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Mash Temps and Mixing

Its a little after 5am and I’m already frustrated. After this morning’s mash-in, I may become a Marty Drinan disciple….

Promash calculated a strike water temp of 176 for me to hit my desired 151-152 range. I heated the water, and it hit 178 before I could catch it…. so I turned the burner off, let the kettle sit for about 5 min in the 50 degree air, and it cooled… to 174. So I turned the burner back on, and a minute later the thermometer said 176, so I killed the burner. I gave the water a quick mix with my spoon – 178!!! D@mnit!!!! So I said screw it and into the mash tun it went.

And I mashed in my grains, using my trusty mash paddle. I check the temperature – 162. SAY WHAT?!?!? OK… time to stir like hell…. so I grab my stainless spoon and stir-stir-stir for 2 minutes. 156. Eh… not too bad, but not great. More stirring ensues…. 156. OK… time to adjust down a hair.

So I add about a half quart of cold water… stir stir stir stir – 155. Ugh… this is gonna take forever. Add another half quart. Stir stir stir stir…. 3 minutes later… 154. GOOD LORD, this is insane!!! OK… dump another half quart in, declaring that’s all I’m doing. If its a little high, then so well… it’ll be fuller-bodied than I intended. Mix, mix… stir stir stir… 155. WHAT?!?!?? The temperature went UP!??!!?!! Stir-like-the-mash-did-me-wrong hopping-mad for 3 minutes… 149!!!

(Flurry of four letter words and not-so-nice 5 letter words ensue)

I have been all-grain brewing for 2 years now!!! I SHOULD @!#@ING KNOW BETTER!!!!

So, after calming down and proclaiming that “it is a belgian-style abbey dubbel, and if it ferments way low then so be it”… and going to go grab some coffee, I think back to Friday night’s meeting where Marty showed us his latest tool for mixing his mash – a drill-powered paint stirrer with every other fin taken out…. And I wondered how much of this heartache could have been avoided if I just had a more efficient means to stir my mash.

I am going to Home Depot. I am buying a paint stirrer. And I am going to use that b!tch on my next mash.

As for the dubbel – I may just have to leave a pound of corn sugar out of the recipe and deal with a lower initial gravity to compensate for the lack of dextrins in my wort. Or maybe I’ll add it in and see what the hell happens. I guess I’ll wait until 9:30 or so and see how I feel when that addition comes up.

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Categories: Brew gear
  1. Fool Circle
    April 24, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Been there, sucks. I played the too hot, too cold game the other weekend – sucks to get frustrated early.

    Your beer will turn out fine, enjoy it. – B

  2. Oliver
    April 27, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Dude,

    Just curious, are you confident in your thermometer?

    -O

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