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Temperature woes!!

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bernerbrau

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So I'm about midway through my partial mash; about a 25% to a third through my brew day. 4.5 lbs of grain for my partial; 1.4 gallons for the infusion mash.

Target temperature was 156*F for the alpha rest; I calculated 169*F for the necessary water temp. Only after adding the grains to the mash water did I realize my mistake: I was using refrigerated grains!! Temp came up to 149. I thought no problem, I'll put the oven temp up to 155*F and let it climb up over the next hour.

Mash time finishes, and I find out the grains never made it past 150! Wort is bitter, like no sweetness at all. So I put the pot back on the burner and try to monitor the temperature until it gets past 155, figuring I can throw it back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Apparently I took too long to stir or something because it shot right up to 180*F between checks!

Figuring I have now killed all the enzymes, I filtered out the grains and went right to sparge/mashout, where I'm waiting now. Since I'm using 8 lbs extract, I have resolved to RDWHAHB.

But tell me, did I botch this partial mash, or is there hope?
 

jcarson83

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Did you take a gravity reading before adding the extract? I would guess that you got some conversion. 149 is fine it will just take a little longer and change you attenuation. You should be fine though since its a mini mash.
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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My gravity reading for the mash wort is 1.067. This is before combining with sparge wort and water/DME for the boil. But, I was kind of under the impression that unfermentables and longer carbohydrate chains contribute to the gravity as well.
 

TeleTwanger

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why were the grains refridgerated? Cool, dark is sufficient for temp storage. Since most of the fermentables are from extract I wouldn't worry about it. You most likely got some fermentables and color from the grain. Actually 1.067 for 4.5 lbs/1.4 gallons is around 60% so your fine.

Whats the OG supposed to be? If you're getting 1.018 from the grain + 8 lbs DME thats gonna be a huge beer 1.090 or so.
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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You most likely got some fermentables and color from the grain.
What about flavor/head retention? I'm kind of depending on the grain bill for that since I'm using extra light DME. I used Vienna, 2-Row, Crystal, Flaked Wheat, Munich, and CaraPils. Any of that going to be badly affected by a low efficiency mash?
 

Rick500

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I keep my crushed grains in the freezer if it's going to be a little while before I use them, so you're not alone. :)
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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Whats the OG supposed to be? If you're getting 1.018 from the grain + 8 lbs DME thats gonna be a huge beer 1.090 or so.
Yeah 1.090, it's a super-bitter imperial IPA.
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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Well, this is shaping up to be a crappy brew day. While pulling the grain bag out of the sparge water to let it drip, I accidentally dropped it back in there, splashing wort all over the kitchen! Grr...
 

DaleJ

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Do you stir your grains before you take a temperature reading?

Seems strange that after an hour in the oven there wasn't any temp change.

Next time, since you're using a heatable tun, put it on the burner to get the temp up to your target before putting it in the oven; stirring thoroughly to take your readings.
Once you're almost up to target put it in the oven set at target temp.
 

WBC

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Quit fighting it, get a cooler to mash in. It is way more stable temperature and you will get better results. It's insulated.
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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OK, adding 0.5 ounces of whole hops to a hop bag every minute for 10 minutes while trying to keep each addition well-mixed into the wort is a difficult task. I originally had a stoneware dish that I kept putting my next hop addition into ahead of time, until I dropped the whole damn thing into the wort, dish and all. I fished it out at the end of the boil and scooped out most of the hop leaves and added them into the hop bag with the flameout hops.

If this ain't the brewday of screwups...
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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Quit fighting it, get a cooler to mash in. It is way more stable temperature and you will get better results. It's insulated.
Been debating it, but I've seen most of them for $20-$30. Right now my discretionary is such that I have to choose between brewing and better equipment each month...

And in any case since I only partial-mash right now it seems like I should just wait until I can buy the real deal and go all-grain.
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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Topping off the problematic brew day: my 11 ounces of whole hops absorbed about a third of my wort. I had plenty of top-off water on hand but even so I managed only to get about 3-4 gallons pitching volume.

For all my trouble, this had better be one extraordinary beer.
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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Not to mention the wort is SO thick and sludgy that I couldn't possibly filter it, so I just dumped it straight into the carboy from the kettle after cooling, and even after it's mixed it separates out into two layers.
 

WBC

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Hops or trub in the wort does not hurt anything so do not worry, it will be fine. When time to keg or bottle it will have compacted down into a small layer on the bottom of the carboy.
 

goplayoutside

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I always brew with whole hops and just dump the wort through a strainer into my fermenter (using a funnel of course if it's a carboy but I use a bucket). When the strainer gets full I use a saucepan to ladle top-off water through the hops a few times to get the extract out, dump the hops, and repeat. Then again, I don't usually brew crude oil...
 

TeleTwanger

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What about flavor/head retention? I'm kind of depending on the grain bill for that since I'm using extra light DME. I used Vienna, 2-Row, Crystal, Flaked Wheat, Munich, and CaraPils. Any of that going to be badly affected by a low efficiency mash?
You're at 60% efficiency which is kind of low but still ok....The only thing I would do is brew smaller beers. 1.090 and 11 ounces of hops is just asking for trouble with the size of your system IMO.
 
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bernerbrau

bernerbrau

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You're at 60% efficiency which is kind of low but still ok....The only thing I would do is brew smaller beers. 1.090 and 11 ounces of hops is just asking for trouble with the size of your system IMO.
Meh... It's done. I just kind of wanted to expand my horizons since I'm probably gonna be done brewing for a couple months.
 

Whisler85

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the carapils malt should make sure you have plenty of head, as long as you have proper carbonation

i havent dont a partial mash of the size you are doing, but i feel like you get the same feeling i often get- too high of a partial mash temperature=too many unfermentables=beer with way too high of a final gravity, no matter how much attenuating you do

i dont know if thats what you were asking a few posts ago, but thats what i want to know: does partial-mashing at too high of a temperature cause bad fermentability?
 

broadbill

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i dont know if thats what you were asking a few posts ago, but thats what i want to know: does partial-mashing at too high of a temperature cause bad fermentability?

A high mash temp will indeed affect the fermentability of a partial mash, but it won't be as bad if you had a high mash temp for an AG batch. All of the fermentables in a AG batch come from the mashing of the grain. A partial mash is a mix of mashed grains and malt extract. Therefore, your fermentability will suffer in a PM batch in relation to the ratio of OG contributed by the mashed grain versus the amount of extract you add.
 
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