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Old 11-12-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
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Default First Mini Mash From A Moron, The Day After..

Well, It's the day after and I'm thinking over the mistakes I made on this, and am gonna just hope for the best.

Things started off well enough, got my strike water to 170, added my grains a little at a time to avoid clumping, then poured them into my mesh bag attached to a bottling bucket.

Moron Mistake #1. Mesh bag elastic came loose, grains everywhere, cleaned that out of bucket, re-hung mesh bag with twine. Am losing heat now, but got everything stable within 8 minutes, put top on bucket, bucket in sink, added hot water around bucket to get more heat.

What I should have done: Put the kettle with grains in the oven to sit for the 45 minute mash....(Why didn't I think of this yesterday!!!)...


Part 2 : The Sparge

Got 2 gal sparge water to 155, opened spigot, re-circulated 3 cups over mash, proceeded to slowly pour sparge water over grains, wort going thru tubing into another bucket quite good, heated extra 1/2 gallon of sparge at this point cause I know I will lose some in the boil.


Rest of the day seemed ok, got the boil going, added some of the malt, and all the rest at flameout (hoping to avoid extract twang on this one), added the hops for 60 min, irish moss on last 15, and bittering hops at final 2 minutes.

Cooled the wort down to 70 in 20 minutes, added 1 gallon of cold water to 5 gal mark, pitched yeast. Done. (Safal US 05) Dry.

..........It's the mash I'm worried about, 40 minutes it sat there in the bucket, warm, yes, but doubt it sat there (even in the warm water) in the 150's.

Comments ?.......Thanks for reading.

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Old 11-12-2012, 02:39 PM   #2
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It's hard to avoid mistakes on your first attempt - but you'll learn with each new try

Yes, I think it makes more sense to do the mash in your pot. I do a dunk sparge in my bottling bucket only after the mash is done - check on DeathBrewer's BIAB instructions below for a great primer on how to do this properly.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy...ng-pics-75231/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy...ng-pics-90132/

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Old 11-12-2012, 03:03 PM   #3
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And since this was a partial mash I may be ok, cause the little milk jug of extract is at least a safety net versus an AG..

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Old 11-12-2012, 05:38 PM   #4
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My biggest problem with my 1st pm was mash temps. took 15 minutes to get it stable at 156F for the remainder of the hour mash for the 5lb of grains in 1.5G of distilled water. Heated 1.5G of sparge water to 155 (looking back,165F would've been better). Lost about 1/2G to steaming/boil off. Didn't think to cover the BK during the mash. I did biab with a cake cooling rack in the bottom to keep it all from burning on the bottom while I used the electric stove to maintain temp. Hit my OG & FG.
So anyway,the mash should be one hour. Learning how to keep a good mash temp constant is the biggy for PM & AG. And the 60 minute addition is the bittering one. The one with a couple minutes left in the boil is an aroma addition.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:44 PM   #5
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I load up the mesh bag and then lower it into the heated water, jiggling up and down a few times like you might with a tea bag. Then I stir the heck out of it with binder clips holding the bag in place. Put the lid on and a towel wrapper around the top (where most of the heat loss occurs) and let it sit. I usually open it a couple times to stir during the hour.

Best way to figure out temperature controls is to do a similar grain bill size every time and just adjust by trial and error from one batch to the next. If you miss by 5 degrees, just adjust by 5 degrees next time. Won't take more than 2-3 before you've got it nailed.

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Old 11-12-2012, 05:48 PM   #6
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That's def the thing I need to play around with now that I have these new faster Electric burners. They aren't as easy to maintain temp with.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:59 PM   #7
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Yep, I got the hop part backwards, good catch !

But the error here on me was mash temp, It was still warm after the 40 minute wait. (added hot water from the sink to help it along). But doubtful it held up in the 150's in a bucket (Time to get a mash tun).......

But again, our safety net is the little jug of extract.......No nets in AG....

I did have fun though, and that's what counts.......

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Old 11-12-2012, 06:12 PM   #8
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I did the mash in my SS BK with a cake cooling rack in the bottom On my electric stove to try & maintain temps.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:16 PM   #9
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I also advocate the dunk sparge - I think for BIAB and/or PM, you're gonna get better efficiency AND you won't have nearly as many problems setting it up. Trying to do Vorlauf with BIAB may not necessarily be worth it - it's iffy at best. Fly sparging is definitely not worth it IMO. If you need to, you can conduct a mini mash with dunk sparge using a bucket as a temporary vessel to hold the runnings while you heat the sparge water in the kettle. You can measure the actual first runnings volume and then calculate your dunk water. Honestly, if you are going to continue to do mini mashes - even If you don't want to make a mash tun or go towards AG, I'd still advocate getting a cooler - even a 5 gal would work and should be pretty cheap - I got a HD 10 gallon cooler for $30 on sale a couple weeks ago - it holds temp effortlessly...

with the cooler, all you need to do is figure out strike water temp - say 5lbs of grain will drop the temp 10 deg and you want to mash at 150, heat the strike water to 170. Pour into the cooler and let it come down to 160, then add grains. This way, you preheat the cooler walls so it won't lose heat. If you put the cooler on cold tile or flooring, put a towel or something under it to retain heat. You'll hold a nearly precise mash temp - you COULD in fact even do the Vorlauf with the cooler's normal spigot.

BTW - the bittering hops are adding early in the boil, not late.

I bet your beer will be damn tasty and congrats on taking a big step!

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Old 11-12-2012, 07:27 PM   #10
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I use my SS 5gal kettle for mashes, and I don't think I've lost more than 2-3°F over an hour without anything special. Two things that I think help---first it's SS rather than Al, so it has lower conductivity, and second, I keep it on a burner during the mash rather than setting it on a counter or on the center of the stove. This provides insulation by limiting the contact with conductive materials (electric burners are not terribly conductive along their length).

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