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Old 05-15-2013, 07:29 PM   #1
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Default How much strike water?

My last brew gave me difficulty. I added the grains to the mash water after we heated it up. Then, it was completely dry on top. I didn't add any additional water because we were at the correct temperature and I didn't want to lower it.

The recipe called for 1.25 quarts per pound of grains. This brew had 14 pounds of grains. This came out to 4.375 gallons of water. I used 5 gallons.

The difficulty came in getting the wort out of the mash tun. The waterlevel after the mash was a good inch or so underneath the top of the grains. It took almost half of the sparge water to get the water level above the grains. My question is, should the mash be that dry, or should it be more soupy? I screwed something up, but what?

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Old 05-15-2013, 07:59 PM   #2
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It shouldn't be dry, but it might be more like oatmeal. Over time, it should get less viscous, too, as the starches are converted to sugars. I'm not sure what happened, but the grain should be fully incorporated into the water. Did you stir enough?

I find that thin mashes are a bit easier to work with. Try 2 quarts per pound next time. Or, if you have room in your tun, mash with the entire boil volume (full volume mash). There may be some difference in result with thick vs thin mashes, but I think there are variables in our processes that are much more important and that if you're at the point where you can tell the difference between 2 beers of different mash thickness, you make good beer.

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Old 05-15-2013, 08:02 PM   #3
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You didn't leave an inch of dry grains on top of the water level while mashing, right? Please tell me I'm reading that wrong.

For 14 lbs of grain, 4.3 gallons is about right. Five would definitely be plenty of water and the mash would be pretty thin.

Sorry for the dumb question, but have you tried stirring the mash?

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Old 05-15-2013, 08:08 PM   #4
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How was your final wort volume after boiling? About what you expected, or low? I know I've had certain embarrassing moments before when I've lost track of which gallon I'm on when I'm collecting my mash/sparge water ... I have a faucet filter which goes... very...... sloooowwwwlllllyyyyyyyy. So I've ended up with 7 gallons before when I've needed 8. (facepalm)

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Old 05-15-2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesIPA View Post
You didn't leave an inch of dry grains on top of the water level while mashing, right? Please tell me I'm reading that wrong.

For 14 lbs of grain, 4.3 gallons is about right. Five would definitely be plenty of water and the mash would be pretty thin.

Sorry for the dumb question, but have you tried stirring the mash?
Unforutnately, I did. They weren't dry, they were damp, but I had to dig to find the wort. I didnt have time to heat up more mash water. I always stir as I add the grains, so there arent chunks. Never had this problem before.

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It shouldn't be dry, but it might be more like oatmeal. Over time, it should get less viscous, too, as the starches are converted to sugars. I'm not sure what happened, but the grain should be fully incorporated into the water. Did you stir enough?

I find that thin mashes are a bit easier to work with. Try 2 quarts per pound next time. Or, if you have room in your tun, mash with the entire boil volume (full volume mash). There may be some difference in result with thick vs thin mashes, but I think there are variables in our processes that are much more important and that if you're at the point where you can tell the difference between 2 beers of different mash thickness, you make good beer.
Thin is definitely easier. The last brew I did was Yooper's fizzy yellow beer, didn't have this problem with that at all. Next brew I'll try 2q instead of 1.25q and see how that turns out.

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How was your final wort volume after boiling? About what you expected, or low? I know I've had certain embarrassing moments before when I've lost track of which gallon I'm on when I'm collecting my mash/sparge water ... I have a faucet filter which goes... very...... sloooowwwwlllllyyyyyyyy. So I've ended up with 7 gallons before when I've needed 8. (facepalm)
Come to think of it, the final wort was just under a gallon short of my goal. This might be my problem. I need to remember to get the mash going before opening that first brew during brewing night
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:56 PM   #6
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Yeah, if you had dry grains at 1.25 qts per lb of grain then you probably measured wrong at some point. That should be enough strike to get everything covered and floating.

That said, I usually mash thinner, 1.5qt-2qt per pound. For me, thinner is better. YMMV, there is a lot of discussion about thinner mashes in the efficiency sticky in this section.

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Old 05-15-2013, 09:50 PM   #7
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1.25qt/lb should have been plenty of water to properly mash, it sounds as though your water volume measurements were off or you had a lot more than 14lbs of grain

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:14 PM   #8
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your math is off or you have a false bottom that is taking a lot of the water and not letting the grains to mash

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Old 05-15-2013, 11:18 PM   #9
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your math is off or you have a false bottom that is taking a lot of the water and not letting the grains to mash
This, is probably the answer. I need to figure out how much liquid that displaces. It's about an inch off the bottom of the mash tun. I feel dumb having just now discovered this.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:37 PM   #10
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Find out the dead space in your HLT and your mash ton, that needs to be added to your water calculations.

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