Brewday timing question - when to take a break? - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Brewday timing question - when to take a break?

Thread Tools
Old 12-28-2012, 02:26 PM   #1
Feb 2011
Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 101
Liked 8 Times on 6 Posts

I am brewing early tomorrow morning, but need to take a break mid-morning to run my son to his martial arts class. That means I need to find a good time to take approx. 90 minute break.

I'm doing a simple all grain recipe using an igloo cooler conversion system, batch sparge. Should I pour the strike water and just let it mash in the cooler for approx. 2 hours, then come back, drain and sparge? Or better to get my sparge in first, and let the wort sit for 2 hours until I can return and start my boil? Or best to just get things ready and not start the mash until I get back and can do it all together?

Thanks for your thoughts. I've got a cramped schedule tomorrow, so would like to get as much done early as I can.


Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 02:30 PM   #2
Getzinator's Avatar
Apr 2012
Wilmington, De
Posts: 363
Liked 10 Times on 9 Posts

I would say take the break pre-boil. Just for any (even if minimal) contamination possibility. Boil usually takes care of that.

But it would probably be best to either get up and start/finish earlier, or just wait until you get back.
My spoon is TOO big.

Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
Jan 2012
Atco, NJ
Posts: 142
Liked 15 Times on 11 Posts

I'd sparge first, but I have no scientific reason why that's better or worse - just a gut feeling.

Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 02:39 PM   #4
Heavyweight homebrewing author & air gun shooter
unionrdr's Avatar
Feb 2011
Sheffield, Ohio
Posts: 38,990
Liked 3711 Times on 3183 Posts

I agree. I'd feel better getting through the sparge & setting it up to boil before leaving. Just put a tight lid on it first.
NEW books on amazon/Kindle! Check it out now...
Home Brewing-
Distopian Sci-Fi-
New! John Henry-

Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 02:48 PM   #5
Aug 2012
minneapolis, minnesota
Posts: 1,486
Liked 129 Times on 116 Posts

Sparge that thing, get it in the pot and turn the burner on, add hops and leave. Boom boil done! And your house is mysteriously burned down....

Seriously though, f it's ninety minutes I'd just mash for ninety minutes. No harm there. Plenty of people have mashed overnight without issues. Mash in, stir, cap it and leave. Come home, sparge and boil.
I hate Walder Frey...

Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 03:01 PM   #6
helibrewer's Avatar
Nov 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 3,813
Liked 326 Times on 275 Posts

I would break post sparge or post boil. If you go with post boil you can whirlpool and then let it settle, post sparge give you the safest option since boiling will tackle any baddies. You will continue to get some conversion post sparge while the wort sits in the kettle but that should not be a big deal.

You could go during the mash but remember you are going to have to heat your sparge water so the 90 minute mash would probably be closer to 2 hours or a little more...just a thought, still not that big a deal.
Something is always fermenting....
"It's Bahl Hornin'"

Kegged: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
On Deck: German Lager

Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
Feb 2011
Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 101
Liked 8 Times on 6 Posts

Thanks for the helpful advice, as always ...

I'll play it by ear tomorrow, but now have a much better understanding of my options.

Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
Oct 2012
Chicago, Il
Posts: 817
Liked 110 Times on 76 Posts

Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
I agree. I'd feel better getting through the sparge & setting it up to boil before leaving. Just put a tight lid on it first.
^^^^ this
'Tis himself

In the fermenters: nada

In the bottle: nada

In the fridge(and the glass): nada

On Deck: anything i can think of

Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 04:09 PM   #9
Jul 2011
Glenview, IL
Posts: 6,368
Liked 508 Times on 470 Posts

IF it's really a necessity, I would start the mash and leave to do what you need to do. IF you know that you can hit your strike properly and the cooler doesn't lose a great deal of heat then going 60, 90, whatever minutes is really no big deal. You may actually find your mash efficiency goes up with the longer time. Just be sure to give things a really good stir before you sparge upon your return.
Nothing Left to do but smile and drink beer.....

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the "art" of beer since 2010

Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 04:37 PM   #10
kpr121's Avatar
Jul 2009
Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 3,151
Liked 127 Times on 111 Posts

I frequently leave to play 1 to 2 hours of basketball during the mash, but I have an eHLT HERMS system that allows me to maintain exact temperatures as well as keep my sparge water up in the 150’s so I don’t need a lot of time to get to sparge temps 170F. As helibrewer said, if you break during the mash you will need to come home, and start to heat water for sparging. That could take an extra hour depending on your system.

In your case, if this is a simple recipe (not an IPA or something with a lot of late additions) the most efficient use of your time would probably be to do the entire brew before you need to leave, and cover the pot and let it cool down while you are gone. 90 minutes in a somewhat sealed container is not going to cool down very much. Then when you get back you can either chill it the rest of the way, or leave it be as a no-chill brew. You might want to research the no-chill brewing techniques if you haven’t already. It involves adjusting your hop schedule since the wort is at a higher temperature for longer times (i.e. your 0 minute additions act as 10 or 15 minute additions, 10 minutes act like 20 minutes, and so on).

Second vote from me would go to breaking after you’ve sparged and the wort is waiting to be boiled. I think this would have the least impact on the recipe via not requiring changes to hop times/additions but would add time to your overall brewday since the wort will cool down some if that is something you are concerned with.

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Timing question dankhops Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 08-04-2012 11:01 PM
Timing from the Hot Break edgeofblade General Beer Discussion 10 03-09-2011 11:45 PM
Timing question.... charlesnj Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 7 01-13-2011 04:33 PM
A question of timing... markcurling General Techniques 5 04-25-2010 01:52 PM
timing question TallyBrew Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 7 08-21-2007 06:45 PM

Forum Jump