Critique this method

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Ol' Grog

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Curious as to what is the worse that could happen. I tried this method a couple of weeks ago and the wort/fermenting and everything else seems normal. Shaved off about an hour of brewing time, which was the reason for trying this method out in the first place. This is for extracts only.

Steep the grains, 1/2 to 1 pound depending on recipe, in about one gallon of water at 160.
Crank up my water heater. After the 20 minutes of steeping, dump the tea into my clean primary bucket. I have a hose/nozzel set up at my kitchen sink. Run the water until it gets really hot, then start filling the primary bucket. When primary is about 1/2 full, dump my LME or DME in it while constantly stirring. Continue to fill primary while stirring until it reaches 6 gallons. Then take the primary and dump into the keggle and proceed as usual to boiling, then hops addition, 50 minutes.
I know this probably won't win any type of awards, but should be able to produce a decent beer, eh?? Sure knocked off a lot of time prepping, cleanup and just made things a lot neater in general.
 

Vagabond

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Anything that takes time away from my brew day I frown upon...
 

thomasfgeary

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Exactly how are you saving time???:confused:

If I read it correctly, you are still boiling for 50 minutes, where is the saved time?
 

Dr_Deathweed

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I am confused too where you are saving time. If you just heat ALL your water in the keggle to the 155 or so, steep, and keep heating to boiling, I imagine this would take less time than steeping seperatly and waiting on your water heater.
 

Dr_Deathweed

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olllllo said:
He is using hot water from the water heater (amped-up abit) to jumpstart his boil, perhaps saving 20 minutes.

If this is the case, it might be better to start heating up your water to a boil in the keggle while steeping seperatly. After steeping, just add that water to your keggle. If you have a good burner, you should have all your water at a boil and start your extract additions before you are done steeping.
 
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Ol' Grog

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For me, and of course everyone has a different approach, I prep all my stuff in the kitchen. Prepping the hop bag (s), heating up the LME in a pot with water, hydrating the yeast, etc. etc. The keggle is outside. I'd have to carry all the LME and DME out to the garage, can opener or scissors, brew spoon, etc. and all the other stuff you'd normally need if strictly doing all your brewing chores out in the garage. My keggle set up is in the garage. Before you dog me, just visualize and I think you'll see where I'm coming from.
My house was built in the 90's, no Pb issues.
I have read on here that steeping in 6 gallons of water is not a very good method. I also have to stand guard and watch the thermometer, adjust the burner (Banjo). I can do that over the stove with much more control and as mentioned before, less stuff to drag out to the garage.
On pre-heating the water, it's just that, pre-heating. The keggle boils up a lot faster which translates into using less propane. Before after watching the temperature and finishing the grains, I'd crank up the Banjo and get the water to almost boiling. Then dump in the LME/DME, stir, re-ignite the Banjo and then wait and watch because you know a boilover will occur when your not watching it (learned that from you guys as well). This method bypasses all that and to me, makes it more efficient and a lot quicker. Now let's not get into the natural gas/propane debate on my water heater.
Another thing that comes to mind when I thought this out was scorching. This methodology will not scorch the bottom of my keggle. The whole point is to get all the LME/DME to dissolve. The water coming from my tap is hot enough to do that. I've also had some LME kind of dump out of the bag into the keggle and splash back on me, if I did the heat all the water to almost boiling in the keggle and then add ingredients method.
This way all my equipment and supplies are in one area, less clean up and certainly less hauling. The 50 minute boil is the normal wort boiling whether you use this method or not. I'm just getting there quicker. Time is something I don't really have right now.
 

Bobby_M

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It's actually a waste of energy more than anything else. Instead of using your stovetop to get a few gallons up by 30degrees, you're using a water heater that has to heat up 30-60 gallons that same amount.
 
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Ol' Grog

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I realize that, hence the comment on not getting into the water heater debate. It's not like the water heater had room temperature water in its tank before I turn the dial up just a tad.
 

Bobby_M

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The way that you shut down my comment probably set the tone for what others would expect. It just sounds like you made up your mind already. Since I'm a glutton for punishment, I'm going to suggest that you think further about your energy usage by notching up your water heater. How many gallons does it hold?

I'll say it again, it takes less energy to raise 4 gallons of water from 70 to 160F (4 x 90 = 360) than it does to raise 50 gallons from 130 to 160F (50 x 30 = 1500).
 

DeathBrewer

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i don't understand why you wouldn't just use two seperate pots to heat some of the water, while steeping the rest.

here is my "time-saving" partial mash method, which has been working wonders:

1. mash grains in 1.5 quarts/lb of water for 45-60 minutes inside a bag in a 4 gallon stockpot
2. while mashing, heat additional water in 7 gallon stockpot to sparge temperature (i get it above 174F)
3. when conversion is complete, dip grain bag in sparge water and "tea-bag" for a few minutes, letting it extract what it can (my sparge will drop below 170F, even with the heat on)
4. remove grains and let water heat to ~190F, then add extract while stirring (again, keep heat on)
5. let the hot break commence and start your boil (i do a partial boil at about 4 gallons)

i've made some fantastic beers this way in a minimal amount of time. if i'm proactive in sanitation and continuous clean up during my mash and boil i can do a batch in under 3 hours (that's cooling in an ice bath for 30 minutes, too)

perfect solution for those after work brews. sure, i don't gett the best efficiency (usually 60-65%) but then i can relax and enjoy a homebrew while i watch a movie and still wake up nice and early the next morning. worth the extra couple of bucks in grains ;)
 

mrk305

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If water heaters went up to 170 & 180 it would a great way to all grain a 40 gallon batch. ........ I am going to need more coolers though
 
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Ol' Grog

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I apologize, I guess I'm just not explaining it good enough to understand my approach. I'm more concerned with adding LME/DME in hot water instead of almost boiling water as I have been in the past. I didn't know if simply have them dissolved would suffice over the requirement of adding them to almost boiling water. I'm stuck on simply dissolving the sugars is the key to all of this, not merely the temperature of the water to get them to dissolve. I've also noticed from the prior method that once I cut the gas off and dump all the LME/DME, I loose a lot of heat and have to use extra gas just to get from whence I came, and that is wasted energy.
 

DeathBrewer

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and why not just add the dme/lme to the water as it comes to a boil? you don't have to wait for it to boil and kill the heat. like i said, i add mine at below 200F and i do not turn the heat off. works fine.
 
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Ol' Grog

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One problem I have is that if I don't get to mixing fast enough with the burner on, I scortch the bottom of my keggle.
 

DeathBrewer

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ok, so why couldn't you preheat some water on the stove while you're doing your steep and still use the bucket...instead of cranking the water heater? you still have preheated water.
 
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Ol' Grog

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That's an idea. May try that. I just was wondering if doing it this way would have any affect on the wort.
 

JPicasso

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Short Version:
+1 DeathBrewer's method.

Long Version:
I don't think you're saving as much time as you think. my Turkey fryer takes little time to get the wort from cold tap to 150°F compared to getting it from 150 to boil.

I generally start my steep with about a gallon on the stove and 4 gallons in the fryer on high heat. when the steep is done, I just pour into the fryer, usually make it before it boils. Add 1/2 of my Extract, boil 60 mins, add the other 1/2 of my extract.
 
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