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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > New to mashing
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:08 PM   #1
BakerBeer
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Default New to mashing

As I am still fairly new to this hobby I don't quite understand everything people say and or suggest for me to do. I do my best and learn from my mistakes. I am extremely hardheaded and keep at something till I feel comfortable I have either mastered it or at least become proficient.

As I mentioned I royally screwed up my last batch of this beer, however this weekend I got to ingredients to make another... I was going to attempt this weekend but instead I wanted to do some experimenting with my mash ton. This part of the hobby has been a mystery to me and I think this is where the WORT is either turns out good and becomes drinkable or fails! Lol so with that said I have attempted to see just how good my mash ton really is...

I took some boiling water from the stove and dumped it into my mash ton to warm up the inside just as i would for mashing the grains... After dumping out the pre heated water, i then took some more boiling water approx 3.5 gallons and added it to my mash ton (igloo cooler). The water temp when added was around 180 degrees. I closed the lid with no blankets wrapped around the cooler and timed it for 1 hour. After one hour I lost approx 16.4 degrees or .3 degrees every min.

Is this acceptable? Or even normal?

I think my next experiment will be along the same lines but this time I will insulate the cooler with some blankets...

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Old 01-14-2013, 03:16 PM   #2
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Were you actually mashing, or just testing the cooler's heat retention properties? You're not going to really know how well it holds heat unless you actually mash some grains, as you need to start with a thermal mass that is approximately what you're going to have in a "real" mash situation. The amount and nature of stuff in the cooler is really going to significantly affect how well it holds temp.

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Old 01-14-2013, 03:19 PM   #3
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results will vary with your mash. water acts different by itself than with a thermal mass

heard the lids of the round igloo coolers are notorious for letting heat escape. I've seen a few threads on HBT from people who have re-insulated the tops, or make sure there is some insulation on top

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Old 01-14-2013, 03:26 PM   #4
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Thermodynamics can be tricky.... As you add mass to the cooler you will also add heat retention. You may have said but I don't remember the actual gallon capacity if your cooler. Assuming a 10 gallon cooler 3.5 gallons would be filled to a 35% capacity leaving 65% bare. Once you add lets say 15lbs of grain plus let's say 1 qt per pound of grain that changes the equation. Now with your example almost a 17 degree drop isn't unheard of especially if the room ambient was low. Remember these numbers you are seeing as you will need this to calculate strike temps once you start mashing grains. I reccomend investing in brewing software like beersmith or pro mash as the have calculators that will get you into the ballpark of where your temps need to be in order to hit the correct mash temps.

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Old 01-14-2013, 03:34 PM   #5
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I use a 10 gallon Rubbermaid mash tun and usually after an hour mash, I loss less than 1F with the lid on the entire hour. I usually strike at about 164F which results in a mash around in the high 150s. I then stir or add ice cubes till I get it to the mash temp down to about 152, put the lid on and wait an hour. I like to shoot a little high on the temperature and bring it down rather than have to boil more water to bring it up.

To get started, you can try this calculator. http://www.brew365.com/mash_sparge_water_calculator.php Use the default values until you get used to your equipment and then you can adjust as necessary.

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Old 01-14-2013, 05:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick responses!

Yea, right now I am just trying to see if my cooler is even on par for using it as a mash ton. It's a nice size cooler.

I would like to have the ability to do my mashing in the brew pot. This would allow me to bring my temp up slowly and at increments this giving the proper protein rest. Then I could keep it at my desired mashing temp.

I will give those brew apps a look! Thanks for the info!

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Old 01-14-2013, 07:09 PM   #7
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Nitpick: It's mash TUN, not TON.

As others have mentioned, you really need to test it with actual grains. I wrap mine in an old sleeping bag and typically only lose a couple of degrees during an hour of mashing.

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Old 01-14-2013, 08:04 PM   #8
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I dont mean to step in and blow yer mind- but the hardest thing I have yet to figure out is keeping my Hot Lauder Water- at 170ish degrees long enough to keep sparging for the 30 minutes it takes to complete- almost bought another igloo for this matter alone.... still debating

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Old 01-14-2013, 08:08 PM   #9
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Wrap it in a sleeping bag and secure with bungee cords. A drop of a few degrees has never made a difference in my batches. I have made the same recipe 6 times and had a slightly different mash temp every time due to the weather and it's been fine.

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Old 01-14-2013, 08:13 PM   #10
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I use beersmith and have my equipment set up in the profile section. I enter in the equipment temp, the ambient air temp and my desired mash temp and it tell me how hot to heat my water. I nail my temps every time if I follow the beersmith recommendations.

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