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Old 12-23-2011, 03:31 PM   #1
mrdauber64
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Default High gravity beer in a 5 gallon mash tun

I was wondering if anybody has ever tried to brew a high gravity beer using a 5 gallon mash tun by splitting your mash into two separate mashes and taking your first and second runnings from the first mash and using them as strike and sparge water in the second mash. Here is what I'm thinking:

total grain bill:
22 pounds of Golden Promise
1 pound of Roasted Barley

first mash:
11 pounds of Golden Promise
.5 pounds of Roasted Barley
1.25 quarts per pound of water for mash and two batch sparges.

Second mash:
11 pounds of Golden Promise
.5 pounds of Roasted Barley
1.25 quarts per pound of running from first mash for the mash and first batch sparge, then use water to rinse the grains for the 2nd batch sparge.

I'm hoping to collect about 8 gallons of wort for a Wee Heavy. I will be mashing at 154 for both mashes.

Will this work? Has anybody ever done this? I am pretty new at all-grain but I know the PH levels have to be in a specific range to get the right conversion, will this give me a PH level in range to convert the sugars in the 2nd mash? Will my efficiency be low because I am using wort to rinse my grains in the 2nd mash?

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:17 PM   #2
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If you use first runnings as sparge water, you'll be getting very inefficient extraction due to the fact that the wort is already high in sugar concentration. I'd just collect the first batch, set it aside, then collect the second and mix them.

Or, get a big rectangular picnic cooler and convert it.

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:23 PM   #3
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I'm interested to see the replies as I am also mashing in a 5 gallon cooler and am interested in making some bigger beers.

Did you get any snow in Cambridge this morning??

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:30 PM   #4
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I used a 5-gallon mash tun for a couple years....
I either did two separate mashes, or.... wimped out and did a "partial extract". Maxing out my mash tun with grain, and then adding up to 5-pounds of LME late in the boil.

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:33 PM   #5
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SilverZero: Wouldn't the concentration of sugar be just as high if I were to do a single mash with all the grains together? Are you thinking that the runnings from the first mash wouldn't convert the grains in the 2nd mash because of the thickness of the wort that I'm adding?

Racidcrabtree: Yes, we did a light dusting of snow, just enough to cover the roads and sidewalks, but not enough to shovel.

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:35 PM   #6
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Yeah, we got some this morning too but it seems to be melting off now.

What about using the second runnings from the first mash as the strike water for the first? Would that have any kind of benefit?

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Old 12-23-2011, 05:50 PM   #7
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I bought myself a 3 gallon carboy to do high gravity batches with my 5 gallon cooler. From a budget standpoint, I know pretty much what all my batches will cost because I consistently use the same amount of grain.

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Old 12-23-2011, 06:39 PM   #8
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It's not really about the money, I can afford a new 10 gallon cooler to convert to a mash tun, but for the majority of my beers that I make all I need is a 5 gallon mash tun and since I fill it to the top I get better heat retention than I would in a 10 gallon cooler. I guess I'm just curious to see if it will work or not, and if anybody has ever tried it. I might have to try it and see what happens. One of my concerns is that I will be producing more fermentables that I need and it will finish really dry since I will basically be doing a 2 hour plus mash.

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Old 12-23-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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No rule that says you have to do a 5-gallon batch. You can always run it through Beersmith and reduce the batch size to something that will fit in your 5-Fallon cooler. Green Bay Rackers says you can get 15-ish pounds in there at 1 qt/lb, so maybe do a 3.5 gal batch?

Either that, or reduce the base malt in the mash and make up the difference with DME in the boil.

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Old 12-23-2011, 08:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdauber64 View Post
SilverZero: Wouldn't the concentration of sugar be just as high if I were to do a single mash with all the grains together? Are you thinking that the runnings from the first mash wouldn't convert the grains in the 2nd mash because of the thickness of the wort that I'm adding?
The concentration wouldn't be the same because you'd never be able to mash 22 pounds in a 5 gallon MLT. A 1.25 qt/lb mash thickness would take up almost 9 gallons of space, and that's on the thick end anyway. If you did it in a 10 gallon MLT, then you could get a proper thickness and get the sugars all converted and washed out.

And, yes, I would think that striking and sparging with wort instead of water would reduce your extraction efficiency because of the concentration of sugar already in the wort. I may be wrong, I'm not sure of the saturation point of those sugars, but it would certainly be less than just water.
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