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High Mash Temp.....What to Expect?

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SwAMi75

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As I noted in my "Taking the Plunge" thread, I mashed my first AG batch too hot.....160F. Now I'm not all broken up about it, because I realize it takes some experimentation to get your strike temp right.

However, I am curious as to how this stuff might come out. I used Wyeast's London ESB (1968) yeast, which is highly flocculant, and attenuates fairly low.

I'm thinking this stuff is going to come out too sweet. I racked it to secondary last night, and it was at 1.020. I agitated the yeast a little to try and get it down a little further. I found some East Kent Goldings, so i dry hopped it. Figured that might help a little.

So whaddya think?
 

Sir Sudster

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First off..way-to-go ..congrats on the first AG. Welcome to the wonderful world of AG and its complexities. I have always struggled with infusion strike temperatures. That is until I added steam.

I think you may be a tad on the sweet side but the dry hopping may just add some real character to the taste. It may taste sweet to some but not to others. I love that 1968 Wyeast. I use it all the time in my ESB's and English Pale Ale's.

Under shooting my strike temps has always worked best for me . Then I work at moving the temp up instead of down.
 
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SwAMi75

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I'm hoping the dry hopping does something for it.....I'm not a fan of overly sweet beers. I wish I'd had some British Ale yeast on hand (I forget the #)....or anything else that might attenuate a little higher.
 

Dark_Ale

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Sam75 said:
I'm hoping the dry hopping does something for it.....I'm not a fan of overly sweet beers. I wish I'd had some British Ale yeast on hand (I forget the #)....or anything else that might attenuate a little higher.
Just bottled my first all grain. I built of of the igloo mash tuns. Not knowing how much my temp would drop I got my water to 180 added the grain only droped 5 to 175. I let it go for an hour. OG was 1050, I was shooting for 1060, but I let it go anyway. Gravity today was 1012 and it taste great its not sweet at all. I was making an american brown. I'm not really sure but I guess that some grain is more forgiving than others????
 

DeRoux's Broux

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Sam75 said:
As I noted in my "Taking the Plunge" thread, I mashed my first AG batch too hot.....160F. Now I'm not all broken up about it, because I realize it takes some experimentation to get your strike temp right.

However, I am curious as to how this stuff might come out. I used Wyeast's London ESB (1968) yeast, which is highly flocculant, and attenuates fairly low.

I'm thinking this stuff is going to come out too sweet. I racked it to secondary last night, and it was at 1.020. I agitated the yeast a little to try and get it down a little further. I found some East Kent Goldings, so i dry hopped it. Figured that might help a little.

So whaddya think?
most ESB's i've had and brewed were not too sweet at all. i think you'll be fine. the EK Golding wil lbe okay too. if you notice a "grainy" or "astringent" taste in your ESB, it may be from extracting too much tannins from the grains. that usually happens when sparging w/ water over 170-175 degrees. or, you may not notice a thing. it probably wasn't as high a temp throughout that mash as your reading indicated. maybe one of your best yet!
 

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how hot was the ambient temp of your grains when you threw them in the tun? 170 should be about dead on for the low 150's... is your thermometer correct?

you can always add pints of cold water to bring the temp down and leave the lid off the cooler till you hit yer desired temp... get a long stemed thermometer that can stand up in your mash so you don't have to hold it, or you can get the conversion and put a thermometer in the side of the tun.

i used to keep me grains in the fridge, then i realized i was pulling them out too late and the strike temp was not sufficient because the grain was too cold, fridge is almost freezing temps :)

kent goldings are fast becoming my favorite hop.. so is the irish yeast from whitelabs....
 
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SwAMi75

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Yeah, now I realize that I could have added some water to cool the mash, but as I said before, this was my first ever AG. I didn't have any clue as to how much heat my setup would lose. So, it was an experiment....now I know!

As you mention, the grain temp is a factor I need to remember. In the case of this batch, they were garage temp.....probably about 82-84F. That didn't help much. Again, something I hadn't really thought of. Thanks for mentioning it....I'll remember that in the future!

Having a thermo in my mash tun is up there on my wish list. I swear (and ORRELSE can verify) that my mash temp didn't waver from 160F the entire time. We were measuring from right about the center of the mash.
 

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Sam75, how many pounds of grain did you use. I will run it thru ProMash
and see what the strike temp should be according to Promash. Just curious.
Also, what was your grain to water ratio? Or how much 170 water did you use
for dough in?
 

Sir Sudster

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t1master said:
kent goldings are fast becoming my favorite hop.. so is the irish yeast from whitelabs....
T1master, do you happen to have the WL number for that Irish yeast?
 

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Sudster said:
T1master, do you happen to have the WL number for that Irish yeast?
i used the WLP004 Saturday on an Irish Red, and it started fast (i used 1300 ml starter), but never has built up a big rocky krausen( is it taboo to use a German brewing term for an Irish Ale :D ). i checked it this morning before i left for work, and it stil had some activity in the ferm lock, but all it had was a small, spread out krausen on top of the wort. it's in my chest freezer set to about 64-66 degrees. is this typical activity/krausen for this strand? i've never used it, and read on www.whitelabs.com the attenuation was 65-75 %, med-low flocculation @ 65-68 degrees :confused:
 

uglygoat

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yes, it sounds about right with my experience... i think i've done about nine batches with the irish (i repitch) the first batch usually does what you are describing there, the consequent batches take off even faster, with a huge head, but the head is gone within 12-20 hours.

it should be good :)
 

DeRoux's Broux

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good to know, thanks for the feedback. i was going through my notes and mental checklist, and did everything as usual. i know all those little vials of buggers are different, just haven't had one act like this one.

thanks again!
 

andre the giant

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Congrats on the AG batch Sam! My first batch was one big cluster f***. I was so nervous that I'd screw something up that EVERYTHING was screwed up. I missed my mash temps (too low), added too much water to the mash, I didn't recirculate, I oversparged, and when it was done, the beer was the best I had ever made to that point. There are so many little things you can worry yourself over, but the mash is very forgiving. The beer will be fine.

Congrats again.
 
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SwAMi75

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andre the giant said:
Congrats on the AG batch Sam! My first batch was one big cluster f***. I was so nervous that I'd screw something up that EVERYTHING was screwed up. I missed my mash temps (too low), added too much water to the mash, I didn't recirculate, I oversparged, and when it was done, the beer was the best I had ever made to that point. There are so many little things you can worry yourself over, but the mash is very forgiving. The beer will be fine.

Congrats again.
LOL....thanks!
 

andre the giant

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In my case, I guess there's something to be said for beginner's LUCK! :D Of course my second AG batch was a Cluster F*** and it was horrible. But after I got some issues resolved the batches were fantastic.
 

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andre the giant said:
In my case, I guess there's something to be said for beginner's LUCK! :D Of course my second AG batch was a Cluster F*** and it was horrible. But after I got some issues resolved the batches were fantastic.
For the benefit of those of us moving towards/new to all grain, would care to share some of those issues and their respective resolutions? Nothing better than learning from your own mistakes, unless, of course, you can learn from others. :D
 

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um, don't forget to cover your false bottom/manifold/bazooka screen w/ water prior to adding your grains into your mash/lauter tun. that's always fun...........make sure the valve on the mash/lauter tun is closed when you add your grains/mash water, that's fun too. make sure your tubing that you'll use to transfer wort while recirculating or sparging isn't cut or have holes in it. tend to lose good stuff that way.....oh yea, make sure your valve on your brew kettle is closed while sparging to the brew kettle.......i'm a numb-skull now that i think about it!!!!
 
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Well heck, I'll add one in. Don't do an AG day when it's 100+ in the garage with a raging hangover. This past saturday I thought I was going to gack more than once. Then thought I'd have to lay down (or pass out) and say to heck with this batch; let er die. I did an oral IV of about 1g gatorade and finally started coming back to life. Man, did that SUCK!!!!! but I made beer.

I got an evil buddy that whenever we get together <burp>. That and the wife was out of town. :eek:. Come to think of it, I've been hung over ever since she's left. I wouldn't last a year as a bachelor. I think, I'm happy she comes back tonight so the leash can be re-installed.
 

andre the giant

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Here is the best bit of advise I can give you. If someone gives you a used immersion wort chiller, check it out for corrosion. The corrosion can turn a fine pilsner into a metallicy mess. If you do have any corrosion on the chiller, soak it in a solution of vinegar and water to clean it up.

If at all possible, watch or help someone else do an all grain batch. Everyone has differing opinions on certain processes and how to do them. Use common sense and pick the ones that make sense to you. Then stick with them religiously.

I've heard people say that you can heat the mash tun directly if the temperature drops too low, others say NEVER heat the mash tun because it can scorch the mash and also stir up some of the dust and tanins in the grain, draw some of the mash off the bottom, heat it, and add it back in to raise temps. (that's is what I do)

I've heard some people who stir the mash vigorously, others have told me to NEVER stir the mash so that the grain bed can filter out all the dust and astringent protiens. (that's is what I do)

I've know people who dump the water in and add grain to the water then stir the whole mess. Others say that you should ALTERNATE a thin layer of water, then thin layer of grain until you have a nice mash or grain bed. This way you avoid "dough balls" in the mash and you don't compress the grains. This allows you to have a smoother sparging process. (that's is what I do)

I didn't know what people meant when they discussed recirculating to set the grain bed and reduce the astringency and bitteness of the grain dust. Now I use the spigot to draw a quart or so of liquid off the bottom and sprinkle it over the grain bed, recirculating like this for at least 20-30 minutes before I start to sparge.

Oh and don't get me started on sparging. I saw notes in recipies that said,
"do not oversparge" but it didn't say why, and I was too lazy to search around to find the reason. I thought, heck, the Oatmeal Stout runnings were still coming out kinda tan, why stop sparging now? I'm wasting precious neophyte beer here... Now I know. The longer you sparge the more bitter tannins you extract from the grains and husks. A little bit won't ruin a batch, but it will be noticeable. Luckily, with most people, (the unwashed Miller Lite masses), you can just say, "yeah, that's the black patent malt you're tasting. It adds a nice roasty flavor doesn't it?" Then move on to some other topic. (they will just nod in agreement in an effort to look like they understand what you're saying. But your brewing friends will have a clue.)

On one early batch, the OG seemed low, (It was a pale ale in the 1.038 range, which isn't that low, I shoulda left it alone.) so I boiled some DME and added it directly to the fermenter a day or two later. What was I thinking? Talk about an unbalanced beer. Good thing the wort chiller corrosion ruined that beer so I didn't have to admit that my own mistake did.

I'm still figuring stuff out. One of the last batches I made, I had a moment of stupidity and added the bittering hops right when I reached boil. it didn't boil over or anything, but bittering hops should be in for upwards of 60 minutes not 90 minutes. Longer than 60 minutes and the beer starts getting an astringent bitter taste that I don't care too much for. The beer is fine, but I notice it, and know why it tastes that way, and know how to fix it next time. And I know it's my fault.

Then there was the triple brew day. Three AG batches in 13 hours. There was so much measuring, testing, heating, carrying, chilling, stirring, recirculating, lighting, adjusting and planning, that basic functions like urinating, eating and relaxing were put on the back burner. Its easy to forget a step at that point. Don't try this unless you have a brewing buddy, a strong back, or you're certifiably insane. (I'm the latter....)

Luckily, with the exception of two batches tainted by the wort chiller fiasco, the other 10 batches have turned out to be exceptional. Maybe not award winners, (I don't know, I've never entered) But great nonetheless. All grain is very forgiving.
 
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andre the giant said:
Oh and don't get me started on sparging. I saw notes in recipies that said, "do not oversparge" but it didn't say why, and I was too lazy to search around to find the reason. I thought, heck, the Oatmeal Stout runnings were still coming out kinda tan, why stop sparging now? I'm wasting precious neophyte beer here... Now I know. The longer you sparge the more bitter tannins you extract from the grains and husks. A little bit won't ruin a batch, but it will be noticeable. Luckily, with most people, (the unwashed Miller Lite masses), you can just say, "yeah, that's the black patent malt you're tasting. It adds a nice roasty flavor doesn't it?" Then move on to some other topic. (they will just nod in agreement in an effort to look like they understand what you're saying. But your brewing friends will have a clue.)
Expand on the sparging for me. I've read to stop after the gravity is at 1.008 and then I also saw somewhere here that you stop once you get to 5.8ph. I've seen more on the gravity so figure that's the better approach. More measurable too. So what do you do, pause every once and a while and get a sample and test it and adjust per the 150 degree or so wort coming out? If you don't get your full desired before boil volume then top it off with water?

PS - Yea, that was me too. I'm not stopping the sparge until I get to that 6.25 I'm shooting for...
 

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OK, I guess I'll have to jump in on this one too. A month before making my an all grain in my new 3 tier setup I had made a belgian triple and forgot to take an OG reading. Well, I didn't think that was going to end the world and bottled it when it was ready.

During the beginning of the brew session in my cool new setup ,I decided Hey, I got that Belgian in there I might as well toast one to the brew gods for good luck. What the He!!, my wife is gone this weekend I'm gonna do-er right. So, one lead to two and then to three and by that time I had tunes jammin, propane flamin, grains mashin and decided to have another. I still had my brew wits with me though. Then I decided to have number five.

Well, before I went and got number five I decided it was time to sparge so I opened the valve of the HLT and letter go. I then turned and tried to find my way to the chest freezer. Cracked open number five, sang a few notes of a Van Morrison tune and returned to find about a gallon and a half of the first running all over my garage floor. I had forgot to shut off the valve to my boil kettle. So, I sat their waiting for the sparge to finish and my world would not stop spinning. I thought, damn, I'm not gonna make it through this. So, I went into the house and to the bathroom and on my way back I sat down on the bed thinking damn, I'm not going to make it through this. Well, I didn't. I woke up the next morning with a brewpot full of wort and a garage full of propane fumes. I had forgot , in my pain, to shut my burner off. I had the garage door open and the wind blew out my flame and didn't have the decency to shut off the valve . I damn near blew my house up and destroyed some really nice..but thin Wort.

Lesson learned=> Don't play Van Morrison while your brewing:D
 

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desertBrew said:
Expand on the sparging for me. I've read to stop after the gravity is at 1.008 and then I also saw somewhere here that you stop once you get to 5.8ph. I've seen more on the gravity so figure that's the better approach. More measurable too. So what do you do, pause every once and a while and get a sample and test it and adjust per the 150 degree or so wort coming out? If you don't get your full desired before boil volume then top it off with water?
well,as ya'll know, the sparge rinses what fermentable sugars are left on the grains from the mash in. if you over sparge (or sparge w/ water that's too hot) you start to extract the tannins from the grains, therefore getting the bitter, huskiness taste in the finished beer. the ph indicator will tell you when you have extrated all sugars, and now getting more acidic run-off. you can get little ph testers for $35-$40 dollars, or take SG readings during run-off, make temp adjustments, and go from there. i do neither. i just go by my water calculations and have never had a problem w/ bitterness or husky flavors in my brews. i wouldn't adjust the temp of the sparge, just keep sparging w/ 170 degree water, test the run-off, and stop when you get the volume you need for the boil, or when the ph hits 5.8, or the SG your looking for. your right. if you have to stop the sparge before the kettle voume is achieved, then add water to the desired level, then start the boil. :D
 

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Damn Sudster. That Belgian must have been potent. Thank God for your guardian angel, (as intoxicated as he/she might have been.) Good story.

Sorry if it seems like we've hijacked the thread, but someone asked for people to share their mistakes so that others could avoid them.

As far as sparging goes, I've read recipies that say "sparge with 3 gallons @180 degrees. Do not oversparge" or whatever. Here's what I do.

Drink a homebrew

While the mash is "mashing", I bring 5 gallons of water to around 190-200 degrees. (by the time the mash is over, it will drop down to 170-180 degrees, which is perfect for sparging.) 20-30 minutes before the end of the mash I start to recirculate the mash by drawing a quart or so off the bottom of the mash tun and sprinkling it over the top through a slotted spoon, strainer, or foil with holes in it (This way you don't disturb the grain bed too much and stir up all those astringent tannins and dust.)

When the full 90 minutes of mashing is done, I transfer all 5 gal of hot sparge water to the sparge tank, I open the spigot on the mash tun a little bit and open the sparge tank spigot all the way. The Listerman sparge arm works pretty well. I monitor closely for the first 5-10 minutes to make sure that the water level in the mash tun doesn't drop too low. I like to keep about an inch of water on top of the grain bed so it can "float" and avoid compressing/clogging the false bottom. I will usually sparge with at least 4 gallons. Then I take a hydrometer reading.

I usually fill the vial with the runnings, then set the vial in a glass of ice water, taking temp readings occasionallly until the temp reads 70-80 degrees. Then I take a hydrometer reading and adjust for temp. If the runoff reads somewhere around 1.008-1.012, I stop sparging and top up the brew kettle with water from the sparge tank. If the runoff reads higher, I'll make a guess as to how much longer it will take to reach my target. (There's always room for guessing.)

Pop open another homebrew to drink during the "I must watch the brewpot every second so it doesn't boil over" step.

Granted, that's just my way of doing it, that doesn't mean it's the best way, and I learn something new each time I brew. Others on this board will have different techniques and equipment. My technique is an adaptation of the brewmaster's at a local brewpub. It works well for me. I also found that if I drink enough during the brewing process, I either don't forget the steps, or I forget that I forgot a step. Either way, it makes the process more enjoyable. :D
 
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DeRoux's Broux said:
found some more good info on the brewing process broken down into steps on another on-line handbook. http://www.beer-brewing.com/mashing.htm

pretty good reference site too.
Agreed, nice reference. I was intrigued with the sparge PH. Didn't think that mattered much but guess it does. At least that's something measurable and easily adjusted with some gypsum (with my water). I tested the PH a couple times of my mash and with strike water of 8+ it still settled out at 5-6 range so I figured I was good here. Now I'll adjust sparge as well. But then if you're sparge water is in range then testing PH to see when your sparge is complete doesn't seem to work any longer. Guess I'll be checking gravity...
 

Sir Sudster

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andre the giant said:
Damn Sudster. That Belgian must have been potent. Thank God for your guardian angel, (as intoxicated as he/she might have been.) Good story.
To say the least. Last time I touch the stuff too.


andre the giant said:
Sorry if it seems like we've hijacked the thread, but someone asked for people to share their mistakes so that others could avoid them.
Your absolutely right. Couldn't help but add my idiocy in there too.

I have noticed through this thread that Mash Out temperature is not talked about. Before sparging with 168-170 sparge water you must bring your mash up to the temperature that you are going to sparge , right? If you don't your sparge won't be at the 170F that is coming from your sparge source. As that 170F water hits your strike temp mash, assuming you have been able to keep it at lets say 152F, the volume of your mash is going to suck the temp right out of that sparge water. So, I have learned to recirculate a calculated volume of first runnings that has been heated to boiling temp of 212f. Sometimes this takes two or three tries for me. This will help bring your mash temp up to the temp of sparging(Mash Out Temp). Your sparge should be kept at 168-170F , right? for ~60 minutes.

I remember my first sparge, I kept measuring the mash tun temp and was thinking ..this can't be right. Why would you be required to sparge at 168F
and your mash never maskes it above 160F. So, I started recirculating ,boiling it and bringing my mash up to the mash out temperature
of 168-170F.

This works for me, but, it has always been an assumption on my part that the mash must be at sparge temperature to stop Beta Amalyse .

If I am wrong , please, somebody stop me!
 

DeRoux's Broux

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do you have a pic of your tier system? i'm having one built now buy my HBC blacksmith. just wondering others have set up......
 

Sir Sudster

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Yeah, just go to the Sudster gallery. I have pics posted there. I built my own.
Didn't have a welder so I used threaded black pipe.
 
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SwAMi75

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Well, my worries are over. It finished at 1.012 after 5 days in secondary, and it tasted great.
 
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