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Third AG Batch, Not Sure What I'm Looking At

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DaleWi

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Yesterday I brewed my third all-grain batch. I overshot my mash temp, tried cooling with cold water, overdid it and dropped my mash temp to 140F. I gradually added small quantities of hot water to raise the temp, it took me an hour to get it up to 150F, and I ended up with a pretty thin mash, roughly 2-2.5 qts. per lb. of grain. I let it sit at 150F for an hour.

After fly sparging, I noticed something in the grainbed I had never seen before. In my previous two batches, the grainbed looked like just that, grain. This time it looked like the grain was covered in about .25" of sand. Not sure what to make of this, my first two batches I used 2-row as the base grain, this recipe was 5 lb. 2-row and 3 lb. Munich. So I'm curious, is it the grain, the thinner mash, the longer mash, or what? Or was the grain just crushed finer this time and had more flour?

Also, what can I expect from my accidental step mash? I'm guessing my beer is going to be drier than expected.
 

WBC

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It should have been like every other mash. The fact that you played with the grains did not help but what I can't figure is why you are having so much trouble with strike temp.

Do you use a program to figure your strike temp? What temp was that supposed to be?

I punched in what you had and BeerSmith says 10 QTS at 161.4 F and so the way I do that is to go hotter on the water and stir in 10 qts at 170 F and put the lid on. I wait 8 minutes and stir and take the temp. If it was at 162 F I would dump in the grains. If still to high I would adjust a bit cooler and stir and cover wait 5 minutes and check it again to see if you are at 161.4. Once it is stabilized at around 161.4 I would drain any excess water over 10 qts and stir in the grains and check it and it should be spot on. If not wait an additional 5 minutes, stir and check again. It takes some time for ttemps to stabilize so be careful or you will go off the other way (too cold). The secret is water then grain. Another tip is to keep your grains in the house for the brew so they are at room temp. If they are outside and it is cold that takes a hit on the mash tun temp and makes it lower. You want 1.25 qts/LB strike water. I hope this helps.......
 

TexLaw

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That "sand" is just the smaller bits that settled on the top after fly sparging. That's the way it's supposed to work. Your thinner mash probably let more of those smaller bits come loose to settle.

Yes, your beer likely will be drier than you had planned. Lower mash temps and thinner mashes tend to make more fermentable wort (although a mash that is too thin leads to less conversion overall).


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DaleWi

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WBC said:
Do you use a program to figure your strike temp? What temp was that supposed to be?
I don't use a program, what I did on my first two batches was heat the strike water to 170F, use it to heat the tun for five minutes, then dough in, at 1.3 qt./lb. On both of those my mash temp hit 154F. I decided to play with my mash temp this time around, and shoot for a mash of 150F. I heated the strike water to 166F, poured it in the tun, and was then distracted by a phone call, it set for 15 minutes. When I doughed in I still hit a mash temp of 154F, that's when I started to add cold water to bring it down a few degrees. I guess since it's been so cold lately, my water was much colder than anticipated and I very quickly dropped to 140F. Next time, if it ain't broke, I won't fix it.

I've got BeerTools Pro, and have been learning it as I play around with each batch. Next time I intend to use it to calculate water temps. And I'm hoping that the longer mash time will balance out any lower efficiency from a thin mash and the beer will still turn out roughly as planned. Thanks for the temp tips.
 

uglygoat

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just leave the lid off of it next time its a few degrees higher. 155 isn't that bad imo. :)
 

bigben

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Yea man, you should've just let it sit at 154. I almost always mash at 154.
 
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