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Old 11-01-2007, 03:04 PM   #1
Jun 2007
Posts: 17

I'm getting ready to do my first all grain batch. I've done quite a bit of reading over the summer and I was planning out what equipment I will need.

I'm going to start out with a simple stout recipe from a homebrew magazine for a 5 gallon batch. As I was making a parts list for my mash tun manifold an idea hit me. Why can't I just use a giant grain bag, toss all the grains in, and mash right in my boil pot same as I've been doing with my extract w/ grain batches (except more grain obviously)?

My question is if I can hold the proper temp in my boil pot how is this any any different from doing a mash in a mash tun, except I've got much more water? Then for the sparging phase why can't I just crank the heat up to sparge temp, swirl the grain bag around to rinse the grains as best as I can, pull the grain bag up, let it drain fully, and there’s the wort?

This has to be too simple or I'm sure others would have done this. What am I missing? Thanks.

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Old 11-01-2007, 03:15 PM   #2
Evan!'s Avatar
Aug 2006
Charlottesville, VA
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First off, I mash in my kettle almost exclusively, because I like stepped mashing and using direct heat is easier than stepping up with water infusions. So yes, you can certainly mash in your kettle.

I think the problem you'll run into is that you won't get the right runoff and sparging activity with this method. Even when I mash in my kettle, I transfer it to a mash tun with a false bottom at the end for the runoff and sparge steps. Plus, just adding more water instead of sparging is going to screw with your water:grain ratio, and if I'm not mistaken, this can result in extra tannin extraction (someone correct me here if I'm wrong). And upping your mash water isn't going to rinse the grains the same as batch or fly sparging, either. You can do it this way, but I'm willing to bet that you end up with terrible efficiency and perhaps some harshness in the end product.

If you really wanna mash without building a mash tun, do this: mash in the grain bag in the kettle, using the normal water:grain ratio (1.25 quarts per pound of grain usually works for me). Meanwhile, heat some sparge water in another kettle to 170f...the amount should be about half a gallon for each pound of grain. When the mash is done, pull the grain bag out of the mash and squeeze it to get as much liquid out as possible. Then drop it in the sparge water and stir. Then let it sit for 10 mins or so, stirring every few mins. Take out the grain bag, squeeze it again, and discard. Combine the sparge wort with the first "runnings", and there you go.
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Old 11-01-2007, 03:23 PM   #3
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
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squeezing 10lbs of 170F grain doesn't sound like an easy task.
I'd stick with building an MLT and skip the grain bag "mess".
A $50 cooler and $20 in parts builds a very nice, thickly insulated MLT. you can do a false bottom, but i have no issues with a SS braid.

there's a whole writeup in the DIY equipment forum.
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Old 11-01-2007, 03:42 PM   #4
Nov 2006
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Not to mention, 15# of soaking wet grain in a bag aint an easy thing to play around with. Plus, in a bag, you're likely to get a lot of dry pockets, really dropping your efficiency.

Just get a cooler, you'll love it.

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Old 11-01-2007, 04:21 PM   #5
Jun 2007
Posts: 17

I've got the cooler already, all I've got to do is construct the manifold/false bottom....that's when this idea hit me. Just figured I'd run it past all you guys first. I may still try it just for the fun of it....all it will cost me is that grains and time. Thanks again.

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Old 11-01-2007, 04:37 PM   #6
Dec 2006
Doylestown, PA
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Old 11-01-2007, 04:37 PM   #7
Mar 2007
Oak Creek, WI
Posts: 538
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Originally Posted by Evan!
First off, I mash in my kettle almost exclusively, because I like stepped mashing and using direct heat is easier than stepping up with water infusions.

No doubt about that. Plus with no additional infusions, you can max out your MT at dough in.

Steam mashing in my MLT has really been the cat's ass. I bring my dough in water to 5 degrees below what pro-mash calculates and just raise the mash the remainder with steam if I need to. No more overshooting.

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Old 11-01-2007, 05:42 PM   #8
Jun 2007
Posts: 17

Thanks for the Aussie link..that's pretty much what I was thinking. I think it's definatly worth a trial. Going camping this weekend, but I'll take full photos and document the process. Will follow up this post. Thanks to all.

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