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Old 05-21-2012, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default Two Quick AG Questions

I'm planning on trying AG soon and have been reading as much as I can. I've got two quick questions.

1)
Mash out: If I am going to mash out, do I add the mash out water to the existing mash in water? I don't drain anything out yet, correct?

For example, I might add a certain amount of mash in water, add the grain, let it sit for an hour, and then add my mash out water and let it sit another ten minutes.... then start draining and sparging, correct?

2)
I have been doing extract brews and I really don't have much junk in the kettle after the boil. Not really any hot or cold break, just hop material. I just pour it all through a strainer into the fermenter, so I really don't have any wort loss.

Should I expect a lot more junk after an AG boil? Can I use the same process or will it stop up the strainer? (coarse stainless steel strainer). If the strainer trick won't work, how much wort should I expect to lose in a 5 gallon batch?

Thanks!

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Old 05-21-2012, 01:05 PM   #2
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1) I drain and then mash out at 170°
2) I lose a little to break and hop particles. I brew 6 gallon to get 5+ gallons keggable.

You'll have to refine your process based off your equipment and process but just remember to have fun and don't stress too much .
Refining your process means more beer.

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Old 05-21-2012, 01:15 PM   #3
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1) If you're batch sparging, I would just skip the mashout. The draining is so fast, there's not really time for anything bad to happen. Then just heat your sparge water into the upper 180's and it will raise the grain bed to 170 during the sparge.

2) I just drain everything into the fermenter. You can strain it if you like, but it all compacts down in the bottom of the fermenter and doesn't really hurt anything.

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Old 05-21-2012, 01:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pabloj13
1) If you're batch sparging, I would just skip the mashout. The draining is so fast, there's not really time for anything bad to happen. Then just heat your sparge water into the upper 180's and it will raise the grain bed to 170 during the sparge.
I personally would perform a mash out. There's so much heat loss with a home brew setup that it's not always good to rely on the sparge water to completely heat up your grain bed. In answer to your question yes you add it to the mash before draining anything. I've noticed better efficiency with a mash out. Also lautering (draining) should not go quickly. Just an unbroken stream that pours straight down into your kettle is what you want. You don't need to rush it.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:40 PM   #5
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If you're doing a fly sparge and a mash out, then you'd add your mash out water to the MLT, stir well to get the temperature equalized, then vorlauf and begin draining slowly while you added fresh sparge water at the same speed.

You will first get a "hot break", where the foaming wort stops trying to boil over. Then you can start adding your hops, after the hot break. After the hot break, the wort will look a bit like egg drop soup, with tiny bits of this break material. After the wort is chilled, you'll get a "cold break"- that's another group of coagulated proteins. This break material is bigger and globbier (is that a word?) and fluffier. It will still settle to the bottom in the fermenter, and compact down, but the first time you see it is kinda freaky!

I'd suggest using Irish moss, or preferably whirlfloc in the kettle to help this process along. A good hot break and a good cold break mean clearer beer in the end (no chill haze!).

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Old 05-21-2012, 01:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesleyS View Post
I personally would perform a mash out. There's so much heat loss with a home brew setup that it's not always good to rely on the sparge water to completely heat up your grain bed.
Do you fly sparge? If he's batch sparging, heating up the grainbed is not important.

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I've noticed better efficiency with a mash out.
It is speculated that any measured increase in efficiency when mashing out is due to the stirring more than anything else. If it's temp related, it could be a final push for total conversion.

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Also lautering (draining) should not go quickly.Just an unbroken stream that pours straight down into your kettle is what you want. You don't need to rush it.
And this is also another fly sparge specific mantra. It's completely irrelevant in batch sparging.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:04 AM   #7
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I'm planning to try my first AG this Friday and I have a few more questions.

1) Beersmith says to mash in with 15.13qt of 168.4F water for 60 minutes, then add 7.35qt of 202.4F water for 10 minutes, and then fly sparge with 3.11 gallons at 168F. Then it says to add water to achieve a boil volume of 6.97 gallons. These numbers are based on my equipment profile, which I think is as accurate as I can make it.

So, should I just fly sparge until I have 6.97 gallons of wort? or should I be sure I only sparge with 3.11 gallons of water and then stop and top off with water?

I know I don't want to go under a certain gravity with what's coming out of the mash tun, but if I add what amounts to 5.62 gallons of water (mash in and out) and then another 3.11 gallons goes through it, aren't I going to be pretty close to my 6.97 gallons?

2) Do you stir around in the mash during the 60 minute time? or just mix it up well and leave it alone?

3) How much temp drop is acceptable in the mash? I'm using a 10 gallon rubbermaid round cooler. I did a test today with 5 gallons of 168 degree water and once it stabilized (at 163F), I lost 9 degrees in an hour. Of course there wasn't any grain in there, so I don't know if my actual temp loss will be better or worse after it stabilizes (I realize it will drop more initially as it heats up the grain as well as the tun).

Thanks!

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Old 06-06-2012, 01:33 AM   #8
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Personally, I sparge all the way up to preboil volume. Might as well get sugars instead of just water.

I stir like mad at first, and when its done. Not in between.

I would add strike at 180, cover and let sit to pre heat. Once the water, stirred, is a tad above strike temp, dough in. if high, stir down.

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Old 06-06-2012, 01:44 AM   #9
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2) as a recent ag convert here is what I noticed. When I did extract with only a ice bath I woul normally lose about a quarter gallon to trub after chillin and near a half gallon or more in the primary. Now when I switched I started using a ic to chill and whirlfloc during boil the first time I about **** when I had almost a gallon or more of gross trub in bottom of pot I ended up on a estimated 5.5 gallon batch with about 4.25 gallons. I was freaked with the fact of losing even more in prim and sec but come transfer day instead of a good 3 or so inch trub layer I ended up with only like a half to quarter inch layer in primary so defnatly a trade off. O and I forgot what question was. Mug

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Old 06-06-2012, 05:04 PM   #10
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disney7 - regarding mash temp drops, someone on here pointed out that coolers are built to keep things cool, not hot. Consequently the lids are not insulated (doesn't matter if you want to keep things cool - but it matters a lot if you want to keep things hot). There are a number of ways to help insulate the lid. I simply lay about 4 folded blankets over the lid. Once I did that, my temp drop over 60 minutes went from 3 to 5 degrees to 1 or 2.

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