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Old 06-26-2010, 06:56 PM   #11
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When I moved up to BIAB i bought a corona mill. I like it cause it was cheap and with BIAB you can crush a little finer. Also I make sure that once I dough in that I stir till i get my mash temp, I do 90 minute mashes just to ensure I get a good conversion. By doing the 90 minute mash, I usually only loose 2-3 degrees, My last few Biab i have been getting 86% efficiency. I also dunk sparge for 10 minutes, and then i put the grain bag in a collander to drain, sometimes i run the sparge water slowly over the grain bag in the collander as an extra step just to rinse as much of the sugars off the grain.

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Old 06-26-2010, 10:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jjones17 View Post
What I like to do is mash in 5 degrees or more too HIGH, then stir like a madman for 5-8 minutes. By then, I am usually at my mash traget temp and I can lid the sucker.
Great advice, especially on mash thickness and sparging, but this I take some issue with.

Temperature control is very important to control the type of fermentables you get--beta amylase denatures slowly at around 149F, and much faster as the temperature rises. Alpha amylase works best up to 158F, hence why 153F is a sort of "standard" mash temp for a lot of beers--it's a good compromise between killing off the beta too fast and the sweet spot for alpha performance.

If you are mashing in at 158F and taking 5 minutes to stir it down to 153F, you may get fine efficiency but it'll be a lot tougher to control the taste of your beer--you're going to be denaturing a lot of your betas, hence generating a lot less fermentable a wort than you want out of a recipe calling for a 153F single-infusion mash.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:26 AM   #13
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Good stuff folks, thanks.

Using my experience and merging the ideas that you have put forward I will do a couple things the next time around:

Error on the side of greater volume to keep the mash as thin as possible.
Crush a little finer whenever I can.
More stirring to assure there are no dough balls (I don't think this was a problem on the previous batches, but good to keep in mind and more stiring will allow more access to the good stuff stuck in the husks).
I feel good about the temp control if I hit my numbers, 6-7 gallons has a lot of thermal mass and a couple mylar blankets (from marathons) and a fleece blanket or 2 bungeed on the outside held the number really well. A little time and experience will teach me what temps I want for the style and weight of the beer.
I may play with sparging, but for now I think I will invest the volume in a thinner mash.

Thank you all for the feedback. As a group we just keep getting smarter by sharing experiences, ideas, and theories.

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