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Old 08-21-2010, 04:28 PM   #961
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Used this method for my first partial mash last weekend and made what i'm told is a total newbie mistake. Instead of letting the grain bag slowly drain, I compressed the bag and forced out the wort. How big of a mistake was this? I had about 7.5lbs of grain and 3lbs of DME in the total recipe.



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Old 08-21-2010, 04:30 PM   #962
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Also, I forgot to ask about speciialty grains vs base grains and time in mash. Do i blend all grains for the entire 60min? For some reason i did the 2-row for 60min, but added the crystal/oats at the mid point so that they were only mashing for 30min. hopefully these 2 mistakes didn't ruin a batch.



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Old 08-21-2010, 06:46 PM   #963
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what's wrong with compressing the bag to force out the wort? I figure you just don't throw away as much wort that would be sucked up in the grains... I just drank a beer I did with this method and it seemed to turn out just fine... although it was a light blonde type beer that wasn't too complicated.

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Old 08-24-2010, 03:11 AM   #964
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"I wouldn't recirculate the wort. Instead, to increase efficiency, I often use a small amount of the sparge water and pour it over the grains while they are sitting in my colander over the mash pot. This allows a bit of run-off before you dunk it in the sparge water. I've found it increases efficiency, especially in my all-grain bag batches."

What type of temperature do you recommend for this process?

Like many have said already, thanks for this great thread, made my jump to PM with this method and I'm not going back!

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Old 08-24-2010, 03:26 AM   #965
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Hey DB, thank you for the advice.

I haven't been able to report back for a while because I did a couple of extract-only batches in the meantime. Now I have a good update.

I always get my grain from my LHBS, and they mill it for me there. The crush is very consistently the same. I examined it closely and compared it to photos I found here on HBT and elsewhere, of correctly and incorrectly milled grain. It looks right to me. A little bit of powder, but mostly chunks of grain and mostly-intact hulls. This squares with my assessment of the owner's knowledge and experience (he's won, run, and judged at many competitions over 25 years). I think the crush is right, but next time I might just buy elsewhere to see how it goes.

On my next partial-mash I tried pouring some of the sparge water over the grains in the colander, but found no difference in efficiency that way.

For my most recent PM I brought out the big guns and tried several things:
I added pH 5.2 to my mash water at dough-in.
I increased my boil volume to 5 gallons so I could use more water in the sparge.
I did a double batch sparge, with half of the water in one pot for 7mins and the other half in another pot for 7mins.
During the sparges I stirred the grains well and even picked up the bag briefly once or twice to ensure that the water was penetrating well and flowing through the grain.

47% that time.

I'm going to get a digital thermometer, just to check if my glass one is a source of error. I have heard of them being incorrectly calibrated before.

The only thing that comes to mind beyond that is a possible water issue. I have medium-hard water, so I would not expect to be low on Ca, but you never know. The water department folks in Philly are shining examples of helpful government employees, so I might have some water sent away for testing if I ever go all-grain.

In the meantime, this method gives me a great way to control the body/dryness balance of my brews. So what if I have to use a little more DME? At least it's consistent, so I always know how much I'm going to need. And I am making some damn fine ales!

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Old 08-24-2010, 12:35 PM   #966
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What an awesome thread, man. Thank you. Priceless information for someone moving up from canned kits.

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Old 08-24-2010, 08:56 PM   #967
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiescins View Post
Used this method for my first partial mash last weekend and made what i'm told is a total newbie mistake. Instead of letting the grain bag slowly drain, I compressed the bag and forced out the wort. How big of a mistake was this? I had about 7.5lbs of grain and 3lbs of DME in the total recipe.
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Originally Posted by GermanBlood View Post
what's wrong with compressing the bag to force out the wort? I figure you just don't throw away as much wort that would be sucked up in the grains... I just drank a beer I did with this method and it seemed to turn out just fine... although it was a light blonde type beer that wasn't too complicated.
This is up to debate. There is a line of thought that squeezing the bag will result in extraction of tannins, but I have yet to find a single instance of this being nailed down as a contributing factor of off-flavors.

I generally don't think it's necessary so I don't "risk" it. I usually just pour additional water over the grain to rinse it and then I'm done. You can only get so much out of it anyway.

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Originally Posted by wiescins View Post
Also, I forgot to ask about speciialty grains vs base grains and time in mash. Do i blend all grains for the entire 60min? For some reason i did the 2-row for 60min, but added the crystal/oats at the mid point so that they were only mashing for 30min. hopefully these 2 mistakes didn't ruin a batch.
There are options (such as cold-steeping) for leaving your specialty grains separate and mashing your base malts by themselves. Very rarely do I use these methods, however, and I will generally recommend just mixing it all together for your mash.

You should still get plenty of conversion for the oats at thirty minutes. You could possibly run the risk of not having the enzymes convert the oats, but only if the enzymes were denatured or you didn't have enough 2-row to begin with. Specialty grains, such as crystal and roasted grains, are not as much a concern, as they do not need to be mashed or converted and are mainly for color and flavor.

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Originally Posted by wiescins View Post
"I wouldn't recirculate the wort. Instead, to increase efficiency, I often use a small amount of the sparge water and pour it over the grains while they are sitting in my colander over the mash pot. This allows a bit of run-off before you dunk it in the sparge water. I've found it increases efficiency, especially in my all-grain bag batches."

What type of temperature do you recommend for this process?

Like many have said already, thanks for this great thread, made my jump to PM with this method and I'm not going back!
I heat my sparge water to about 170°F. That ensures that the mash temps never exceed 165°F. It's possible that I don't actually do a "mash-out", in that I don't denature the enzymes (starts at 162°F, a lot of people go to 168°F) but I find no reason for this to be a concern. Basically, I rinse the grains with hot water, I don't mash out. If the sparge ends up sitting at only 150°F, it doesn't concern me, it's still rinsing grains, and possibly finishing up a small amount of conversion.

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Originally Posted by Sardoman View Post
In the meantime, this method gives me a great way to control the body/dryness balance of my brews. So what if I have to use a little more DME? At least it's consistent, so I always know how much I'm going to need. And I am making some damn fine ales!
And that's what it's all about. I'm currently using this method to attempt a 2 hour brew day and my efficiency is cut to about 50% because of the short mash and sparge times. It may cost a bit more, but the flavor is amazing...I'm not sacrificing quality.

Still sorry to hear about your efficiency problems. I generally get at least 60% with this method...let me know if you experience any changes.

I've been getting a lot of PMs and thank yous lately. I can't respond to everyone with my current busy schedule so just let me state that I really enjoy and appreciate the feedback and I'm glad this page is still providing a good step up to grain for beginning brewers. Keep up the questions!
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:02 AM   #968
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I found this thread...I started skimming through it to find if my question already got answered, but it is 60+ pages so here is my question.
What is the best way to figure out how much base malt in grain you need to convert the mash?
I understand that you need a certain amount of High diastatic grain in the partial bill...if I understand correctly, you can multiply the degrees lintner of each grain times the pounds of each grain then divide that by total pounds of grain (basically an average), and as long as it is over 35 you have enough power to convert?

Am I close?

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Old 08-25-2010, 02:50 AM   #969
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Finally read all 90+ pages! Thanks Deathbrewer for the procedure and for keeping up with all the questions. Going to brew a brown this weekend using this method again (without compressing the grains).

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Old 08-26-2010, 03:12 AM   #970
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Originally Posted by chiefbrewer View Post
I found this thread...I started skimming through it to find if my question already got answered, but it is 60+ pages so here is my question.
What is the best way to figure out how much base malt in grain you need to convert the mash?
I understand that you need a certain amount of High diastatic grain in the partial bill...if I understand correctly, you can multiply the degrees lintner of each grain times the pounds of each grain then divide that by total pounds of grain (basically an average), and as long as it is over 35 you have enough power to convert?

Am I close?
Yes, that should work fine. However, a lower diastatic power (close to 35) will still have MORE trouble converting and may take longer, so take that into consideration.

Remember that most malted wheat or rye have a higher diastatic power than barley, so don't be concerned if you are using those in your recipe.

Recently I mashed with 100% german wheat, which only has a diastatic power of 40 or so due to its lesser degree of modification. I got really low efficiency (which I planned on) but it goes to show that more diastatic power definitely helps.


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