Long Recirculating Mash Question

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deBREWler

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Has anyone experimented with the idea of mashing for 2+ hours?

Long story short, I can't lock myself in my garage or basement for a proper brew day so I've been brainstorming ways to modify my brew day to accommodate my family and children's needs.

My HEX (standalone HERMS) will maintain mash temp essentially forever and I know a lot of you have HERMS and RIMS systems as well. Has anyone split their brew day up and mashed for a long time?

Thanks.
 

BredStik

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I might be wrong, but as far as I know, it shouldn't make much of a difference of you mash for this extended period.
 

jrodmfish

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As long as temperatures are maintained there’s no issue with a long mash.
 

bgradidge

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With a very long mash , as I understand it, you will get more beta amalyse enzyme action, so you will end up with a more attenuated beer. Not a bad thing necessarily. As I understand it super-long 3 hour mashes are common practice in the ab-inbev plants for this reason.
 

Smellyglove

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You'll get a higher efficiency, and more fermentable wort.
 

SoCal-Doug

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As I understand it super-long 3 hour mashes are common practice in the ab-inbev plants for this reason.
That's because their grain bill is only 2% malt with a bunch of corn, rice and dish soap for flavor. It takes that long for anything fermentable to emerge :)
 

augiedoggy

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Yes, If the big guys are doing it, you can be pretty sure its for reasons of cost control, and not quality of product.
Well in fairness it costs more and uses more time so I would think better efficiency is what they have found and enough to justify the lost time and energy (literally) . is much as we like to rag on bud they have great consistency in thier product and the lack of flavor good or bad, they were going for is something they achieved very well so I'd say they have a quality product for what it is. especially after having some of the skunky cheaper adjunct beers I've had over the years.

I personally have found my average efficiency has gone from 86% to the last three beer brewing sessions being between 88 and 91% by just increasing my sparge time by slowing the rate considerably during the fly sparge so....
 

Smellyglove

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Well in fairness it costs more and uses more time so I would think better efficiency is what they have found and enough to justify the lost time and energy (literally) . is much as we like to rag on bud they have great consistency in thier product and the lack of flavor good or bad, they were going for is something they achieved very well so I'd say they have a quality product for what it is. especially after having some of the skunky cheaper adjunct beers I've had over the years.

I personally have found my average efficiency has gone from 86% to the last three beer brewing sessions being between 88 and 91% by just increasing my sparge time by slowing the rate considerably during the fly sparge so....
But is this calculating for the extra volume of wort a longer sparge yields, comparing to a fast sparge? It's easy to bump numbers while cont sparging, but it depends if it's worth extra time/extra oz of grains. But this means higher preboil volume, which means you need to boil it down more.
 

augiedoggy

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But is this calculating for the extra volume of wort a longer sparge yields, comparing to a fast sparge? It's easy to bump numbers while cont sparging, but it depends if it's worth extra time/extra oz of grains. But this means higher preboil volume, which means you need to boil it down more.
Maybe im just not explaining it right... Same amount into the BK and same amount of boiloff... just slower sparge into MT and to BK after recirculating for an hr and transferring mash wort over the same way. I set my HLT pump to 15% speed and the flow is little more than a trickle. I aim for the same 11.50-12 g into the bk and same 10.50 gallons into the fermenter depending on boil time (60 or 90 mins)

I used to fly sparge in under 10 mins.
 
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Smellyglove

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Maybe im just not explaining it right... Same amount into the BK and same amount of boiloff... just slower sparge into MT and to BK after recirculating for an hr and transferring mash wort over the same way. I set my HLT pump to 15% speed and the flow is little more than a trickle. I aim for the same 11.50-12 g into the bk and same 10.50 gallons into the fermenter depending on boil time (60 or 90 mins)

I used to fly sparge in under 10 mins.
Right. If you fly sparged under 10 mins I guess you either had low preboil volume, if you used a fixed amount of sparge water, or a lower grav if you used an indef amount of sparge water. So it makes sense.
 

augiedoggy

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Right. If you fly sparged under 10 mins I guess you either had low preboil volume, if you used a fixed amount of sparge water, or a lower grav if you used an indef amount of sparge water. So it makes sense.
I dont understand what your saying... I mash with the same amount of liquid and sparge with the same amount of liquid out of the HLT according to beersmith... The only difference is how quickly I rinse the grains and drain the MT during the sparge.. I do not raise my mash temp during the recirulation temp to "mashout" instead I just start introducing 170 degree water as the remaining wort drains through. when im done recirculating I just turn two valves as I turn on the hlt pump so instead of recirculating at that point its diverted to the BK and the sparge water comes in to replace it as it drains from the MT.
 

Smellyglove

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I dont understand what your saying... I mash with the same amount of liquid and sparge with the same amount of liquid out of the HLT according to beersmith... The only difference is how quickly I rinse the grains and drain the MT during the sparge.. I do not raise my mash temp during the recirulation temp to "mashout" instead I just start introducing 170 degree water as the remaining wort drains through.
Right. I'm just relating to own experiences. Very quick sparge left me with low preboil volume, since I only used a give amount of sparge water (defined by BS), If I'd use an indef amount of sparge water and sparged quick, I'd get correct volume but lower SG. Mash tun would be full of water (and sugars) in the latter example.
 

augiedoggy

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When I sparged quickly I often started pulling air toward the end before I had the correct volume so I would shut down the sparge pump and let the grain "drain" into the area below the FB then top off the kettle ten minutes or so later so technically it took longer than ten minutes either way.
 

SoCal-Doug

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A lot depends on equipment, grind, grain bill and process. I've been on a nerd mission for months to bump my average to 94 or better (i'm hovering around 91-92). I'm finding my highest efficiency (with identical batches) happens at 30 to 40 minutes sparge time. I can't gain anything by going longer. It definitely improves when I raise the recirculation to 168-170 before beginning the sparge. One time I hit 96% by stirring the grain every 15 minutes during mashing, and during the sparge I shut off the output, did a gentle stir, recirculated until again clear, then resumed the sparge. I did that twice during sparging. Totally not worth the effort and risky for tannins, proteins and other caca, but I was bored and decided to goof around.
 
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Smellyglove

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When I sparged quickly I often started pulling air toward the end before I had the correct volume so I would shut down the sparge pump and let the grain "drain" into the area below the FB then top off the kettle ten minutes or so later so technically it took longer than ten minutes either way.
That makes sense. Done it myself. Drained too fast, start boil, drain off remaining wort from mash and add.
 

Smellyglove

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Actually it wouldn't. The way of diffusion of sugars are different with both techniques. A batch sparge would be way more efficient than a 10 minute fly sparge. But he said he drained afterwords too.
 

day_trippr

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A proper fly sparge could never be done in 10 minutes unless the batch size was under a gallon.
And if the MLT runs dry at the end of the sparge, it's more batch than fly...

Cheers!
 

Smellyglove

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A proper fly sparge could never be done in 10 minutes unless the batch size was under a gallon.
And if the MLT runs dry at the end of the sparge, it's more batch than fly...

Cheers!
If I understood you correctly, I disagree. I mean that the grainbed should be dry when reaching preboil volume. That's when you've calculated the water volumes correctly. You've gotten everything you can from both water and sugars. If you still keep pouring water onto that grainbed when you've reached preboil volume you're just wasting water.
 

Smellyglove

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And then we run a wort chiller for 20 or 30 minutes :)
That's not the point..

If you have control over your process, why would you need to use more water? Or grains, or whatever, yeast, hops..
 

SoCal-Doug

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Having the grain in solution/submerged (IMHO) must be more effective in more efficient sparging. I sparge with a whirlpooling 2" of hot liquor on top the grain bed until the preboil volume is reached. End runnings always show 1.008 or 1.009 and a pH of 5.9 to 6.1. I the last 10 years, whenever I've tried a batch sparge or otherwise let the bed run dry, efficiency has dropped. I'm definitely not worried about leaving a gallon or two of waste water in the MLT. Sometimes however (on those days i'm dreading cleanup), when i'm a gallon or two away from the preboil level, I will sometimes shut down the HL flow.
 
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Smellyglove

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Having the grain in solution/submerged (IMHO) must be more effective in more efficient sparging. I sparge with a whirlpooling 2" of hot liquor on top the grain bed until the preboil volume is reached. End runnings always show 1.008 or 1.009 and a pH of 5.9 to 6.1. I the last 10 years, whenever I've tried a batch sparge or otherwise let the bed run dry, efficiency has dropped. I'm definitely not worried about leaving a gallon or two of waste water in the MLT. Sometimes however (on those days i'm dreading cleanup), when i'm a gallon or two away from the preboil level, I will sometimes shut down the HL flow.
A gallon or two away from preboil volume? I calculate as gallons to be 3,7854x Liter. I don't know how big batches you brew, like really large ones?

I'm walking in circles if I'm 200ml short in my 18.5ish/60min boil setup.
 

ba-brewer

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Has anyone split their brew day up and mashed for a long time?
I have let a mash sit for a couple hours to run and do errands with OK results. Have also collected wort and allowed to sit for a few hours before doing the boil with OK results.

I usually try for medium to medium low body beers but if I was doing a beer that I wanted more body I don't think I would do an extended mash or let the wort sitting without doing a mashout.
 
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SoCal-Doug

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Smelly, my 2" of hot liquor above the grain bed during sparge is roughly 1.4 gallons (7.25" radius, 2" height = 330 cubic inches = 1.43 gallons), I have 0.3gal below the false bottom to play with. The grain is fully submerged and therefore fully saturated. Since there is space between the grain (it is not a solid), even at 10% space a 5 gallon volume would provide another .5 gallons of free fluid. Gravity and compaction will release an additional amount. Therefore... stopping the hot liquor flow between 1 and 2 gallons before the preboil volume is reached, is no problem in 5 or 10 gallon batch sizes.

But now that I re-read your reply, you may have misunderstood. I stop the hot liquor flow a gallon or so before the pre-boil level is reached, but the MLT drain is still flowing into the BK. I close that valve when at my pre-boil level.

Yes, you could calculate your sparge volume to the ml if you wanted to. You could even put flow meters on the lines and not waste a single milliliter. Of course you might want to take evaporation during mash and HLT heating into consideration, and to be accurate, you should be using ambient temperature and barometric pressure. Don't forget expansion and contraction of the fluids based on temperature. Checking the moisture level of all the grain would be handy also. But since the wasted sparge liquor volume has zero effect on any calculation, result or the position of Jupiter, dumping a gallon or two of water with the spent grain is not on my radar :)

Don't fret on 200ml. Sparge a little more and stop when you have your quantity. Don't worry about the grain having a little more water in it.
 
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Smellyglove

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Smelly, my 2" of hot liquor above the grain bed during sparge is roughly 1.4 gallons (7.25" radius, 2" height = 330 cubic inches = 1.43 gallons), I have 0.3gal below the false bottom to play with. The grain is fully submerged and therefore fully saturated. Since there is space between the grain (it is not a solid), even at 10% space a 5 gallon volume would provide another .5 gallons of free fluid. Gravity and compaction will release an additional amount. Therefore... stopping the hot liquor flow between 1 and 2 gallons before the preboil volume is reached, is no problem in 5 or 10 gallon batch sizes.

Yes, you could calculate your sparge volume to the ML if you wanted to. You could even put flow meters on the lines and not waste a single milliliter. Of course you might want to take evaporation during mash and HLT heating into consideration, and to be accurate, you should be using ambient temperature and barometric pressure. But since the wasted sparge liquor volume has zero effect on any calculation or result, dumping a gallon or two of water with the spent grain is not on my radar :)
Aha. My bad. I thought you were actually missing your preboil volume by a gallon or two.

I was more toward that if you use more water than necessary you're wasting volume in you HLT, energy to heat it up, and you need to dump all this water unless you're ok with brewing with "old" water next time. I don't know how much the "old" water has to say though. But It doesn't seem to great, for some reason.
 

SoCal-Doug

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I sparge with pure RO water (I don't add any chemistry to the HLT, only the MLT). If i'm going to brew again in the next few weeks, I will definitely save the water from the HLT. I fill the MLT and lines to the volume needed for strike, then put 12 to 13 gallons in the HLT for heat exchange and sparging (I need 9.5 gallons to cover the coils). At 25 cents a gallon, yep, that 12 gallons goes back into the jugs :)
 

augiedoggy

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All I care about here really is what works well and I have no complaints with my process... Also I often have just enough water in my HLT to get through the brew and sometimes even have to add more so im not really seeing the point in wasting it by leaving a bunch in the MT at the end but sometimes it does happen if I miscalculate for whatever reason.

The point is a longer sparge does increase my efficiency but even with a 10 minute "rinse" I still average 86% so im ok either way... if I have the extra time I use it. I think the OP will be fine either way because he has everything to gain and nothing to lose by extending his mash time as well as sparge to do other things he has to get done.
 

processhead

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My experience has been similar to Augiedoggy's

The two factors that improved my extraction efficiency the most were:

1) Reducing the run off flow rate (increasing the runoff duration) while fly sparging. No change in preboil volume

2 Elevating the mash temp to 168 degrees (mashout) prior to starting the run off.
 
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