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Mashing tips please?

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Steve973

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Hi Everyone! I'm new here, but not new to brewing. I've done several all-grain batches with friends, and I have the following equipment:

Cajun cooker powered by propane
Cooler with phil's false bottom for mashing
Polarware 10 gallon pot
and the other normal brewing stuff.

In a couple of weeks, I'm going to be brewing a belgian dubbel. The list of ingredients are as follows:

5 lbs Dewolf Cosyns pils or pale ale malt (2.3 kg)
3 lbs Durst Munich malt (1.4 kg)
2 lbs Weyermann Dark Munich malt (908 gr)
1.5 lbs Dewolf Cosyns Aromatic malt (681 gr)
0.75 lbs Dewolf Cosyns Carapils malt (341 gr)
0.25 lbs Caramunich malt (114 gr)
0.33 lbs Dewolf Cosyns Special B malt (150 gr)
1 oz Weyermann chocolate wheat malt (28 gr)
1 lb dark candi sugar (454 gr)
1 oz Styrian Goldings hop plugs, 5% alpha acid (28 gr) (1 hour)
0.25 oz Saaz hops, 3.9% alpha acid (7 gr) (15 minutes)
0.25 oz Saaz hops, 3.9% alpha acid (7 gr) (2 minutes)

I would like to get the best mash possible with my setup. The recipe calls for a single infusion mash at 155 degrees F, but is there a way I can get a better yield with a protein rest, and a multiple step infusion? If you mash in a cooler with a false bottom, how would *you* perform the mash to get the best results? It has been over a year since my last batch, and I'm a bit rusty.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Steve
 
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Steve973

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I've been reading in this forum for the past several minutes, and I have a few more points with which people might be able to help. Someone mentioned 5.2 ph stabilizer. I am definitely going to look for this - it'll be nice to take the guesswork out of water pH. But speaking of water, how important is it to adjust the chemistry of the water? I was thinking of getting bottles of poland spring water for the batch that I'll be doing. Would any of you recommend adding stuff to it? If so, what would you recommend?

Secondly, is it very important to add some boiling water to mash out at 170? I don't recall if I've ever done this before sparging. I think I've just sparged at the end of the mash after recycling a few times until the wort became clear. Also, my sparge water has always been brought to ~170, but I never thought to take a temperature reading in the mash to be sure that it remained at 170. I'm definitely going to pay closer attention to this. I'll try to get some good thermometer at the homebrew store before we brew.

It's great to have these forums. There are a few seemingly minor details that could make all the difference in an end product. Please feel free to elaborate or comment on any of these things. If anybody has anything that they'd like to add, I'm all ears/eyes. Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

Steve
 
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Steve973

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I have the round orange rubbermaid cooler for mashing/lautering. I hope it'll hold the ~13 lbs of grain and enough water. I think I've done this before with another batch, but I'm not positive.
 

Rhoobarb

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I just completed my 5th AG, so I'm no expert. I have hard well water that has a ph so high, it's off the chart! It tastes okay and I have a Pur filter. But, I've been using bottled water for my mash water, with nothing added. I plan to buy some of that 5.2 ph stabilizer so I can use my own water and stop having to by spring water. I've read good things about it.

You bring up some good questions; I'm curious to read answers from others here.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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Steve,

I used the same style set up for my all-grain batches, and did a mash out by adding boiling water, while i recirculated. I didn't notice a difference in ones I did a mash out on, and the ones I didn't. With today's modified malts, you'll have no problem getting a good conversion. I always had good results for that set-up.

The 5 gallon cooler should hold 13-14 lbs. of grain w/ the mash water, but it'll be close. Anything more and you'd need the 10 g cooler for a mash tun. I've done a batch w/ 13.5 lbs, no problem.

I don't bother w/ ph. I use 1 g bottled spring water and go with it. The main problem is sparging over 5.8 ph. Extracts to much tannins from the mash.

I'd go with what you know and use your experience from previous batches.
Good luck and welcome back!
 

Turricaine

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There are various ways you can play with the chemistry of your water if it is required. Firstly, you should cook up a few batches and see if you are getting quality beer before you commit yourself to changing anything. When I stayed at a hotel in Ibiza one year the water tasted like it had been piped in from the sea it was that salty. Clearly extreme circumstances as this calls for drastic measures. But complements on the recipe.
 

Sir Sudster

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Steve973 said:
I would like to get the best mash possible with my setup.
Steve, I would really like to pipe in here but I want to understand your question more thoroughly. What is your real goal in terms of mashing this recipe?
 

3rd and Long

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Steve,
The First AG I did was Dubbel.. it went off without a hitch, and my setup was very similar to yours. I did a single infusion with the stirke water at 158F, and then recircualted with a grant after the grains steeped for the required time.

Good luck!!
 

Turricaine

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Hey Steve thanks for the link. I would gladly try some of those recipes. The only problem is I dont trust my local homebrew shop will stock all of the speciality malts.
 
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Steve973

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Thanks for the responses, everyone. Between brewing and marine aquariums, I spend way too much time on forums, but I must admit that I'm addicted!

As far as the "specialty" grains... My local homebrew shop doesn't carry all of them. I had to special order the dark munich malt and the dark wheat malt, but I'd imagine that most homebrew shops could get ahold of what you need if you order them by the pound. It's worth a shot, anyway. That recipe particularly attracted me because it seemed like it'd be a darker brown ale (from what I could gather from the ingredients, and I could be misled because we all know that I'm no expert) like (hopefully) roquefort ten degree ale, or at least as dark as chimay premiere.

As far as the mashing goes, I want it all! Great extraction for high alcohol, and awesome flavor. I used to brew with a friend of mine who had very hard well water, and we could only get great stouts. The other batches were okay, but low in alcohol and sometimes sort of "grainy".

I'm encouraged by the things I've read about so far in the forums, and I think I'm off to a good start. I'm leaning more towards a single infusion mash at this point, but I'll try something different if people think it'll help.
 
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Steve973

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I'm also planning on using White Labs Abbey Ale yeast (wlp530). I'm not sure what the difference in the end result would be between that one and the trappist ale yeast (wlp500).
 

DeRoux's Broux

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Steve,
I'd make a nice starter for your dubbel, it will help get the fermentation going quick and help get the higher ABV you want.
 
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Steve973

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i had a yeast starter thread in the techniques forum. What exactly makes pitching more yeast all at once create higher alcohol by volume than allowing a package of yeast to multiply on its own, provided that the strain of yeast is adequately alcohol tolerant? Just curious.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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try www.whitelabs.com. they have a FAQ about yeast, from starters to fementing. can answer most of your questions. higher alcohol brews have more fermentable sugars in the wort than an average ale or lager. more fermentables require more yeast to achieve the higher abv. if you under picth, you leave a lot on the table.
 
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