55 PM   #4
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I have a direct fired MLT, so I measure and add my water first. I treat the water with whatever I need to (usually 5.2 and gypsum, maybe some lactic acid) a day in advance. Then I heat to my strike temp and add the grains into the mash water in thirds. I usually hit 75-80% efficiency. I'm not sure it really matters how you mix the two together, eventually you should have a fairly loose (looser than say a bowl or oat meal, but not like lumpy water) mixture with no clumps.

I have found that when I do a very fine grind, that I get more clumps and have to stir more frequently.

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Old 05-10-2007, 10:25 PM   #5
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Like others here, I add my water to my mash tun (stainless steel turkey fryer), add some sodium bicarb to adjust pH as I am bringing it up to temperature and then stir in the ground grains. I add a scoop (about a quart) of grain, stir to hydrate, add another scoop, etc until it is all in. I then stir every 10 minutes during mashing. My water to grist ratio is 1 - 1.5 quarts of water to a pound of grain. My efficiencies run 80 -85%.

I hope this helps.

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Old 05-10-2007, 10:43 PM   #6
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I always add some water first, then grain, more water, more grain etc.
My reason for this is twofold:
1. If I add grain first and then add water, the grain gets embedded in the false bottom, and I then get a stuck sparge.
2. I find it easier to mix if each addition of grain or water is relatively small.
In my case, it has nothing to do with efficiency.

If you are having serious efficiency problems, I would suggest trying to determine if the problem is in the mash, the sparge, or in incorrect volumes.
If you take an SG reading of the final runnings from the sparge, it should ideally be about 1.010 - 1.015. If it is much higher than this, the problem is probably caused by the sparge. If lower, then I would suspect the mash.

-a.

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Old 05-10-2007, 10:47 PM   #7
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Im using a 5 gallon cooler and have been adding the water last, just in hopes that the temp doesn't drop any extra while in the cooler with the lid off. adding the grains It sounds like its just a convenience and doesn't really matter though.

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Old 05-10-2007, 10:57 PM   #8
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Dr Malt and jdoiv: What are your processes for treating water for pH prior to adding grains? Is it based on historical observations from your local water? I was under the impression that pH adjustment should be primarily managed after mash in and the grains have had a chance to "have their way" with the hot liquor's pH. I do sometimes harden my water for IPA's, for example, to accentuate the hop profile, but I still check my pH ~15 minutes after dough-in.

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Old 05-10-2007, 11:07 PM   #9
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I add water to my tun first and then scoop a couple of cups of grain at a time into the tun while stirring. This is the way I started doing it and I get at least a 75% and up efficiency. Usually I get 80% and up but there were a few times I did get 77%.
I add my salts to the mash to adjust like you BvB

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Old 05-10-2007, 11:27 PM   #10
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In the latest version of John Palmer's book, How To Brew, he states that you want to add the water to the grain, and not the other way around. He mentions to add the water a gallon at a time, stirring between infusions, until you have added all of your strike water. His reasoning behind it is so that you don't thermally shock the enzymes by adding all of the strike water at the same time or adding a small amount of grains at a time to the entire volume of strike water.

Be careful when first stirring the water into the grains, you want it thoroughly wetted, but don't aerate it. There is an enzyme present that can lead to hot side aeration until it is denatured at 140˚F.

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