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Old 03-22-2011, 05:23 PM   #1
Haldedrums
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Default Grain/Water Ratio

I have been brewing 5 gallon batches, and have typically heated 5 gallons of water to approx. 12 lbs. of grain to rest for an hour in my mash tun. Once I drain the wort, I then sparge with an additional 3-4 gallons of hit water to acquire 7-8 gallons for my boil. Is this typical? Too much water with the grains in the mash tun? Will this effect any taste in my beer? I have noticed my beer has similar after tastes from brew to brew. Is this typical because my process and system are the same despite the type of beer I am bring made? I would describe the after taste as slightly metallic. It is barely noticeable, and not bad tasting at all, just a distinct characteristic of all my beer. Thought?

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Old 03-22-2011, 05:27 PM   #2
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Typical middle of the road is 1.25 qts per lb of grain. Anywhere from 1-3 qts/lb is technically okay though. The only situation where you would go above 1.5 qts/lb or so is if you are doing a step mash by adding hot water or if you miss your target temp and have to add hot/boiling water to bring the temp up.

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Old 03-22-2011, 05:59 PM   #3
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You're currently using 1.67 water to grist ratio. That is certainly fine and should not influence the taste at all.

I'm guessing that there's another issue contributing your off flavor. Can we get a description of your system to include materials used? Also, how do you ferment?

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Old 03-22-2011, 06:21 PM   #4
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Sure!

Heat strike water to approx. 15F higher than desired mash temp. in boil pot, add to grains and let sit in a insulated weekend cooler for at least 1 hour. Holds temp. great! Simply transferring water using high temp. resistant tubing and gravity.

Once my mash is complete, I drain wort back in to boil pot, and add more hot water (from a smaller pot because strike water vessel and boil pot are the same) until I get my desires boil volume.

Boil for desired time, adding pellet hops in mesh bag. Irish moss and yeast nutrient added at 10 min.

Use a wort chiller to chill wort to 70F, take a gravity reading, then transfer wort into a plastic fermenting bucket, add 1 smack pack of yeast and stir to oxygenate. Leave to ferment in a dark room, about 68F, for 2 weeks.

Finally keg and force carbonate, usually letting it settle in a keg for 1 day.

The aftertaste isn't really even noticeable until after a few pints. It isn't a bad taste, just a characteristic of all of my beers. Thought it might be a lack of body as well, so added a pound of flaked barley to my latest batch. Haven't kegged it yet so not sure how it turned out.

One thought? My mash temps have been low my past few batches. Seems I am losing heat when I transfer water to my mash run. Will heat my strike water hotter next time. Could this be it? Was sitting at about 144F. Want to aim for 155 or 160F next time.

Also, using Oxyclean to clean all food particles, rinsing very well, and using StarSan to sanitize.

Any help and suggestions would be awesome.

PS: using store bought drinking water with a pH of around 5. Also, iodine tests on the wort come out with great starch conversion.

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Old 03-22-2011, 06:37 PM   #5
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What is the material of you boil kettle?

Your process seems reasonable. Do you use software to determine the amount and temperature of your strike water? That may help you hit the mash temperatures. Something else that may help is to preheat your cooler with water before mashing. Simply pour in water that's about the same temp as your desired mash temps and let it sit for 15-20 minutes while you get set up. Then, get your strike water back to the needed temperature (according to your software) to hit your desired mash temp and dough in your grains.

Oxiclean and Starsan shouldn't influence flavor.

What is your chiller material?

Do you scrub your metal components with scrubbies/steel wool?

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Old 03-22-2011, 08:28 PM   #6
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Cooper wort chiller. Stainless steel boil pot. No scrubbing with steel wool, just a nylon store-bought scrubber.

I just read in Zymurgy that you need to scrub the tube in a keg with a brush even if it looks clean, as this might give a slight off taste? I soak the unused kegs in Oxyclean when not using, then reclean and sanitize when racking. Could this be the cause?

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Old 03-23-2011, 05:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haldedrums View Post
Too much water with the grains in the mash tun? Will this effect any taste in my beer?
I have been reading a lot about this lately and I think the only risk in having too thin of a mash is that high water alkalinity can extract unwanted tannins. If you can keep the alkalinity of your water down, it seems there is no bad effect from increasing the water-to-grains ratio as much as you like. The only limiting factor is the size of your mash/lauter tun.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wuertele View Post
I have been reading a lot about this lately and I think the only risk in having too thin of a mash is that high water alkalinity can extract unwanted tannins. If you can keep the alkalinity of your water down, it seems there is no bad effect from increasing the water-to-grains ratio as much as you like. The only limiting factor is the size of your mash/lauter tun.
+1... Very valid point.

What's the water like? You're MASH ph should be ~ 5.2-5.4 (I say mash because the grains will acidify your water to some degree). If your water is very basic (high ph, 7.5+, or so), then teh grains may not be able to drop the ph to get into the desired range.
I'd guess that your water isn't SO basic that it ill extract tannins, but it may be a factor.
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