Some notes from the "all-grain" mash

I just made another beer, and it was a long-hard haul. Let's start with Cliff's notes for the ADD, regarding the mash:

  • Wait to let temp equalize before adjusting, 
  • stir lots (dough balls), 
  • Mash at LEAST an hour, 
  • have a good reserve of sparge water (mash calcs don't attempt to estimate the water absorbed by the mash).  

I'll clean up the post below later,( maybe.) It's pretty rough right now. I'm just trying to get it all down while fresh in my mind...

Why?  Haven't I got this process wired by now?  Well, yes & no.  Some things did go very well, most notably (since the last few) I didn't get tied up by any air lock problems or siphoning failures, or spill over the whole carboy or pop the hose out of a vessel it was trying to fill.

One problem was the temperature of the mash. With 12lb of grain, the cooler was more than half full!  How much water could it hold, could it get and stay hot enough?  It was a bitterly cold day outside, well 20, anyway. This was a big problem for my burner.  Fortunately I had another propane tank because I needed to swap them to get the wort boiling. The first tank wasn't empty just low enough to reduce the flame a little.  I had dressed the pot in aluminum drapes, but a lot more effort would be needed to really cut down the heat loss. I may just be unable to brew on colder days.

Before that though, the tun worked great. I needn't have worried about the cold weather, because it held temperature very well. Also, (this is a lesson I'm trying to archive) it's really important to stir the mash: I did an ok job of that but got some "dough balls" which I noticed later, when discarding the grain. The other thing I need to do is WAIT for the temperature to equalize, including some good stirring.  I ended up thinking it was too cold, too hot, adding snow and boiling water to fix it, and getting a totally full cooler along the way.  I wanted a three step mash (125, 150, 155) but who knows what I did really?  Quantitative planning went out the window. Sigh.

Later, lautering too was a small junk show with me playing musical pots. I had just the tun, the boil pot / hot liquor tank (double duty) and my old 4 gal boil pot. Surely enough? Yes, but only if used correctly. I got the 4 pot bucket 2/3 full before topping off the tun and then discarding the rest of the hot water (so I could move the wort to the boil pot and resume lautering). I should have really filled it because later I had to use perhaps 6L of hot tap water because I wanted to sparge more. My grain filled the tun about 2/3 up and it held a lot of water! So I may need a third pot or something to "gracefully" get all the sparging done.  At the end I squeezed the grainbed and got some more wort out, several cups. I wanted a lot because I figured I'd have to boil a lot & that was pretty true. After 1:30 of desultory boil (all I could manage) my OG was 40. A good outcome but not an efficient mash.

Still confused about Lovibond (darkness) and Lintner (diastatic power).  I used 10lb Colorado 2 row (Lovibond=2) and 2Lb CaraRed. Northern Brewer

No comments:

Post a Comment