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Old 11-05-2012, 02:28 AM   #1
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Default First all-grain yee-haw!

How the %#!$ do you keep the temp correct on small batches?

Today was the first all-grain. Sweet! No, literally, sweet. Lot of gummy, sticky mash. I did not realize it was so sugary. It was 2.5 gallons because our largest pot was 2.5 gallons. I tried BIAB because I did not want to fuss with converting our cooler to a mash tun.

1 drop of canola oil per gallon prevented boilover.

The most difficult part was maintaining the mash temp. The water started 160F and the 5.5 lbs of grain dropped it to 140F. It kept bouncing between 160 and 150F depending if it was measured at the top or bottom of the mash. I finally manged to keep it between 150-155 by constant stirring and attention.

Then it used like 4 gallons because regardless of batch size, 1 hour of boiling will vaporize LOTS of water. It took fa-EVER to drop the temp to less than 80F before adding the yeast. I can really appreciate wort chillers.

OG ended at 1.042. 'Sok for the planned IPA

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:02 AM   #2
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when you mash in a lot of the heat from the water is suck out to heat up the container you are mashing in. so if you put 160 degree water in a 70 degree pot a lot of heat is going to be sucked out to get the pot up to temp.

Lots of people "preheat" their mash tuns by adding boiling water so that the mash tun is up to temp before they mash in.

Some other people will use a sleeping bag or blankets of some sort to try and insulate their pots while doing BIAB.

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:28 AM   #3
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I had a friend who made an insulated blanket out of aluminum foil and fiberglass insulation for using on the stove to keep the heat in on his pot. He switched and went to a turkey fryer.

I would say, if you are going all-grain, get yourself whatever size cooler you can store reasonably easy and do as Tinga said. Preheat the mashtun (cooler). I tried it last Friday and it worked really well. I got close on my first mash infusion and had to add a little more hotter temp water to get it right where I wanted it.

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:48 AM   #4
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When I did BIAB, I used direct fire to maintain mash temp. It probably helped that it was hot outside, so the temp didn't fluctuate too much. And yes, a chiller is your friend.

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Old 11-05-2012, 04:01 AM   #5
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My chiller is only 25 feet of 3/8 copper but it really gets the temp down quickly.
I've made a prechiller for next summer though because when the groundwater is warmer it makes a huge difference.

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Old 11-05-2012, 04:03 AM   #6
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Time to buy some new equipment!

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Old 11-05-2012, 06:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acidrain View Post
Time to buy some new equipment!
That suggestion did not take much time atoll. Compared to my other hobby, model trains, getting geared up for brewing is cheap. Next purchase is a refractometer because I believe in good instrumentation.

Besides, I dropped the glass hydrometer. Hmm ... no, the next item is a toolbox so I don't drop stuff while moving it.

Any recipes for left over wort? Like dog cookies?
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:42 AM   #8
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Canola oil? Where did you learn that? I would think that would cut down on heaf retention.

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Old 11-05-2012, 12:23 PM   #9
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1. You're doing BIAB so you use full volume of water for your batch. That much water doesn't cool off very rapidly.
2. Use a strike temperature calculator so your water is at the proper temperature so when you add the grains it brings the temperature of the mash just right.
3. Insulate your mash tun (pot) and leave it. I use a bath towel and lose one or 2 degrees over the hour.
4. When you add the grains, stir them in well and then leave the lid on the pot. every time you open the lid you lose heat and you'll be forever chasing the proper temperature.
5. As one of the other posters mentioned, adding oil is not recommended. There are products that will help avoid boil over that don't ruin the head on your beer.
6. You can control the boil off by controlling the amount of heat you add. You want a slow rolling boil, not really vigorous. Boiling too hard only serves to boil off more liquid.
7. It's time to invest in a bigger pot. I like a 5 gallon for a 2 1/2 gallon batch and a 7 1/2 gallon turkey fryer will work for a 5 gallon batch but you have to watch it closely so it doesn't boil over and it's hard to mash a high gravity batch without running it over.

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Old 11-05-2012, 01:36 PM   #10
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I thought the few drops of vegetable oil might reduce the hot break head and the boilover. It seemed to work. This batch is an experiment, like any first batch. We will see what it does to head retention. That's why I experiment.

Other products like Fermcap S (Simethicone, like Gas-X) and Fermcap AT reduce both boilover and high foam during fermentation. Neither affect the head because they are bound by the yeast throughout the fermentation. The few drops of oil should also be gone.

Thank you for the suggestions , RM-MN. A mash calc and insulation would have been useful. I appreciate the info and experiences on these forums.

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