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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Stiring The Mash?
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:03 PM   #1
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Default Stiring The Mash?

I have not been all grain brewing for very long. I have been consistently getting beers that attenuate further then i have planned. ie. 1.010 vs 1.012 or 1.012 vs 1.014. It is always the a .002 difference. I use a 10gal beverage cooler from HD. I do ten gallon batches and that pretty much fills the tun. I have tested my thermomter and it is calibrated correctly. I sometimes have to mash at a lower grist ratio to accommodate the size of the mash usually I end up in the range of 1.2 - 1.5 qts/lb. I have a suspicion that there might be a tempature stratification happening within the tun during the mash causing the bottom of the mash to become more fermentable? My thought was to stir the mash at 30 mins, but till now I have been scared to open the tun and letting heat out. However it might just be easier to initially set a higher mash tempture. I have been mashing at 152* I know that there are alot of other variables that could be casuing this such as yeast health / strain, different malts etc. I have had this happen using Dry Nottingham, Wyeast 1332, WLP051, and WLP 400. I use mr. malty to get a ballpark on pitching rates but usually end up underpitching the recommendation. I base this on the fact that my ending starter volumes are usually 300-400 ml less the suggested. I know it might be helpful to have the recipies i put two of them here http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/my-last-brewday-285332/

Any thoughts and or suggestions would be appreciated as I try to work this out.

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Old 12-15-2011, 07:16 PM   #2
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First off, I would personally love to only be .002 off of my anticipated FG!

Maybe on your next batch, add in a few more ounces of grain to try to add some unfermentable sugars.

Also, I wouldn't be afraid to open the mash tun to check the temperature as long as you have some really hot (near boiling even) water handy to throw in if it's a little under temp.

Also, are you heating up the mash tun before you add the grain?

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Old 12-15-2011, 07:23 PM   #3
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Just raising your temperature a degree or so should do the trick. I have one question though, how are you measuring your final gravity? If you are using a refractometer then a gentleman named Sean Terrill did some experiments on the Basic Brewing podcast that showed he consistently got lower than actual readings with his refractometer using the standard correction sheet. He developed a corrected formula based on his results. You can google it if you are using a refractometer. If not, than I'd just tweak your mash temp up a bit to correct you FG.

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Old 12-15-2011, 07:24 PM   #4
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I don't know about others but I see almost .002 error factor in just reading my hydrometer. I have to take my best guess whether it reads 1.010 or 1.012???
Maybe I need the FG type hydrometer.

Question, why are you intentionally underpitching?

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Old 12-15-2011, 07:27 PM   #5
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I don't heat the tun I set my strike water at the temp beer smith tells me to and I usually nail it right on the head. I spend the first 5-10 mins making sure that I have the right ph and adjust as necessary. I know .002 isn't much but they are just ending up a little dryer then i would like. I know there are easy fixes such as you suggested adding a llittle more crystal or other malt high in unfermentables, and mashing at a higher tempature but I really want to know what what I am missing as I develop a good iunderstanding of the whole process. Maybe I am just over thinking the whole thing. I also thought that maybe since i haven't entered the exact spec for the malts that I use into beer smith that the batch of malt i am using has more extract potential. I have been shooting for 70% eff, but have been getting a higher eff. with higher OGs then expected.

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Old 12-15-2011, 07:30 PM   #6
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I'd experiment mashing a little higher. I was getting great attenuation from the Edinburgh strain that I use often, and adjusted the mash temperature up three degrees and was pleased with the results.

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Old 12-15-2011, 07:31 PM   #7
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i've never had a problem with the out comes of my pitch rates when making a starter. i use 2000ml flask that i make 1600-1800ml staters in. One for each 5 gal fermenter. Usally Mr. Malty wants a 1.5 -2 qt starter so it was my thought that 150-200 ml per 5gals less of starter isn't huge difference, but maybe I need to revisit that.

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Old 12-15-2011, 07:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxSpang View Post
First off, I would personally love to only be .002 off of my anticipated FG!

Maybe on your next batch, add in a few more ounces of grain to try to add some unfermentable sugars.

Also, I wouldn't be afraid to open the mash tun to check the temperature as long as you have some really hot (near boiling even) water handy to throw in if it's a little under temp.

Also, are you heating up the mash tun before you add the grain?
PAPPERS this is what I was planning on doing for up coming batches of light beers as suggested by MaxSpnag also, I also thought about bumping my crystal percentages in recipies that call for it. I like many others have become obsessed with this hobbie and just wanted to understand the why of what was happening

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen_Brew View Post
Just raising your temperature a degree or so should do the trick. I have one question though, how are you measuring your final gravity? If you are using a refractometer then a gentleman named Sean Terrill did some experiments on the Basic Brewing podcast that showed he consistently got lower than actual readings with his refractometer using the standard correction sheet. He developed a corrected formula based on his results. You can google it if you are using a refractometer. If not, than I'd just tweak your mash temp up a bit to correct you FG.
I have been using a hydrometer, but a refractometer is on the wish list. Maybe I should invest in a more sensitive (tighter range hydrometer) for checking final gravities, didn't think about it but it could just be a reading error on my part.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:42 PM   #9
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I'm willing to bet that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two levels of attenuation - forget what the numbers say, how does it taste? Keep your process consistent, and make changes based on the sensory outcome. The actual numbers don't matter nearly as much as getting a working process does.

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Old 12-15-2011, 09:51 PM   #10
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Are you sure your hydrometer is accurate? Are you reading it @ 60?

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