Freezing a cereal mash

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ol' rummie

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Is freezing a cereal mash something that can be done?
Doing a cereal mash adds extra time to a brew day, I was wondering if doing a large cereal mash, portioning it, freezing it, and use it when needed was possible? Or will things start to break down with the freezing process?
 

milesvdustin

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Extra time added to the brew day means more time to drink beer. I have a hard time seeing the problem!


Just kidding, I have nothing of value to offer to your question.
 

vonZwicky

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Is freezing a cereal mash something that can be done?
Doing a cereal mash adds extra time to a brew day, I was wondering if doing a large cereal mash, portioning it, freezing it, and use it when needed was possible? Or will things start to break down with the freezing process?
I'd rather bump old threads, that haven't been fleshed out, than start new ones- if I can. I don't know if you ever found an answer to this question, Ol' Rummie, but I've been thinking about it ever since I read your post.

I've brewed one Classic American Pilsener (with a cereal mash) and it was a lot of work! It would be nice to prepare the cereal mash before hand and not have to fool with it on brew day.

SWMBO is a food scientist and has to deal with freezer stability issues with the products her company makes. She's of the opinion that freezing the cereal mash would not be detrimental. I'm sorely tempted to try this freezing method the next time I brew one of these (soon!). If I do, I will post any observations here.
 

MarkT

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Next bump.

Since no one confessed to trying it, I decided to give it a whirl with a small test batch. My triticale cereal mash is complete and in a bucket in the chest freezer, and when I'm ready to finish the brew we will see how long it will take to thaw.

My main observation is that even with my tiny test batch, 1.4 lbs of triticale converts from about a quart of volume into a gal of ice. The previous question about "how big's your freezer?" is a good one.

I'll post again when I use it in a brew.
 

vonZwicky

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Next bump.

Since no one confessed to trying it, I decided to give it a whirl with a small test batch. My triticale cereal mash is complete and in a bucket in the chest freezer, and when I'm ready to finish the brew we will see how long it will take to thaw.

My main observation is that even with my tiny test batch, 1.4 lbs of triticale converts from about a quart of volume into a gal of ice. The previous question about "how big's your freezer?" is a good one.

I'll post again when I use it in a brew.
Nice! I did brew one more CAP since I last posted here. While I did not freeze the cereal mash, I prepared it the night before the brew and stuck it in the fridge until I was ready for it the next day. All went well- I hit my target gravity, so the corn mash portion (20% of grist) must've done its thing. The beer was great! I think use of the frozen mash will be fine.
 

vonZwicky

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I'd let it start thawing early in the brew day, if not the day before in the fridge.:mug:
 

MarkT

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That's cool that you were able to split up the mash with no ill effects; that's what I'm looking for myself. I get too busy with kids on the weekends, so it is actually easier to find time on weekday evenings. But not really enough time for a cereal mash.

As long as conversion is good, I'll continue it in some fashion. I actually took a page from the no-chill guys and slammed it into my bucket right after boiling at 190 deg; I wanted the bucket to have little head-space so that it wouldn't suck in too badly as it cooled. This way everything in the bucket is essentially pasturized and I could leave it out at room temp for a week or two if I wanted if the freezer is full. For this thread, I thought I'd go through the process of freezing and thawing to see what that adds into the equation. I'll at least wait until it freezes solid to use it to see what the thawing process is like; since it is hot-packed I can actually pull it back out a couple of days early.

With my heavy bottomed Calphalon stock pot I could probably have gone closer to 1.5:1 in the cereal mash, which means I could have used as much as 2# grain and 3 qts water for each 1 gal bucket. I guess I'll be devising recipes that work with the bucket sizes I have to make the intermediate storage easier, although that's really pretty flexible since I can water down the cereal mash as much as I need to.
 

vonZwicky

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Yea, my problem is that I have to brew outside (downstairs) with one burner. I have to cook a cereal mash in the kitchen, and it requires constant attention. It's not practical to conduct both processes at once. We're moving into a new place soon, and SWMBO has granted permission for the brewery to be set up in the garage... Yes! So a brew stand build is on the horizon. It would be nice to incorporate a smaller gas burner into the rig for cereal mashes, decoctions, pasteurization, etc.

Maybe the quality of a frozen mash degrades a bit, but it certainly does its job. I'm interested in hearing how it turns out for you. Good luck!
 

onthekeg

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Yea, my problem is that I have to brew outside (downstairs) with one burner. I have to cook a cereal mash in the kitchen, and it requires constant attention. It's not practical to conduct both processes at once. We're moving into a new place soon, and SWMBO has granted permission for the brewery to be set up in the garage... Yes! So a brew stand build is on the horizon. It would be nice to incorporate a smaller gas burner into the rig for cereal mashes, decoctions, pasteurization, etc.

Maybe the quality of a frozen mash degrades a bit, but it certainly does its job. I'm interested in hearing how it turns out for you. Good luck!
You could definitely use the kettle burner for your decoctions and cereal mashes while the HLT would have its own.
 

vonZwicky

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You could definitely use the kettle burner for your decoctions and cereal mashes while the HLT would have its own.
Yes. A second burner would make this possible. I'm debating whether to add one or to add electric rims to make a gas/electric hybrid system. That's all fodder for another thread and another time when I have the funds to move on it.
 

MarkT

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This was pretty successful so far.

I thawed and completed the brew, and it's in the fermenter now. At 48 hours the 1 gal bucket, filled to the brim, was room temperature. I'll try 36 hours next time. My efficiency was consistent with getting about 73% from the adjunct which was raw triticale, definately not targeted at brewing but rather baking. Normally adding adjunct into a 150 deg mash, with raw grain from my wife's 16 buckets'o'breadmaking'grain in the basement, I expect to only get 50% eff so I consider this hugely successful. The only down-side is the volume taken up in the freezer, but with my hot-packing and relatively short term storage I could probably get away without even freezing it.

So I'll do this again in a bit for the next wheat/rye style beer. I need to make a recipe that I've made before so that I can compare taste - the triticale adds another variable.
 

Lennie

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Glad to hear you had a good result and that you improved your efficiency with the cereal mash. I do think you could simply cool and put the mash in the fridge for storage, and save yourself a lot of time in thawing and the energy needed to freeze that large amount of material.
 
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