How Much Precision Do You Use w/ Managing Mash Temperature?

Post #1 made 2 years ago
I brewed this today. So let's say you have a mash temperature of 62 deg C / 144 F (German Pils). Planned for a two-step mash with the first part for 50 minutes. Strike temp was 149 deg F. I was quick with the stirring and when done the temperature was 145.5 deg F. Wrapped the pot and at 5 min in temp on the pot was 144.0 deg F. At 25 min in temp was 143 deg F. At 55 min in temp was 141 deg F. (Seems like once the blankets and sleeping bags warmed up they helped to stabilize temp quite a bit.

At 55 minutes (5 min late) I pulled the blankets and sleeping bag, pulled the bag part way and fired up the burner... Was shooting for 40 minutes at 70 deg C / 158 deg F, but since running long by 5 minutes on the Beta Amylase step decided to cut the Alpha Amylase step by 5 minutes...so 35 minutes. At 70 min in was at 154 deg F. At 80 min in was 157 deg F and I decided that was close enough... Shut off the burner and wrapped the pot back up. At 90 minutes temp was at 154 deg F and I fired the burner back up for a Mash Out.

"Old Hands" - do you think a Mash Out really makes a difference? I've began to normally not do it, but did today. Online talk, seems like most don't think it makes much difference... Supposedly if doing a regular 3V sparge it reduces chance of getting a stuck sparge somehow... Other than discussion on the forum now about Rye, stuck sparge isn't much of an issue for us with BIAB.

I was shooting for 170 deg F but at 110 minutes in I turned off the burner at 167 deg F for 10 minutes. At 120 min in was at 164 deg F and I pulled the bag...

If doing a single infusion mash I will normally start a degree or two high of my target temp and then when the temp drops to a couple degrees low will reheat the wort again. Normally one reheating during the mash at around 40-45 minutes for a 90 minute mash.

For those with experience, how do you do this? Do you pay closer attention than I do to the temperature, less, or about the same...? I brew on the back porch and sometimes (like today) can have a decent amount of wind. Otherwise, no problem with wind. Managed to hit my forecast gravities right on, and volume too (don't know how that happened...normally am off a little, here or there).

I know that there is no problem, per se'...my LHBS manager would say it's fine. And it makes good beer (I'm not worried about it). But I wondered how the experienced people on this forum would manage this. People on this forum, as a whole seem to dial things in with a lot more precision than regular 3V Brewers on average. Should I be adjusting the temperature more often than I do to closer align the temperature? This is something I've been wondering for several months now, each time I brew and finally took the time to write it out. Let me know what you think.

Thanks in advance!

Scott
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Post #2 made 2 years ago
Not that it will help you much Scott, but I think you will get different answers from everybody on this, as I think it has a lot to do with individual experience and (more importantly) their setup.

I have only direct fired during a mash on a couple of occasions, but that was more to try and step mash than reheat to mash temp. On those occasions I experienced burnt wort. :angry:
You see, I have a direct contact electric setup i.e. electric elements that sit in the wort, I suspect I had starches burning on my elements on these occasions. So now I never use the elements to raise temp until AFTER mashing is complete. If I need to reheat at all (raise temp/step mash etc.) I will do decoction.

For me it is all about managing the heat loss during mashing.
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Post #3 made 2 years ago
I'm with you on asking that question, Scott.
I think the answer is going to be 'You have to do the experiment.' I assume that commercial brewers seek consistency in their final product from a recipe and that they have done lots of tests of their temperature ramps/mash times. Then there is the money factor regarding energy and time for the batch to reach completion and they may make trade-offs (ugh! :roll: ).
I try to stick to a pre-written temperature plan, but if I'm off by 2 or 3 ºC, then I just record what happened and keep going. IF I repeat that recipe some day, I can try to repeat temperatures that were recorded, or the ones in the plan. The resulting beers get compared and IF any differences can be attributed to temperature, then a change might be in order - up? down? longer? shorter?
Repeated recipes and subsequent wait times for peak beer taste are very far apart for me while my tasting notes and consistency in personal preferences are not that reliable. There are just too many different beers I like for me to zero in on optimal temp/mash times for one recipe during the next 2 years.
Keep brewing and you will find yourself in one of three groups -
a) I must find the perfect temperature profile for the mash in my favorite beer, or
b) Hey, I made another good beer last month, the one in the fermenter is a different type and I just purchased ingredients for a new recipe.
c) Maybe I should be in the other group.
I am currently in group b.
Bob

Post #4 made 2 years ago
Scott - The mash-out can be studied over here; viewtopic.php?f=51&t=1669#p23824

When I used propane, I would watch the temp like a hawk, because "it's what you do". :lol: https://youtu.be/-lmw0d6S6jU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A 2° drop would make me gently heat and potato mash back up to temp. I used a dial thermo mounted on the keggle wall and I hung a 12" lab thermo in the mash. Also, I never insulated.

Image
5/21/2011 by Mad Scientist Brewhaus, on Flickr

Image
6/28/2013 by Mad Scientist Brewhaus, on Flickr

https://www.flickr.com/photos/madscientistbrewhaus/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by Mad_Scientist on 06 Jul 2016, 01:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #6 made 2 years ago
If doing a single infusion mash I will normally start a degree or two high of my target temp and then when the temp drops to a couple degrees low will reheat the wort again. Normally one reheating during the mash at around 40-45 minutes for a 90 minute mash.
This is essentially what I do here. Although, I do stir every 5-10 mins or so ... and usually have to fire up at least twice during a 90m mash (for 12G/46L VAW batches). Higher gravity stuff that I want higher attenuation on, I'll let drop up to 4-5F below target before I fire up. Anything that I desire to have a particular body by mashing 154+ I'll be a bit more anal about(no more than 2F under).
Last edited by Rick on 06 Jul 2016, 03:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #7 made 2 years ago
For me, it depends on the beer, but lately I like to stir every 15 mins or so, and if I am down 2 C or more I will generally reheat. For my first year or so BIABing I would insulate and leave it for the duration of the mash. Now I don't bother to insulate except in the winter, and try and stir every 15-20 mins. Has it made a noticeable difference in any of my beers? Not really honestly, at least not for me. I am with Rick though on beers that I prefer to have a specific body (generally the chewier ones), I pay more attention...
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How Much Precision Do You Use w/ Managing Mash Temperature?

Post #8 made 2 years ago
I would be surprised if in a home brew environment anyone can accurately measure temperature of a mash within 1C accuracy with any degree of consistency and I would also question whether anyone could taste the resulting difference in the final beer!

I think hitting a range for the mash is important so higher range, mid range or low range but that's about it.

There is also the possibility that if you turn off the heat at your desired temperature that it will continue to rise afterwards.

In terms of a mash out I generally ramp the temp up with the bag off the bottom of the pot using a skyhook until it gets over 75C. I would only do a rest at this temp for a high gravity beer.

Essentially it is about the viscosity of the wort. At higher temps it is less viscous and runs out of the grains more easily so from my experience it makes more difference as the gravity goes up.

The way I see it you need to increase the temp anyway so if you can suspend the grain effectively it is just as easy to leave it in and then let it drain as you ramp up to boiling.

Post #9 made 2 years ago
Thank you all very much for the thoughts and answers...!

MS - I went back and read the post on the Mash-Out... Thanks for posting. So the answer is Yes it makes a difference, but only on certain base malts. Some yes, some no... Did anyone dial in which were the malts that made a difference?

It would be nice to not cover the pot, like some of you do... Wrapping the pot is kind of a pain. But it is also a pain (minor pain, but one nonetheless) to partially pull the bag (try to pull the bag enough so it doesn't rest on the bottom and get a hole burned through), each time you have to fire up the burner... Can't fire up the burner until the bag gets pulled off the bottom of the pot. I don't like to compress the malt for long. Not sure if this is accurate but feel I may not get as much mash extraction if the malt is compressed (like you get with a bag pulled up off the bottom, to an extent, where liquid is squeezed from the grain)...so I like to minimize that as much as possible. How do you do this (same way as me)? I've read about a wire rack on the bottom but thought I read about supposed downsides to that...and have not done it. (Don't remember from where I read these..maybe here???).

Well overall, sounds like you think I'm not too far off... Try to keep it within a couple degrees Fahrenheit...and don't worry about it much beyond that.

Thanks again gentlemen...all of you that provided input, and if anyone has additional thoughts or info, please do pass it along! :salute:
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Post #11 made 2 years ago
I don't bother hoisting the bag when just adding a few degrees. I just make sure to constantly stir while the flame is on, and no issues for about 2 years doing this. Although, my kettles have the 3-ply 6mm encapsulated bottom. The KAB4/SP10 burners I use also spread the flame out nicely.

I don't even hoist the bag for mashout anymore. Pulling it off the bottom just slightly can cause the bag to form a plug between the wort above and below it. This caused me to get false temperature readings as the lesser volume above the bag would heat very quickly, while the wort below the bag was relatively cooler. Instead of bringing it out fully, I just decided to leave it in there. It was too much of a chore to lower the bag back in there to give the grains a quick soak at mashout temp, and then bring it out to drain again. I would do just that, if I felt that it was beneficial in any way.

I used to have a jet burner that could have potentially ruined a bag, though ... so I suppose it depends on the flame situation for constant stirring to be a feasible solution.

My kettles came with steamer inserts, but I don't bother using them ... http://www.kitchenfantasy.com/images/ba70a.jpg. They only rise a few inches from the bottom, but I'd rather utilize the pot's entirety for efficiency sake.
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Post #12 made 2 years ago
IMAG0189.jpg
IMAG0190.jpg
16" Pizza tray with Stainless bolts/nuts/washers to protect the elements.
Webbing for easy removal after mash.
The kettle is 80L double walled "thermopot" (already insulated).

Those elemnts take forever to remove beer stone & clean burnt wort off :evil:
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Last edited by mally on 06 Jul 2016, 20:04, edited 1 time in total.
G B
I spent lots of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I squandered
I've stopped drinking, but only when I'm asleep
I ONCE gave up women and alcohol - it was the worst 20 minutes of my life
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Post #13 made 2 years ago
I've been out of the loop for the last few weeks and am still short on time. A few things...

You always must stir or raise the bag during heat additions. (Traditional brewers don't even have this option unless they have a RIMS or Hermes so agitating the mash or raising the bag during a heat addition is not much to ask ;)).

The link MS gave is an important one. Nearly all grain bills benefit (kettle efficiency wise) from a mash-out Scott. Very few don't. Working out the few malt bills that don't would require us collecting a lot more data. I think the main reason why a mash-out results in an increase in kettle efficiency (extract efficiency) is due to the prolonged contact time with the grain more than anything else.

I recently employed the pizza tray mentioned by mally above. I don't use it as an excuse to not stir or raise the grain bag, I use it more for some additional high-temperature protection plus a few other things. One thing I immediately noticed is that I get virtually no beer stone on the bottom of my kettle now (gas-fired set-up).

One problem with my pizza tray is that I bought a teflon one (two actually) and they are both corroding after only five brews so plain stainless steel would be the way to go.

I'll do a second post here now that talks more on temperatures...
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Post #14 made 2 years ago
Apologies for the two consecutive posts but this one is more about mash temps...

I've had the benefit of having a co-brewer (youmnustbemellow) over the last few months and we have done lots of experiments. Here's one...

Acetone Mash Thermometer Temperature Calibration

Acetone, which is readily available, boils at sea-level at 55°C so I thought that might act as a good mid-range test of my thermometers. Basically we boiled a big pot of water and then took it outside. Poured acetone into a flask and them measured the temp of the boiling acetone. (Used thermowells to protect the probes.)

My two trusty white thermometers (search this site for the Lylo Thermometer Test) only measure at increments of 1°C but both came out at 56°C. Two other thermometers we were testing had an unbelievably slow lag time but could be re-calibrated so we set them to 55°C. We then went on to test all four thermometers at freezing and boiling point. The white thermometers went 0°C and 99°C whilst the thermometers we force-calibrated to 55°C read about 3°C lower.

This whole result worried me and so the next day, I did some research on the atmospheric pressure in Perth that afternoon and also found this link on how pressure effects the boiling point of acetone. You can see from that link, how sensitive the boiling point of acetone is to atmospheric pressure.

Not only was the atmospheric pressure slightly higher than "sea-level" on the day we tested, but also, I used a conical flask for the acetone which, like putting a lid half-way across a sauce-pan, would have also distorted the boiling point and, therefore made the boiling point lower (the opposite of what all my thermometers said!).

I think it was Contrarian above who mentioned about it being impossible for home-brewers to accurately measure mash temps. Unless you buy one laboratory-guaranteed thermometer (they are expensive) then that advice is absolutely right. All home brew clubs should invest in one.

We also tested six hydrometers. You'll be horrified when I publish those results! (Before you jump in and say refractometers, the hydrometer I used previously to test refractometers was the only good one of the six!)

:salute:
Last edited by PistolPatch on 06 Jul 2016, 21:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #15 made 2 years ago
On the pizza tray subject, I was lucky enough when I ordered my kettle that they sent a lid one size too small, which fits perfectly inside the kettle. I removed the handle and drilled it full of holes, put it upside down in the kettle and it holds the bag about a half inch off the bottom. I brew with a gas fired setup as well. I still pull the bag up off of it when raising temp to mashout, however when only raising a couple degrees here and there during the mash I just stir and have had no trouble. When I do lift the bag for mashout I do it by hand, but hold it on each side and slowly lift one side and drop the other. This effectively stirs the grist while the temp is rising and keeps it safely off the bottom.
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Post #16 made 2 years ago
Thanks for the thought and effort you all put into this for me... (Including the pictures, Mally and Mad_Scientist).

The ideas where the false bottom ends up a few inches off the bottom, thought that could negatively effect efficiency? This goes back to something I read on this site a year or two back...possibly written by PP. (???)

I am more inclined to put a pizza pan with holes on the bottom, and probably not use "stand-offs"... . Found one here that would fit my pot well. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000SSXG1E/re ... FRYC7G#Ask So now I'm running through the mental exercise trying to confirm to myself it is worth the effort... Goulaigan - thanks for the info, that I would need to pull bag up some for mash out but could leave it in for minor mash temperature adjustments. And presumably it is fine to leave it in for the duration of the boil, etc... (?)

PP - don't think you want to brew with exposed steel... "In the old days" of extract brewing through the later 1990s, I had a painted enamel brew kettle. Ended up with a batch of beer that tasted metallic. When started brewing again a few years back and talking to the LHBS guy, commented about it. He asked if there was a scratch in my pot, that exposed (non-stainless) steel in brew wort could cause a metallic taste in beer. I went home and examined...and sure enough, there was a scratch through the enamel. :headhit:
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Post #17 made 2 years ago
Only way I could see an effect on efficiency with the bag suspended a few inches off bottom would be that few inches of liquor is not in direct contact with the grain. I'm not sure how much of an effect it would really have tho, I guess the more space the more it would matter. In my setup, its less than 2 cm, a couple brews ago I actually forgot to put the damn thing in and didn't notice until halfway through the mash. Nothing was out of the ordinary with my efficiency numbers.

I do generally leave my false bottom in for the boil, although sometimes it tends to float up during a rigorous boil, so when it does I will sometimes grab it and pull it out. Really makes no difference either way as far as I can tell.
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Post #18 made 2 years ago
To answer the topic first, if the mash T drops >2 ºC, I will add heat with stirring to get it back to the target, not higher - allowing lag to be the maximum extra heat added. I then put the lid back on and wrap the kettle with an old down comforter.
As for keeping the bag off the bottom, I use a stainless steel vegetable steamer with 1 cm legs under what looks like a leaf shutter for those who remember film cameras. I attached a copper wire to it and then loop the wire around a kettle handle for removal of the piece after pulling the bag. I can heat up the mash whilst stirring because the bag is off the bottom and also clipped to the rim of the kettle. The set-up is put in place during the initial warming of water to mash-in T. I have to hold the bag down with my stirrer or it tends to float up.

Post #20 made 2 years ago
-There was a discussion Here about-mash in around 70C and letting the mash cool to the 60's or Less.

This will get the Alpha amylase(Fast acting) going strong, without denaturing the Beta amylase(slower acting).

Then, when the mash cools into the 60's the remaining Beta amylase, can work as long as the Temperature stays above 40C

The Process is supposed to give a Moderate Body, with very good Ferment-ability, and a better FG.

JMHO


This way an overnight mash will work well, and Mash temperature doesn't really Matter
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Post #21 made 2 years ago
joshua wrote:-There was a discussion Here about-mash in around 70C and letting the mash cool to the 60's or Less.

This will get the Alpha amylase(Fast acting) going strong, without denaturing the Beta amylase(slower acting).

Then, when the mash cools into the 60's the remaining Beta amylase, can work as long as the Temperature stays above 40C

The Process is supposed to give a Moderate Body, with very good Ferment-ability, and a better FG.

JMHO


This way an overnight mash will work well, and Mash temperature doesn't really Matter
Thats very interesting Joshua I would like to read about that but I cant find the exact thread .If I am not getting you in trouble can you find the link for me?
Or if you can recall the procedure to describe it here .
Last edited by nik on 25 Aug 2016, 00:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #22 made 2 years ago
Joshua probably I found it ...Its not very easy when English is not your native language ... http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=1880 .
Interesting ...I will try it next time I'll brew.I usually (stove top brewing 17lt pot 8 liter batches)use 67C and stirring and correcting if needed every 20 minutes for 90 min including mash out.If I get the same results with only stirring lets say about 30min it's handy because I will not occupy the stove long time so my wife will be more happy for not interfering with her cooking ...
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Post #23 made 2 years ago
Nik, that is the "Insane" Topic that ran for quite a While.

If you get Bored of a Simple Smash Recipe, there are Many ways to experiment in Brewing, that May give you a beer that is Great, and Unique due to the Mash, Hops, Boil, or Fermenting temperature.
Last edited by joshua on 25 Aug 2016, 12:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #24 made 2 years ago
That's really interesting... I actually wondered if you could switch up the mash temps doing the higher temp first and if it would cause a problem. Haven't read the article / discussion yet but will.

Last weekend was my Fresh Hop Pale Ale double brew day. Also my harvest day for my hops. Very busy!!! After first mash had dropped to time to reheat I pulled bag slightly and heated it up... Forgot about it with messing with the hops and when I came back around it was at around 180 deg F (about 10 past normal mash out!) Oh No!!! I dropped the bag and stirred a bunch and soon it was down to 170 deg / normal mash out temp.

First ever withhold water exercise. Tried to dunk sparge and it worked some I think. But a pain, holding the Bag up with lots of grain in it (since pulley was over normal brew pot), not the extra 5 gal pot. Anyhow, had to add water at end because gravity too high and it showed Efficiency Into Boil (EIB) at like 89% or so... Super high.

Anyhow - that would be easier to mash that way. Alpha amalyse first then the Beta by letting temperature drop. ??? Easier, seems like, provided it works. Test and experiment anyhow.
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Post #25 made 2 years ago
Scott, Mash-in at 170F/67C and Leave kettle Naked with No Heat which is the temperature the Beta amylase starts to die off.

If you have a BIG kettle, Mash-in around 165F/73C. and let it cool to 140F/60C, Then, Turn the heat on, and go to Mash-out, pull the Bag, and head for The Boil Time. It could be a 3-5 hour Lazy-time Mash schedule.

I stir to help it cool, and a 3 gallon/12L mash cools much Quicker, in about 80 minutes with 72F/23C ambient Temperatures.

The IPA has a Medium Body, and a dry Finish, and seems to be a high ABV.

My Porter comes out similar to a Baltic Porter.

Both are a Good Hot Day Summer Drink, Sorry Australia, Maybe in 6 months.
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