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Old 04-21-2011, 05:38 PM   #11
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Preheating the cooler seems to work well for me.

I have a 48Qt igloo and i usually add about 4-5 gallons of 190' water while I set up and mill my grain, usually 10-15 minutes.

I use Beersmith and I heat the water up about 3-5 degrees above what BS says. Usually hit my target temps no problem, and it stays for the full hour usually. sometimes it drops a degree or two by the end of the hour.

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Old 04-21-2011, 07:29 PM   #12
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I dont preheat but go 10* over what BS says and ive been. hitting perfect. Sometimes a degree or high so after doughing in i give it a good stir and wait. I have a digi therm with a probe in the cooler lid closed. After 10 i check and stir if needed. Usually im within a degree above and happy. I use a coleman 48qt. My cooler is in the spare bedroom so its always at house temp. Never cold on the porch or garage like a few of you. Brewzor on the droid is excellent for calculations on the fly.

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Old 06-13-2011, 12:37 PM   #13
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So, first chance I've had to brew since this last batch was this morning. I think I did pretty good with the advice here...

I "over heated" the water into the 170's, dumped into the mash tun, and let sit for 10 min. It dropped 8 degrees to 170*F. (I'm going to track this number vs the ambient temp to get a better idea of the thermal mass of my tun...) I stirred until the water reached my desired strike temp (162*F). Added the grain and when things settled, I hit 150*F! Now, my target was 152*F, but this is still a far sight better than what was happening to me before! I think I just need to take into account temperature losses while actually doughing in, and add 2 degrees to my strike temps -- next time I should be able to nail it dead on!

Thanks all for the help!!!

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Old 01-08-2013, 01:05 AM   #14
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I know this is an old thread but I was wondering how your mashing is coming along biochemedic. I have learned a few tricks from this thread and plan on heating my mash tun for around 15 minutes prior to adding grains. For example, I will put my strike water in at around 180 and let the cooler absorb the heat. Open the top and let the temp come down to around 165-168 because I want to add the grains and stir for a few minutes until I hit my mash temp at 154.

I was also considering adding a styrofoam top on the grain bed because I mash in a 10 gallon cooler and I'll probably only use half that. I'll probably add a layer of aluminum foil between the foam and mash just in case something wierd happens. Any thoughts?

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Old 01-08-2013, 01:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pharaohpierre View Post
I know this is an old thread but I was wondering how your mashing is coming along biochemedic. I have learned a few tricks from this thread and plan on heating my mash tun for around 15 minutes prior to adding grains. For example, I will put my strike water in at around 180 and let the cooler absorb the heat. Open the top and let the temp come down to around 165-168 because I want to add the grains and stir for a few minutes until I hit my mash temp at 154.

I was also considering adding a styrofoam top on the grain bed because I mash in a 10 gallon cooler and I'll probably only use half that. I'll probably add a layer of aluminum foil between the foam and mash just in case something wierd happens. Any thoughts?
You have it exactly right on the process. You may find you only need 5-10 minutes of preheat. Grain temp and mash tun temp make a difference. For example my grain and mash tun are at 68° in the summer and 64° in the winter so I have to make slight adjustments. But your understanding is spot on.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:47 AM   #16
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thanks for the input iaefebs. Tomorrow is brew day and I'm excited about trying out this new process and hope I nail it to within a degree or two after 60 minutes.

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Old 01-08-2013, 02:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pharaohpierre View Post
I know this is an old thread but I was wondering how your mashing is coming along biochemedic. I have learned a few tricks from this thread and plan on heating my mash tun for around 15 minutes prior to adding grains. For example, I will put my strike water in at around 180 and let the cooler absorb the heat. Open the top and let the temp come down to around 165-168 because I want to add the grains and stir for a few minutes until I hit my mash temp at 154.

I was also considering adding a styrofoam top on the grain bed because I mash in a 10 gallon cooler and I'll probably only use half that. I'll probably add a layer of aluminum foil between the foam and mash just in case something wierd happens. Any thoughts?
Yeah, process is working great...I heat to about 10*F over my desired strike temp (calculated with software, taking into account my grain weight and temp, which I measure by sticking a digital meat temp probe way down in the center of the bag/bucket of grain). I put the strike water in the mash tun, close it for 10 min so everything can equilibrate then stir it until I get to about 2-4 degrees over my strike temp, then dough in. By the time I get all the grain in and mixed up well, I am usually at my mash temp, occasionally have to stir a bit more to get it where I want if the ambient temps are on the warmer side.

FWIW, I also have a bigger than needed cooler, and I don't worry about the extra air space...at least in my cooler (coleman xtreme 6) I never drop at all over an hour mash, even when it is 33*F in NC like it was today when I mashed in at 5:30 am! After nailing the mash temp, the cooler kept an even 156*F the whole time...
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:33 AM   #18
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Thanks for the response biochemedic, if it worked for you and many others then it should work for me as well. If it doesn't then clearly I am the problem. I'll let you guys know in a few days how it turned out. I thought I was brewing tomorrow but of course something unnessarily stupid came up. Now brew day is hopefully this Saturday!!

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Old 01-09-2013, 07:15 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the comments. We have done well over 200 batches and most of my practices are fairly solid. Currently we are trying to get our decoction draw practice understood. Thanks to this site, I know better that to try for anything better than 20% accuracy by volume.

Also, thanks to the clues laid down in this thread, I know that the thermal mass of the grain (barley, oats, corn, & rice) is the same and constant (within tolerance) . I have found tables on the Wikipedia that make the same claim for liquid water (freeze to boil). The hydrometers used in brewing consider a 1% variation in specific gravity a significant change. Also, the software seems to make the same assumptions regarding heat energy and thermal masses. So, now I know, that the goal is attainable.

For my strike water practice I would like to predict the amounts of boiling and chilled waters needed to make first step mash (beta amylase) as close to 18 qts as possible (that is my decoction baseline) for the alpha amylase rest. It is probably more logical to begin with the initial strike, but the decoction has caused many more problems (squeaky wheel and all that).

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Old 01-15-2013, 01:03 AM   #20
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Well, I brewed with the cooler today and it worked real well (almost too well). I had initially added about 180F water and put the lid on for 10 minutes. I opened it up and the temperature was around 170F. It was amazing to me how well it held at 170F. I was standing there for like 8 minute waiting for the water to get down to around 164F so I could throw my grains in there. After I put the grains in, I mashed for around an hour and lost about 2 degrees. Overall, a better performance than I expected.

Thanks for the posts everyone.

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