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Old 08-09-2009, 11:36 PM   #1
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Default First PM - temperature monitoring confusion

Hey, I just did my first partial mash today. I didn't stir it for much longer than 30 seconds. Chen I put the grains into the pot, which was about 170F at the time, and had trouble maintaining a steady temperature after that.

At first I shut off the heat and put a lid on the thing, but when I opened the lid back up the temp was in the 170 range (???), so I put in a little cold water, kept the lid off and stayed by the stove.

My thermometer read 155...but I think this is because it wasn't fully submerged. Near the end of the mash, I realized that lurking deeper in the pot was water around 170-ish!

I feel like a dumb**** for asking this, but I really have no idea how to monitor temperature down to the degree. Is there a simple way to do this?

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Old 08-09-2009, 11:40 PM   #2
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First, stir the mash more. You have to get all of the grain soaked and at a uniform temperature. All I do is stir the grain, then check the temperature in a few spots. About 30 minutes later I'll check again and add hot water if needed.

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Old 08-09-2009, 11:50 PM   #3
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Blah! It seems so obvious once the mistake is made.

Does the quality of the pot at all affect the consistency of temperature and circulation of heat? The one I'm using to mash is stainless steel but it's a cheapie.

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Old 08-10-2009, 04:39 AM   #4
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Hey, I hit my OG! Granted, that OG was calculated using 65% efficiency as a benchmark but...I hit it! So all is not lost.

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Old 08-10-2009, 04:30 PM   #5
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Find an online calculator, calculate temps required for water volume and grain volume.

Bring water to temp (~170)
Add grains and stir, stir, stir, stir...make sure you have no dough balls
Check temp, if you did your calcs right and added the proper volumes you should be good
Place entire pot with lid on in a warm ~175* oven, turn oven off, close door and walk away.

Fiddling with a burner on the stove is a colossal waste of time and effort IMO.

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Old 08-12-2009, 12:37 AM   #6
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This is exactly what happened to me on my first PM. A few people suggested getting the initial temp dialed in and then wrapping the kettle in a a towel. I actually used a large quilt with two towels on top in the shape of a cross. I wrapped everything up in that. Temp was good after ten minutes so I left it for the remaining mash time and when all was said and done I hadnt lost a single degree. Before jumping to AG I used that method three times with no issues.

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Old 08-12-2009, 12:45 AM   #7
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Before I started using an Igloo cooler for my partial mash I use the spaghetti pot method as well. What worked well for me to maintain temp was to warm my oven to about 10-15 degrees over my mash temp and then turn it off. Then I just put the lid on my pot after stirring the mash up good and making sure it was on temp and popped it in the oven.

After 20-30 minutes or so I'll take it out, give it a quick stir and pop it back into the oven. I usually have to reheat the oven a little at that point to get it back up around mash temp. The residual heat in the oven really helps to keep the pot at mash temp a lot longer than it will sitting on the stove.

You don't have to be exact with the oven temp, just somewhere around 10-15 degrees of your mash temp works great.

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Old 08-12-2009, 03:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl spakler View Post
Place entire pot with lid on in a warm ~175* oven, turn oven off, close door and walk away.
Really? Wouldn't that give you way too high of a mash temp?

From reading your initial post, it seems like temps were staying too high for you. I used to have that trouble, too, when I first started doing stovetop PM's. Two things helped: first, stir well. Even for a few minutes. Since you may not be using tons of grain, it's not that hard to get it all wet, but after you do, keep stirring for a while. Stirring for a solid 3-4 minutes usually gets me down to my desired mash temp.

The other thing that was a problem for me, and for which I repeatedly kicked myself hard for not figuring out sooner, was that when the water hit strike temp, I would just turn the heat off and mix in the grains. Great, except even though the gas was off (I have a gas stove), the burner was still super hot and adding heat to the pot! Now as soon as I hit strike temp I move the pot off the hot burner and mix in. Stir well and you're good to go.

As far as losing temp goes, the pot I use to mash is pretty well insulated, so I don't really have that problem. But wrapping with a few towels seems to work well for lots of folk.
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:39 AM   #9
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If you heat to 175, it's going to drop quite a bit when you open the door to put the pot in. And since you're turning it off when you put the pot in anyway, it won't have a chance to raise the temp of your mash. It'll just maintain the temp.

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Old 08-12-2009, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palefire View Post
The other thing that was a problem for me, and for which I repeatedly kicked myself hard for not figuring out sooner, was that when the water hit strike temp, I would just turn the heat off and mix in the grains. Great, except even though the gas was off (I have a gas stove), the burner was still super hot and adding heat to the pot! Now as soon as I hit strike temp I move the pot off the hot burner and mix in. Stir well and you're good to go.
Wow, that's so obvious! Yeah, I kept mine on the burner. I wonder if that's what was adding heat.
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