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beermonster1985 02-26-2010 02:00 PM

ok so im a new brewer, i have one batch i drunk what was crap one ipa in secondary and a golden in primary, im keep reading up as much as i can on homebrewing and have come across some things im concerned about
1, my brew in secondary is about 17 litres and my vessel is 28 litres, when i put it in there i wasnt aware that you have to fill secondary to the top, what can i do???
2, not really a problem just trying to make mashing easier, well i have a water tank to hold the mash, but when you put the water in with the mash surley the temp will drop, so if i put the water in like boiling will it affect the grain, thanks if you can understand the question:mug:

iron_city_ap 02-26-2010 02:18 PM

With your secondary, are you worried about air sitting on top of the beer? If that is the case, you can pour the steam from dry ice on the beer. It is pure CO2 which would make the beer nice and safe from air contamination.

You are correct that the temperature will drop and that you need to add hotter water than the temperature you wish to end up with. How hot (not boiling) the water you add depends on how much grain you are using, from what I have read. I've never done a full mash. Actually, I'm doing my 1st partial in a couple days.

Since the temperature of the water you are adding will only be 'hotter' for a short period, I don't think it will really have any effect on the grains. You have to figure that people have been doing it for centuries, so it must work as long as you do it right.

beermonster1985 02-26-2010 02:23 PM

thanks, question 1, you said am i worried about air sitting on top of the beer, well it just says on a few places i read that the secondary must be full or nearly full, is this not true?

nordoe 02-26-2010 02:27 PM

I dont know if you have a kegging system but i believe you can also shoot c02 into the carboy before racking. That will displace any air in the carboy. I do that before kegging my brew just to be on the safe side.

archiefl98 02-26-2010 02:29 PM

Here's what I'm getting:

Question 1 is how do you make up empty space in a secondary fermenter.

My answer to Q1:

First you could just not worry about it. Every time I transfer to a secondary I know there's a bunch of CO2 escaping the beer as I transfer. I figure it makes a nice protective layer above the beer and therefore I don't have to worry about oxygen hitting it. Once I get a beer in a secondary the airlock always bubbles, leading me to believe that CO2 is pushing O2 out of the vessel. The other way to not worry about it is to not use a secondary, and just primary for about a month. I've done this too and it works well. It also leaves one less transfer which means one less chance of infecting the beer.

As already pointed out, you could purge the vessel with CO2 prior to racking. The other thing you could do is pick up a few bags of glass marbles. Sanitize them and dump them into the secondary fermenter to make up the space required. I've never tried it, but I saw it here on HBT and I see no reason why it wouldn't work.

Question 2: Will my mash tun lose heat over the course of my mash and how to I adjust for that?

My answer:

My mash tun is an Igloo cooler. I've never lost more than 1 degree F over the course of my 60-90 minute mashes. Leave the cover on tight, removing only to stir quickly a couple times (MEANING TWO TIMES) throughout the course of the mash if you feel you have to stir. (I tend to stir once at the midway point of my mash)

If I were to be concerned, I could do one of two things with my current setup. Choice one is to add boiling water. There are calculators in Beersmith on how to adjust the temp of a mash with a boiling water addition. The other thing I could do is build a steam-infusion system by using a pressure cooker. (use the search function for steam-infusion system and you'll find what I'm talking about)

If you have a metal mash tun, you can apply heat to the bottom of it. You can insulate the outside with aluminum foil to direct the heat back in. You can create a gasket on your lid to ensure a tight seal and make sure no heat escapes the top. You could also use a steam-infusion system with a metal mash tun.

Hope it helps!

beermonster1985 02-26-2010 02:30 PM

no kegging system, no dry ice nothing like that

beermonster1985 02-26-2010 02:34 PM

thank you archie, on q2 i meant when i dump water on the grains the water will cool, how do i calculate for 10 lbs grains how hot to have the water for it to settle with the grains at 66 degrees c

goose1873 02-26-2010 02:35 PM

#1 you could just leave it in the primary until bottling/kegging.
#2 pre-heat mash-tun and get grain to room temp before mashing. this will allow you to increase strike temp as minimal as possible. (beersmith)


iron_city_ap 02-26-2010 02:35 PM

If you can't get access to any CO2, I would just let it sit in the primary for 3 weeks total. You could transfer it into what you have, and more times than not you would be okay, but you would definately be at a higher risk.

Again, I would just leave it as is in the primary, and buy another bucket so you can start another batch.

archiefl98 02-26-2010 02:38 PM

Ahh, you need a strike temp calculator. Beersmith does this for me. I can figure out the needed temp of strike water based on the weight and temp of the grains. I know there are some free ones out there as well. I think this one is supposed to be fairly good as I've seen it referenced before:

Green Bay Rackers Mash Calculators

Do yourself a favor and download the free trial of Beersmith from their website. Use it for 21 days and I'm sure you'll end up buying a copy. It just works great for everything a brewer needs!

Or there's always the dreaded long-hand mathematical way, but I'm not-so-good with doing that on the fly.

Also, as for preheating, I take the desired strike temp of the water, heat it 10 degrees F higher than what I want it to end at, dump it in the mash tun, and let it sit there to warm up the tun for about 10 minutes. Then I open the tun and stir it until it cools down to my desired strike temperature for the grain additions. This way I don't waste boiling water for pre-heat, and I don't have to rely on an approximation of how much heat my mash tun will absorb.

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