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I just want to make sure I have the process down

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TVarmy

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I'm building my first mash tun, and I'm planning on doing my first AG beer in a week or two. I would like to know if I have the process right. After watching several videos and reading a few tutorials, this is what I think I've gleaned so far:

Heat the volume of water to be fermented (usually 5 gallons) slightly hotter than 153 fahrenheit and preheat the mash tun with hot water. Put the water in the mash tun, add the grain, and stir until it's steady and consistently at 153F and put the lid on and wait 45-90 minutes (depending on the recipe, etc). Drain the mash tun through heatproof tubing into a container, and wait for it to turn amber-clear (no hulls/grain) and put back the first runnings. Transfer wort to the kettle, then sparge (by pouring on 170F water) with roughly the amount of water absorbed by the grain, stopping if the hydrometer reading of the wort coming out goes beneath 1.010-1.008 (varies from source to source).

I'm also a bit confused on sparging. Do I stir the water into the grain bed, or just put it on top?

And can I use Betadine iodine (a first aid antiseptic) to test for conversion? Or should I buy some regular iodine or Iodosophor (I'm a starsan guy)?

I know to RDWHAHB, but there's a lot of small details to the process that are making me anxious.
 

phatuna

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Mischief_Brewing

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Hey Tim, if you're coming by tonight, plan on spending a half hour to drink a beer and we can discuss this. I'll show you my set-up and talk you through the process.
 

SumnerH

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And can I use Betadine iodine (a first aid antiseptic) to test for conversion? Or should I buy some regular iodine or Iodosophor (I'm a starsan guy)?
I would assume this applies to brewing:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs375
For this test, purchase products labeled as either "tincture of iodine" or "iodine tincture." These products contain iodine and sodium iodide dissolved in alcohol and water. Other iodine products that are labeled "iodine solution" such as Betadine® (povidone-iodine) contain surfactants and other chemicals that prevent them from reacting with starch.
I use Starsan, but I bought a small bottle of iodophor for conversion testing.
 

Bobby_M

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What kind of filter device are you putting in the mash tun? If you batch sparge, you add the sparge water in bulk, stir the hell out of it, then drain it. Seriously though, the fastest way to learn is to watch it happen.

May 1st is national homebrew day and there will be brewing all over NJ. We don't know where the WHALES are brewing yet unfortunately.
 
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TVarmy

TVarmy

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I'm using a stainless steel hose's mesh. I'm guessing that's meant for batch sparges?
 
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TVarmy

TVarmy

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So, I think I have the basics down after watching a few Youtube videos and browsing around these forums. Most of the details are about upping efficiency without creating tannic flavors, right? So what I most likely have to worry about is a low efficiency batch that I will need to compensate with DME?

Also, I have two (de facto) brew pots that are fairly small (4 gal and 3 gal), so I'm worried I might not have enough space for a proper boil. Should I use software like brewsmith to figure out how to convert a recipe to work with a partial boil (5 or 4 gals instead of 6)? I know that means less efficiency and more grain, but I'm not exactly ready to drop that much on an expensive 8 gallon brew pot like the big boys. I am, of course, watching Craigslist for cheap stockpots.
 

Bobby_M

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It will be a little tight with two 4 gallon pots, but you can hold back the last gallon of runnings in a separate container and add it after you've boiled the other pots down for about 20 minutes.
 
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TVarmy

TVarmy

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One question I have come up with: If I accidentally start it off too hot, will that do any damage to the enzymes? Say I want 152 degrees, and I accidentally hit 159, can I just stir it until it hits 152?
 

Bobby_M

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You can do more damage if you're over 160 and don't correct it within about 10 minutes. Stirring drops the temp a about a degree every two minutes in my experience. If you have to, you can add a tiny bit of cold water.
 

bctdi

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Don`t forget that your mash water will have to be hotter than the temp you are shooting for because the room temp grain and your cooler will cool the water a little.I usually mash in with around 170f water and end up at around 152f-154f....Then for your sparge you will want to add water that is around the low 190f range...that should put you with a grain temp of around 167-170f which is what you want for the sparge. If you sparge a second time though just add 170f water because the grain temp should already be close to that after the first sparge.My system is a 48qt cooler with a steel braided hose.Of course you will have to tweek it a little depending on how much grain you use from batch to batch, and your system will most likely be a little different than mine as far as heat retention.:mug:
 
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TVarmy

TVarmy

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For the record, my mash tun is a 10 gallon Igloo with brass fittings, which seems to be a pretty popular design here.
 
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