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Old 05-07-2009, 05:07 AM   #1
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Default temperature problems

I do all grain, with a 5 gallon rubbermaid container for my mash tun.

I use beersmith to help me figure my temps. I have a nifty digital thermometer with a remote sensor, so I can get good temps.

However, lately I realized that I wasn't really sparging correctly. Beersmith was leading me astray. I was mashing, then sparging with 168 deg water, but realized that I'm supposed to be RAISING the grainbed temp to 168-170, then sparging with 168 deg water.

Used a different setting in Beersmith to find the change temp. (used mash profile of "single infusion, medium body" instead of "single infusion, medium body, batch sparge")

by doing this, i effectively do a mashout, then sparge.

my problem is that I can't seem to hit the right temps. For example:

1) at mash in, it appears that the TOP of the mash tun is at the right temp, but if I take a sample running, the BOTTOM seems to be much lower. (for example, top at 154, bottom at 145)

2) at mash out, I add the required amount/temp of water, yet only hit 164-166 for the TOP. The bottom (tested by doing a sample running) will be something again like 150.

Yes, I do stir the crap out of it when I put in the hotter water. Or any of the water for that matter.

How the HECK do I get the grain bed to 168 and hold it at 168 for the duration of the sparge? I batch sparge, in two equal amounts, BTW.

I'd say it's a matter of dialing in my equipment, but the temp difference top to bottom is really worrying me.

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Old 05-07-2009, 05:11 AM   #2
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I don't really do a mash-out. Since I am batch sparging I won't have a lot of conversion going on while I drain the runnings. I just sparge with 185 degree water, by the end of the second sparge I've raised the temp of the grain bed a lot, but not enough to get tanin extraction.

I also start to boil the initial runnings as soon as I can get them over the electric element in the keg.

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Old 05-07-2009, 05:50 AM   #3
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Hey, where did you get the thermometer with a remote sensor from? Can the sensor go right into your mash or kettle? I have been looking for one of those for ages. I would also love one where I could leave the sensor in the fermenter ... maybe have multiple sensors, so I can check each of my things.

Sorry to hop in and ask just that, but it caught my eye.

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Old 05-07-2009, 05:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by maztec View Post
Hey, where did you get the thermometer with a remote sensor from? Can the sensor go right into your mash or kettle? I have been looking for one of those for ages. I would also love one where I could leave the sensor in the fermenter ... maybe have multiple sensors, so I can check each of my things.

Sorry to hop in and ask just that, but it caught my eye.
It came from a kitchen wares shop. I know you can get a similar thing from target too. I don't think it'd go into the fermenter, because there is a cord between the sensor and the digital thermometer (so it's not THAT remote). I can put it into the mash, but the probe is about 4" long, so it won't make it to the bottom. and, I cant screw down the lid of the mash tun with the cord in the way.

mine is sorta like this (but cost more, dang it)

Taylor TruTemp Digital Cooking Thermometer with Alarm and Timer : Target
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:02 PM   #5
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Yep - that is one area Beersmith fails bad IMO. It gives the temp strike water should be to compensate for grain and MLT temps and get your grain bed up to target mash temps, but does not tell you what to raise your initial sparge water temps to get the grain bed up to 168 degrees. I usually get the sparge water up to a tad over 180 degrees for 10 - 12 lbs. of grain and it gets me real close.

Dan

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Old 05-07-2009, 11:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DD2000GT View Post
Yep - that is one area Beersmith fails bad IMO. It gives the temp strike water should be to compensate for grain and MLT temps and get your grain bed up to target mash temps, but does not tell you what to raise your initial sparge water temps to get the grain bed up to 168 degrees. I usually get the sparge water up to a tad over 180 degrees for 10 - 12 lbs. of grain and it gets me real close.

Dan
Yes, and also I'm having the problem (am I crazy?) that the top and bottom of the mash are at different temps.

Is there a calculator to figure out your sparge water temps? I tried last night with 175 deg water, which seemed to be better, maybe next time w/180 deg.

?

Beersmith will tell you the "mashout" temp - ie: what quantity/temp of water to put into your mash to raise it to 168 (before you do any runnings) - but it doesn't seem to be right, maybe because I'm missing my mash temp in the first place, OR maybe because of the top to bottom temp differences OR maybe my MT is losing temp througout the mash. OR maybe beersmith is wrong.

???
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:24 PM   #7
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Here's a formula that I found a day or so ago (think it was on Kai's website). Haven't tried it yet, but (assuming it's not the same formula that BeerSmith uses and fails with) it seems to be worth a shot:

Water Temp = (.2/R)(T2-T1)+T2

R = Ratio of water to grain in qts/lb
TI = Temp of Grain
T2 = Target Temp

If you try it, let me know if it works.

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Old 05-07-2009, 11:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tranceamerica View Post
It came from a kitchen wares shop. I know you can get a similar thing from target too. I don't think it'd go into the fermenter, because there is a cord between the sensor and the digital thermometer (so it's not THAT remote). I can put it into the mash, but the probe is about 4" long, so it won't make it to the bottom. and, I cant screw down the lid of the mash tun with the cord in the way.

mine is sorta like this (but cost more, dang it)

Taylor TruTemp Digital Cooking Thermometer with Alarm and Timer : Target
Darn, thanks Trance. I keep hoping for a true remote thermometer - like the ones you can use for measuring temperature inside/outside of a home or the ones I used to have access to in college when I took chemistry. Have yet to find anything food or lab grade that was under $1000 and no way am I paying that.

Albeit, that thermometer you linked is a pretty good deal. With a bit longer cord it would be awesome.
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