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Barleywine - 5 Gal - Mash tun not big enough

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Hi guys,

I'm a fairly new All Grain brewer (2 batches so far... haven't tasted them yet, but excited for them to be ready!!), but have brewed a few extract batches.

Now looking to make a Barleywine. I haven't picked a recipe yet, but I've tried making a high gravity beer in my mash tun, only to find out it wasn't as big as I thought it was (that was a rough all-grain brew day for my first one... had to increase the mash temp after filling the cooler mash tun all the way up). It can mash somewhere around 16 lbs of grain comfortably, 18 tops. I want to make a Barleywine.

I've looked into partial mash, and I've heard some brewers saying to just add a few lbs of DME to the wort pre-boil after mashing and sparging (of course calculating the correct amount of DME, not just willy-nilly). Just wanted to hear your thoughts on which one makes more sense. I assume the big difference is that with a partial mash you add some DME and water, whereas the other option you just add some DME? So if I'm looking for high ABV, probably the second makes more sense? Idk.

Thanks,
Dustin
 

RM-MN

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Hmm...You could do a double brew day where you do half the batch including sparge, temporarily store that in either the kettle or a bucket, then brew the other half before combining them for the boil.
 

kevin58

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A: get a bigger vessel for mashing. You can get a nice sized Coleman Xtreme for 30 to 40 bucks. Then follow the easy and expensive instructions on this site for turning the cooler into a mash tun. The parts might cost you $20.
http://www.dennybrew.com/

B: plan on adding enough DME to your boil kettle to get you up to the desired OG.

There are other mash techniques you could play around with but using a 5 gallon mash vessel is probably going to make those less than optimal. - You could partigyle but are you willing to settle for just a 2+ gallon batch? - You could double mash where you collect your mash runnings... empty your mash tun and add new grains and then use your wort from mash #1 as the strike water for mash #2. - You could do two separate partigyle mashes using just the first runnings from both to make your big beer and the second runnings from both mashes for a smaller beer.

Option A is better in the long run enabling you to do bigger beers at the lowest cost. If however building a bigger mash tun is not feasible then option B is your simplest, least time intensive and least expensive choice.
 

mashpaddled

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There are some complicated mash techniques you could use to brew the beer you want out of your mash tun but for somebody new to all grain I think it's too easy to confuse the process and end up something you didn't intend.

Good options here are to either add extract to make up for the missing mash tun capacity or split the grain bill and brew twice. If you have the ability to boil wort at the same time you heat water for the second mash and sparge then you'll really only add another couple of hours to your brew day. If not, just add extract to make up the difference.
 

bracconiere

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5gal? 10 gal cooler? how big is your boil kettle, pretty sure you could do a tight mash. With a large sparge and just boil it down more...

and you could just store half the run off water in a bucket till the kettle reduces enough to add it...
 
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A lot of ideas I didn't consider. Thanks for the replies! Several of you mentioned just adding a little DME, which is what I think I'll do.


A: get a bigger vessel for mashing. You can get a nice sized Coleman Xtreme for 30 to 40 bucks. Then follow the easy and expensive instructions on this site for turning the cooler into a mash tun. The parts might cost you $20.
I think I have the 28 qt (7 gal) Coleman Xtreme, so it works for almost all beers. I don't plan to make too many >9% ABV beers.. otherwise I would make the investment

Hmm...You could do a double brew day where you do half the batch including sparge, temporarily store that in either the kettle or a bucket, then brew the other half before combining them for the boil.
This seems like a bit long of a brew day. I like brew days, but unfortunately don't have as much time as I used to :(

5gal? 10 gal cooler? how big is your boil kettle, pretty sure you could do a tight mash. With a large sparge and just boil it down more...
I could totally do that (I have a 10 gallon kettle and a 15.5 gallon keggle), assuming I could hit the OG (whatever that might be) of a barleywine with a large sparge step. So not sure how feasible that is, but maybe!
 
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I see 5 possible options:
1. Get a bigger mashtun
2. Get a BIAB bag
3. Brew a smaller batch- maybe 3G instead of 5
4. Mash what you can and make up the difference with DME
5. Do a split mash- mash 1/2 of your grain, and use that runnings as strike liquor for the 1/2 half of your grain bill. I did it once. It did add an extra hour to my brewday, but it did work. Got a mash efficiency of 70% with a 19 lb grainbill using a 5G cooler mashtun.
 

mirthfuldragon

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I could totally do that (I have a 10 gallon kettle and a 15.5 gallon keggle), assuming I could hit the OG (whatever that might be) of a barleywine with a large sparge step. So not sure how feasible that is, but maybe!
A keggle maxes out around 37lbs of grain at 1.25qts/lb of strike water. You can definitely BIAB a barleywine in a keggle. Mill the grain finely and you can do no-sparge full volume. And don't be afraid of cold-water sparge. Or you can drain your runnings into HDPE (home depot) buckets, which are fine up to boiling temperatures.
 
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2. Get a BIAB bag
A keggle maxes out around 37lbs of grain at 1.25qts/lb of strike water. You can definitely BIAB a barleywine in a keggle. Mill the grain finely and you can do no-sparge full volume. And don't be afraid of cold-water sparge. Or you can drain your runnings into HDPE (home depot) buckets, which are fine up to boiling temperatures.
Never tried BIAB. I've heard it's pretty easy to learn. That's another thing to consider. Thanks guys!
 

bracconiere

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I could totally do that (I have a 10 gallon kettle and a 15.5 gallon keggle), assuming I could hit the OG (whatever that might be) of a barleywine with a large sparge step. So not sure how feasible that is, but maybe!
barleywine.jpg


i'm assuming you have a 5 gal cooler for a mash tun? i can easilly mash 22-23 pounds in my 10 gal cooler...but this would give you a 11% liquid at the end...

another option, is to not worry about big beers and just drink more of them! urinating is fun!
 

RM-MN

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Never tried BIAB. I've heard it's pretty easy to learn. That's another thing to consider. Thanks guys!
It's really tough. You need to measure water, heat it to the right strike temp, stir in the milled grains and wait for conversion to happen. Oh wait, you have to do all that with your conventional tun. The big difference is that instead of draining the wort and hoping the manifold/false bottom/braid doesn't plug, you lift the bag of grains out of the wort and let it drain. Huge filter area, won't plug, drains fast. Use a rope and pulley to help lift the wet grains to make it easy. If you own a mill, you can mill the grains really fine which speeds up conversion and increases mash efficiency so you won't need as much grain. You can then use you kettle to do the mash in or your keggle.
 

schematix

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Careful with the DME idea. It'll get you the OG but a lot of those won't give you the FG you want.
 
OP
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View attachment 597469

i'm assuming you have a 5 gal cooler for a mash tun? i can easilly mash 22-23 pounds in my 10 gal cooler...but this would give you a 11% liquid at the end...

another option, is to not worry about big beers and just drink more of them! urinating is fun!
I'm pretty sure it's the 7 gal Coleman Xtreme. I could prob hit 11% going for a 3 gal batch, but it's just not enough beer. Haha good advice... I'll still brew the big beer, but I'll also take your advice and drink more!

It's really tough. You need to measure water, heat it to the right strike temp, stir in the milled grains and wait for conversion to happen. Oh wait, you have to do all that with your conventional tun. The big difference is that instead of draining the wort and hoping the manifold/false bottom/braid doesn't plug, you lift the bag of grains out of the wort and let it drain. Huge filter area, won't plug, drains fast. Use a rope and pulley to help lift the wet grains to make it easy. If you own a mill, you can mill the grains really fine which speeds up conversion and increases mash efficiency so you won't need as much grain. You can then use you kettle to do the mash in or your keggle.
This seems very doable. Great that there's no chance of stuck braid... not sure how I'd get the pulley thing to work, might take a little finagling. I could use the mill at Northern Brewer (right by my house) to double mill. :)
 
OP
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Careful with the DME idea. It'll get you the OG but a lot of those won't give you the FG you want.
Why? Are the sugars from DME not as fermentable as from... say... a 152 degree mash? Even with high ABV yeast? I don't know much about fermentability of DME vs. grains mashed at home.
 

bracconiere

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I'm pretty sure it's the 7 gal Coleman Xtreme. I could prob hit 11% going for a 3 gal batch, but it's just not enough beer. Haha good advice... I'll still brew the big beer, but I'll also take your advice and drink more!
If it's a 7 gal cooler, then you could loosen the mash up i had it set .8qt/1lb.....for a 5 gal cooler... 14 gal starting boil and a 5gal end volume...would just take 3 or so hours to reduce.

and :mug:
 

RM-MN

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not sure how I'd get the pulley thing to work,
The pulley isn't a requirement, it makes it easier. As long as you have a way to remove the bag of grains and a way to let the wort drain out it will work. Some people use a grate over the pot to set the bag of grains on and just lift them. It depends on your place how you do it.
 
OP
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would just take 3 or so hours to reduce.
3 hours?! I like brew days but daaaaang.

The pulley isn't a requirement, it makes it easier. As long as you have a way to remove the bag of grains and a way to let the wort drain out it will work. Some people use a grate over the pot to set the bag of grains on and just lift them. It depends on your place how you do it.
Use a grate? Great idea!
 

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I add 2lbs of dark dme to my 12% Russian Imperial stouts for the same issue. 1lb grain=.6lbDME. I'll add the dme after fermentation started just to ensure healthy yeast count. This is usually 12hrs after pitching. Thats a good time to reoxygenate also.
 
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