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Old 02-03-2012, 05:43 PM   #1
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Default Increasing ABV in the mash?

Would it be possible for me to do a 2nd mash with wort from the first mash to increase the ABV of a brew?

The recipe has something like 1.052 with a grain bill of 11.25lbs of grain. If I do a 2nd mash with the first running reheated to strike temp and run it through, and mash another 4-5lbs of base grain, could I bring the ABV up a few points to give it an extra % or two of alcohol, or would I be better off using fresh water and boiling it down longer in the keg to get it to the concentration I want?

I was going to pick up some DME and do it that way, but I forgot to get it and along with the LHBS charging an arm and a leg for it, it's more appealing to do it with the grains I already have.

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Old 02-03-2012, 05:52 PM   #2
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What is limiting you from just mashing all of the grain at once? Just the size of your mash tun?

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Old 02-03-2012, 06:15 PM   #3
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What is limiting you from just mashing all of the grain at once? Just the size of your mash tun?
Possibly. The original idea was to use the wort from the first run in mashing the second batch to get the higher gravity without introducing extra water. Would it be just as easy to mash everything at once with the extra water and just boil it down?

At 11.25 lbs, I'm looking at about 7 gallons of water for the boil taking in to account about 2 gallons lost on a 90 minute boil from the recipe, iirc. With 16.25 I'm looking at over 10 gallons for a 5 gallon batch. Would I just boil the wort down to 7 gallons and start the boil countdown at that time?

This is my 2nd AG batch, so I'm probably better off sticking with recipes, but I just can't leave stuff damned well enough alone for my own good. Plus, brewing is about experimenting and having fun, right?
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cokronk View Post
Possibly. The original idea was to use the wort from the first run in mashing the second batch to get the higher gravity without introducing extra water. Would it be just as easy to mash everything at once with the extra water and just boil it down?

At 11.25 lbs, I'm looking at about 7 gallons of water for the boil taking in to account about 2 gallons lost on a 90 minute boil from the recipe, iirc. With 16.25 I'm looking at over 10 gallons for a 5 gallon batch. Would I just boil the wort down to 7 gallons and start the boil countdown at that time?

This is my 2nd AG batch, so I'm probably better off sticking with recipes, but I just can't leave stuff damned well enough alone for my own good. Plus, brewing is about experimenting and having fun, right?

The problem with "remashing" the first runnings is that you can't really do that. The conversion of the starches to sugars happens due to enzymatic activity and the pH. The water "pulls" the sugars out by the property of diffusion. So mashing with wort would not give you more sugars, you'd just have wet grain.

If you want a higher OG, use more grain. It's really that simple.
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:20 PM   #5
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If you want a higher OG, use more grain. It's really that simple.
And just boil off the excess water?
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:21 PM   #6
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I think the biggest problem you'd face with your idea is water chemistry. As I understand it, conversion of starches to sugar in a mash is a complex enzymatic process that happens best when the solution is within a particular ph range. Having a solution with dissolved sugars (and protiens, etc) would seem to push the ph out of the favorable range. You could always try to dilute it with water, or use salts or acids to bring it back, but thats going to affect the flavor. You might be able to squeek out some additional efficiency

Anyways, I say try it and let us know what happens!

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Old 02-03-2012, 07:02 PM   #7
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I think the OP is saying that he is afraid of having too much liquid in his kettle. Just use less strike water. A thicker mash shouldn't hurt anything in your recipe and will allow you to get the same volume of a higher gravity wort. People do crazy thick mashes for bigger beers all the time.

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Old 02-03-2012, 07:12 PM   #8
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Or do a partial mash and add some extract to the boil?

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Old 02-03-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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He said he forgot the ME when he was purchasing ingredients.

OP: The problem is, a certain amount of grains only has so much potential sugar in it. The ratio of what we get out to the maximum that can be extracted is how we measure efficiency. Optimistically, you could get 85% efficiency or so, so you are limited to the OG that that will yield. The only way to bump up the ABV is add fermentables, either more grain, as Yooper said, L/DME, or simlpe sugars.

"Remashing" with your first runnings will do nothing as your wort will already be saturated and unable to dissolve any more sugar.

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Old 02-03-2012, 07:20 PM   #10
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I do a 60 min mash in the low 150s and a 60 minute dunk sparge in the mid 160's and have been getting efficiency in the high 80s (87.57% with a 10.5# bill last time). You can maybe try a 120ish degree protein rest to make sure all your enzymes are active. Efficiency is mostly (assuming water is a constant) a matter of time and heat, and since you do not want to increase the heat its really just a matter of time.

The point of a mash is conversion not in essence extraction, thats what the sparge is for. Maybe a thick mash and two thin sparges would increase the efficiency.

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