Grain type and dough balls?

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Novacor

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The last few batches that I've brewed I've had issues with dough balls. I would work the mash paddle while my wife used a whisk, and we would still spend a good 10 minutes breaking up all of the clumps. I tried a coarser crush, I tried changing mash temperatures, I tried changing how fast I poured in the grain and still, crazy dough balls.

Today I'm making an Oktoberfest and suddenly, no dough balls! The only thing I did differently is that my grain bill did not use any of the bin of Crisp Pale Malt that had been the base malt for all the recipes with dough ball issues.

Has anybody else noticed this? Is there something about the UK malt that makes it prone to clumping up in the mash?
 

Tobor_8thMan

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Most interesting. Perhaps it's due to the volume of grains poured into the mash tun vs stirring that's creating the dough balls?

Since we are manually pouring the grains it's very subjective if we are doing at the same volume/rate each brew.

However, once again, most interesting.
 

MaxStout

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Try this next time.

71u3sqmaZBL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
 

Bramling Cross

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UK malts seem to be far more prone to dough balls than other malts, especially if you add grain to strike water. Underletting your strike water helps, but I've found that simply coming back after 20min and stirring again will break up whatever dough balls that manage to survive 20min.
 

Golddiggie

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I get some dough balls with MO when brewing. But, my mash paddle doesn't seem to have much trouble busting them up. I've started adding 1/3 to 1/2 of the grain initially, mixing, then adding either another 1/3 or the rest and mixing more. Last batch used two different maltster's maris otter malts (TF and Crisp). I use maris otter enough that it's really no issue. I just work the mash until it's good. It's why we have arms, and mash paddles. ;)

Batch after the coming one (my MO SMaSH) will be using TF Golden Promise. I don't recall what the ball level was compared with using MO. The recipe with GP has about 40% of the grist as other malts (it's a stout).

Maybe try mixing in some rice hulls with the grain before you mash in?
 

Supergenious

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Adding your strike water under your grain bed helps some. I too have noticed UK malts more subject to dough balls though.
 

hottpeper13

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M. O. is my dough ball beauty too.
Ever notice when making hot chocolate , if you only put in 1/4 of the milk it mixes better then you add the rest. I do that with mashing and have found that a 1:1 ratio makes a thick mash that with the whisk makes busting D. B's a breeze. Also allows for a step mash of boiling liquor for those of us without a heated mash tun.
 

sibelman

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I strongly favored Maris Otter years ago, but have been relying heavily on Great Western organic 2-row as base malt for about 10 years. Last year I bought a sack of Crisp MO to see if it made a significant flavo(u)r difference in my ales -- turns out not, at least to my limited palate.

But omg the dough balls! I just don't remember that being so extreme "back in the day." I wonder if supply chains have lengthened, or if some process change has occurred? But maybe I just wasn't milling quite the same...
 

hopjuice_71

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I use a Grainfather .. .. and use MO a LOT. I condition my grain, mill directly into the grain basket (which is not in the kettle), then slowly lower into preheated water. Kind of a makeshift underletting. Dough balls are a thing of the past - only gentle mixing required. This could easily be done with BIAB - just mill into the bag and slowly lower into water.
 

Golddiggie

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Mashed 17# of MO yesterday for my English IPA. Poured it all in at once. Took some use of the mash paddle, but I got all the balls busted up easily enough. Shape/design of your paddle might play a decent part of getting that done.

I use the smaller of the two paddles in this picture. The larger is 4 feet long.
Two_Paddles2_2.jpg
 
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