Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Mash Temps irritate me.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:29 PM   #1
blackstrat5
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Default Mash Temps irritate me.

So, as the title explains this has become my biggest foe in brewing. I started doing 1.5 gal batches to test new recipes and cut the cost of doing so. I adopted the BIAB method, although I'm using a three gallon cooler for my mash.

Anyway to the brew this morning. I preheated the cooler with Boiling water for 10 minutes. Dumped out the water right before adding the calculated 166 Strike water (1.02 gallons) for a rest at 151. This is for 4.27 lbs of grain. I doughed in and shut the cooler for five. Came back and the water was 161!. I stirred it around again and moved the thermometer to a couple of places and it read 155. So I start thinking I just need to let it set and let the temperature settle. So I closed it and came back in 10 minutes. This time it's back to 161. (I left the glass lab thermometer in the cooler). I stirred and checked a few more places. It was all 152 or 151, except one corner I had know I stirred up at 158.

What's going on? I have the lab thermometer submerged up to a point while it sits in the closed cooler. I bring it up so the tip is half the depth of the total mash when I check several places of the mash. Just frustrated. I don't think I've ever been able to hit a temp right on but maybe once. Is my calculation wrong (double checked it with a phone app and beer alchemy)? Or is my method of reading the temp wrong? Or something else that's not right?


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Old 04-01-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
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I know one of the draw back to a square MLT is hot spots in the corners. They are notorious for this. My advice would to be not to worry so much about one little area of the MLT and focus on the overall average temp that was held for the 60 minutes or however long you are mashing.


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Old 04-01-2011, 03:54 PM   #3
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How much do you stir when you dough in? I don't use a square cooler, I use an old keg, but it's really important to mix thoroughly as you're finding out. I drove myself crazy when I started AG for the same reason you are. I just mixed mroe and worried less.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:01 PM   #4
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I'd stop pre-heating with boiling water. I almost wonder if your cooler walls are hotter than the strike/grain and are warming it up some. That or you need a faster response thermometer....

What I do is take the amount of strike water and get it to 175-180. Then put that in an empty cooler, close the lid and wait 5 minutes. Open up and check the temp. It still should be above the dough-in temp. Stir/wait until the water gets to your dough-in temp. Add your grains and go from there.
I use a 60qt cube cooler and don't have hot-spot issues.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by integrator View Post
I'd stop pre-heating with boiling water. I almost wonder if your cooler walls are hotter than the strike/grain and are warming it up some. That or you need a faster response thermometer....

What I do is take the amount of strike water and get it to 175-180. Then put that in an empty cooler, close the lid and wait 5 minutes. Open up and check the temp. It still should be above the dough-in temp. Stir/wait until the water gets to your dough-in temp. Add your grains and go from there.
I use a 60qt cube cooler and don't have hot-spot issues.
That's the method I've seen used most often by the guys in my local club...
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:48 PM   #6
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Definitely the boiling water preheat that is throwing you off (unless you've adjusted your strike calculations to account for a MLT that is at like 180 degrees).

The method integrator stated above is what I use and temps are spot on.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:04 PM   #7
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So you think even though I am dumping the pre-heat water before adding strike water the cooler is holding enough heat throw off the mash temp with 1.02 gallons of strike water?

I've used the pre-heat method on my 5 gallon batches with pretty good results. But these small batches, it just sin't working.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:06 PM   #8
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Yes. The cooler walls will retain heat, and with a much smaller amount of strike water, it will heat it up even faster. With your 5 gal batch, you have a lot more water to dissipate that cooler wall temp.
Try my method above next time. Actually I got my method from Bobby.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:07 PM   #9
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Sounds like it's worth a try. Thanks.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:25 PM   #10
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or just quit preheating your mash tun at all and mathematically account for temp loss. Beer smith has been accurate for me every time. I am normally exact on the temperature I shoot for. Sometimes its a degree off at most.


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