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Old 10-07-2010, 12:56 PM   #1
dinokath
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Default Mashing with a propane burner

Hi all,

Been reading these forums for a while. Great info! Thanks for having this site!

I have been doing the all grain brewing for a couple years now. I do single step mashing and batch sparging with mixed results. Sometimes efficiency is good, sometimes not so good. I wanted to think about perhaps fly sparging and multiple step mashing.

My question is if I decide to use my keggle to do the mash, does anyone here worry about the intense heat at the bottom of the keggle from the burner? I was also perhaps thinking about going electric and installing an element from a water heater or something like that. Same question there. I have read and read and it doesnt seem to be a concern. Is there something I am missing? I hate to ask such a noob question and a basic one at that, but I can't seem to find anyone referring to it, so perhaps it isn't an issue and more an issue of my worrying about nothing!

Thanks in advance!

Dean

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:03 PM   #2
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There's a chance of scorching your wort, but not a big one. Most people hook up a pump and recirculate the wort so it doesn't have time to scorch.

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
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Thanks SoCo.

A question about the use of a pump during mash. I thought the grain bed was supposed to be given a chance to settle so you can create a nice filter. Wouldn't a pump stop that from happening?

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:41 PM   #4
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I mash in a kettle and if I have to apply heat I just continually stir. And not just swirling it around, but lifting grain from the bottom to the top, and pushing some down, and turning it over on itself.

If you want to do some serious step mashing, you should probably figure out a way to heat some water in another pot to boiling, and then add it in increments to rapidly raise to your next rest level. Using the propane to go from say a protein rest at 122 to saccharification at 152 will take a long time. Theoretically, the protein rest will continue until you're getting in the mid 130s, and that may be longer than is necessary or advised for a protein rest.

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:42 PM   #5
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Oh, and to answer your original question, I don't think scorching is so much the concern as even heat distribution.

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:51 PM   #6
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Groovy. Thanks Kanzi. Hadn't thought of even heat distribution. I am using one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-.../dp/B0009JXYQ4

The flame pattern seems wide enough. How would one go about making the distribution on this burner more even? Thanks in advance!

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Old 10-07-2010, 02:51 PM   #7
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I use the same burner (good choice). The distribution is pretty even, as long as the air intake is adjust properly. I also started doing the heat in a kettle method and the last beer I made had to go from the 120ish rest to the 145ish rest. The best way to do it, and distribute heat evenly, is to stir and let the grains sit for a few seconds and then stir it again until you reach your desired temp and then stir somemore to make sure.

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Old 10-07-2010, 03:12 PM   #8
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Sweet. Thanks DrawTap. So if I have this right, you stir only when raising the temps. That make a whole lotta sense. Thanks!

On the air intake adjustment - mine sounds like a jet engine and the flame is all blue with no 'no flame' space between the burner and the flame. I've always thought that was the proper flame.

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Old 10-07-2010, 04:40 PM   #9
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Kinda correct. Whenever there is a flame on you need to stir. I take about 15 second breaks from stiring to sip my beer and rest my stirring arm. That also allows some of the grains to get a little warmer than they would if I were continually stirring, which also helps the whole pot get up to temp quicker when you do start stirring again (in my opinion).

Mine sounds like a jet engine too.

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Old 10-07-2010, 05:13 PM   #10
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a little off from your question - but I have had terrible experiences trying to hold mash temps using my keggle on the burner. My temps are all over the place (typically end up having the burner on too long resulting in high mash temps).

If you decide to go this route over a converted cooler, I suggest doing a couple of really inexpensive brews to get it figured out. You will likely mash +- 10 degrees from where you want to be. just my $0.02

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