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Old 02-09-2011, 05:37 PM   #1081
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Originally Posted by Justibone View Post
The amount of water during a mash affects which enzymes are more active, i.e., more water means a more "malty" beer. If you want a malty beer (a scotch ale, a bock) then use more water (1.75 qt/lb) or if you want a "crisp" beer (lagers especially) then use 1.25 qt/lb. Any volume in between will have an intermediate effect.

These are just approximations, the actual volumes depend on the crush of the grain, which grains you use, etc. Just remember to use more water for a more malty beer and a higher final gravity.
While you have a point with the amount of water, I think the values for those results are a little small. YES, water does affect starch conversion, but not as much as temperature. Different levels of temperature activate different proteins which act differently and give you a sweeter or thinner beer. Now, once you have your temp locked in for your style, water does make a difference, but not a HUGE difference. When you talk about more water making the beer maltier, you are right, but not on the level of 1.25 vs 1.75.

The amount of water only affects the ability for the proteins to find and seek out the startches. Imagin if you will, 1 qt vs 5 qts per pound (5 is wayyyy to high). With 1 qt/lb there is less volume, and less space for the proteins to travel in order to get to the startches. In a 5 qt/lb mash (which probably wouldn't work too well, but it emphasises the point) the volume is so great that the proteins and startches are too spread out (diluted) to find each other and convert the startches. So, you will get more conversion of startches to fermentables (making the beer thinner because more fermentables means more attenuation) if they can find each other easier. Now, this is true for what I just describded, but the difference between 1.25 and 1.75 isn't as intense, and you won't see that much of an effect (in fact, you'd probably get better conversion with 1.75, making the beer thinner, but you reach a point where there is too much water, and it affects the conversion in the opposite way). You can go up to 2-3 qts before it starts to go the other way.

So, the point of all this is the amount of water affects the ability for the proteins to get to the startches, however, a much more important variable for the characteristic of the beer is temperature. Different temperatures bring out different proteins (hence the idea of step mashing). These different proteins convert the startches differently, making it a better variable to control for having maltier or crisper beers. You can compound the effects, like mashing at a higher temp and more water, to get more effects, but the amount of water is just dilution, when temperature give you different animals to work with.

If I can, I always go to 2 qt (which is not that high, historically) per pound. You will get a better conversion of whatever characteristic you are going for with your mash temp. You can still have quite a crisp beer with a larger amount of water, and a malty beer with a smaller one. Temp rules the roost
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:43 PM   #1082
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You are correct, temp rules the roost.

Volume can make a difference, and the difference between 1.25 and 1.75 is pretty slight.

Cheers.

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Old 02-13-2011, 03:10 PM   #1083
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I heard this idea on a recent Basic Brewing Radio show....

The idea is to add your grain bag to the unheated water in the pot, and let the whole system come to mash temperature together.

As long as you keep an eye on the temperature, and stir occasionally, can you guys think of a reason NOT to do this?
It sounds way easier than doing all kinds of calculations, missing the temp, adding hot/cold water, etc.

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Old 02-14-2011, 10:36 AM   #1084
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I think the reason that people tend to think in terms of adding hot water to the grain is that the bigger set ups tend to use unheated mash kettles, adding a mixture of hot and cold water at a very specific temperature in order to get the mash right. That is also the way of people who mash in a cooler with a false bottom, they add water at a specific temperature and don't heat it any further while it's on the grain.

I can't think of a reason why a homebrewer who mashes in a pot would not add the grain directly to the water and heat them together -- as long as you don't go over temp, and as long as you don't scorch your bag on the bottom of the pot.

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Old 02-15-2011, 03:00 PM   #1085
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Can you combine base grains and specialty grains when you mash or should the specialty grains be steeped separately?

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Old 02-15-2011, 03:12 PM   #1086
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justibone View Post
I think the reason that people tend to think in terms of adding hot water to the grain is that the bigger set ups tend to use unheated mash kettles, adding a mixture of hot and cold water at a very specific temperature in order to get the mash right. That is also the way of people who mash in a cooler with a false bottom, they add water at a specific temperature and don't heat it any further while it's on the grain.

I can't think of a reason why a homebrewer who mashes in a pot would not add the grain directly to the water and heat them together -- as long as you don't go over temp, and as long as you don't scorch your bag on the bottom of the pot.
One reason I can think of is that the bottom of the pot (where the grains rest) gets much hotter than the surrounding water temp. If you have 120F on the top, the bottom is heating up much higher to bring the contents of the pot to a higer temp. You can scortch your grains if you aren't careful. I would go slow if you want to try it, it would be much quicker to heat the water rapidly and add the grains
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:12 PM   #1087
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Can you combine base grains and specialty grains when you mash or should the specialty grains be steeped separately?
combine them, you will get a little bit of conversion out of the specialty grains from the base malts you mash with
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:58 PM   #1088
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One reason I can think of is that the bottom of the pot (where the grains rest) gets much hotter than the surrounding water temp. If you have 120F on the top, the bottom is heating up much higher to bring the contents of the pot to a higer temp. You can scortch your grains if you aren't careful. I would go slow if you want to try it, it would be much quicker to heat the water rapidly and add the grains
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy...ml#post2648272

too everyone thinking of skipping steps
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:17 AM   #1089
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If you do the calculations (the easiest way is to use this calculator) then you should hit close enough to your target temperature. I personally would not heat the grain and water together. It would be too easy to melt the bag, scorch your grain, or get your temp too high. It would require constant stirring. It sounds like more work to me.

There are some crazy methods out there for grain use, but for beginners, it's always best to mash all the grains together.

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Old 02-16-2011, 06:02 PM   #1090
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DeathBrewer, I've finally done it! Thanks so much for the tutorial and for answering everyone's questions throughout the thread...I've really done very little at work since I've found your tutorial threads.

My friend's Paula Deen 16qt pot worked perfect head-space-wise for my 5.5lbs of grain @ 1.40qt/lb of water. It has a domed lid so I put a sheet of foil over the top flat as a false lid to cut down even more on head space, then I put on the normal lid. To my surprise (after figuring out my initial strike tempature, adding grains and stirring twice during) I only lost 2ºF over my hour long mash! That blew me away as I was skeptical that all you need to do is wrap a blanket around your pot to keep it at temperature (shame on me).


Weekend day drinking hat was a must for my first brew, couldn't let it miss all the action


I do have a general brewing question, though it may have been answered after page 50 of this thread (still digging through)...how do you get a 'clean' wort sample to get an accurate OG before racking to primary? I ended up grabbing a sample of wort both before (last 10sec. of boil) and after cooling (via auto siphon), I felt it was too 'dirty' w/ cloudy clouds floating around in it to get an accurate reading. Any tips?


Anyway, off to the shop this weekend to get another secondary and some more grain!

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