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Old 07-06-2009, 10:57 PM   #1
bottleopener
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May 2008
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Ahoy,

I plan on switching to all grain soon, but I'd like to get a little mash experience in beforehand. Being too cheap/lazy buy and build a mini MLT a month before I build a bigger one, I think this should work.

Extra goodies:
-16q box cooler (modifying not an option)
-Large pasta colander
-Sturdy metal bowl

Plan:
1. Use boil kettle to prepare strike water, add 2-3#s of grain to the cooler and mash away.
2. Prepare hot water in different kettle while the grain does its thing.
3. Place colander on top of metal bowl inside the boil kettle.
4. Use hot water to sparge.
5. Continue with brew as normal.



From my severely limited knowledge of (mini) mashing, this seems like it would be effective. Any glaring oversights I've missed or possible improvements to be made?

I can't wait to move up to the real deal. Stupid bank account.

edit: whoops, meant to put this in general techniques.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:06 PM   #2
petep1980
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1. Prepare mash in water in large brew pot. Once temp is hit add grains in grain bag, cover and remove from heat.

2. Prepare sparge water in separate pot. You'll want to batch sparge depending at the time your recipe calls.

3. After given time raise temp in big brew pot (mash out). Once that temp is what you want, and the sparge water is what you want begin your sparge by slowly adding water to your larger brew pot.

4. Once you have sparged all your sparge water to desired boil volume with the strength of ten men (or one on his 6th home brew) lift grain bag out of large brew pot and let drip into the brew pot.

5. Once your shoulders want to fall off you're done draining your grain bag.

6. Proceed as usual.

7. Expect 60% efficiency at best.

8. RDWHA(about ten more)HB. The beer will be the best you ever had.

 
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:21 PM   #3
Yooper
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I just used a very large grain bag, and lined my bottling bucket with it. Then, when I was all mashed in, I put a sleeping bag around it to hold in the temps. It was pretty easy, and didn't require any equipment at all (except for that large bag, which I already had for winemaking).

You may find that the strainer clogs with the grain, or the grain "floats" away over the side. Otherwise, it should work. The idea is to really soak the grain with the hot mash water and to keep the temperature in the 153 degree range.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:57 PM   #4
weirdboy
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Yeah 5 gallon paint strainer bags are available for 2 for $3 from HD or Lowes around here, and do the job admirably. They also work well as hops bags so mine serve double duty.

 
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:09 AM   #5
bottleopener
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Hmm, the colander doodad seems to be unnecessarily complicated.

How much grain can I stuff in the bags without the fear of breaking? I suppose I could double-bag it if need be, but I would love to be able to mini mash 4-5 pounds in a single go.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:40 AM   #6
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I can put 5 lbs in one of those large bags that are about the size of plastic grocery bag. You should be able to mash and sparge all of that in the 16 qt cooler. I do it in a 2 gallon cooler all the time, though my grain bill usually tops out at 4.5 lbs. You can tie the top of the bag and drop it in the cooler or drape it over the rim and screw the top over it.

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