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duckredbeard

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My current process is to begin filling the mash tun with hot water, then I dump grain, stir, dump more grain, stir, dump more grain, stir...you know how that gets old and imprecise. I am looking for a way to meter the grain into the mash tun at a steady rate so I can just keep stirring (and adjusting the water rate).

What are you guys doing to make this less work?
 

grampamark

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What is this work of which you speak? I underlet. I preheat my MLT with hot tap water. When the strike water is nearing the desired temp I dump the preheat water and place the tun on a small stand I built, which puts the top of the MLT just below the bottom of the HLT, add the grain, and connect the valves at the bottom of each vessel with a length of 1/2” tubing. Open both valves and let the water percolate up through the grist. This virtually eliminates dough balls, though I do stir for 20-30 seconds after all the water is in.
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duckredbeard

duckredbeard

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I'd be willing to try that. You still have to stir the whole time, right? But at least you aren't alternating between dump and stir...
 

Konadog

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No, you don't have to stir until all the water is in. I do it this way and usually wait a few min. to stir, or let the water in slow so everything is wet, no dry area in the middle of your mash then stir.
 
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duckredbeard

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How are you determining how much water you're adding. Does your hot liquor tank have a sight glass for measuring volume?

Does the grain become buoyant even a little bit or does it soak up and stay low?
 

grampamark

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How are you determining how much water you're adding. Does your hot liquor tank have a sight glass for measuring volume?

Does the grain become buoyant even a little bit or does it soak up and stay low?
I measure the water in the HLT with a stainless steel ruler. I know how many gallons/inch the kettle holds and just divide the desired amount by the gallons per inch and put that many inches in the kettle. I mash at 1.5 qts/lb so total weight of the grist * 1.5 / 4 = gallons of strike water. My HLT holds .62 gal/inch. Gallons/.62= inches in the kettle.

The water slowly infuses the grist and ends up just above the grain bed. After a minute, or two, I stir thoroughly and then put the lid on and start the timer. I don’t stir during the mash.
 

day_trippr

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I run a 3v2p herms rig and underlet my strike volume - the amount determined by BeerSmith. I then let the mlt sit for ~five minutes then give the mash one good lifting stir to homogenize the works, which takes less than a full minute. Since underletting I've never had problems with dough balls which is a big win, and I can start recirculating almost immediately after that one good stir.

Wrt "measuring the strike volume", I heat the entire strike water volume in my boil kettle, so I just have to empty it into the mlt. The hlt has the sparge liquor - the minimum volume of which is set by that needed to fully submerge the hex therein...

Cheers!
 

CascadesBrewer

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What are you guys doing to make this less work?
My process does not seem much different than yours (though I do BIAB). I crush my grains into a bucket. I can then hold the bucket under my left arm while I sprinkle in the grains and mix with my right hand. I guess I never really thought that was much work and it is pretty good at preventing doughballs.
 

Mark3885

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Grampamark, with only stirring for 20-30 seconds, are the temperatures throughout the mash tun even ? I’m thinking that the temperature would tend to be warmer towards the bottom of the mash tun .
 

grampamark

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Grampamark, with only stirring for 20-30 seconds, are the temperatures throughout the mash tun even ? I’m thinking that the temperature would tend to be warmer towards the bottom of the mash tun .
It takes a couple of minutes for all of the water to work its way up through the grain bed. I let the mash sit for a couple more minutes before stirring. I use a digital thermometer with an approx. 18” cable on the probe so I can check the temp throughout the grain bed. I don’t see more than a couple degrees of variation. Before putting the lid on I place the temp probe in about the middle of the grain. I don’t see a loss of more than 1-2° F in an hour.

Different strokes, and all like that, but I’ve been using this method for years and am satisfied with the results.
 

seatazzz

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+1 to the underletting method. One thing I will mention, however, is you may want to up the temperature of your strike 1-2 degrees from what you would normally use in a "traditional" dough in; I've found that for a 12lb grain bill, in my weird mash tun, a strike temperature of 165 yields about 150.5-151.5 in the mash. YMMV, and it takes time and repetition to "learn" a system or dial it in to where you really don't have to think about it too much. I let the mash sit about a minute after all the water is in, give it a good stir, then clamp on the lid and leave it alone. I will stir about once every 20 minutes, then lauter (with a pump through the sparge arm built into the lid) for 15-30 depending on the grain bill and the temperature after 60 minutes. I'm too lazy to calculate my efficiency, but most of the time I think I'm getting about 75-80%. I just today dropped the hammer on an 18" whisk to use instead of my old beat-up wooden mash paddle, can't wait to see the results next brewday. Gee thanks @hottpeper13 for making me remember I wanted one of those...
 

eric19312

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Another underletter here
I start my brew day with strike water in the boil kettle and sparge water in the HLT. Grain in the mash tun.
Heat the strike water in the BK
Pump it up through the bottom of the mash tun over about 5 minutes
Give it a stir
Let it sit for 5-10 minutes
Start slow recirculation

I have sight glass on my HLT, MLT and volume marks on my BK. The MLT sight glass is to keep track of pressure differential under the false bottom so I get a warning if I am recirculating too fast and heading to a stuck mash.
 

Mark3885

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I used this method this morning to brew a Blonde Ale , worked great. So the terminology for this method is underletting? I added 4 degrees to my strike water and hit my mash temperature dead on , if it had been a little high , stirring could cool it down .
 

seatazzz

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I used this method this morning to brew a Blonde Ale , worked great. So the terminology for this method is underletting? I added 4 degrees to my strike water and hit my mash temperature dead on , if it had been a little high , stirring could cool it down .
Exactly what I do, if I wind up too hot in the mash I just stir until it comes down to where I need it. Not only does underletting wet the mash more thoroughly than the traditional method (in my biased opinion), it saves your back from having to hold a heavy grain bucket with one arm and stir with the other....or have a friend help.
 

cactusgarrett

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I'm an underletting convert, myself. I often doing double batches to fill oak barrels, so manually humping around 9 gal of hot strike water is no bueno. Not to mention, after multiple measuring with 1 gal pitchers, a LOT of heat is lost.

Instead of gravity, due to sheer volume, I use this pump to move nothing but hot liquor and couldn't be happier. Same as others - measure out the strike water, shoot for 1-2F higher than target (BeerSmith is pretty good about compensating for non-preheated equipment), and let her rip.
 
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