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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > First All Grain Batch... Help please!
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:34 AM   #1
Jaybrew226
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Default First All Grain Batch... Help please!

My first question is with the milled grain. I asked they guy at my LHBS if he could help me with my grain bill. He was nice enough and weighted it out and ran it though the mill. I didn't consider looking at it prior to mashing. After I mashed, I looked at the grain and it didn't seem crushed enough. There were whole grains still intact. I could take a grain and push the white material out of it. So I thought I would show some pictures and see what you guys thought. Is this how its suppose to look? The link below shows how the grains looked after the mash.

photos.flicker.com/Allgrainbrewing

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Old 04-30-2012, 07:15 AM   #2
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My favorite part of all grain: Eat it!
If it's sweet and tasty, then there are plenty of sugars that didn't convert. This can be caused by too low of a temperature, not enough mixing, too short of a mash time, or too coarse of a mill.

Temp:
It depends on the style of beer what you mash at, but 160-165°F is a good all around temp. That gives enough room to lose some heat, too. As far as making sure you have the right temp try saving a half gallon or more of your hot liquor addition and measure the grain temp. If the grain was cold and lowered the liquor to 140°F or below, heat your reserve higher before you top off.

Mixing:
Be sure to get a long wooden, steel, or strong plastic spoon or paddle to stir your mash several times. Every 10-15 min is good.

Time:
Like temp this depends on the recipe, but 60 min at 160°F is good for most batches.

Crush:
I couldn't really tell from your pictures, and that's why I listed everything. Some husks looked empty and some well crushed, but those oval white ones barely looked touched. And, I'm having a tough time recalling exactly what the whole mix should look like. If you are concerned, tell your LHBS that you use really crushed gains in your setup and (I'm assuming an electric mill) have them give it a second pass.

Hope that helps!

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Old 04-30-2012, 07:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGreatReverend View Post

Temp:
It depends on the style of beer what you mash at, but 160-165°F is a good all around temp. That gives enough room to lose some heat, too. As far as making sure you have the right temp try saving a half gallon or more of your hot liquor addition and measure the grain temp. If the grain was cold and lowered the liquor to 140°F or below, heat your reserve higher before you top off.
If you are refering to your mash themp then that is too high. Your mash should be anywhere between 152-154*. If its too high then you can get alot of unfermentable sugars.

Also It is alot easier to cool the mash down than it is to raise it by a few degrees. My suggestion is to heat your water to a higher temp and add it to your cooler. Let the heat get absorbed and add your grain, and if your too high add some cool water. Like I said its alot easier to cool the mash then heat it.

It will take some test batches to get your system down. Everyones is different.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tally350z View Post
If you are refering to your mash themp then that is too high. Your mash should be anywhere between 152-154*. If its too high then you can get alot of unfermentable sugars.

Also It is alot easier to cool the mash down than it is to raise it by a few degrees. My suggestion is to heat your water to a higher temp and add it to your cooler. Let the heat get absorbed and add your grain, and if your too high add some cool water. Like I said its alot easier to cool the mash then heat it.
Good catch.

I've had a few recipes that called for initial mash temps around 160-165°F but not to maintain it that high. You're totally right about higher temps effectively caramelizing the sugars so they don't ferment well and change the pallet. But, I also like decoction mashes, too.

Also, right about cooling the mash being easier than heating the mash. Another reason I aim for 160°F and let it fall to the "golden range."

What about his grain pics? Did the grain look too coarse?
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:08 AM   #5
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Def. looks like it could be crushed some more. I am seeing some whole grains. Or what it looks like in the pic..

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Old 04-30-2012, 11:23 AM   #6
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Yes, it looks too coarse for my liking.

It should be somewhere in between what you had and flour. LOL The grains should be crushed into pieces and there should still be recognizable "parts" of the grain: husk, angiosperm, etc. but it should not be so fine as to be flour. There may be some whole grains in there by accident but ideally they should all get a pass through the rollers.

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Old 04-30-2012, 03:41 PM   #7
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Default grain size

Thanks for the input guys. There was a large portion of the grain that was still intact. I could take one and push out all the stuff in the middle out. I'm not sure if people could see all three of my photos. I had a close up of the grains in my hand. how does the photo look here?

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Old 04-30-2012, 04:31 PM   #8
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Definitely needs to be crushed more. I'm not sure what kind of mill your LHBS has, the one at mine is really nice and they let me weigh out and crush my own grains. I set the mill gap to 28 (maybe it's .28, I don't pay that much attention other than setting it to the number I like) but you should never have that many whole kernels. Like others have said, you want the husk in tact for your filter and the rest should be crushed up well.

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Old 04-30-2012, 05:10 PM   #9
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OclairBrew, Thank you. My gravity was way low after the mash and I was scratching my head on what went wrong. I looked at the spent grains and it didnt match what John Palmer had in his How to Brew book. I was at least 5 points off or more. I havent had a chance to sit down and crunch the numbers. I collected 6.5 gallons of wort and the gravity was low, so I added the rest of the running from my sparge... which brought my volume up to 8 gal. Lucky my Megapot boils off 1.5 gal/hr. So I boiled off back down to 6.5 gallons to 1.033, i believe, but it should of been at 1.041 at 6.5gal.

Which brings me to my next question. Maybe I'm a pansey, but the hydrometer was a pain. I was somewhat confused as its calibrated at 60F but I was taking readings near boiling. I used an online temperature correction which brought me to the numbers I listed above. It seems to me the refractometer is a much better deal when mashing. Smaller samples and easier to take more of them without wasting wort. What do you think of using refractometers?

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Old 04-30-2012, 05:29 PM   #10
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I haven't bought a refractometer yet, but it is much better to use for those samples I have heard. I pull a sample and stick in the fridge because the temp corrections for a hydrometer at those temps are unreliable. I do this both pre and post boil. Pre-boil to find my efficiency, and post boil to find my OG.

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