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Old 04-12-2007, 03:50 AM   #1
Llarian
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Default Step mash and water volume

I have a batch with a fairly high rye content coming up, so I suspect I need to do a step mash finally.

The recipe has 15 Lbs of grain, 3.75 of which is rye malt or flaked rye.

I'm thinking a 20 minute protein rest at 122F, 40 minutes at 152F for saccrification and a 10 minute mash out at 168F.

What I'm not sure on is volumes. I had down 0.9 qt/lb at mash in, 1.7 qt/lb for saccrification, and 2.5 qt/lb for mash out, but that's coming up as too much water in my mash tun (almost 9.4 gallons).

Should I mash in at 0.75 qt/lb or something like that? I can't really reduce the second two infusions, since the strike temperature for each is not much below boiling with the volumns I'm looking at.

Any suggestions?

-Dylan

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Old 04-12-2007, 10:39 AM   #2
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Well probably not the best to give advice since I've never done AG but I've read a lot and maybe it's possible to skip the mashout step. There's also a thread in the DIY section for step mashing using a pressure cooker and steam if you can budget in $40.

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Old 04-12-2007, 01:30 PM   #3
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My recommendation for step-mashing is to do the mash in your kettle instead of a cooler, and use direct-applied heat rather than multiple strike water infusions. It's much easier, and you don't have to worry about a really stiff mash during the first step.

First, put your grains, dry, into the kettle. Then, in another pot, heat the total strike water volume (go with 1.25 qts per lb of grain) to the appropriate infusion temp. So with 15 lbs of grain, you'd heat up 18.75 qts. of water to 131f (assuming the grain temp is 60f). Then pour the water into the kettle and stir until the grains have been fully saturated. You should end up somewhere around 122f.

Put the kettle on the burner now. After 20 minutes of protein rest, turn the burner on (a lower setting!) and stir constantly while keeping a close eye on the mash temp. Add heat as necessary to keep the temp up. Once it gets to 150, turn the burner off, as you can expect a few points of temp rise after flameout. Again, keep a close eye on the temp (and keep the lid on the kettle if possible so as to minimize heat loss), and just turn the burner on when the temp drops.

While this method requires closer attention to the mash temps because of greater heat loss in the kettle, it allows for a constant mash stiffness throughout the mash, and eliminates the need for (as you pointed out) large volumes of mash water and extremely high water:grain ratios. I use this method exclusively, and it has never failed me.

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Old 04-12-2007, 02:15 PM   #4
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While the above posts are good and I agree, they would require you change your method of brewing and not everyone is so ready to change.
you can either go with a stiffer mash to start,
skip the mashout
or tone down the recipe to make the mash schedule work.

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Old 04-12-2007, 02:45 PM   #5
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I would think that for your second and third infusions that you would want to go with a target temp and let the calculators out there tell you how much water to add. instead of shooting for a target water/grain ratio. Are you fly or batch sparging? I put this in my calculator and came up with 7.9 gallons if you go with .9G/LB ratio. if you go with an initial Gal/LB ration of .8 it would be a total of 7.1 gal in the tun after your mash out at 168. these numbers are all if your infussion water is at 210 deg F.

Cheers

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Old 04-12-2007, 03:33 PM   #6
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I assume you are using a cooler for a MLT if water infusions are limited. Evan made a good plug for direct-fired heating in a kettle. Steam injection mashing is another alternative, with the same benefits as direct-fired heating. But it is even easier because you can do it right in your existing cooler MLT, and you don't change anything with your equipment or techniques otherwise. There is a lot of recent info on this site about it. I tried it and am sold - see my sig for details.

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Old 04-12-2007, 04:08 PM   #7
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The problem with mashing in my kettle is that I don't have anything large enough to run the wort off into other than my kettle.

I didn't think to just set my strike temp for each infusion to 210 and run with that, that should get me a much smaller water to grain ratio on the second couple steps, which would fix the issue. I'll run that through BeerSmith after work and see with I come up with.

Thanks!

-D

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Old 04-12-2007, 04:09 PM   #8
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If you have a 7gal - 10 gallon mash tun, infusions are pretty easy with the correct calcualtions. I created a spreadsheet that is capable of calculating 3 infusions in succession so that you can see the final volumes that you will be dealing with...

Pol

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Old 04-12-2007, 04:16 PM   #9
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Yeah, I forgot to mention I use BeerSmith. =)

I was just approaching setting the strike water in the wrong way.

-D

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Old 04-12-2007, 04:23 PM   #10
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So what's the consensus? How do most people step mash?

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