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Snafu

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New to AG so I wanted to ask a few quick questions.

1 If I do several rests (protien, starch, mash out) do I run off the wort and heat that up to mash temp after the protien rest or add 'clean' heated water?

2 If I need to boost the temp during the mash, again do I use the mash water or 'clean' water?

3 just how clear will the wort get after I pull off a gallon or so before the sparge?

After I did my 1st AG these were just a few of the things I wasn't sure about!

Thanks!
 

ClutchDude

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Ok. I'm not the most experienced brewer, but I'll take a stab at it.

1. While the mash process is up for debate, generally, you do not need to do a protein rest unless it's a wheat beer with a lot of unmodified base. Doing so without a need can actually hurt head retention.

A Mashout is also being debated. Some say they get higher than ever eff. % with it. Some don't.

The ideal way is to add your mash water then heat the MLT to each stage, rather than try to deal with infusing water to heat it up. I don't do anything but a single Starch conversion, so you'll have to search around.

2. Again, I'd either heat the vessel or do an infusion of hot "clean" water. You can heat the wort but how would you heat it, say, over the MLT?

3. Clear in what sense? After vorlaufing, you should not have any bits of grain or other pieces. Color wise, the runnings will not become clearer until after sparging.

Just my experience. Hope this helps a little.
 
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Snafu

Snafu

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Thanks Dude, Up until yesterday I didn't know this forum was here. Been doing nothing but reading books. Theres a ton of "gee I wish I knew that" information on here. I'm using a converted round cooler to mash in so I can't heat that. I noticed during my first mash the temp got a little low so I just added water, not thinking, I used my heated up sparge water to boost the temp. This of course robbed me of about 3-4 qrts of sparge water. Duh! I think next time I will condition the mash tun better before adding the mash water. I think that will help hold the temp better. Learn as you go ya know! :drunk:
 

Budzu

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I noticed during my first mash the temp got a little low so I just added water, not thinking, I used my heated up sparge water to boost the temp. This of course robbed me of about 3-4 qrts of sparge water.
This is how I correct mash temps. I have my sparge water measured out and heating while mashing. If I need to add heat, I take it from the sparge water, so that all my volumes still end up as planned. I use it boiling though, to use as little as possible.
 
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Snafu

Snafu

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But it robs you of the sparge water right? I mean, isn't the correct amount of sparge water just as important? Do you add more water to your hot water to make up for it?
 

Budzu

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But it robs you of the sparge water right? I mean, isn't the correct amount of sparge water just as important? Do you add more water to your hot water to make up for it?
No I don't add back to the sparge water. I do 2 batch sparges that together equal roughly 50-55% of my final pre-boil volume. By adding some water boiling from my first sparge into my mash, I'm not changing the ratio by much at all. It doesn't help much to be too picky about your mash water/sparge water ratio anyway. Roughly half-and-half is fine.
 

Minky

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New to AG so I wanted to ask a few quick questions.

1 If I do several rests (protien, starch, mash out) do I run off the wort and heat that up to mash temp after the protien rest or add 'clean' heated water?

2 If I need to boost the temp during the mash, again do I use the mash water or 'clean' water?

3 just how clear will the wort get after I pull off a gallon or so before the sparge?

After I did my 1st AG these were just a few of the things I wasn't sure about!

Thanks!
Hi SNAFU

If you need to step more than once, you're better off directly heating the mash tun or doing decoctions. It takes a lot more boiling water than you'd think to raise the mash temp due to the thermal mass of the mash. You don't want to run off the wort from your mash tun and heat that to the next step temp because it would barely budge the overall temp of the mash when added back, and you definitely don't want to boil the wort because you would kill off your enzymes.
 
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Snafu

Snafu

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Minky, Yeah, I think i'll just stick to single infusions with maybe a mash out. that shouldn't take but a couple of extra qts. Mash tun is a cooler so no heating.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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Random thoughts:
You don't want to run off the wort from your mash tun and heat that to the next step temp because it would barely budge the overall temp of the mash when added back, and you definitely don't want to boil the wort because you would kill off your enzymes.
You can do that...people do it all the time.

If you infuse hot clean water then it's called an infusion.
If you pull wort from the mash and heat it and then return it to the main mash then it's called a decoction. Decoctions are often boiled for a while.

Many people do a mash-out decoction because it would take too much water to do it via infusion and you'd be using up your precious sparge water. So they just pull a thin-mash decoction consisting of mostly or all liquid...heat it and possibly boil it...then return it. EDIT: Thin-mash decoctions work well for mashing-out because the wort is already converted. If you were using a decoction to increase the temp earlier in the mash (before it was all converted)...you would typically pull a thick-mash decoction. Most of the enzymes are in the liquid.

Remember that it takes a lot more hot water to go from 158 F to 168 F than it does to go from 108 F to 118 F...even though they are both a 10 degree increase.

Luckily, when you do lower temperature rests they typically benefit from a thick mash and as you increase the temp the mash benefits from being thinner so infusing your way up works very well...thick at the beginning and thinner at the end.

If you want to practice it...you could try starting at something like 145 F for 30 minutes then infuse (or decoct) up to 155 F for 30 minutes. Even if you miss by a few degrees it should still be fine.

The wort going into the kettle doesn't have to be that clear, just no grains/husks/chunks. If it's got some really fine particles in it that's OK...you don't want it really cloudy...but it doesn't have to be super clear either. Besides...it will clear more as you go so only the very first runnings will be that turbid (and it will all settle out...the beer will be crystal clear).
 

Minky

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Hi SpanishCastle,
Yeah, I was afraid maybe my answer was a little too vague. If you'll notice, I did mention decoctions as a means to stepping up mash temps, and made a distinction (rightly or wrongly) between that and drawing off the liquid wort and heating it. I was afraid that SNAFU would think that he could draw off the entire liquid portion, boil it, and return it to the mash as a means to step from a protein rest to the sacharrification rest. It would definitely be a legitimate way to mash out, but an enzyme killer at any other stage.

Additionally, I must say that I have attempted to infuse my way through several rests beginning at 122 deg., and you definitely need a lot of room in a mash tun to do it.
 

ClutchDude

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Minky-Don't worry. Kaiser actually talks about that in his decoction video. The concern of denaturing those enzymes exists. It's just outweighed by the fact you have so much more in your mash already that can make up for the loss.

snafu-It sounds like you've got the right idea. Now just give it another brewday and report back if it's helped out
 

Minky

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Thanks Dude, Up until yesterday I didn't know this forum was here. Been doing nothing but reading books. Theres a ton of "gee I wish I knew that" information on here. I'm using a converted round cooler to mash in so I can't heat that. I noticed during my first mash the temp got a little low so I just added water, not thinking, I used my heated up sparge water to boost the temp. This of course robbed me of about 3-4 qrts of sparge water. Duh! I think next time I will condition the mash tun better before adding the mash water. I think that will help hold the temp better. Learn as you go ya know! :drunk:
Hey SNAFU,
I also use a round cooler for a mashtun, and I have found that if I use the strike-water temps recommended for a NON-preheated mash tun in a book called "Brewer's Companion" (author?), I usually hit dead on. According to the table, if you are using 1.25 quarts of water per lb. of grain, you need 170 deg. strike water to hit a 151.5 deg. mash temp.

I use the table, and when I am adding the strike water I hold back a quart or so from the mash while I thoroughly stir it. I then check the mash temp in several places before I add any more of the strike water.
 

Minky

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Minky-Don't worry. Kaiser actually talks about that in his decoction video. The concern of denaturing those enzymes exists. It's just outweighed by the fact you have so much more in your mash already that can make up for the loss.

snafu-It sounds like you've got the right idea. Now just give it another brewday and report back if it's helped out
Well, as Johnny Carson used to say, "I did NOT know that"!!

Wow, I guess I was just parroting the dogma of the brew club. I just figured if you denatured the enzymes in the liquid wort, you wouldn't have enough to carry on the conversion.

Now, does that mean that you can use higher temps in a recirculating system to speed up your temp change in order to do a proper step mash without heating the mash tun?
 

jjayzzone

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When you add your strike water to the mash tun, way overshoot your strike temperature. I learned this after my first AG. So, if your strike temperature is 170 degrees....put the water in the tun at 180ish, let it cool down to 170 (this pre-heats the mash tun), and then add the grain to get down to your mash temperature. Sorry if someone already said this....I didn't read every bit of every post. Then you won't have to worry about heating your mash back up.

Go to beersmith.com and get the free 21 day trial. This will help you out a ton.
 
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Snafu

Snafu

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Go to beersmith.com and get the free 21 day trial. This will help you out a ton.
Yeah, I downloaded that a few days ago, also trying out BTP. Both seem to have their good and bad points but beersmith seems more user friendly. I'm having a bit of a struggle getting the set-up right. I like to flysparge and not exactly sure how to set that. I'm assuming if you do not select batch sparge it will, and I hate to say, 'assume', its flysparge. This weekend i'll boil plain water to set my boil-off and my LHBS gave me some basic grain absorption figures to use.

Cheers!
 

Minky

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When you add your strike water to the mash tun, way overshoot your strike temperature. I learned this after my first AG. So, if your strike temperature is 170 degrees....put the water in the tun at 180ish, let it cool down to 170 (this pre-heats the mash tun), and then add the grain to get down to your mash temperature. Sorry if someone already said this....I didn't read every bit of every post. Then you won't have to worry about heating your mash back up.

Go to beersmith.com and get the free 21 day trial. This will help you out a ton.
Hey Snafu,
The above is a good method. Just don't use my figures to do it. In my method, the 170 deg. is the "overshot" temp that cools down to the proper strike temp (somewhere in the 160's). It just happens that the "Brewer's Companion" figures work real well in the round coolers, and you don't have to wait for the cool-down.
 

jjayzzone

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I'm having a bit of a struggle getting the set-up right. I like to flysparge and not exactly sure how to set that. I'm assuming if you do not select batch sparge it will, and I hate to say, 'assume', its flysparge.
Water quantities should be the same for a batch sparge and a fly-sparge. Your difference would be that you'd get better efficiency with the fly-sparge. So...choose one of the methods in beersmith that have a batch sparge and go ahead and fly-sparge. I've never fly-sparged, though, so i'm just assuming the water quantities would be the same.

So, your mash profile would be something like; single infusion, (x) body, batch sparge.
 
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