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Old 05-08-2007, 03:49 PM   #1
mozicodo
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Default My Mash Is Bigger Than My Cooler

I made a minor miscalculation when developing a Belgian dark strong ale recipe to try. I already bought the grains and yeast. The problem is I have a round 5 gallon cooler and this works out to be 19.5 lbs or grain. According to Can I Mash It? I can fit only about 12 lbs in the cooler.

I figure I have four options:

1) I could make a smaller batch, but spending 5 hours brewing to come up with one case of beer seems like a waste of time

2) Split the grains in half and do two mashes which unfortunately adds another 1 1/2 hours to my brew day.

3) Find another style that will work with the Belgian Strong Ale yeast that I picked up so it doesn't go to waste.

4) Just forget about it, waste the yeast and move on to other things. I can redirect the grains to other recipes easily enough.

I eventually will move up in size so I can handle a 5 gallon capacity of a high gravity beer but I'm not ready to do that yet.

Any opinions?

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Old 05-08-2007, 03:52 PM   #2
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If you haven't mixed your grains, I would suggest reducing the base malt until it fits, then make up the difference with extract. That would be about 5 lbs of DME.

That's how I've made my barley wines. I now have a 48 quart tun, but I won't be making a barleywine until the 2003 kicks.

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Old 05-08-2007, 03:53 PM   #3
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5) Go out and get yourself a 10 gallon (or larger) cooler. Then your all set for high gravity 5 gallon batches or 10 gallon medium to low gravity brews.

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Old 05-08-2007, 03:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
If you haven't mixed your grains, I would suggest reducing the base malt until it fits, then make up the difference with extract. That would be about 5 lbs of DME.
Great suggestion. I hadn't thought of that.
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:56 PM   #5
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How thick of a mash are you doing? What's the water-to-grain ratio? You may be able to drop that back a bit.

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Old 05-08-2007, 04:46 PM   #6
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I'm not sure what the water-to-grain ratio is. How do I determine what this is/should be?

Here's a tentative recipe:
6lbs LME - Extra Light
5lbs 2-Row
5lbs Munich
1lb CaraMunich
.5lb Special B

.5oz Hallertau Northern Brewer 60min
1oz Hallertau Northern Brewer 20min
.25oz Tettnang 5min

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Old 05-08-2007, 04:47 PM   #7
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Sorry if it's high jacking the thread or coat tailing but this is probably better than starting a new thread seeing that my question is almost similar;

I just bought everything to build a three gallon mini-MLT and was previously brewing only half batches (I know, I know just focus on the question) but am now moving up to five gallon brews

What beers (if any) using partial mash methods can I brew using the three gallon MLT without maxing voulmes in the cooler? Do I need to be careful about what recipes I purchase or can I scale them?

Just on a budget at the moment and can justify the upgrade to full batch but not a new cooler at the moment....

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Old 05-08-2007, 05:31 PM   #8
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mash thickness tells you the grain/water ratio. I looked and the "can I mash" calculator has a rate of 1.25 Quarts per Lb. as the default. I tried lowering it to .75 per 19 lbs. and came up with 5.08 gallons. That is pretty thick though.

As to lgtg's question. Play around with the brewing software programs to determine this. There are many free trials (some free programs) and they are pretty inexpensive to buy. Definately a good thing to use if you are formulating recipes.

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Old 05-08-2007, 10:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassBurner
I'm not sure what the water-to-grain ratio is. How do I determine what this is/should be?

Here's a tentative recipe:
6lbs LME - Extra Light
5lbs 2-Row
5lbs Munich
1lb CaraMunich
.5lb Special B

.5oz Hallertau Northern Brewer 60min
1oz Hallertau Northern Brewer 20min
.25oz Tettnang 5min
I only see 11.5 lbs grain in there. (You don't need to mash the LME, just add it to the boil.)
It will be a bit tight, but you can fit that amount of grain in a 5g cooler.

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Old 05-08-2007, 11:05 PM   #10
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If you don't want to go the partial mash route (by adding malt extract), you could also just reduce your batch volume. If you brewed a 3 gallon AG batch of that same recipe, you would need less than 12 lbs of grain which is quite workable in a 5 gallon cooler. This might be a more preferable option if you wanted to use the brew in a competition.

If it is just for personal enjoyment, I would probably go the partial mash route and make up some of the base malt using DME.

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