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Old 07-26-2009, 09:20 PM   #1
artbrau
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Default How not to mash: a cautionary tale

I was very excited to fire up my SABCO "Brew-Magic" RIMS for the first time in 10 years yesterday. I made a Biere de Garde styled after Markowski's "Artisanal" in Farmhouse Ales. It was a single-step infusion at 150 deg. for 75 min. Overall my brew day went very smoothly, considering how rusty I am with the work flow but there was one big problem.

The basic procedure with the Brew-Magic is to mash in with water up to the false bottom, pour in the grain, fill from above to about one inch above the grain bed, then start recirculation. Two minor things deviated from the program. I had the recirc valve open all the way for a couple minutes at the start until I remembered to throttle back and the mash temp got to 155 for about 15 min until I tossed in a cup of ice at the top (I was rusty about the calibration procedure for the RIMS). At no time did I disturb the grain bed. Sparge went smoothly. Boiled 12 gal down to 10. The gravity of the first runnings was 1.080 and the OG of the batch was 1.052.

uh-oh. The predicted gravity for this batch was 1.066 at an assumed 75% efficiency (I typically get north of 80%). What happened? Cleanup told the tale. The picture below shows the mash kettle tipped over as I emptied the grain. The darker areas are well rinsed grain. No sweetness at all. The lighter colored areas are very sweet tasting sticky grain. The lightest areas are dry grain! I estimate about 15% of the grain did not get into my beer.


Sigh. Well the SWMBO likes the lighter stuff, anyway. What might I do differently? Well, the Brew-Magic documentation cautions about running the recirc wide open as the suction from below can compact the grain bed. I have also stirred the bed a bit in the past so I'll try that once at the beginning of the mash. Let's see if the SNPA clone I'm doing next fares better.

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Old 07-26-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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Just a small hiccup my friend. Sounds like everything else faired pretty well. So, all in all, congrats on a good job.
(Bet you won't do that again though)

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Old 07-27-2009, 12:23 AM   #3
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All good, at least you are making beer. Always next weekend.

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Old 07-27-2009, 02:54 AM   #4
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Feels good don't it? I took 9 years off, started about 3 months ago and have brewed every other week since.

As some one said to me

"Welcome back to the brewing"

David

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Old 07-27-2009, 03:48 AM   #5
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Dude, don't sweat it. Without fail, every single time I do a mash, I'm 100% sure I've screwed it up irrevocably. Yet it ALWAYS comes out great. You should see my brewlogs. They're full of stuff like "Didn't hit target mash temp. Sparge temp too low. Stuck runoff took 1 hour. Forgot to vorlauf." Yet it always comes out great!

We're not commercial brewers, so we don't need to hit targets precisely. RDWHAHB!

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Old 07-27-2009, 06:10 AM   #6
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Maybe you should get back to basics. I'll trade you my basic setup for yours and we will call it even. Believe me I'm taking a loss on this deal....Sound good?

Just kidding, chalk it up to a "relearning" experience and enjoy the resulting beer and the great setup you have.

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Old 07-27-2009, 06:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artbrau View Post
What might I do differently?
Get a big spoon or paddle and stir?
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:39 AM   #8
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+1... quick stir every 10 minutes at least.

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Old 08-02-2009, 03:36 PM   #9
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I believe the sabico systems are specifically no stir. They say you get better repeatability that way

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Old 08-02-2009, 04:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfmaze View Post
I believe the sabico systems are specifically no stir. They say you get better repeatability that way
Not if you're getting doughballs you don't.
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