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Old 05-13-2009, 04:30 AM   #1
Sep 2007
Planet Neptune / San Diego
Posts: 186
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Having read the post from 5/5/09 about brewing with a thinner mash, like 2 Qts./per # of grain, would that work for an I.P.A. type brew. Basically for bigger beers.

Also, my water is hard. I get a 7 for ph. Would this have a slight effect on efficiency?

I did a thin mash last brew, 2 qts./# and came out a 66% efficiency.


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Old 05-13-2009, 05:00 AM   #2
Dec 2008
Yankee Hill, CA
Posts: 1,541
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It will work fine. In Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels he mentions that Pale Ales were historically mashed thick, 1qt/lb. But that is thick as hell, and efficiency would almost definitely suffer. Personally I would mash thinner.

pH will have an effect on your efficiency, I'm not sure how much, but you could search on Kaiser posts. He's one of the Science guru's on here, and I'm sure he's covered this in detail at some point. You might want to think about using a 5.2 buffer, but 7 is a pretty high pH. Some would say the 5.2 buffer wouldn't help, It works good for me and my well water.

Many other things can effect your efficiency as well, Crush being #1, Sparge water temps would probably be #2(and the length of the sparge if you are fly sparging)

Hope that's a little helpful

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Old 05-13-2009, 06:15 AM   #3
MVKTR2's Avatar
Dec 2007
Columbia, MS
Posts: 1,359
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Yhb is steering you in the right direction on both accounts.

Your ph is a little high for pale biers, but would possibly work well for stouts/porters and the like. 5.2 buffer is probably a good option. If you've brewed any AG light biers before did they have a grainy flavor?

As for mash thickness I'm becoming more and more of a fan of thinner mashes. I've got a total of I think 14 or 15 brews under my belt, with the last 10 or so being AG. I've always gotten 70-72% effec. until my last 2 batches. I've hit 80% eff. doing the mini-flysparge process and using a higher mash-out temp in combination with a mash/sparge total volume of 3.5 qts. per lb. Thusly I'm a big fan of the 1.75 or 2 qts per lb mash!

Just my $.02

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Old 05-13-2009, 06:53 AM   #4
nealf's Avatar
Jan 2008
Hiram, GA
Posts: 1,350
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I have been doing thinner mashes as well. I really haven't noticed a difference in efficiency, I probably need to crank down my Barley Crusher, but the difference in ease of grain to water integration is enough for me to keep using thin mashes, 1.5 - 2.0 qt/lb.

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Old 05-13-2009, 11:27 AM   #5
The Pol
Feb 2007
Posts: 11,454
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I mash thin too... 2qt/LB. I get 82% eff. regularly.

Mashing thin will help to improve your conversion eff. in the MLT, but the reduction in lauter eff. due to less sparge water, can steal some points from that end.

Basically there is a balance, in your system, where you get nearly 100% conversion eff. and still have enough sparge water left to get great lauter eff.

If you get too crazy with the thin mash, your lauter eff. will suffer (read not enough sparging)

If you get too crazy about sparging, your conversion eff. will suffer (read thick mash)

Some brewers are ALREADY at nearly 100% conversion eff., so when they mash thin, they arent gaining ANYTHING. BUT THEY ARE stealing sparge water from the back end of the process and thusly reducing thier lauter eff. This gives them a NET LOSS in eff.

That being said, the thinner mash REALLY helps to eliminate doughballs and greatly eases the process of mashing in. I love it.

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Old 05-13-2009, 11:34 AM   #6
Beerrific's Avatar
Mar 2007
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As far as the pH, is that the pH of the mash? Or your water? The pH of the water is not really important, if that is the pH of the mash, then you should work to get that down.

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Old 05-13-2009, 12:21 PM   #7
SpanishCastleAle's Avatar
Jan 2009
Central Florida
Posts: 4,345
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Some brewers are ALREADY at nearly 100% conversion eff., so when they mash thin, they arent gaining ANYTHING. BUT THEY ARE stealing sparge water from the back end of the process and thusly reducing thier lauter eff. This gives them a NET LOSS in eff.
That's where I'm at. I purposely do it that way with medium to low OG brews to prevent over-sparging.

That sure looks like a water pH and not a mash pH (and besides, mash pH varies with grain bill) and what Beerrific says is's the mash pH that matters. Actually, 7.0 pH doesn't sound high for hard water. My bottled Spring Water is 7.0 pH and the bottled Drinking Water (which is harder) is 7.7 (but when used with the appropriate grain bill my mash pH is 5.2-5.4).
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:40 PM   #8
conpewter's Avatar
Nov 2007
East Dundee, Illinois
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I have really hard water but it is a PH of 7. PH is such a boiled down number that it does not tell you much about your brewing water. It is helpful to monitor the mash PH though.

The best bet is to get a water report from your water supply or get a Ward Lab report. Then use Palmer's spreadsheet at the bottom of this page
How to Brew - By John Palmer - Residual Alkalinity and Mash pH
along with his other info to get your RA in range and also your flavor affecting ions in range.

What I recently learned is that you should calculate two additions of brewing salts to the water. Make one addition to your mash tun as you mash in, this one is for whatever volume of water you are using to mash. Then make the rest of the additions for your sparge water in the kettle. You may want to acidify the mash water down to a PH of 6, but it is not usually necessary.
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