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Thread: Alright..I'm Brain Farting...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Hastings, MI, USA
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    Alright..I'm Brain Farting...

    I have a 7 bbl. system gettting set up, with a 265 Gallon (8.55 bbl.) mash/lauter tun. I'm trying my damndest to figure out what the maximum amount of grain I can mash-in, given a ratio of 1 bbls/#100 of grain. The end result I'm searching for is to see what techniques I'm going to need to use to get some big gravity worts cranked out -- I'm still toying with parti-gyle stuff at this point, but somehow that seems wasteful. Any clues/hints appreciated.

    Thanks again ( I must seem like a royal PITA at this point!)

    Rob
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

  2. #2
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    Nov 2003
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    An estimated guess would be about 700ish pounds, but really I have no clue.

    Why do you feel party-gyle a waste? Maybe my idea of it is different the yours?
    Cheers,
    Mike Roy
    Brewer
    Franklins Restaurant,Brewery & General Store
    Hyattsville,MD

    Franklinsbrewery.com
    @franklinsbrwry
    facebook.com/franklinsbrewery
    Franklinsbrewery.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Mukilteo, WA
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    Hey, Rob.

    We used to have a 250 gallon Cherry-Burrell dairy tank mash tun for several years before I replaced it with a 400 gallon Vanvetter tank. The most we could safely mash in the Cherry-Burrell was about 450 - 475 lbs of mixed grains. This was with an infusion mash, but we had used an "upward infusion" step mash technique (when the extract potential of 2 Row took a dump back in the mid 90's) that involved mashing at 122F and cutting in boiling water to raise to 152F or so. After doing an upward infusion, we were spilling over the top of the tun. You have to have room to stir.

    If you really have good arm strength and prefer stiff mashes, then try 500 lbs of grain. You'll probably have to adjust your strike water temp up a bit to account for less water and more massto , say, 170F. This will take a bit of tweeking.

    Some data I've used in the past:

    US Malt Bushel =34#
    Malt=30-34# /Ft.
    Grist=23-27# /Ft.
    Spent Grain=50-80# /Ft.
    Average infusion mash=1.0-1.2 BBL H2O /100# malt
    Typical processing: 1 Ft. malt yields 1.35 Ft. grist which yields 0.9 Ft. spent grain

    This comes courtesy of Vince Cottone's Sound Brewing Systems Website and I've used it for estimating in the past. Typically, it's hard to judge how much volume a mash takes up in the tun because generally small Brewers run their strike water until it "feels right" with no finite measurement. We run ours a bit on the loose side.

    When we tried to make a Barley Wine or one of our BIG beers, that's where thing sorta fell apart with the ol' Cherry-Burrell tank. The first Barley Wine I made I ended up spiking the kettle with dry malt extract to get the gravity I was looking for. It didn't come off as well as I'ld liked and tasted like banana bread! The most we could get out of that small tun and yield about 7.6 Bbls to the kettle was about 1.056 - 1.058.

    The Vanvetter was killing grass in my back yard, so we had a manway cut in and pressed it into service. We replaced the 250 gallon with a 400 gallon and finally was able to make bigger beers. Our old 250 gallon mash tun was converted by Larry's Brewing Supply here in Kent, WA as is a process tank of sorts at Hopunion, USA in Yakima, WA.

    Like Mike, I'm confused as to why you think parti-gyle is a waste. When we make a Barley Wine (1.100 OG) in our tun, we leave the mash in the tun and run a second "small" beer (1.048 OG) from it. This is getting 2 beers for the malt price of one, so I would think that is not a waste.

    If I interpret your net result correctly, you want to produce really big beers in a 7 Bbl kettle with a 265 gallon tun. I am somewhat skeptical that you could net 2 beers and still get 7.6 Bbls each or so unless they were both smaller beers. Perhaps what you meant was having to mash and sparge to the kettle twice in order to get the high gravity was a waste?

  4. #4
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    Perhaps what you meant was having to mash and sparge to the kettle twice in order to get the high gravity was a waste?
    Yes. Exactly. I'd like to be able to have a fermenter full of a high gravity beer, with a minimal amount of work -- the real limiting factor will be that I'm only going to have two fermenters to work with initially, and doing a parti-gyle mash/runoff, while great if my intention was to have a strong beer and a small beer, doesn't fit into my schemes at the present time, so I'm supposing that I'd mash and get first runnings twice (to fill the fermenter) and dump the second runnings.
    In any case, I found this snippet, thanks to Google:
    Code:
    Grain occupies about 0.08 gal/lb (0.67 l/lb) when mixed with water.
    If my math is correct, a mash thickness of 1bbl/#100 will occupy about 39 gallons, and dividing that into the mash tun volume yields about 680# of grain. I'm going to take a shot in the dark and SWAG a yield of 1.075 for 7.5 bbls. (I'm rattling on now -- I suppose I should just try it out when the system is installed and see what happens )

    Thanks for the input.

    Rob
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    27
    Hey all, for those of us still learning, can someone define "parti-gyle"?

    Thanks,
    Jeremy

  6. #6
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    Dec 2004
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    Mukilteo, WA
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    Jeremy,
    Parti-gyle is an old term for creating a heavy mash, which creates a heavy beer, and then drawing off a second, lower gravity beer, from the same mash afterward. You get 2 beers with one mash, but it is a lot of work. It requires a little "know how" of your system.......to know what you're capable of getting out of each running to produce a "big" beer and a "small" beer.
    There are books that discuss this a bit........I think the "Scottish Ale" book in the "Classic Beer Series" does to some degree. Mine is missing, so I can't refer to it.


    Rob,
    Not to sound like a Road Apple, but 680 Lbs of grains in a 265 gallon tun is asking a lot. Dude, if I could get that, I wouldn't have sunk a bunch of time getting the Vanvetter on line for making big beers. HOWEVER.......I am a very open minded guy and realize I don't know everything. Also, we have some head space in teh Vanvetter.
    I'm wondering if the ".08 gal/Lb of grain" was a mix ratio and not a mash volume. Albiet, the 10.24 oz. quoted is less that even the 32 oz (1 qt / Lb) given by Charlie Papazian (or so I recall.......memory is shot right now........<sorry, Charlie......I relaxed and had a Microbrew!>). If you get 1.075 at 7.5 bbls in a 265 gallon mash tun, you will seriously school me, Rob. I never could, but maybe I didn't work at it enough.

    Taking a different tac...........if grain occupies .08 gallons per Lb, then what about the absorbed mash water? Grains are wetted when they mash, and water soaks them thoroughly. If you want a REALLY stiff mash, then maybe you could get 500 lbs. You need water to stir the mash. However, the Belgians used to favor really stiff mashes for tax purposes, so the story goes.

    There's a thermodynamic thing gong on there, too.
    We heat our water to 167F to mash in a specified amount of grains for a 7.6 Bbls batch. We lose 15 degrees in transfer and grain temp. You'ld have to have some pretty hot water coming in to mash with if you were talking about 680 Lbs in 265 gallons........almost pasteurization temps, in my humble opinion. You're already talking about 2.56 Lbs per gallon just in grains (680Lbs/265 gal).

    Rob.......not that this means much, but start with a small beer or two to tune the system a bit. We did when we opened the 7 Bbl Brewery and we did when we opended the 15 Bbl Brewery. It does 2 things: it helps dial things in (extract efficiency, mill settings, recipe taste) and; it let's you know where you have problems........mistakes can't hide too well behind light beers.

    Just my $.02........

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Brian,
    Side question here: Do you see any issues with having such high strike temps as you describe? I routinely run that way this time of year with my cold grain storage/mill room (heck, everything really). Strike temps can go as high as 190F to hit a mash temp around 150F.

    I'm not seeing any astringency, and my thinking is that it's only at that temp for a second or two as the grain is getting sprayed.

    Just wondrin'.
    Scott

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    Howdy,
    I'm not sure this'll be much help, but a brewery I used to work for had a 10-bbl. Bavarian system. We filled our mash tun with about 6 or 7 bbls. of water, and we added between 650 and 700 lbs. of grain. We sparged to about 11 or 12 bbls with a 13.5 P gravity (pre-boil). For the 700 lb. grain brew, we could usually squeeze out another 1/2 or full barrel and end up with a 15.5 P gravity (pre-boil). Now, we also had a big-ass motorized agitator, so we didn't have to worry about stirring that big of a pot. However, there were a few instances when the agitator was out of commission and we'd have to stir the mash by hand. We got some pretty ripped biceps and pecs, though. Broader shoulders, too. The waitresses upstairs loved us when the agitator was on the fritz. Anyway, I hope this shows that it can be done. We were able to brew some pretty big gravities on that old system including a killer barleywine - but we did have to sacrifice a bit of yield to reach the gravity we wanted for that.

    Oh, well. I hope this makes sense and it's something you can chew on.

    Take it easy,
    Mike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Athens, NY
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    422
    Rob,
    On my 7bbl JVNW Mash/Lauter Tun (270 gallon) the most grain I've ever squeezed in was 630 lbs. That was really packing it in, and with a thick mash (2:1 liquor to grist). No rakes in my mash tun, so that mash-in was a pretty good workout

    cheers
    Hutch Kugeman
    Head Beer Guy
    Crossroads Brewing
    Athens, NY

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Mukilteo, WA
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    304
    Scott,

    When we used to do the upward infusion I always wondered that as well...........if we were getting any astringency. To raise the temperature, we would cut in boiling water through the tun foundation and stir furiously. If you're not detecting any harshness in the taste, you're doing fine.
    Being an Engineer and not a Chemist, I seriously couldn't say whether or not you're getting anything bad at that high a strike. I'm sure a purist would say yes, but I could never detect it in ours, and I've always thought I had a pretty keen sense of taste and smell.


    Rob,

    Looking back, I think I mixed my apples and oranges. Let me see if I can open my mouth to change shoes, here............
    By the data I sent in a prior post, Malt weighs 34 Lb / Bushel, which equals 1.07 cu-ft, or almost right on 8 gallons (1,848 cu-in). To find the "gal/Lb" value for Malt, it would be 8 / 34 = .235 gal/Lb, not .08 gal/Lb.

    That's pretty near a factor of 3 difference (between the .08 and .235 values). Using the .235 gal/Lb value, I get that 680 Lbs of grain occupies around 160 gallons leaving only 100 gallons of space left for water (less if you don't have any stiring headspace at the 265 gallon mark). I don't think that's enough in you have a 265 gallon tun.

    Regards,

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hastings, MI, USA
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    Thanks for the schooling. The more I think I know about brewing, the more I realize I don't know about brewing! My biggest recipe I've developed so far uses 532# of grain, so that should fit alright
    As far as doing a barleywine/old ale, I'm just going to parti-gyle it, and make the second runnings into something nice -- hell, I did it as a homebrewer, and both the barleywine and bitter both won ribbons
    Thanks for all the tips, info and schooling!

    Rob
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

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