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Old 09-25-2009, 07:47 PM   #1
goofiefoot
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Default Large Partial Mash Batch - All-Grain Technique?

We have been brewing partial mash (steeped grain in bags) batches up til now. I just built a 50qt mash tun out of an Ice Cube cooler, and while our first all-grain batch had efficiency problems (52%), I am confident in our equipment and I'm pretty sure I know where we went wrong.

We've been planning a 15 gallon batch of a pale rye ale, of which we brewed a successful 5-gallon batch in the spring. We do not have the capacity to do all-grain for 15 gallons, so we plan another partial mash/steep. I've listed the recipe below for 5 gallons, so realize that we will need to deal with 12 pounds of rye for our mash for 15 gallons.

So the questions:

Should we forgo the bagged grain steep and simply use the mash tun (and a traditional mash profile) to mash the rye, and then add our liquid extract to the runnings?

Or since our steeps generally use more water in the mash and less in the sparge, should we instead use the mash tun with the steep profile instead?

Or since we liked our recipe the first time, would we be better off just bagging and steeping 12 pounds of grain (any suggestions on how this would even be done)?


5-Gallon Recipe for Pale Rye Ale:
OG - 1.066 - FG - 1.013
4.00 lb - Rye Malt
6.00 lb - Extra Pale LME
0.50 lb - Honey
1.00 oz - Cascade (60 mins)
1.00 oz - Cascade (15 mins)
1.00 oz - Cascade (5 mins)
0.50 oz - Cascade (0 mins)
0.50 oz - Cascade (Dry Hop)
1 Pkg SafAle American Ale (DCL Yeast #S-05) Yeast-Ale


Any suggestions and tips would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 09-25-2009, 09:43 PM   #2
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If I read this correctly, you are talking about mashing the rye instead of steeping to decrease the water used and fit it in your mash tun?...

A quick read, http://brewingtechniques.com/library....3/hayden.html, and reference to Radical Brewing and this seems like it might not be the best idea, due to the unhulled nature of the rye. By the time you added enough rice hulls to aid in lautering, you prob couldn't fit it in the mash tun anyway.

Do you have enough vessels to steep in two or three batches and then combine in the brew kettle and add the LME? If not, 1. steep 5 gal worth, 2. dump into brew kettle, 3. repeat.

Also, I don't brew with Rye, but I believe it has a pretty low diastatic power and would need to be mashed with other base grains to help convert sugars.

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Old 09-25-2009, 10:38 PM   #3
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That's the idea - sort of. I figured, since I now have a mash tun, I might as well use it. We have a 5, 7, and 15 gallon pot, so 3 separate simultaneous steeps are definitely a possibility (and from your response, probably the way to go).

Sounds like, if, in future large batches, as long as we use more "mashable" grains, we could mash a partial amount, instead of steeping them, correct?

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Old 09-26-2009, 01:28 PM   #4
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I think most commercial/micro brewers recommend somewhere between 5% - 20% of the total grist be rye. Even then I would be tempted to add some rice hulls. That being said, I read last night that homebrewers often use of to 50% rye.

I guess the question is: are you trying to convert extra starch and extract more sugars from the rye or are you simply trying to extract flavor and aroma? If the latter, a good steep probably does the trick.

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Old 09-26-2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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You may not be able to do 15 gallons of all grain, but you'll want to use as much 2 row as you can.

You can get 12lb rye and 16 pounds of 2 row into your cooler (and one pound of rice hulls). There's no way I'd try mashing 12 pounds of rye by itself. It's sticky and has no husks to provide a filter bed.

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Last edited by Bobby_M; 09-26-2009 at 10:34 PM.
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