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Old 05-24-2008, 03:22 AM   #1
Feb 2008
Posts: 55

Tomorrow I plan to do my first AG. I'm using John Palmer's suggested recipe (Oak Butt Ale). According to his procedure, you would put the grain in the mash tun and then add the strike water a gallon at a time. On the other hand, at our club brew's AG class last week, we were told to add the water and then stir in the grain. My plan is not to pre-heat the mash tun and heat the strike water to 168 which according to Brewsmith should get me a mash temp of 152. In the class, our mentor added the 168 strike water, let it cool until it stabilized at, say, 160, and then added the grain a bit at a time stirring all the while.

Now to quote Palmer in "How to Brew", he says "You want to add the water to the grain, not the other way around." That doesn't leave much to interpretation.

Which will work best?

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Old 05-24-2008, 03:27 AM   #2
BrianP's Avatar
Sep 2007
Dexter, MI, Michigan
Posts: 1,151
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Either. I prefer water first. Not a big difference.

Remember to preheat the mashtun before adding your strike water.


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Old 05-24-2008, 03:44 AM   #3
flowerysong's Avatar
Apr 2007
Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 286
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Either way will work.
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Old 05-24-2008, 03:45 AM   #4
Oct 2006
Indianapolis, IN, Indiana
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Originally Posted by bearymore View Post
My plan is not to pre-heat the mash tun and heat the strike water to 168 which according to Brewsmith should get me a mash temp of 152.
I do believe he covered the mash tun...
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Old 05-24-2008, 03:57 AM   #5
BuffaloSabresBrewer's Avatar
Sep 2007
Posts: 2,218
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I really suggest preheating the tun.
maybe i'll post an ad:

Single male seeks double-jointed supermodel who owns a brewery and grows her own pot. Access to free concert tickets a plus!

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Old 05-24-2008, 04:03 AM   #6
RichBrewer's Avatar
Feb 2006
Denver, Colorado
Posts: 5,903
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I recommend adding the water to the tun before you add the grains for a couple of reasons. You can pre-heat the tun by heating the strike water to a few degrees above your desired temp. You then let it cool to the strike temperature and add the grains. This will help pre-heat the tun so you don't get too much heat loss. There are a lot of folks here who have fell short on there mash in temp because of the MLT absorbing too much heat from the water. The second reason to add the water first is you don't want dry grains and flour clogging your false bottom, manifold, or strainer. It will also be harder to wet the dry grains that are in the bottom of your tun.

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Old 05-24-2008, 04:09 AM   #7
Blender's Avatar
Jan 2006
Santa Cruz, CA.
Posts: 3,106
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I would preheat the tun as well. It will soak up some heat and you will likely miss your strike temp. It is better to be a little high and cool it than low and try to heat the whole thing up.

160 degress is to low to get a 152 mash temp too.

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Old 05-24-2008, 12:35 PM   #8
Feb 2007
Posts: 203
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I preheat my mash tun with 165 F water, let it sit while I crush my grains and get my strike water up to temp. I over shoot my strike water by about 2-3 deg and bring it inside. I then dump out the pre-heat water in my tun, add my grains, and then add my strike water which has cooled down that extra 2-3 deg in that 2 minutes it takes me before I'm ready for it.

You don't have to pre-heat, but just know that once you mash in, it will take 5 minutes or so for the system to stabalize in temp as the mash tun "sucks up" some of that heat, so your initial temp reading will probably be high. Even pre-heating it takes a minute or two to get a constant reading as the grain comes up to temp takes a minute or two also. And take your reading at a couple of places as I seem to always get a couple deg difference at different spots.

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Old 05-24-2008, 12:54 PM   #9
Jan 2008
East coast, Virginia
Posts: 205

I'm with the general consensus as well. Hot water first for heat sinking the cooler (if that's what your using). Your grain bill is obviously going to be colder (65-70) after you crush, so when that hits your water it's going to crash your temp in the tun. Gotta go higher (take notes..your equip differs) like 170 when the cooler is bigger.
Yesterday I did my 2nd AG and my strike water was 200... Left the lid on for 20min to build thermal heat while I ground grains. Opened lid, and let temp come down to 170 (15min), put grains in, and ended up with 154. recipe called for 60min at 150. Each time I cracked the lid open for stir I lost 2deg. So I hit it dead on after 2 stirs.
I have the BIG cooler

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Old 05-24-2008, 04:44 PM   #10
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ajf's Avatar
Oct 2005
Long Island
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Just to be different, I add the grain and strike water at the same time. About 1g water first, then alternating with 1 qt grain, and enough water to get a good consistency.
FWIW, I used to not preheat the mash tun, but I needed strike water in the region of 182 - 185F to get the mash temperature up to 153 - 154 when using a water/grain ration of 0.9 - 1.0 qt. per lb.


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