2nd All-grain.... yes more lessons

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Jaeger48

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So I was going to post about how I pre-heated my mash tun significantly better this time over my first but decided to go a little high with my strike water because I had plenty of grain in this recipe. I dropped in my thermometer and had a good 152 mash. I checked back 10 minutes later to give a light stir and pulled out my thermometer. It tapped the side of the tun jumped to just over 160. I added cold water to bring it back down, stirred, and then nailed my temp.

Damage done, I'm sure it ****ed my enzymes because my SG was 1.048 rather than the 1.068 I would have gotten. I was just at 50% attenuation and feeling pissed off when I decided to relax and instead of hopping and pitching like the Oktoberfast recipe (I was planning on a helles but with s-05 at lower temps) I'm going to hop it like an easy drinking APA. It'll have more biscuity munich characteristic than normal but it should still be ok.

Next batch I'll know to only do the pre-heat and not the overshoot.

RDWHAHB
 

The Pol

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If my strike temp is 160, I heat my strike water to 170-175, then let it heat the tun and cool to 160, THEN I mash in. Works every time, the temps are perfect the first time every time.
 

XCWill

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I will be doing my first AG recipe next weekend...I just finished my mash tun and immersion cooler this past weekend, and I was wondering about pre-heating my mash tun. The Pol said to heat the strike water to 170-175, THEN mash in, but I've always heard to add water to grain, not the other way around. Please clarify for peace of mind's sake! Thanks!
 
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How long was the mash at 160F?

A 160 mash temp will not effect your OG. It will effect your attenuation (fermentation) as it will be really high in unfermentables. (big body).

Can you further explain your AG precess? Fly or batch sparge? Sparge temp? If fly sparging, the time you take to sparge. etc? Was the SG reading post boil?

Also, just to make sure. What temp was the wort when you took that SG reading? Even when compensating for temperature when taking your SG. Hydrometers are less accurate at very high temps. Best to let the sample cool down first for more accuracy.
 
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Jaeger48

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I like grain to water because you can measure the water in the tun.

I don't necessarily agree with the 170 to 175 strike water because it will also depend on the amount of grain you're using. I'm not saying Pol is wrong but what works in his system might not work in yours and mine.

The mash temp should effect my extraction and efficiency. The high temp was there for about 5-10 minutes. If it had been low then I wouldn't be as worried because I would have treated it as a step mash.

I added 3.5 gallons of 180 water to my tun and heated it for 1/2 an hour then added fresh water that was in the 175-180 range. I doughed in my grain and stirred it thoroughly to avoid any balling. I took a temp (thermometer is now known to be less than accurate) and it said low 150 which was around my target temp. It's a probe thermometer that I had sitting near a corner so it wouldn't fall. I went back and stirred it after about 15 minutes and then took temps in the corner and the middle of the mash when I saw it was in the 160 range.

I stirred in cold water until I was down to the 150 range in multiple areas.

I took my hydro reading at 135 degrees and it measured 1.035 (pre-boil gravity) which adjusted to ~ 1.048 in Beersmith. My final gravity read 1.048-1.050 at 68 degrees when I pitched.
 

The Pol

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I like grain to water because you can measure the water in the tun.

I don't necessarily agree with the 170 to 175 strike water because it will also depend on the amount of grain you're using. I'm not saying Pol is wrong but what works in his system might not work in yours and mine.
The mash temp should effect my extraction and efficiency. The high temp was there for about 5-10 minutes. If it had been low then I wouldn't be as worried because I would have treated it as a step mash.

I added 3.5 gallons of 180 water to my tun and heated it for 1/2 an hour then added fresh water that was in the 175-180 range. I doughed in my grain and stirred it thoroughly to avoid any balling. I took a temp (thermometer is now known to be less than accurate) and it said low 150 which was around my target temp. It's a probe thermometer that I had sitting near a corner so it wouldn't fall. I went back and stirred it after about 15 minutes and then took temps in the corner and the middle of the mash when I saw it was in the 160 range.

I stirred in cold water until I was down to the 150 range in multiple areas.

I took my hydro reading at 135 degrees and it measured 1.035 (pre-boil gravity) which adjusted to ~ 1.048 in Beersmith. My final gravity read 1.048-1.050 at 68 degrees when I pitched.

My process has nothing to do with the ammount of grain you are using, or the type of equipment. All that I do is introduce my strike water hotter than needed, let it sit until it reaches the correct strike temp, then mash in. How does the ammount of grain have anything to do with this? This way my MLT is the same temp as my strike water, instead of soaking up heat from it when I mash in.
 

The Pol

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Denny is right too, your mash temp will not affect conversion as long as you are in the beta or alpha range, which you say that you were. Granted you may get very unfermentable sugars, but you WILL get the sugars.

Crush, mash water volume (qts/lb), and lautering practices will greatly affect your efficiency. If you were at 160F, you didn't hurt your conversion efficiency with temp.
 

XCWill

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Pol, I can tell you based on observation that your grain has a great deal of thermal mass. I.e. if you added 10 gal of water to 10lbs of grain you would not see as appreciable of a drop in temperature as if you added 5 gal of water to the same weight of grain. It requires a specific amount of energy in the form of heat to raise any substance of any mass any number of degrees Fahrenheit. This may not really affect your brewing if you are brewing lighter beers with smaller grain bills, but it is still a factor in hitting your mash temp.
 

AnOldUR

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If my strike temp is 160, I heat my strike water to 170-175, then let it heat the tun and cool to 160, THEN I mash in. Works every time, the temps are perfect the first time every time.
Is it me, or are you guys just missing the advise that The Pol has to offer? He says “If my strike temp is 160.” That number was pre-determined by mash thickness and volume by his brew software. He’s not saying 170-175 in all situations, just when strike temp has been pre-determined to be 160. Add the strike water to the tun, and don't add grain to water until it has reached that 160 strike temperature and stabilized there (or what every your strike temperature is for that brew session.)


Edit:
If your system absorbs more heat you may need to start with water that is higher than the 10-15 degrees above strike temperature that Pol uses.
 

schweaty

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Jaeger48, next time try doing an iodine test to see if conversion is complete. Take a sample of the wort and add some droplets of iodine. If the wort turns black/blue you know that you need longer on your mash. Also, what type of MT are we talking about here, cooler or keggle?

I use a keggle as my MT and always preheat with 185 degree water and let it sit for 15 minutes or however long it takes to get to strike temp. Ever since doing this my temps are dead on, thanks Beer Smith!
 

The Pol

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Pol, I can tell you based on observation that your grain has a great deal of thermal mass. I.e. if you added 10 gal of water to 10lbs of grain you would not see as appreciable of a drop in temperature as if you added 5 gal of water to the same weight of grain. It requires a specific amount of energy in the form of heat to raise any substance of any mass any number of degrees Fahrenheit. This may not really affect your brewing if you are brewing lighter beers with smaller grain bills, but it is still a factor in hitting your mash temp.
Lemme splain this in another manner.

THE AMMOUNT OF GRAIN HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!

Step 1. take the calculated strike temp from your software
Step 2. add 15 degrees to this temp
Step 3. dump strike water +15F into the MLT
Step 4. allow the water to heat the tun/cool itself to strike temp
Step 5. introduce grain/mash in

As OldUR stated, this has NOTHING to do with thermal mass of grain or anything else. THERE IS NO GRAIN introduced until it reaches the proper strike temp calculated by your software.

This is my last attempt to help... it is your beer, so I dont know why I really care.
 

JesseRC

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I think folks are missing Pols simplicity here. He's just ruling out any additional type of heat loss from the cooler that might have not been calculated by the software. By over shooting his initial strike temp by 15degrees, he allows the cooler to heat up and the water temp to lower to strike temp that was dictated by the software. He then adds the grain. Makes sense to me. There mash temp , strike temp, and what Pol calls dump temp:D
 

The Pol

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Exactly... it is so easy, a caveman can do it.

I dont do ANYTHING the hard way, this is the simplest way for me to rule out temp loss in the tun... heat the tun! Since I am putting strike water in it anyway, why mess with heating extra water to use just to pre heat it? Then dumping that out? Then striking? Why?
 

The Pol

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I will be doing my first AG recipe next weekend...I just finished my mash tun and immersion cooler this past weekend, and I was wondering about pre-heating my mash tun. The Pol said to heat the strike water to 170-175, THEN mash in, but I've always heard to add water to grain, not the other way around. Please clarify for peace of mind's sake! Thanks!
I have always heard to add grain to water. Like someone else said, it is easier to measure the ammout of water in most MLTs, then add grain.

There is absolutely no difference between adding grain first or water first for that matter. It is much easier to break up doughballs if you do water first, then add half the grain, stir, then add the rest of the grain, stir...

If you add grain first, you always have your full grain bill in the water, harder to mix well and break up dough balls.

A common noob AG mistake is to not mix the mash well enough and when taking temps have them all over the place. Low/high/just right... and in the confusion they either try to cool the mash or heat it up and end up really screwing up thier mash. Doughballs are bad, poor mixing is bad, finding a way to reduce this problem is good, that is why grain to water is a better option and adopted by most. FWIW
 

tndave

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I did my second ever all grain a few days ago and did it like The Pol is talking about. I got the idea from HERE. According to Beersmith I should have hit 1.035 og (@ 75%). Pre boil was 1.036 and in the fermentor just before pitching it was 1.034. I even screwed it up because I forgot about having to boil pilsner for 90 minutes instead of 60 and I had already tossed out the grain so I had to add a half gallon of water to the fermentor to bring it up to 5 gallons (well, didn't have to, but did)...otherwise I probably would have hit 1.035 dead on. I know this method is not the only one that works, but it's the only way I will be brewing from now on.

One tip that may help with your efficiency is when you batch sparge pour the water in and stir for a couple of minutes, drain and repeat. So, if you are using 5 gallons of sparge water, use two and a half first and then the other 2.5...you don't have to fill and let it sit for 20 minutes...worked for this rookie. Oh yea the tip about testing with iodine is a good one. I used betadine it has iodine in it.

One more tip, I know from experiance that grain crush has A LOT to do with efficiency. My first AG attempt was the same recipe, but I worked my tail off crushing the grains with my wife's dough roller and I mashed in grain first and had to keep adding water to bring the temp up because like the OP I was afraid of getting it too hot. Well, I wound up leaving the mash in for two hours because something came up and I had to leave. That time I hit 1.022 og after adding 20 oz of corn sugar. IMO $120 for a grain crusher if a great investment.
 

MaynardX

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A common noob AG mistake is to not mix the mash well enough and when taking temps have them all over the place. Low/high/just right... and in the confusion they either try to cool the mash or heat it up and end up really screwing up thier mash. Doughballs are bad, poor mixing is bad, finding a way to reduce this problem is good, that is why grain to water is a better option and adopted by most. FWIW
+1 on this. I was that newb!

I had trouble hitting my temps with my first couple batches. For my last batch, I followed Pol's procedure and hit my temps on the money. Adding the strike water +15 deg, then letting cool to strike temp really makes a difference. :mug:
 

The Pol

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+1 on this. I was that newb!

I had trouble hitting my temps with my first couple batches. For my last batch, I followed Pol's procedure and hit my temps on the money. Adding the strike water +15 deg, then letting cool to strike temp really makes a difference. :mug:
Glad that it worked for you, been at this a little while.

There is this guy in Louisville that used it yesterday too along with my brewing spreadsheet, worked perfectly.

Dont add water to grain, add grain to properly heated water and vessel. You will never have a problem again.
 
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Jaeger48

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I respect your experience but I also think it's incorrect to say the grain thermal load doesn't matter. If I had 10 pounds of grain that I kept outside in the grain bin and it's in the 40 degree range and add strike water with all other things being equal the initial temperature will be lower than if the grain is allowed to reach room temp. I'm sure that your method is consistent because you've established a process.

of course it's easy to add hotter water and wait for it to drop to strike temp but doesn't that defeat the purpose of the strike temp calculation? I've always heard that enzymatic reactions are hurt by over heating the mash (beyond 160) because it has a higher probability of denaturing the enzymes than a rise in mash temp.
 

The Pol

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I respect your experience but I also think it's incorrect to say the grain thermal load doesn't matter. If I had 10 pounds of grain that I kept outside in the grain bin and it's in the 40 degree range and add strike water with all other things being equal the initial temperature will be lower than if the grain is allowed to reach room temp. I'm sure that your method is consistent because you've established a process.

of course it's easy to add hotter water and wait for it to drop to strike temp but doesn't that defeat the purpose of the strike temp calculation? I've always heard that enzymatic reactions are hurt by over heating the mash (beyond 160) because it has a higher probability of denaturing the enzymes than a rise in mash temp.
It doesnt matter, it is compensated for with the strike temp calculation. I am not changing the strike temp. You arent getting that point.

Second point. Nope, it isnt my process, it works for any ammount of grain, any temp, any equipment, read above posts from other AG brewers.

Nope, it doesnt change strike temp calculations. Strike temp has nothing to do with heating the tun. My method does not change the strike temp at all, nor the necessity for it.


Next point... wrong again. I never heat my mash hotter than my desired mash temp of 150-158F... I dont know where you are getting 160F or hotter. I never heat the mash to that point until I mash out.
 

The Pol

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Jaeger... you and I are striking at the same temp, you do realize that dont you.

If your software sayes that:

10lbs of grain
at 55F
using 1.5 qt/lb
needs 160F
to rest at 152F

All I am doing is this:

Heating strike water to 175F, dumping it into the MLT. Letting it sit.

Once the tun is heated and the water reaches 160F...

Then I dump my grain in, stir, mash...

You and I are both striking at 160F...

We are both mashing at 152F...

I am just heating my tun first.

You are guessing and overshooting your strike temp by some ammount that you pulled out of thin air and thusly messing up your mash temp.

Which method is more precise?
 
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Jaeger48

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I'm done. You sir, can have your moment online and bask in your glory. I must be stupid and should relegate myself to extract.

I had always thought this forum to be a friendly and open exchange of knowledge but I must be mistaken.

good day.
 

JesseRC

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Jaeger48, I really think this just boils down to a misunderstanding, pleas dont take offense ,but it is yours, and probably just in terminology. Pol isn't saying that the grain's thermal mass isn't important, what he is saying is that the grain's thermal mass, mash thickness and required mash temp is being calculated by the software (or calculator) and therefore spitting out strike Temp.

What the software isnt calculating is the heat loss due to the mashtun being cold. To remedy that, he overshoots his strike temp. He adds the water and allows the mashtun and strike water to reach strike temp, only at this point does he add the grain. THe grain never touches the 175F water. He then Mixes thouroughly and reaches mash temp.

Maybe we havn't asked you the obvious, are you using Software or a mash calculator to calculate strike temp? If you are not, maybe that is where the confusion is. THere is software out there that takes into account this thermal mass of grain you talk about and tells you what you should heat your water to achieve the mash temp that is called the strike temp, it doesnt account for the temp of the mash tun though (which is what Pol is compensating for).
http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
 

BierMuncher

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...I had always thought this forum to be a friendly and open exchange of knowledge but I must be mistaken...
You're not mistaken.

I've never used software to tell me my strike temps. It may be a good starting point, but nothing replaces repeating the process and making adjustments along the way.

For my system it's easy and doesn't involve preheating the tun..

Grain weight + Desired Mash Temp + 5 degrees.

Example:
14# grist
152 Desired rest temp.
5 degree buffer
= 171 strike temp.

I dough in water, grain, water, grain, water, grain in increments and stir in between using a paint mixer in a power drill.

Adding all water and then all grain (or the reverse) always gave me dough balls and lower efficiency.

Keep at it and you'll dial in your system soon enough.

And yeah....we're overall a friendly bunch so don't sweat it. :mug:
 

Saccharomyces

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My first few batches I was all over the place with mash temps. The way I finally dialed in my equipment was I did a few trial runs. I heated my strike water volume as if I was going to dough in, put it in the cooler, and let the water sit in the cooler for 1/2 hour. I measured the temp drop, recorded what it was for that amount of water, and repeated for a few other volumes. I tried strike for 8#, 10#, 12#, and 14#, then repeated for 10# to make sure it was consistent. The temp loss amount from my notes then gets added to the strike temp BeerSmith calculates for me.

For my 5 gallon round cooler and 10# I know I need +4*F, for my old Igloo it was +7*F, for my Coleman 70 it is +13*F. It takes a few minutes for the temp to stabilize, so I dough in, stir well until all the doughballs are worked out, affix the lid, and do something else for five minutes before checking the temp. Usually I'm within 1* of my target mash temp.
 

The Pol

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My first few batches I was all over the place with mash temps. The way I finally dialed in my equipment was I did a few trial runs. I heated my strike water volume as if I was going to dough in, put it in the cooler, and let the water sit in the cooler for 1/2 hour. I measured the temp drop, recorded what it was for that amount of water, and repeated for a few other volumes. I tried strike for 8#, 10#, 12#, and 14#, then repeated for 10# to make sure it was consistent. The temp loss amount from my notes then gets added to the strike temp BeerSmith calculates for me.

For my 5 gallon round cooler and 10# I know I need +4*F, for my old Igloo it was +7*F, for my Coleman 70 it is +13*F. It takes a few minutes for the temp to stabilize, so I dough in, stir well until all the doughballs are worked out, affix the lid, and do something else for five minutes before checking the temp. Usually I'm within 1* of my target mash temp.

Sacc...

Do you find those values work regardless of your MLT temp? I mean, mine sits in the garage, so in the winter the MLT starts at 43F... in the summer it starts at 80F before the strike and mash. For that reason I found that I could not use a set differential. Thus the need to heat my strike to about +15F hotter than the strike calculation to cover the differences in MLT temp during the year. This was a large enough differential to heat the MLT in any weather condition, and let the water cool over about 5 minutes to my calculated strike temp for the mash in.

Just curious... you obviously used some research to settle on your numbers. but I would think that just like grain temp affects the strike calculation, MLT temp would also affect the strike water differential that you use to compensate for MLT heating.
 
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