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Old 06-30-2011, 06:56 AM   #1
blawjr
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Default First Partial Mash-how to control mash temp?

This is my first partial mash, I want to move to all grain but can't afford the equipment quite yet so I figured I could do a partial mash pretty easily with the equipment I already have. I have a 5 gallon brewpot, and I was thinking I could either closely monitor the temp with a probe thermometer and adjust the stove to maintain temp. OR I was thinking, maybe I could just bring it to mash temp, dough in, put the lid on and put the pot into a oven thats set at the mash temp. Thoughts? Has anyone tried this?

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Old 06-30-2011, 08:44 AM   #2
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I've done both! My oven doesn't stay at a steady temperature, though. But I found that just putting it in the warm oven with the oven off worked just fine.

I've also done a partial mash in my bottling bucket, lined with a big mesh grain bag, and wrapped in a sleeping bag to hold in the heat. It still lost quite a bit of heat, but worked out well for me.

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Old 06-30-2011, 10:19 PM   #3
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What Yooper said; your oven temps will probably fluctuate above and below the temp you set. I would set the oven temp quite a bit below your target mash temp just to help maintain heat in your mash vessel. If it shoots up too high, you could prematurely denature enzymatic activity.

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Old 06-30-2011, 10:40 PM   #4
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I've tried both techniques as well, but find the stovetop method easier (largely because my oven doesn't have a setting lower than 225F!). If on the top, I like to stir periodically to ensure that the heat is distributed properly as well.

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Old 06-30-2011, 11:01 PM   #5
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I use a paint strainer bag and a 3gal pot. As I'm getting my strike water up to temp I preheat my oven to the lowest setting (170). Once I dough in and am at my target temp (or a degree above) I turn the oven off and toss the pot into the oven with the lid on. I've got one of those probe thermometers for meat that I'll set in the mash so I can wander by and check the temp, and at most I'll lose a degree or two over 60 minutes. (If you lost more you could probably turn the oven back on to 170 to bring it up a touch, then turn it off again.) I considered trying to keep it in check on the stove top, but I have a tough enough time narrowing in with my electric burners that I was afraid I'd screw it up somehow and way overshoot.

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Old 06-30-2011, 11:12 PM   #6
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i've tried oven, stove top and sleeping bag

stove top was the hardest to control and monitor for me

your oven doesn't have to maintain the exact mash temp as long as it stays around 150ish it will keep too much heat from dissipating.

one thing to keep in mind is head space - i found that having too much headspace in my pot will result in more heat loss than usual

so if you have a smaller pot and are doing a smaller grain bill use that instead of the 5gal pot

the sleeping bag method works really well also and i'd recommend that before the stove top personally

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Old 07-01-2011, 01:51 AM   #7
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I've mashed in a kettle on the stove top. It worked, but required a lot of attention.
When applying heat, I had to stir continuously, and after shutting off the heat, I still had to stir for several minutes. For single infusion mashes, mashing in a cooler made brew day so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

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Old 07-01-2011, 01:35 PM   #8
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I use a 5 gallon pot to mash and a 3 gallon pot for the sparge water. I start the stove heating until it reaches about 150 deg then turn it off. I bring the sparge water to about 170 deg F. I put the 5 gallon mash along with the heated sparge water in the oven. The mash stays at temperature for the full hour. The sparge water only needs a little heating after.

You could also get a 5 gallon round cooler to mash in.

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Old 07-02-2011, 08:18 PM   #9
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Has anyone tried doing a partial mash in a standard cooler? Using a large grain bad of course.

My thought was to get the cooler nice and hot with some boiling water and once it dropped to my mash temp drop in the grain bag and cover. I would check it about every 15 minutes.

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Old 07-02-2011, 09:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billf2112
Has anyone tried doing a partial mash in a standard cooler? Using a large grain bad of course.

My thought was to get the cooler nice and hot with some boiling water and once it dropped to my mash temp drop in the grain bag and cover. I would check it about every 15 minutes.
I use cooler and grain bag. It doesn't lose much temperature in an hour.
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