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Old 08-03-2007, 05:23 PM   #1
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Default ? on step mashing in a picnic cooler

So I got to thinking about this in preparation for my first AG. What is the best way to step mash in a picnic cooler? Is adding boiling water to the mash until I hit my target temp the best way to do this? Is it the only way?

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Old 08-03-2007, 05:31 PM   #2
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Boiling water infusions will work, but are limited by the size of your grain bill and cooler, and how many steps you're doing.

You can also rig up a steam system:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=25974

Or you could do a single/double/triple decoction.

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Old 08-03-2007, 05:36 PM   #3
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If I do that I usually mash in really think for my first rest and infuse boiling water to get to my next rest and then the mash is about where I usually like to keep it thickness-wise. Usually software programs will calculate ammount of boiling water you need to infuse. Another way you could do it would be to decoct and then you don't really have to worry about mash thinning due to infusions of additional water, but that might be way more of a pain that it is worth.

Any particular reason you are looking to step?

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Old 08-03-2007, 05:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for that link! I've seen that thread floating around, but never really paid any attention to it as I didn't really understand its purpose for my brewing process. I may have to look into this kind of setup for future batches.

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Old 08-04-2007, 01:00 AM   #5
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Dvblvsn - You might want to do a single step infusion for your first AG beer... It's much easier than doing a multi-step mash.

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Old 08-04-2007, 04:17 AM   #6
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Well I did my first AG tonight and just stuck with a single infusion as I was having a somewhat difficult time with my mash temps anyway. I have an old kettle I think I might try to build a false bottom for and find some insulation material to wrap it. Seems as though as nice as the coolers are for MLTs they really make step infusions a huge PITA! I plan on doing a couple more brews this weekend I may have to play around a bit and try a few things.

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Old 08-04-2007, 04:38 AM   #7
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For what it's worth, I'm for dumping the whole mash back into your kettle, heating it up to your desired step temps, and returning it to the cooler... or just mashing right in a kettle. Reason is, I screwed up horribly one time and let my mash-out get to around 195 (long story), and now I'm, like, hyper-aware of any tannins from the husks. Maybe it's just me. -p

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Old 08-04-2007, 04:44 AM   #8
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Addendum.

I'm thinking back now, looking over some notes from 1993, and realizing that this is the (or one) reason I went to mashing in a heatable kettle (modified keg). Plus, It's Friday night, my wife and kid are asleep, the parties are elsewhere, and what could be better than thinking about beer (while sipping a gin-n-tonic). -p

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Old 08-04-2007, 04:44 PM   #9
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try the evaluation version of promash. it'll help you figure out temperature's for step mashing so you hit your desired stages.

i'm going to purchase the full version real soon.

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