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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Mash tun cooler not working well for me
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:55 PM   #11
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I always thought that by adding more water to your mash you were more likely to loose heat because the thicker grains retain heat better than just plain old water. It's like oatmeal, which will stay hot on the inside forever, vs a bowl of hot water which will lose temp quickly. So therefore a thicker mash might be your target.
I lose heat more quickly with a THINNER mash.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:02 PM   #12
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Is there a lot of headspace in your tun after adding grain and strike water? If so try taking some aluminum foil and resting it on top of the mash. I lose way less heat since I started using this method.

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Old 04-07-2012, 03:20 PM   #13
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Do you live in a place where it's still cold at midnight? Fill the cooler with about 2 gallons of 190F water and take it outside. Shine a flashlight around where the lid closes and see if you get steam coming out.

Was the grain sitting out in the garage overnight? How about the cooler?

However, I do agree with the others that using 164F without a preheat is definitely not going to do it. That temp is assuming a certain ambient temp (what temp the cooler is), grain temp, and water/grain ratio.

My guess is most of that heat was lost to the cooler itself and grain, which was probably colder than Promash was assuming. If you think you need 164F strike, heat it to 175 before putting it in the cooler. Then just let the cooler take whatever heat it wants over the next 5 minutes. Also tilt the cooler a bit so that water hits each side wall. Wait until the water gets to 164, stirring with the lid open if necessary, THEN dough in.

Report back.

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Old 04-07-2012, 04:23 PM   #14
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Is there a lot of headspace in your tun after adding grain and strike water? If so try taking some aluminum foil and resting it on top of the mash. I lose way less heat since I started using this method.
This is pretty much exactly what i was getting at. The overall density of a thick mash will be higher than a thinner mash, and have a greater thermal mass per unit of volume, meaning it'll retain more heat. Buuuuut, once you take into account headspace in the mash tun, that thermal mass will be radiating its heat into a very not-dense area of air, and could be escaping through the lid/seals, especially if it's not insulated with blankets/sleeping bags/etc or if its being opened repeatedly.

I've never tried the aluminum foil thing, but it seems like it'd work, since it doesnt absorb heat very well.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:14 AM   #15
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Great advice. Things learned: 1. Mash at a higher temp regardless of everything - easy to cool, near impossible to heat with my methods. 2. I need to keep using this "remote" thermo. It gives me real time numbers. 3. I need to assume more of a loss in the first 5 minutes (that's where I had the steepest amount of loss). 4. Keep getting practice. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Thanks again.

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Old 04-08-2012, 04:31 AM   #16
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Things learned: 2. I need to keep using this "remote" thermo. It gives me real time numbers.
Are you sure it is accurate? Do you have another one you can check against?

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3. I need to assume more of a loss in the first 5 minutes (that's where I had the steepest amount of loss).
Maybe you should just stir for the first five minutes, then take the temperature.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:18 PM   #17
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Are you sure it is accurate? Do you have another one you can check against?


Maybe you should just stir for the first five minutes, then take the temperature.
Yes, I have double checked it. I do a lot of BBQ smoking with it. It's solid. Yeah, I think that's my biggest mistake here. I though you mashed in, and were done when there were no clumps. That's just wrong.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:41 PM   #18
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2. I need to keep using this "remote" thermo. It gives me real time numbers.
Is it possible that the remote probe is laying at the very bottom of the tun, the outside of the cooler, and experiencing more cooling than the rest of the mash? For this reason I prefer a handheld thermo to a mounted unit.

Just for kicks try checking the temp at various locations throughout the mash. Temp should be fairly consistent if the mash is mixed well. I agree with previous posters, if properly preheated, just about any cooler, properly sized, will not lose a significant amount of heat.

All you would ever want to know about preheating a MT here...http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/pre-...sh-tun-295417/
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