Archive for the ‘mashing’ Category

how much grain fits in my vessel?

January 8, 2010 Leave a comment

At a ratio of 1 qt water/lb malt, the grain is fully saturated and fills a volume of 42 U.S. fluid ounces. More than that, just add the additional water volume. Once the grain is saturated, more water per pound only adds its own volume.


Brew Log 11.28.09 – Red Ale

November 29, 2009 1 comment

Brewed an American Red Ale today. John and his daughters Zoe and Tessa came over and hung out with me. We had fun ’til it got cold and dark and the girls got tired. I was still brewing and lost track of a few details. This was my third time with Brew in a Bag process. My process needs some refinement…

  • I got a false bottom earlier in the day but it didn’t fit, need to return that and get something sized right.
  • Almost 14 pounds of grain fit in my 10 gallon brew kettle with 8 gallons water, but it was pretty full. I could have added a couple of pounds before running out of room. If the grain bill is over 15 or 16 pounds I’ll start with 7 gallons water. As it was I was shy of 5 gallons after boil just a bit. With a big grain bill I’ll need to add a gallon before boil. A light bill would work with 7 gallon strike.
  • I burned my bag where it was hanging over the lip of my brew kettle. Need to get kettle centered on burner. Need some kind of heat shield or burn proof bag. Need to get a new bag…
  • The new 20 pound regulator got 8 gallons to 160 in less than 30 minutes.
  • Mashed in at 160 with almost 14 pounds, temp dropped to 148, applied heat to 152 and mashed for 60 minutes.
  • Forgot to raise temp for mash out. Did not drain grains long enough. I think these both contributed to low efficiency.
  • Used a muslin bag for leaf hops. No problem. Pellet hops for flavor and aroma. total of 5 ounces hops, this made a bunch of suspended crap in wort.
  • Tried to strain wort as drained into fermenter, but the strainer bag too too much time.
  • Forgot to aerate.
  • I’m wondering if my thermometer is correct.
  • OG of 1.052, less than expected.

Update – 12.1.09 – Three days later, fermentation has slowed. Pulled a sample, cloudy red, less hop aroma then expected. Gravity at 1.011 ABV @ 5.3.

12.22.09 – a little more bitter than I wanted. I think I’ll do this recipe again, but add the hops later and maybe reduce the bitter hops. Using leaf hops makes it hard for me to tell how much the extra bitterness is due to the extra boil that lasts after I cut the flame or the extra bitter hops used to compensate for putting the leaf hops in a bag and just the differences of using leaf hops. Could be, longer boil after cut flame made aroma and flavor hops give  more bitter, extra leaf made more bitter, leaf was stronger than anticipated, or something else.


November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

swig method


Just an update on the latest BIAB adventure I have tried…. Spillsmostofit and I did a full size BIAB the other day. And as a side experiment we tried to do a little Partigyle brewing.

We did our main brew mostly as normal, but instead of letting the bag drain completely out to get the most wort possible… we transferred it still quite wet to another pot that had a bit of hot water in it and “sparged”

Spills normally does this as a slight modification to the BIAB technique, to get a bit of extra efficiency, but this time instead of adding the weak wort back to the kettle, we kept it seperate to make a “small” beer with.

Our main wort gave us 24litres of 1.065 wort into a No-Chill cube. The small beer ended up being about 10litres of 1.030 that Spills boiled and hopped today (I think he added a little DME to up the OG a bit)

So now we have a modified version of Denny’s Rye IPA split into two 12litre batches, one to be fermented with Fermentis US05 and one I am going to ferment with fermentis S04. And also a 10litre batch of “light” rye ale hopped with Wilamette, cascade and a little chinook that is already bubbling away with US05.

Categories: biab, mashing, techniques

Step Mashing Basics

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Reasons to step mash:

  • to increase yield, for incompletely modified malts (breakdown protein carbohydrate matrix, make sugar more available)
  • change fermentability and how much dextrins etc are left behind after fermentation
  • for highly fermentable, light body, try 145 beta amalyze 30 minutes, 155 to 160 for a short time (or 122 then 145, then 158)
  • quick beta then 160 to 165 for longer time to build up the dextrins and make fermentability low
  • adjunct (corn and rice > 25% grist) – protein rest for more protein, to add more protein since the adjuncts don’t have proteins – this will help with head retention

Reasons you might not want to step mash:

  • Grains are so well  modified now so it is not really needed
  • Ales don’t usually need it because ales are OK with more body
  • Sacchrification ranges overlap, so single step mash will have beta working fast as it denatures, alpha is working slower but keeps working as not denaturing


  • Usually rest about 20 to 30 minutes at each step
  • Longer mashing will make sugar smaller and more fermentable
  • Slow heating to 169 or so will pass through the various ranges. Go slow and you don’t have to stop. Starting temp (dough in) will determine how much protein will be created and affect body

Steps you can hit –

  • dough in 110 a little while
  • protien and beta glucanase- 110 to 125
  • beta 140 to 150
  • alpha 155 to 165
  • mash out – will freeze or lock profile? 169 or less for 10 or so minutes

Types of rests from the bottom

  • acid rest 95 – not really needed – soft water correction?
  • 110 or 113 or more (136) beta glucanase – break down the gummy ness of umalted wheat, rolled oats, unmalted barley
  • 113 to 140 protein rest – protease and pesidase
  • 120 to combine beta glucanase and protein
  • 150 degrees – beta starts denaturing, but is working quickly,
  • limit dextrinase 140 to 153 degrees, breaks down dextrins joints that nothing else can touch

Sachrification enzyme activity ranges

  • beta 140 150
  • limit 140 153
  • alpha 140 167

About Protein Rests

  • for an ale you wouldn’t want long protein rest because it will end up with too much protein and the mouth feel will be to thick, too much body
  • silky mouth feel – do protein rest
  • fuller body – do protein rest


Categories: mashing, techniques