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dicko

Boston Bay Brewery
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OK, so now my brewery is up and running and as I am fine tuning it I have a couple of questions about the mash.
Palmer says that you should add the WATER to the mash tun FIRST and then add the grain, pouring it slowly so as not to damage enzimes etc. - - - Well my set up has 3/8" ball valves and when I open the valve to let the water run from the HLT to the tun it runs fairly slowly so I was wondering, could I add the GRAIN to the tun FIRST and let the water flow in slowly without any problems or would this be unacceptable?
The other question is that, should you stir the entire grain bed prior to sparging or just the top part?
I stirred the entire bed and got a stuck sparge but it was easy to fix cause I just reversed the flow thru the pump and it cleared the manifold and it came clear and I continued on.(not so easy if you are using gravity)
To my surprise I got a couple of extra points of efficiency from that mash.
Any views would be appreciated!
Cheers
 

Doc

Doctor's Orders Brewing
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I'm of the definite opinion of adding the water first then adding the grain.
Stir while adding the grain at a constant rate.
That way you will avoid dough balls.

If you want to do it the other way, and add the grain and water at the same time then you will need a stirer in your MLT. See the commercial MLT in this thread.

Beers,
Doc
 

Hoops

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I'm of the definite opinion of adding the water first then adding the grain.
Stir while adding the grain at a constant rate.
That way you will avoid dough balls.
I learnt the hard way when fermenting for my still that you should always add the sugar to a fermenter full of water or else you get big hard lumps of sugar.
 

Jazman

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or make up a mash paddle with some 50 mm holes drilled in it
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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I rather like underletting, i.e. running the mash liquor in through the outlet of the tun. The outlet of your HLT should be higher than the top of the grain bed. The ml then runs in and slowly rises. You can then easily stir the mash to get rid of any dry pockets. Mashing in will take a lot less time.

Beats adding grains to water already in the tun, a lot less dust, danger of splashing grains out of the tun.

Underletting was done a lot in the 17th-19th centuries untill the Steels Masher was invented.

Jovial Monk
 

dicko

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Your comment is very interesting JM, so the only theory that I can see to support adding the grain to the water is to prevent dry spots.
I allways stir the the mash after adding the grain anyway so I would achieve basically the same result.

The reason behind all of this is to help keep the heat in the tun (I can add the water to the grain with the lid on, but I can't add the grain to the water with the lid on).
Until I try it I dont know how much difference it will make but the thought is that it might be better during the winter months when the weather is a lot colder.
Cheers,
 

Doc

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Jovial_Monk said:
I rather like underletting, i.e. running the mash liquor in through the outlet of the tun. The outlet of your HLT should be higher than the top of the grain bed. The ml then runs in and slowly rises. You can then easily stir the mash to get rid of any dry pockets. Mashing in will take a lot less time.

Beats adding grains to water already in the tun, a lot less dust, danger of splashing grains out of the tun.

Underletting was done a lot in the 17th-19th centuries untill the Steels Masher was invented.

Jovial Monk
Dry or uneven temp pockets are one thing.
Dough balls are another and a complete bitch to break up if you get more than just a couple.

Doc
 

GMK

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I agree with JM.....

On the Anzac day i added the ML via undeletting.
It makes the stiring the grains alot easier....

i think it also helps eliminate dry spots and air pockets.
 

jayse

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GMK said:
I agree with JM.....

On the Anzac day i added the ML via undeletting.
It makes the stiring the grains alot easier....

i think it also helps eliminate dry spots and air pockets.
Hmmm anyone there that day? can you back this up?
I said i'll behave so i'll leave it at that.
I'll just give a quote from extract kenny on the day...'really do you have to stir it up'.
oh what the hell i'll add another
jayse... says.... is the mash water ready?
ken..... says... .yeah jayse its boiling.
sorry ken you make it to easy for me.


hmmm.
anyway. the best way is add half the water and dough in as a thick mash mixing that up into a big sludge then adding the rest of the water and keep stiring untill fully mixed up.
I can't see how under letting would make any difference for doing this.
A quote from chiller from BBD 'If you get dough balls you'll have trouble getting rid of them as they have built in engines and zoom around the tun making it impossible to catch them.

Cheers Jayse
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Well, I have done it with all my mashes for the last year

No dry pockets aka doughballs. No starch haze from said dry pockets.

The wit I brewed, I put the wheat on the bottom, the malt over that, then underlet. Complete conversion, with the hot water hitting the wheat ensuring complete gelatenisation.

Jovial Monk
 

dicko

Boston Bay Brewery
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Thanks Jayse Doc and all,
Well the general consensus is to do it the way I have been doing it so far.
That is - grain to water.
I definately dont need dough balls, particularly if they can be as much of a problem as Chiller says.
I didnt hear him say that on BBD, maybe I was getting another beer at the time.
Cheers
 

wedge

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i only every got dough balls with Marris Otter grain. Of course it probably was the HBS crush
 

GMK

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Thanks Jayse,

I do make it easy....
The 666 is still in the primary slaving away....

Alot of the canberra brewers use underletting....
dont know how many stir/mix it up afterwards though...

might post the question and see what they say.
 

MAH

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BBB

Dough balls can be a real pain. In my current set-up I add the water to the mash tun first, then the grain. My experiences are as follows:

I use a 19ltr cylindrical cooler for 85% of my beers and a 30ltr rectangular cooler for the other 15% (these are either higher gravity or bigger batches). The rectangular cooler with a larger surface area is easier to dough in, but the draw back is it loses it's heat quicker with the lid off.

Doughing in slowly makes it easier to avoid the dreaded dough balls, but again the drawback is losing heat while the lid is off. This isn't too big a problem when the weathers good, but when winter comes, I've undershot my target rest temp. Last brewing outside with a feloow Adelaide all-grainer we were a good couple of degrees off the target temp and had to do a small decoction to raise the temp.

How I've overcome the problem is simple. I dump the water in first, then literally dump the grain in on top. I give a quick stir, then get my stab mixer and place it in the mash and give the whole lot a good mixing. The stab mixer quickly and effectively gets rid of the dough balls. I leave the mixer under the mash at all times so it doesn't suck in any air and potentially lead to HSA. It's worked for me so far.

With the new set-up I'm slowly building, I'm going to give under-letting a go.

Cheers
MAH
 

Bigfella

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How often if at all do you stir the grain during the mash
 

MAH

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I don't stir the grain bed during the mash at all. After the mash I run-off the 1st runnings, then do a pseudo batch sparge by re-flooding the mash tun, and at this stage I give the grain bed a good stir to disolve sugars left behind. I then let the whole lot settle for about 15mins to set a nice filter and do a second run-off. The reason I do the batch sparge in two stages, is due to the size of my tun which is too small to fit the mash water and sparge water. So for me it's only stir for dough in and then stir again when re-flooding the mash tun.

Cheers
MAH
 

dicko

Boston Bay Brewery
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Hi MAH,
You made some good points in this discussion and it appears that with this subject as with many others in craft brewing there are allways two sides to the "argument".
My question was to assess the thoughts of all doing mash brews to see what each is doing and I, like you am concerned with achieving the correct mash temp.
I need to ask one thing tho' What is a "stab mixer"
Cheers
 

chiller

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Water to grain .... grain to water.

Well the object of the whole thing is to get even distribution of water and crushed grain.

The best thing you can invest in is a decent mash paddle with at least [4] 25mm holes up the blade. At this size they encounter any clumps and "encourage" them to break up and move on and disperse through the mash.

Underletting is fine and certainly works however a good paddle and the enthusiasm to use it in a vigourous but not foaming motion will solve any grain ball problems you have. Unless you have a good height on you HLT you may not get sufficient flow to warrant underletting.

I mash at about 2.75kg/litre for most beers and add about 3 litres water to start to stop dry spots around the manifold then add more water ... more grain more water more grain and stir constantly.

With this method I can do a very thick acid rest without any dough balls or dry spots.

From my own experience the method above seems to get the moisture evenly distributed through the first grain addition to the tun and those moist grains then help when you add more dry grain and water.

And yes if you do get dough balls they do have motors and minds of their own.

Steve
 

MAH

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A stab mixer is another term for a hand held blender, like a BaMix or what ever brand.

Cheers
MAH
 

Trough Lolly

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Jovial_Monk said:
I rather like underletting, i.e. running the mash liquor in through the outlet of the tun. [snip]
Jovial Monk
Amazing,
Just when I thought I had mashing sussed, along comes somebody more knowledgeable than me and blows me away with a sensible method that I've never heard or thought of before :)
I'm gonna have a go a underletting - up until now the mantra, to me, had always been add water and then stir in the grains to avoid dough balls.
Cheers,
TL
 

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