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Old 10-12-2005, 06:21 PM   #1
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Default Mashing with a cooler

I'm on my third batch of all grain now. Previously I'd been mashing in a pot that I insulated. I've been using a pretty intensive step mashing schedule, adding hot water to raise to 130 and then 150 degrees then actually placing the pot on the burner and raising the heat for the last 158 and 167 degree steps. When using an igloo cooler, how can one step up the temperature without making the mash too soupy from all the water additions?

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Old 10-12-2005, 06:26 PM   #2
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Use as little water to start of with as you can and/or use as hot as water as you can for your infusions.

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Old 10-12-2005, 06:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdent
I'm on my third batch of all grain now. Previously I'd been mashing in a pot that I insulated. I've been using a pretty intensive step mashing schedule, adding hot water to raise to 130 and then 150 degrees then actually placing the pot on the burner and raising the heat for the last 158 and 167 degree steps. When using an igloo cooler, how can one step up the temperature without making the mash too soupy from all the water additions?

Step-mashes aren't really necessary for most styles of beer unless you are doing german lager styles, as most grains you can buy are modified enough that step or decoction isn't required.

I'm no expert on the subject but if you are stepping mashes you are making things too difficult, IMHO.
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Old 10-12-2005, 06:32 PM   #4
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I mash in a cooler, but I just do a single step infusion regardless of the directions. I've been considering trying some step mashes to see how they affect efficiency/flavor, but I'm not convinced they're all that necessary for the "run of the mill" (har) grains.

As far as I understand, you will dough in with a very thick mash and then use various quantities of boiling water to hit your new temps until you reach the saccharification temp and hopefully still be in the 1.5qt/lb range.

At that point, depending on how much headspace you have left, you could add more hot water to raise to a mash out temp, or you could just drain your wort at the saccharification temp and then batch sparge with ~170F water, or fly sparge while draining the mash.

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Old 10-12-2005, 07:35 PM   #5
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Just to add to what BeeGee posted...If you need a multi-step infusion, start with a ratio of about 1.0 qt/lb and then add boiling water to the tun to bring it up to the next temp. If you use brewing software, or care to look up the calculations in Palmer's book, How To Brew, or at www.howtobrew.com you can calculate exactly how much water to add.

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Old 10-13-2005, 12:36 PM   #6
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I had a discussion with a German trained local microbrewer a couple of months ago. He is not a big fan of decoction and step mashes. He said these are very old practices developed to get the most out of the really crappy ingredients that were available. Way back when, malsters really didn't know about the chemistry involved, so you never quite knew what you were getting. It was up to the brewer to make the most out of whatever the malster gave him. Therefore, decoction and step mashes were invented. They also discovered that the lagering process helped to smooth out a lot of the off flavors that were caused by some of these decoction and step mashing processes (for example, astringency) in addition to smoothing out the beer flavor in relation to the byproducts of the lager yeast fermentation. Now days, with the vast improvement of malt quality and a thorough understanding of the chemistry involved, these age old mashing practices just aren't necessary.

To convince yourself, try a straight single step infusion and see what happens. You might find that you are doing a lot of extra work for no discernable improvement in your beer.

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Old 10-13-2005, 01:45 PM   #7
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What, exactly, makes a single-step-infusion mash different than a simple grain-bag steep?

Is it just the more involved steps of lautering and sparging?

-walker

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Old 10-13-2005, 01:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnlandsailor
Now days, with the vast improvement of malt quality and a thorough understanding of the chemistry involved, these age old mashing practices just aren't necessary.

To convince yourself, try a straight single step infusion and see what happens. You might find that you are doing a lot of extra work for no discernable improvement in your beer.

Prosit!

Thank you.

I've read that above statement in multiple books during my initiation into all-grain brewing, and those that do decoctions and step-mashes for run of the mill batches are just making brew day that much more difficult. Its just not necessary anymore.
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Old 10-13-2005, 02:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker
What, exactly, makes a single-step-infusion mash different than a simple grain-bag steep?

Is it just the more involved steps of lautering and sparging?

-walker
The key is that steeping doesn't involved enzymes converting starch, while mashing does. You have enzymes at work in the mash, so you need to watch your temperatures more then you would for just steeping. Other then that, it's the same thing. "Steep mashing" is probably less efficient (lack of "proper" lautering/sparging and stuff), but there's no reason it wouldn't work.
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:01 PM   #10
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Steam injection

I have just purchased a pressure cooker and intend on experimenting with it for temperature control in my cooler. I don't know if I will go to step mashing with it but it is possible with this system. Right now I plan on using it only to maintain the temperatures of the mash. Check this out...

http://www.brewingtechniques.com/lib...2.4/jones.html

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