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Old 11-07-2006, 03:56 PM   #1
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Default Question for the all-grainers

I don't yet have the capacity to go all-grain, but as soon as I have the space, I will. In the meantime, I'm have a question regarding mashing. The latest issue of BYO says it's always a good idea to keep about 1" of water above the grain. However, once you pour the hot water onto the mash, you need to have something to collect it and then pour it back into the grain bed, correct? If there is always 1" of water above the grain bed, then how can you remove the collection pot so as to pour it back onto the grain (unless you have an extra pot)? Also, if you are supposed to have the strike water at 150 degrees, won't it cool considerably as it goes through the grain bed all of those times?

Sorry if my questions seem kind of jumbled. There are just a few nuances of all-grain that I don't understand yet.

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Old 11-07-2006, 04:15 PM   #2
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I dont know if I truely understand what you asked, but I will try. I have never done anything but all grain, trial by fire... but here is the deal. Say you want to mash at 150F... you infuse with 165F water and let it sit for an hour or so, just let it sit. When it comes time to mashout, infuse again with a premeasured ammount of boiling water to reach 170F. After mashout at 170F for say 15 minutes, you start the runoff and sparge. I use 180F sparge water and generally collect 6-8 qts of runoff to recirculate (so the runnings are clear). Now, the wort that you recircualte will be cool... say 130-140F... that is why I use the 180F sparge water. OR you can reheat the first runnings to about 170F before recirculating. Let me know if this helps, or if you have more questions!

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Old 11-07-2006, 04:18 PM   #3
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For a single infusion mash you add the water at about 170 deg. It will cool down when it heats up the grain. You add about 1-2 quarts of water to the mash. The mash should sit for about an hour, no more water should be added at this time(unless to correct the temp). You shouldn't be draining any thing yet, only when sparging. When the time comes you start draining and adding water at the same rate which is SLOW. You will need three vessels for this, the mash tun which is what you mashed in a hot liquior tun which holds your hot water and the boil kettle.

Edit: Man I must be a slow typer.

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Old 11-07-2006, 04:22 PM   #4
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The previous poster said to add about 1-2qts of water, that is per pound of malt. I have a spreadsheet that works amazingly well for all infusion temps and ammounts, it even takes into considertation the ambient air temp in your brewhouse (kitchen). Then you can make bread with your spent grains... there is a recipe here....


125g spent grains
250g bread flour
155ml (=g) warm water
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp salt

mix the ingredients together and kneed well for about 10min.
Let rest (proof) for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400F
Place on floured work space and flatten using our knuckles. This will even out the bubbles and remove the overly large ones. Fold over onto itself 4 times and let sit covered for 10 min.
Shape a loaf and let proof for another 30 min.
With a sharp knife, or a razor blade, cut shallow slits into the top of the loaf.
Now place in the oven. This works best on a pizza stone. While in the oven spray the sides of the oven with water every 5 min for the first 25min. This will develop steam which helps the crust formation. Bake until golden brown (35 min).

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Old 11-07-2006, 04:22 PM   #5
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I would not worry about the mash out at 170 degrees at first. I think that it may be a bit overrated . . . and there are a lot of other concerns to get taken care of. As you become more experienced, you will better understand what it will take on your system to get a 170 degree mashout temp.

As for the 165 degrees strike water temp, remember that every system is a bit different. For instance, I usually get my strike water up to 175 before mashing in. This usually gets my mash temp to about 155. Of course, if I want to mash at 145, I will strike with water that is at 170. In other words, you have to get to "know" your system well enough to know how hot to get your strike water. There are equations to help, but they make my brain hurt.

As for recirculating the first gallon or so of wort, I just use a plastic pitcher - no need for a seperate kettle.

When fly sparging, you will want to have the hot liquor (hot water) dripping onto the top grain bed at the same rate that your wort is leaving the bottom of the grain bed on its way to your kettle. Yes, you want about one inch of wort on top of the grain. As for temperature of your sparge water, I try to get mine up to 190 or so. I do this b/c I hope that sparging with such hot water will get the grain bed up to 170 - in other words, my mashout is a result of my sparging techniques. Sometimes that works better than other times.

I hope this helps.

You should look around for a link to one of those all grain tutorials and watch one. If you order from Midwest Supplies, you can order their DVD that has a great tutorial for AG brewing. If they are out, let me know and I will send you my copy

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Old 11-07-2006, 04:34 PM   #6
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The spreadsheet that I created uses the thermodynamic equations, all you have to do is input your recipe, which the spreadsheet will then calculate your lbs of malt. Then enter the room temp and the # of quarts of water per pound that you want to start with... enter the rests, say 122F, 155F and 170F, then it spits out all of the temps and quantities for each step. I have used it on several systems and it has been within1-2 degrees each time. OR you can guess and have some boiling water and ice cubes handy

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Old 11-07-2006, 10:43 PM   #7
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Just wanted to add one thing about the strike water. 165 sounds about right for getting around 154ish... there are formulas and software to figure it out exactly. What I wanted to say is that it is VERY important that you heat your mash tun BEFORE you add your strike water. You want to put in some boiling water and shake it around a bit... leave it in there for a few minutes so the turn gets nice and hot.

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Old 11-07-2006, 11:24 PM   #8
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I'd advise reading "How To Brew" by John Palmer... the online version can be found here: http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

This will help you gain a much better understanding of the all grain brewing process... he also posts to http://www.brewboard.com if you have any questions you would like to ask him directly

Hope that Helps,

mikey

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Old 11-08-2006, 10:12 AM   #9
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I found this site to be valuable when I tried my first AG

http://cruisenews.net/brewing/infusion/

The pictures really helped. You could also try dennyconn site.

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Old 11-08-2006, 02:35 PM   #10
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Plan on heating your mash water up 11 degrees F hotter then your target mash temp, and you should hit your target mash just about dead on. Naturally you'll need to stir up the mash to eliminate any hot-spots, and wait at least 5-10 minutes for an accurate reading.

For example: target mash temp: 151F, heat the water up to 162F.

BTW let's not confuse mashing with lautering. During the mashing process, you can simply walk away and do nothing with the mash, except as mentioned above when you initally dump in the water.

Now lautering is another story.....that would involve keeping an adequately hydrated grain bed.

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