Water 1st, or Grain 1st?

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blacklab

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Hey all;

I've seen this documented both ways. Do you add the strike water first, and then the grain, or the grain, then the water? On my first batch I added the water to the grain and everything seemed to work out OK.

Although I can see some benefit to sticking the water in first so you dial in your strike temp exactly.

thanks!
 

RICLARK

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blacklab said:
Hey all;

I've seen this documented both ways. Do you add the strike water first, and then the grain, or the grain, then the water? On my first batch I added the water to the grain and everything seemed to work out OK.

Although I can see some benefit to sticking the water in first so you dial in your strike temp exactly.

thanks!
Everyone Ive seen do it including myself add the water first.
 

cowgo

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I put down a couple inches of water first and then slowly dough in the grain simultaneously with the rest of the water, stirring all the time.

I've found that it's roughly 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain when I get to about an inch of water over the grain using this method. That makes it convenient as far as trying to be absolutely precise on the mash water and hasn't effected my efficiencies at all.
 

abracadabra

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By adding the hot water first you can basically pre-heat the cooler. Letting the hot water sit a few minutes before adding the grain also helps keep the temp steady during the entire mash.
 

daholl01

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abracadabra said:
By adding the hot water first you can basically pre-heat the cooler. Letting the hot water sit a few minutes before adding the grain also helps keep the temp steady during the entire mash.
I think this is probably the most advantageous reason for putting the water first. Put in the water a bit hotter than your target mash temp, leave the top off and when you reach the target temp add your grain. Easy to get the right mash temp.
 

Dr_Deathweed

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+1 on water first. Do we need to tally? It looks pretty unanimous right now:D
 

Trappist Artist

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I like to add my grain first that way the highest temperature that the grain sees is the mash temperature. I just make sure to stir well to avoid the clumping situation.
 

Jim Karr

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I lay in a small layer of grain over my CPVC manifold........it's not glued together, so I'm concerned that it might move or come apart as I pour in the water.

Then add water and grain together slowly. Sorry about the unanimous vote.:(
 

DaleWi

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What, there's no one right way to do this brewing thing? Man, this is hard.

I always heard to add grain to the water to keep the grains suspended and avoid a compacted grain bed. But then, if you stir, it shouldn't be an issue, should it?
 

Sean

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You who add the water to the grains. Do you ever have a problem with stuck sparge?
 

scottthorn

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abracadabra said:
By adding the hot water first you can basically pre-heat the cooler. Letting the hot water sit a few minutes before adding the grain also helps keep the temp steady during the entire mash.
Right on. I add a few inches worth of hot water then put the lid on for a bit to pre-heat the cooler. Add some grain, more water, more grain, more water, etc. and stir.
 
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blacklab

blacklab

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scottthorn said:
Right on. I add a few inches worth of hot water then put the lid on for a bit to pre-heat the cooler. Add some grain, more water, more grain, more water, etc. and stir.
so, doesn't the grain get superheated this way, at least for a little while?
since you add a small amount of grain to the hot water, it is absorbing all of the heat, whereas if you add all of the water to the grain at once(or vice versa), the full volume of grain will absorb the heat and distribute it more effectively.

I'm not sure if over heating the grain would produce funky flavors, tannins, etc. ?
 

Glibbidy

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I always add water to the grain.
Hard to believe there are only like five people on this forum that dough in around here. :confused:

Been brewing since 1991, and I have only ever had one stuck mash. I chalk that up to dialing in my barley crusher.
 

foxtrot

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I add enough water to cover the false bottom, then add about 2 qt water + 2lb of grain, stir, add another 2 qt water + 2 lbs grain, stir, repeat this until all grain is added. I may add more or less water; it's all by feel of the mash. I then give the whole thing a few good turns with my paddle. No dry/hot spots, no stuck sparges. Any left over water goes into my HLT. I also mix up my dry grist prior to adding to the MT for consistency in the bed. I think this is a good idea for us fly-spargers.
 

FlyGuy

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I am another one in the 'add the water to the MLT first, then the grain' camp. I do so for three reasons:
1. to pre-heat my cooler MLT and then quickly fix water temp BEFORE the grains go in
2. to make sure my braid is fully wetted and not floating up
3. in my experience, it is easier to add the grain to the water if you want it to mix evenly (i.e. avoid doughballs that rob efficiency)
 

uglygoat

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i put the water in, then the grain. i pull a bit out through the manifold to prime the set up as well, as has been talked about in the past. i also stir in rather slow, so that i get no dough balls. strike temp is 170-175 this winter, to make up for the heat loss from the grain, and the frikkin cold!!!

edit: glib, i've been reading this history of brews book bill posted about, and the ancients used to make loaves of bread, but not quite fully cooked, then drop them into vessels of water, let them break down, then mix and mash with their hands etc and make some beers. cool stuff, i might try a dough in next batch.
 

vtchuck

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I follow Palmer's method... a gallon of boiling water to pre-heat the mash turn. Swirl around and empty out.... save for sparge water... and add grain, then water and stir well. Temp seems to stay pretty steady during the mash with preheating.
 
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Grain first, water second, stir like crazy third! I do preheat the MLT with hot tap water, my water heater gets VERY hot. No stuck sparges yet, not even a hint of one.
 

uuurang

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Preheat with 2 gals. 190f for awhile, dump then add 3 qts of mash water then some grain till it gets too thick. Add some more water, then more grain till gets thick and so on.

This is a PITA. Seriously considering doing water first and adding all the grain at once. simpler, quicker and hence maybe I won't lose as much mash heat during these cold months of winter. Dough in temps are tougher to dial in, always lower.
 

WBC

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I have tried it both ways and for the life of me can not figure why some prefer grain first?? I have much more control over the strike temp before the grain ever hits the water and the grain is not on a roller coaster ride of temperature changes before I get the temp right. I hit my mash temp right on every time so how can this be bad? Strike water first, grain second.
 

RichBrewer

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Grain first makes no sense to me. Dry grain and flour against your false bottom or manifold can not be good. Plus you can not let your strike water equalize down to the dough-in temp.
Having said that, if you prefer grain first and it works for you then that is all that matters.
 
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WBC said:
I have tried it both ways and for the life of me can not figure why some prefer grain first?? I have much more control over the strike temp before the grain ever hits the water and the grain is not on a roller coaster ride of temperature changes before I get the temp right. I hit my mash temp right on every time so how can this be bad? Strike water first, grain second.
Roller coaster?!? I select the correct equipment profile in Beersmith, heat the strike water to the indicated temperature, dump it on top of the grain & stir, and I hit the mash temp dead on. I've never had to make any adjustment.

I have a simple braid in my MLT, with a piece of perforated tubing inside to give it some structure. The wort flows freely, and is clear after recirculating a quart or two. I've had consistent 75% efficiency the last several times, which I'm quite content with.
 

WBC

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I select the correct equipment profile in Beersmith, heat the strike water to the indicated temperature, dump it on top of the grain & stir, and I hit the mash temp dead on. I've never had to make any adjustment.
That works for you because you are an experienced brewer but for those who do not brew using fancy computer programs or are new to brewing it gives them a chance to correct a potential mash temp problem before it happens. That is the biggest problem for new brewers. Just look at the posts on this forum each week regarding mash temp problems.
 

Glibbidy

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Here's out it works in my brewery. I use a picnic cooler for a mash tun. In my world I usually dough in, and then heat my strike water up to eleven degrees hotter then my target temp. Then open up the valve and let it empty into the mash tun, stirring it up to get everythign adequately hydrated.

So in my brewery if I want to mash in at 152f, I heat the water up to 163 f, and voila! Works like a charm. If your mash tun is something different you make not enjoy the same results, but if your using a picnic cooler. It should work.

BTW I don't use fancy programs to formulate my recipes, but Ido have some experience.;)

EDIT: IF I DON'T DOUGH IN.
 

jayhoz

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Glibbidy said:
Here's out it works in my brewery. I use a picnic cooler for a mash tun. In my world I usually dough in, and then heat my strike water up to eleven degrees hotter then my target temp. Then open up the valve and let it empty into the mash tun, stirring it up to get everythign adequately hydrated.

So in my brewery if I want to mash in at 152f, I heat the water up to 163 f, and voila! Works like a charm. If your mash tun is something different you make not enjoy the same results, but if your using a picnic cooler. It should work.

BTW I don't use fancy programs to formulate my recipes, but Ido have some experience.;)
I'm glad this works for you, but it won't work for everyone. You must have your grains stored in a climate controlled area because there is no way you are going to hit 152 F if your grains are at say 60 F when you dough in.
 

Glibbidy

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jayhoz said:
I'm glad this works for you, but it won't work for everyone. You must have your grains stored in a climate controlled area because there is no way you are going to hit 152 F if your grains are at say 60 F when you dough in.
EDIT: if I don't dough in.
If I'm doughing in, I'm usually performing a decoction, and well, that is an entirely different story.;)
 
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