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Old 03-25-2009, 07:40 PM   #1
Hophazard
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Default Maintaining Mash Temp with Oven (PM)

So last weekend I tried my first PM using Deathbrewer's stovetop tips. The brewing process generally went well, but I noticed I had a difficult time maintaining a mash temperature around 154* (mostly owing to opening the lid to check the temp too often, I now realize, which then required me to turn the heat on/up).

I've since read that I should have just put the lid on and covered with a towel to maintain a consistent temperature, but was wondering whether anyone has put the mash in the oven at, say, 140* for the full hour. I checked and my 20 qt brew pot fits inside, and I was thinking that this might be an easy way to maintain a consistent temperature. I searched the threads but couldn't find any reference to doing it this way. Has anyone else tried this? Or am I missing something? Thanks.

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Old 03-25-2009, 08:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hophazard View Post
So last weekend I tried my first PM using Deathbrewer's stovetop tips. The brewing process generally went well, but I noticed I had a difficult time maintaining a mash temperature around 154* (mostly owing to opening the lid to check the temp too often, I now realize, which then required me to turn the heat on/up).

I've since read that I should have just put the lid on and covered with a towel to maintain a consistent temperature, but was wondering whether anyone has put the mash in the oven at, say, 140* for the full hour. I checked and my 20 qt brew pot fits inside, and I was thinking that this might be an easy way to maintain a consistent temperature. I searched the threads but couldn't find any reference to doing it this way. Has anyone else tried this? Or am I missing something? Thanks.
Not sure you could get your oven down to 140 consistently. I think the warm setting is like 200 or so on my oven.

You're better off with the towel. Or set the MLT inside another pan of water and heat that instead of heating your MLT directly.
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:24 PM   #3
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I used to PM in my oven. If your oven is the type that will allow lower temp ranges, you can do it. You'll want to check how accurate the oven temps are against a known, accurate thermometer.
Heat strike water to desired temp on the stove top. Preheat the oven to desired temp. when your water reaches strike temp, pour in grist, stir, cover, and place in pre-heated oven

good luck

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Old 03-25-2009, 08:26 PM   #4
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I found another post about using the oven to maintain mash temp. I am a noob to mashing but I did try this technique for my last mini mash. My oven will only go as low as 170. However it did seem to work - I was able to maintain 154 for an hour pretty steady. It worked much better than my prior attempt when I used the stove burner to maintian the temp.

Even though the oven temp is 170, it really doesn't have enough time or heat to raise the temp of the mash - it just keeps the pot from losing heat. If you were mashing longer than an hour then it may start to creep up. I'm sure this is not the optimal technique but for someone like me with minimal equipment it works fine.

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Old 03-25-2009, 08:27 PM   #5
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Yes - on my last batch, due to be bottled this weekend. The only problem was that the oven's minimum temperature when set to 'warm' was 170*. So I put a thermometer in the oven and would give it 30-40 seconds of juice when the temperature fell, then turn it off for 10 minutes or so. Still a bit of a pain, but I think I got more even temperatures than using the naked kettle on the stove.

Now, why didn't I think of wrapping a towel or two around my kettle? I guess I will give that a shot next. Do you think it worked well if you didn't open the top? How about warming the towels in a clothes dryer first?

My challenge with the stovetop mash is that I get wide variations of temperature within the kettle due to the cooling outer sides. The middle may be the proper temp, but near the sides it will 5* or more cooler. The top is cooler than the bottom. If I apply heat, I can end up with the center/bottom too hot and the outside/top just right. Stirring is just a temporary fix and opening the kettle to stir just causes more heat loss at top. After all that, how do I know what temperature to call the mash? Grrrrr!

Anyway, I really like the stovetop process. Just have to get the mash temperature problem solved!

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Old 03-25-2009, 08:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewbish View Post
Not sure you could get your oven down to 140 consistently. I think the warm setting is like 200 or so on my oven.
My oven lets me set the temperature digitally and goes down to 100* (it just shuts off more frequently to maintain the lower temp).

For my next batch, I plan on keeping it on the stovetop and covering with a towel; just wanted a backup plan if that doesn't work and I haven't built a cooler MLT yet... Thanks.
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:36 PM   #7
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Do you think it worked well if you didn't open the top? How about warming the towels in a clothes dryer first?

My challenge with the stovetop mash is that I get wide variations of temperature within the kettle due to the cooling outer sides. The middle may be the proper temp, but near the sides it will 5* or more cooler. The top is cooler than the bottom. If I apply heat, I can end up with the center/bottom too hot and the outside/top just right. Stirring is just a temporary fix and opening the kettle to stir just causes more heat loss at top. After all that, how do I know what temperature to call the mash? Grrrrr!
This was exactly what I was concerned about - I figured that I needed to stir it occasionally to make sure that the temperature was constant throughout, but I probably did more harm than good. Every time I stirred it, it required more heat, which likely shot up to 160* in certain places and killed my efficiency. I'm going to redo the exact recipe this weekend for compairson and, as with most things brewing-related, I'm sure the result will be that just leaving it alone yields the best result.
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:17 AM   #8
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I use the oven method for all-grain starters. With larger mashes a cooler works well. You can do the brew in a bag method using a small picnic cooler... Allow an extra 3-4*F on your strike temps to account for the heat lost to the cooler and enjoy the stress free mash.

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Old 03-26-2009, 11:09 PM   #9
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Preheat your oven to 200
Heat your strike water in your pot
Dough in
Mix like crazy
Check temp
Put lid on pot
Put pot in oven
turn oven off
close oven door
walk away

The temp of the oven is close enough to the temp of the mash to keep it constant.

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Old 03-27-2009, 12:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brown_dog_us View Post
Preheat your oven to 200
Heat your strike water in your pot
Dough in
Mix like crazy
Check temp
Put lid on pot
Put pot in oven
turn oven off
close oven door
walk away

The temp of the oven is close enough to the temp of the mash to keep it constant.
That's what I have done and it works fine. Just wrap the pot in a thick towel for insulation, and keep the oven door shut the whole time and don't open it. You will need one of those remote temperature probes if you want to know the temp of the mash throughout.
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