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Old 03-15-2011, 12:13 PM   #1
jbloeser
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Default How often do you stir

So I have a question for my fellow AG cooler MLT brewers:

How often do you stir your mash, and possibly your batch sparge? I have been afraid to lose to much heat with opening the lid repeatedly so I usually stir the dough in, then once my temp seems on I close the lid and leave it alone for a full hour. I think I stir before my vorlauf, and I know I stir my sparge water in but then again I leave it alone for 10 min before another vorlauf.

What do you do? I'm suspecting that more stirring might push my effieciecy up a bit from the high 60's to a mid 70 range.

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Old 03-15-2011, 12:16 PM   #2
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There is no need to stir after initial dough in. I dough in, stir for consistent temps, then let rest. After an hour I start my vorlauf. If you stir before vorlauf, you disrupt the grain bed and you filter.

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Old 03-15-2011, 12:35 PM   #3
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Most don't stir the mash after dough-in. Some do. Some have even created/built mechanisms to constantly stir the mash.

I don't stir mine at all after dough-in.

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Old 03-15-2011, 12:40 PM   #4
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I stir while pouring the grain and after to make sure there are no dough balls, then close it up. For batch sparging I just pour the water in, give it a good mix, and drain.

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Old 03-15-2011, 01:14 PM   #5
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I have a direct fire mash tun, so I stir as much as I want and add heat if I need it. Realistically, I only stir two or three more times after dough in. I'm not 100% sure but I think I've gotten a couple extra points of efficiency but it's hard to tell if there are other factors.

Makes sense to me that it would add efficiency - it's like you're moving the liquid in and out of the grain pieces, and shifting sugars around to make them more available. But that could just be fool's logic.

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Old 03-15-2011, 01:44 PM   #6
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I stir when I dough in and that's it, unless I am doing a decoction mash which requires stirring each time the decoction is added back in.

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Old 03-15-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
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I did my first all grain batch this weekend; the mash tun is a 10 gallon Rubbermaid water cooler. Instead of a manifold, I mashed in a voile bag. With 4.6 gallons and 13 pounds of grain, the mash was on the thicker side.

After the initial dough-in with a slotted spood, I hit the mash with a drill powered paint mixer (metal shaft, plastic fins) to move the volume through the mixer.

With a 60 minute mash, I hit it once again at 30 minutes; so two times per mash. I lost 1 degree over the mash duration and I attribute that to not having the lid threaded on as tight as it should have been (bag material overlapping).

After sparging, the mash gravity was 1.060; post-60 minute boil was 1.070 with a 5.25 gallon batch.

Being an all grain newbie, maybe it is not necessary to mix like this but I feel it helped.

For less than $6, this mixer does a fantastic job - zero dough balls and a well mixed mash. Of course, having the grains in a bag instead of loose in the tun makes a difference as well.

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Old 03-15-2011, 02:07 PM   #8
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I'm with the majority on this one - I stir while mashing in and once temp is achieved let it sit for at least an hour. I use a 5 gallon round igloo as my MLT and due to space constraints I do three batch sparges (main mash and two additions of 2-3 gallons each)allowing about a 10 minute rest for the grain bed to set up before draining after each sparge water addition.

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Old 03-15-2011, 03:00 PM   #9
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I've been checking the mash @ the halfway point and stirring it... maybe I shouldn't...

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Old 03-15-2011, 03:07 PM   #10
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No reason not to, really. Might help to even out the temperature of the mash if you have areas of differential heat loss in your tun. As long as you're not losing alot of heat by doing it, and you shouldn't, it won't hurt. Some do, some don't, and the consequences one way or another aren't significant.

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