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Thread: Mash temp and run-off problems

  1. #1
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    Aug 2003
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    grand Rapids
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    Mash temp and run-off problems

    I have an ongoing problem in my mash. Not that ratebeer peoples opinions are all that important but one common thread is that my beers can be a little thin. And some of them are. I mash high 155-158 for several beers. I almost always add carapils - foam or caramel pils, and I mash out at 168 for 10 min. The problem is during my run-off the temp drops down BELOW the mash temp. My sparge is temp 168 on top off the grain but my probe says it's 150 something even lower. I run off for about an hour for 7bbls, so in efeect, I think I'm mashing for 2.5 hours if the mash out is not denaturing the enzymes. I will try mashing for a shorter period of time, although that has its complications in my plant. (HLT has no heat source.) So in sum, How long does a 168dF mash out need to be and how short can a mash be?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2002
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    Stavanger Norway
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    try to mash in at the same temp, dont mash out and mash for only for 45 mins- 1 hr for higher gravity beers. recirculate it (if you do) and start to heat it in the kettle.

    the reason your temp drops durring sparge is because the pt100 isnt getting circulation, completely normal to see.

    2.5 hours is very long for a mash...... the longer you mash the more the enzymes cut up the sugar chains which in turn make a very fermentable wort.

    and dont worry about the raters...
    Last edited by Michael Murphy; 12-01-2006 at 11:08 AM.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2002
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    San Luis Obispo, CA
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    runawayrunoff

    jsvoboda,

    I hope I am understanding you correctly and this is helpful!

    Assuming your grain is being crushed properly and you are using highly modified malts, you should be able to have a half hour mash. This will sufficiently convert your starch into simple sugars. Maybe try mashing in at a slightly lower temp try 150-152F. Check for conversion using iodine and continue to do a mash off (ramp up) to 168F. This should be no longer than 10 minutes.

    It is crucial to have hot water 168-170F for sparge as this will keep your viscosity lower and allow you to increase your runoff speed. You may need to look into this!

    - todd
    Last edited by Todd; 12-01-2006 at 11:25 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    66
    Your methods sound just fine, although if I mashed at 156 my beer would end up pretty sweet (I'm usually closer to 151). When I brew a 7-barrel batch, my runoff takes 80 minutes and my sparge water is 168. My mash probe will usually read around 165. If I runoff too slowly, the mash temp doesn't seem to rise very much (and sometimes appears to drop below 150). But I don't hold much stock in that reading as the mash is not circulating, so the reading is a very small portion of the mash.

    Have you thought about using wheat malt to add some body? Perhaps you should experiment with other yeasts, ones that have a more malty finish. I use Wyeast 1968 and although my beers finish around 1.012, some people find them sweet.

    And finally, don't worry about the raters- if you, your boss, your brewing friends, and your regulars think the beer is good then you are making good beer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Reno, Nevada USA
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    Thumbs up

    Make sure you mash in at 152-155 degrees F. 30 to 45 minutes is a good saccrification period. My only suggestion is to boil some H2O in the kettle then transfer to HLT prior to run-off to kettle. This brings the temp up in HLT to 170+degrees; plus I get to add some acid to the Hot Liquor to help keep the pH down during the run-off. If you are using a very large amount of caramel malts this could also account for the slow runoff, rice hulls work very well as stated earlier.
    Good luck and send some samples
    Lance@Jergensen Brewing
    Reno Nevada/Adelanto California

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Macomb,Oklahoma
    Posts
    97

    Water chemistry

    Your water chemistry can contribute to thin watery beers. Alkaline water will do this. Only dark beers(depending on bicarbonate content) can ward this off unless bicarbonate levels are real high. You will also notice less than 90% efficiency because of bicarbonate water.
    I am presently trying to find the easiest way to deal with this issue.
    Doug A Moller
    Brewmaster
    Doug's Brau Haus
    (405)226-3111

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hastings, MI, USA
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    263
    My local water is incredibly hard. I run it all through a water softener, then carbon block filter, and re-salt as needed. Another solution you might try, John, is to fill your boil kettle with your water, boil it for an hour or so, then let it cool overnight. Any carbonates will precipitate out and drop to the bottom. You could then move that water to the HLT and work from there. At least it's worth a try.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Dexter, MI USA
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    Hello John,

    Diagrams of enzymatic activity show that after an hour at 155*F most of the relevant enzymes will have become denatured. Lower temps will extend this time but at 155 you should be pretty much done. Certainly further into your 2.5 hr sparge very little extra conversion will be occurring. A little, but not much. I would recommend a shorter mash rest, and perhaps an increased sparge temp (I prefer closer to 178-180*). The increased temp should help keep the mash temp up, and keep the viscosity low, allowing a shorter runoff.

    Sometimes thinness is confused with a wateriness that can be attributed to a lower than expected carbonation level. Are your carbonation levels up where they need to be?

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    grand Rapids
    Posts
    49

    Thanks guys (gals to)

    Well the water issue never occured to me. I have fairly soft water (post softner) and normally add CaCl or CaSO4 to all lighter beers. And I do use HPO4 in the sparge. So you think the probe is not idicating correct temp?
    Thatseems odd to me because it registers an accurate reading during mash, cip etc. The temp of the mash is dropping back too or below my mash in temp. Is 168*F 10 min sufficent to stop enzymes and denatur them? My brew yesturday was 155 mash, 166 mash out 10 min 170 sparge and when I finished a 75 min renoff, the mash temp was 147. It did not begin do drop until the run off. I usually use WL002, a malty yeast if I'm not mistaken.

    Ron, CO2 levels are normal (call me about barrels also)

    Thanks again for the advice all

    JS

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
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    When you say your beers are "thin", what final gravity are you talking about? A lot of this "thin" perception can be fixed with your grain bill - i.e. you can't get a fantastically malty beer using just mash temperature and not starting with a great malt. That is, you can't get a malty ESB by using pilsner malt, a little of caramel for color, and a high mash temp. You have to use a malt that gives you that flavor.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    186

    Thumbs up

    Interesting thread. I have noticed inconsistency in the body of my beers, regardless of mash temp.. I regarded this as a phenomenon, since I could not come up with any logical reason why it was occuring, despite my lengthy process of elimination. I changed my water chemistry, the amount of oxygen injected into my wort, the mash viscosity, etc.. Mashing in at 149 or 155 made little or no difference....sometimes. Hence, the phenomenon aspect. The denaturing of enzymes breaking down sugar chains is news to me. If this is true, a graphed out saccarificational rest would look like a bell curve. At what point does it hit it's pinnacle, and how much do the sugars degenerate? If I mash for 1/2 hour, I vorlauf for 1/2 hour as well (it's the only way I can maintain a clear runoff in my system). That's an hour total. Even if I did an iodine test, and caught it right on time, it's still sitting there for 30 minutes, then an additional 80 minutes during lauter. Not that this is pertinant to our discussion, but back in my homebrewing days, I used to dough in to a cooler at 10:00 p.m., and begin sparging at around, oh, 8:00 a.m. the next morning on my day off. I only did this to make my life alot easier. Some people said I was crazy, but my beers spoke for themselves. They always achieved a nice body (Don't worry, I will NOT EVER try this at work) and never tasted off. This is feeding my skeptisism.
    Either way, that was then, and this is now. I entered my first pro competition here in Maryland, and I am not too happy with the results. I have a feeling that body and mouthfeel were an issue.
    One last thing. This one is for Ron, I was always taught that strike water should not go above 170, and your mash should not exceed 160, as this causes astringency. Obviously, that's a myth. Do you find this helpful in achieving consistent beer? P.S. Ron, I tried one of your J.P. ales here in Maryland. It was delightful. Keep up the good work!
    Last edited by mr.jay; 12-02-2006 at 02:46 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    grand Rapids
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    I'm confused

    LOwer the temp? Why do that? this is a proplexing issue for me. The only time I loose energy is during the run-off. I cip'ed today a didn't drop a point.
    So what to do. I had a pro brewer here on Saturday and he felt the beer was plenty fat. So F%$#@ raters ok, but I still have a heat lose and if I have not denatured the am's I am mashing for 2 hours text book says the beer is thin. Oh what to do?

  13. #13
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    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
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    Are you sure that your mash temperature is the same throughout the mash? It may be one temperature near the probe, and different temperatures in the rest of the mash. Are you stirring the mash well during mill-in? Are you preheating the mash tun before milling in?

    Again, what are the final gravities of the beers that you say are thin?
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hastings, MI, USA
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    263
    I'm with Linus on this one, John. Measuring the SG's at KO and when the beers go to serving tanks are the only real way to see what your true attenuation and fermentability are like.
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Dexter, MI USA
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    203
    Hello Jay,

    In a simple infusion mash your strike temp should be such that your desired mash temp is produced. Generally this will not be as high as 170, unless you have some massive heat loss somewhere, or are brewing in an unheated space. I was speaking of sparge temps. Extracting harsh phenols and astringency is linked to not only higher temps, but also rising pH. So watch your temps, but almost more importantly your pH. Best would be not to exceed 5.8 during the tales of your run off. A water temp in the high 170s will not generally raise your mash temp to dangerous levels during the course of your sparge, but you should of course monitor to be sure.

    I glad you liked our beer!

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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