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Thread: Filtering Mash for Gravity Samples in a Distillery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Columbus, OH
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    Filtering Mash for Gravity Samples in a Distillery

    I've recently been tasked with upgrading some of our methods of measuring gravity at the distillery I work at. My background is in beer so I'm used to running off clear wort for my refractometer or hydrometers to measure. I'm also familiar with ways of filtering/degassing samples of fermenting wort for taking accurate measurements throughout fermentation. Here's my issue though: mash is thick! I've tried pouring it through a coffee filter, sieve, filter paper, and even cold crashing samples to get clear wort. Some of those methods worked well, but took way too long for our pace, or didn't remove nearly enough solids.

    I'm going to be using temperature correcting hydrometers (deg. Plato). I'm thinking a french press might be the way to go. Has anyone tried this? I considered using a vacuum flask to pull my samples through filter paper but I'm trying to keep my cost low and the method fairly simple so it doesn't throw a wrench into our workflow (and so the other brewers actually do it). I've also considered using a centrifuge but the one we have for our lab samples is way too small for the sample size I need.

    Any advice would be helpful!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Calmar Iowa U.S.A.
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    Have you considered using a refractometer to measure gravity in brix and just converting to plato? That way you would only need a few drops of clear wort.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Chesterfield, UK
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    I second the use of a refractometer. Brix and plato are so close that for runoff purposes from the mash you might not even have to bother consulting one of the conversion charts until perhaps you want to know the final gravity of all the collected runoff - but the tables are quick to refer to. Lots on the internet of course.
    dick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Columbus, OH
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    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton View Post
    I second the use of a refractometer. Brix and plato are so close that for runoff purposes from the mash you might not even have to bother consulting one of the conversion charts until perhaps you want to know the final gravity of all the collected runoff - but the tables are quick to refer to. Lots on the internet of course.

    We have been using a Hanna digital refractometer and our readings have been very inconsistent. I even brought in my portable analog refractometer to test against the Hanna and had somewhat better luck but it was still fairly inconsistent. I definitely have a preference for hydrometer testing when it comes to accuracy and consistency but maybe it's unwarranted. I figured that using a device that measures density instead of refractive index would give me more accurate results but maybe I'm wrong. Also, we don't runoff. Our entire mash is transferred to the fermenter.

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