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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Easy Stovetop All-Grain Brewing (with pics)
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Old 04-16-2010, 05:44 PM   #501
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I personally don't understand the oven method. It may work for some, but most ovens are much hotter than the ~150°F that you want to mash at...it has to heat it up some and the last thing I want is to mash at 156°F or higher.

Also, I have very little problem maintaining a mash temp in the pot on the stovetop. As discussed before, a blanket and some bungee cords will ensure temp is held, but even when I just let it sit and it dropped to 140°F by the end of the hour, it made fantastic beer.

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Old 04-16-2010, 05:55 PM   #502
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I personally don't understand the oven method. It may work for some, but most ovens are much hotter than the ~150°F that you want to mash at...it has to heat it up some and the last thing I want is to mash at 156°F or higher.

Also, I have very little problem maintaining a mash temp in the pot on the stovetop. As discussed before, a blanket and some bungee cords will ensure temp is held, but even when I just let it sit and it dropped to 140°F by the end of the hour, it made fantastic beer.
I was talking via email with Kai Troester (via James from basic Brewing) and we talked about what goes on in detail when you loose a lot of temp, or "step down" your mash. His thoughts on it were that a beer that was mashed at 156F and dropped to 145F or some other number would come out much like a beer mashed at 156F for the whole time. I think there might be efficiency loss in the temp loss, but as far as the profile goes, you still will have a lot of the 156F character in your beer.

The problem is that at a high temp is that you are denaturing the enzymes (Beta amylase) that work at lower temps, while you speed up the enzymes that work at a higher one (Alpha amylase). These higher temp enzymes don't work for the whole hour if your temp drops. Once they are out of range, they stop working the same way. So when you are starting high and loosing temp, you are hurting the enzymes that you will want to use during the later half, when you get to that temp. This reduces your efficiency. Rather than, say starting low, getting the most out of the enzymes that work atthe lower temps, and then ramping it, damaging the lower ones (that you no longer need), while activating the higher temp ones. However, when you start high and end lower, the enzymes that worked at the higher temps did their job, and made longer chains of sugars that are less fermentable, so you still end up with that type of beer.

That said, I have lost quite a bit of temp, and still LOVED the beer. My problem with trying to insulate it on the counter is that sometimes I loose heat, sometimes I don't. This is more evident when I am brewing smaller than 5 gallons, and have a lot of head space. When insulated, if I stir, I lose temp. I also feel I loose temp through my counter top, and if I leave it on the burner (but off), there is airspace under the burner, cooling the bottom. I have tried the blankets and pillow, and lost 1-2F, but at times I've lost almost 10F. I'd like to be consistant.

DB, do you stir during your rest? I like to every 15 minutes, but that introduces heat loss.

I'm going to give the oven method a shot for the sake of trying it. I monitor my temp remotely, so it will be easy to find if I get too much heat. I think I might crack the door on the stove as well. My wheat beer came out fine with using the burner to maintain the temp while stirring.
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:06 PM   #503
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These higher temp enzymes don't work for the whole hour if your temp drops.
Just a note, if you are mashing at higher temps, the enzymes work faster (as all chemical reactions do) and mashing a whole hour is most likely not needed, as they do most of their job quickly in the first 15.
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:06 PM   #504
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I may stir once in a while, but I don't have a habit of it. It's not necessary...the enzymes are getting to where they need to (unless you have doughballs) and 60 minutes is probably double the amount of time you really need. I've only been doing 45 minute mashes for my all-grain with the cooler lately. I'm sure it would work just as well with the bag. I've never tried it though, because my tea-bag batches are usually lazy brew days, so they sit over an hour anyway.

There is no real efficiency loss in the temp loss, but yes...the initial mash temperature will derive the most flavor. Think of it like this...you can step mash forward, but not backward. Once your starches are converted, they cannot be reversed. So if you mash high, say at 154°F, and then it drops, whatever has ALREADY been converted will stay in the state it is in. Whatever starches have not yet been converted will be then converted at lower temps as it drops, so unless you have a really fast drop, you'll still get the flavor you want.

Let me know how the oven works. I haven't heard anyone with a bad experience yet, but it seems odd that it doesn't raise the temp of the mash, and as I stated...I'd much rather loose temp than accidentally gain it.

I HAVE heard a lot of bad experiences with using burners, however, especially electric. Again, it works for some people, but is not something I recommend simply because it's so inconsistent.

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Old 04-16-2010, 06:13 PM   #505
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I HAVE heard a lot of bad experiences with using burners, however, especially electric. Again, it works for some people, but is not something I recommend simply because it's so inconsistent.
I was thinking about this (although I've heard direct flame is worse than electric). The portion that is right above the burner MUST be hotter than the rest of the mash. Like I emphisized, stir, stir, stir. But even with stirring I was wondering the effects of the small amount of space that has the higher temp. I am wondering if this caused perhaps a smaller portion of it to be caramelized. Like I said, it came out fine, but there isn't a way to compare it to one that wasn't sitting on that small amount of direct heat.

Let's not forget the biggest element when doing things like this...the human element. Some might get lazy, and forget, some might sit there like a watch dog (like me!) and stirr constantly. Like you said, bag brew days are lazy brew days, in that case, NO DIRECT HEAT!
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:14 PM   #506
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All this talk about direct heat makes me want to try a steinbier

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Old 04-16-2010, 06:21 PM   #507
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I was thinking about this (although I've heard direct flame is worse than electric). The portion that is right above the burner MUST be hotter than the rest of the mash. Like I emphisized, stir, stir, stir. But even with stirring I was wondering the effects of the small amount of space that has the higher temp. I am wondering if this caused perhaps a smaller portion of it to be caramelized. Like I said, it came out fine, but there isn't a way to compare it to one that wasn't sitting on that small amount of direct heat.

Let's not forget the biggest element when doing things like this...the human element. Some might get lazy, and forget, some might sit there like a watch dog (like me!) and stirr constantly. Like you said, bag brew days are lazy brew days, in that case, NO DIRECT HEAT!
True, constant stirring and checking temp will help, and is a method I use sometimes when stepping up all-grain batches in my keg mash tun. It definitely depends on the user and this tutorial is meant for beginners and for general easy brew days.

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All this talk about direct heat makes me want to try a steinbier
SRSLY. My buddy and I have been talking about this for years. It will happen someday.
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:25 PM   #508
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It definitely depends on the user and this tutorial is meant for beginners and for general easy brew days.
Don't forget this came from someone wondering how to do more exptic mash methods. While it cetrainly isn't needed to this method, or to brew great beer, it is one of the easiest ways to step with this method (when comparing to decoction). But it is in NO way necessary.


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SRSLY. My buddy and I have been talking about this for years. It will happen someday.
Yes, I'm trying to push a friend to do it with me (what a lot of work for one brewer). But where to find the correct rocks...
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:28 PM   #509
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Yes, I'm trying to push a friend to do it with me (what a lot of work for one brewer). But where to find the correct rocks...
Oh god, another thing my girlfriend can be pissed at me for stock piling in my closet...random large rocks I find when hiking.
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:28 PM   #510
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It may be easy, but it's also REALLY easy to screw up.

Decoctions are easy as hell, especially if you like stirring They just take a little longer.

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