Braumeister brewing tips, specifically for 'bigger' beers.
Using the 50L machine, you'll be able to end up with 40L at up to 1.077 using a 90 min boil, (or approx 36L at 1.085ish with a 120 min boil) using no sugars/extracts. Your mash temp/program will influence this, of course. Efficiency will be over 80%.
*Make sure the machine is 100% level. Builders wedges are only a few dollars & work perfectly for this
*Prime the pumps manually prior to starting brew program. Let the pumps run for a second or 2, then switch them off then back on again stright away. Repeat as necessary.
*Use 11.5kg of grain in the 50L machine. 12Kg is do-able too, but harder. You will still get over 80% efficiency if all these steps are followed.
*Mash in water volume should never be less than 50L. The malt pipe volume is fixed, obviously, so any reduction in mash-in water qty means less water outside the malt pipe to balance the volume in the malt pipe. Ie, a 45L mash-in compared to a 53L mash-in means the pumps are having to lift an extra 8kg of water BEFORE getting back to their intended flow rate. This is never going to happen.
*Mash-in at 38 degrees. No doughballs, good gelatinisation prior to the sacc rest. Pour of the grain in & stir it REALLY well, then the final , and stir really well again.
*Make any necessary water additions to get the mash PH & water minerals correct. Ezwater calculator works brilliantly.
*A 90 min mash is 100% necessary. With a large grain qty & reduced flow rate, 60 mins isn't adequate. Typically, the difference between a 60 min and a 90 min mash is at least 5 gravity points.
*You will need to stir the mash several times during the mash program. Personally, i've found 2 stirs during the temp ramp from 38-6? degrees, & 2 or 3 stirs during the mash (at 15, 30, 70 min, approx). If you're near the machine when it does it's pump interruption, just pause the program & stir then.
*Sparge. Just 4-5L or so, so it's nice & easy to do on your stove.
*After mashing out & the sparge water has slowed to a trickle, put the malt pipe on a bowl/plate/bucket & allow to drain for another hour or so. Add this toward the end of the boil.
Belgian Dark strong
11.78kg grain, Mash schedule 10 min/38, 30 min/62, 60 min/68, 10 min/75.
50L mash in, 5L sparge.
90 min mash, 90 min boil.
OG 1.077, 40L final volume, 36.1L into fermentor after trub loss.
12.09kg grain, Mash schedule 10min/38, 90 min/69. Note the high mash temp. This will lower the maximun OG.
50L mash in, 4L sparge
90 min mash, 90 min boil.
OG 1.073, 38L final volume, water added at end of boil to get 40L at 1.071.
The above method may well be improved upon, but i've found it to work very well for me. Beers above 1.070 easily & reliably, regardless of mash schedule, & over 1.085 with a suitable mash schedule & 120 min boil. Efficiency always at least 80%.
For beers bigger than this, just add malt extract to the boil as required, this will also enable you to have a shorter boil time again.
If anyone has some other tips they've found to work well for brewing big beers, please let me know!