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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Layering grain - vs. - Mixing Grain - vs. - Just dump it in
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:34 PM   #1
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Default Layering grain - vs. - Mixing Grain - vs. - Just dump it in

Normally, before dough in, I pour all of my grain in a bucket and gently mix it with my hands in an attempt to get an even distribution of the different specialty grains with the base malt.

Just the way I always done it... never really even thought about it until last weekend.

My question is, what, if any, are the benefits/pitfalls of

1.) Mix all grain in bucket
2.) Layer grain in mash tun
3.) Just randomly dump it in

What method do you use?

What method do professional breweries use (i'd guess they have an automatic stiring system in their mash tuns... not sure though...)?

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Old 12-05-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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I place each milled grain one-by-one so that they are all perfectly aligned in the optimal position to achieve the highest conversion.

Actually, after i mill, I dump about 1/3 of the grains into the strike water and mix until no dough balls are present and the grains are well saturated. I then do the same with the next 3rd and then the final 3rd. So, in the end, the grains are pretty well dispersed. I have a recirculating HERMS system so as long as i get rid of the dough balls, everything is fine.

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Old 12-05-2012, 03:55 PM   #3
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I place each milled grain one-by-one so that they are all perfectly aligned in the optimal position to achieve the highest conversion.
I tried a version of this technique once, looking for higher efficiency. It took a little bit too long placing the flour though. I think the mash went for 12 hours before I decided it was too much work and I dumped the last 8 lbs in.

So now I just dump it all into the water in one go, and then stir it. I figure stirring the mash will ensure the enzymes are sufficiently distributed for conversion, and conversion and going into solution are pretty much all that matter.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:43 PM   #4
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You should be stirring the mash thoroughly to make sure the grains are wetted, doughballs eliminated and temps even. That stirring will give you even distribution. You'll get better efficiency if you stir about halfway through the mash as well. You could add and stir your non-diastatic grains first to bring the strike water down to non-enzyme-denaturing temps before adding your base malts, but I don't think it would make a whole lot of difference.

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Old 12-05-2012, 09:23 PM   #5
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You'll get better efficiency if you stir about halfway through the mash as well.
Not for me...makes no difference except the heat loss when I open the cooler to stir.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:28 PM   #6
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Not for me...makes no difference except the heat loss when I open the cooler to stir.
Yes, I've noticed that too. Stir at the very beginning, and stir some more. Make sure there are no doughballs, and check the temperature in several places. If they are the same, cover and walk away. If not, stir some more. Once the temperatures are equalized, then cover and walk away.

I always preheat my MLT, and never lose more than .5 degree or so over an hour. Stirring extremely well at the beginning, and not again, works great for me and I don't lose any heat like I used to.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:41 PM   #7
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I usually use a pound of quick oats in my ales. I dough in all my grains first and once I'm satisfied it's well mixed I add the oats and stir them into the top 50% or so of the mash. I don't know if it makes sense but I think keeping the "oatmeal" away from the bottom of my mash tun (52 qt cooler) creates less of a chance getting the manifold system clogged.

For the sparge I go a little closer to the bottom when I mix in the water.

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Old 12-05-2012, 11:05 PM   #8
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I tried adding the grains in thirds for one batch a year or so ago. It seems like a good idea, but I had a tough time hitting consistent mash temps this way. It just seems to introduce too many variables. I'm a rock-ribbed dump and stir like mad advocate now. Unsophisticated but effective in my workflow.

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Old 12-05-2012, 11:19 PM   #9
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I'm a random dumper.

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Old 12-05-2012, 11:30 PM   #10
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I'm a random dumper.
1. This made me laugh
It's like using something that's not intended for a bathroom...that's the first thing I thought about.
2. I do the same thing, with good results.
3. I'd like to try going 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. Perhaps I would get fewer dough balls. Those are a PITA to break up in a large cooler style mash tun, mainly because I don't like playing hide and go seek.
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