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Old 12-31-2012, 01:28 PM   #1
MattDBrewer
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Default Mash Out - How much water?

Hi guys,

I took the plunge and got all-grain equipment for Christmas. Brewed my first batch yesterday - with some hiccups. The instructions I have say to raise the temp of the mash tun up to 168 (from the 152 mash temp). I am using the NB 7.5 gallon all grain kit, so using coolers. The issue I have is that the amount of 200 degree water needed to raise 4 (or so) gallons of 152 degree water (which fell to about 149 over the hour) is significant and would exceed the volume of my tank. I have read some books that say Mash-out is not a necessary step, but what's the deal here?

Separately, I note that I think I lautered too quickly and significantly undershot the target OG of the recipe I was using.

All of that said, I have a healthy fermentation going this morning and am hoping for the best.

Thanks and happy New Year!

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:37 PM   #2
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I think the term you are looking for is sparging and I'm not sure if you are batch sparging or fly sparging.

Basically if you are batch sparging and the full volume required will not fit in one addition then divide the volume in half and do two sparges to achieve your pre-boil volume.

As for you not hitting the desired OG, there could be several reasons, the first one being the quality of the crush you received. It could also be a result of over shooting your final volume in the primary. Say you were shooting for 5.5 gallons and you got 6, then you diluted the beer and undershot the gravity by not boiling off enough water and condensing the wort.

Basically, if you work us through your process and set up we can then assist in diagnosing what happened.

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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A mashout is not technically necessary. There are many people who do it and many that don't. One reason to do it is to denature the enzymes and stop them from further converting the starches to sugars once you have reached your desired fermentability profile. Without a mashout the wort that you are collecting still has enzyme activity and is still technically mashing in the collection vessel, though I think the conversion at that point is probably pretty minimal. Another reason to do a mashout is to thin the runnings out and make it easier to drain, but if you didn't have a problem then it is no big deal.

One thing that you could do if you don't have room to add the water is to do a decoction type mashout by just draining some of the wort, bringing it to a boil, and adding it back to the mashtun to raise the temperature. On my last beer I drained about 3 quarts and added 3 quarts of water, brought that to a boil, and added it back. Worked really well for me.

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Old 12-31-2012, 04:06 PM   #4
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I was continuous sparging with a hot liquor tank. I had the grains crushed by NB. I thought I hit the desired volume per boil (harder for me to tell because I also received a proper kettle as part of the brewing Christmas haul that I am not yet familiar with), but had a significant amount of boil off during the 90 minute boil that the recipe called for. I think this is due to the longer boil and dry air here right now. I ended up with about 4.5 gallons at the end of the boil and topped the carboy up to about 5.5 at the end (which clearly added to dilution), which I have done successfully when extract brewing. The target OG was 1.064. I ended up after adding the clean water at 1.050. My working theory is that my sparge was WAY too fast. I achieved my desired volume in the kettle in about 15 minutes (if it was that long). My friend tells me that he sparges at a very slow rate for the better part of an hour. Would an extremely fast spare have such a dramatic effect?

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Old 12-31-2012, 05:48 PM   #5
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I'm not really familiar with fly sparging, but I think sparging slower will help effeciency (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Also, next time I would take a gravity reading before your boil then use an online calculator to see what your post boil gravity will be (you'll need to know your boil-off rate). Then adjust the gravity with water or DME (depending on which way you need to go) BEFORE the boil. When you add water post boil you are not only diluting the wort, but you're also diluting the hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. But I guess if you boil-off more than you intended you could add a little water post-boil but it probably wouldn't be that much. I use this calculator for boil-off gravity calculations: http://www.brewersfriend.com/dilutio...ty-calculator/

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Old 12-31-2012, 05:53 PM   #6
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For fly sparging, slower is better.

As for adding make-up water, on paper it shouldn't matter when you add it. Extract brewing adds the water (most of the time) right in the carboy due to the small size of the boil kettle. Whether you add it at the beginning or end, you still wind up with the same concentration of sugars in the wort for the same volume.

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Old 12-31-2012, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadNewsBrewery View Post
For fly sparging, slower is better.

As for adding make-up water, on paper it shouldn't matter when you add it. Extract brewing adds the water (most of the time) right in the carboy due to the small size of the boil kettle. Whether you add it at the beginning or end, you still wind up with the same concentration of sugars in the wort for the same volume.
Partial boil extract recipes are designed to be diluted after the boil. They increase the hops to account for this. If you used a full boil recipe but didn't collect enough wort and used the same amount of hops, then adding water after the boil will dilute your IBU's, hop flavor, and aroma. So you should add it before the boil to get the right utilization from your hops. The sugars will be the same either way, but not the hops.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:23 PM   #8
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I could see that being the case if you are claiming that the marginal benefit of having more water will extract more of the 'hopness' from the hops. In other words, with less water in the boil kettle, you are getting a near saturated hop/water mixture, and it simply can't hold anymore 'hopness'. Thus, adding more water to the boil would allow more utilization of the hops, where as water added after the boil would dilute.

The question is, is the hopiness of the wort more closely related to the amount of water, or the amount of hops? Will you get a higher IBU if you boil 20 gallons down to 5 than if you boiled 10 down to 5, other than the obvious difference that the time would impart?

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Old 12-31-2012, 06:46 PM   #9
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I gave up on mashing out. Now when I'm draining to my bk I have it on the burner with it lit so its already starting to heat up towards a boil. Saves me time and stops conversion.

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Old 12-31-2012, 06:52 PM   #10
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I guess if he used the same amount of hops just in less water, then added the water after the boil, the only difference would be coming from decreased utilization by the smaller volume in the boil. Unless the IBU's were saturated in the solution (which I believe happens somewhere around 100 IBU's) then I guess it would be pretty much the same except for the difference in utilization due to volume. I admit I'm not really sure how much difference that causes but playing around with my software it looks like the Rager formula doesn't take boil volume into account at all while the Tinseth formula changes a bit, but not that much. So unless it is a really hoppy beer, then you're right BadNewsBrewery. Good point.

Also, I'm not sure what the effect of boiling down wort would have on IBUs. Would they precipitate out at a certain point? If there truly is an IBU saturation level then you would think that would have to happen. I read a good thread that discussed IBU saturation levels and I believe they talked about boiling down and topping off extract batches and a lot of other stuff. Can't find it now though. Isn't that how it always goes.

Sorry OP, this is a little off topic!

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