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Mash temp and gravity question

Tyso22

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Hello,

Last night I did my very first BIAB all grain recipe. It was a simple Witbier recipe that consisted of 5lbs of wheat malt and 5lbs of pale malt 2 row. Mash temp was scheduled for 150F for 60 mins with an OG of 1.040. It was to yield 5 gallons. I'll also preface this by saying I've done about 20 partial extract batches and have been homebrewing for over a year and have done lots of research including having my John Palmer book by my side and reading lots of forums like this. So very familiar with extract brewing and process.

Everything started out just as it should. Got my mash temp to 156F, pulled the kettle from heat source, dropped the bag in, doughed in the grains nice and slow, stirring intermittently to avoid clumps and once it was all stirred up I capped the kettle at around 152F. I went back to check 30min later and the temp dropped to around 148F so I out the kettle back on the induction plate and used the lowest temp setting (500w) hoping to just bump it up a bit. 20min later the temp somehow spiked to 167F and I pulled it immediately and began stirring it to help release some heat. Got it down to 165F by the time the last 10min ran out, pulled the grain bag, let it drain, squeezed it a bit and then put the grain bag in a fermenter pail and set the kettle to start boiling. Sparged the grains a bit in the fermenter pail and squeezed and drained what I needed to get kettle up to 6 gallons for boil.

Here's where I'm a little stumped. Used my refractometer to check my original gravity and it didn't even register. I calibrated it before use so I know it's good. Siphoned out a sample of wort into a beaker and let it cool. OG ended up being 1.050. Sampled the wort and it was very sweet tasting. Anyway, carried on with my boil schedule, chilled it and racked it to fermenter. Pitched and sealed. Just like normal. That was at 11pm lastnight. By 9am fermentation was well under way.

Seems like a typical brew session, besides the small temp spike, but somehow I'm reverting back to my newbie mindset and wondered if I may have messed it up a bit with the temp spike.

With all that said, is this a RDWHAHB moment for a first time all grain brewer or did I maybe create a low fermentable, really sweet beer with my temp spike?

Thanks and sorry for the novel...just wanted to give as much detail as possible.
 

Oginme

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The bad news is that when you spiked up to 167F, you probably denatured almost all of your enzymes.  The good news is that most of the enzyme activity takes place in the first 20 or so minutes.

All in all, you will be fine.  The fact that the wort was sweet and is fermenting away is proof of that.  You may want to give some thought to some type of insulation for your mash kettle.

 

Tyso22

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Ok, so what you're saying is the majority of the starch to sugar conversion happened before I lost control of the heat? So I should have converted enough to have a successful fermentation? If that's the case then I'm relieved. So, did I basically just inadvertently do a "mash out" with my wort, just a bit early?

Funny you mentioned insulation because I ran out this morning and bought the bubble-wrap insulation from Home Depot to wrap my brew kettle in and also lined the pot lid to help hold temp during mash better. Should be better equipped for next go around.

Thanks for your reply.
 

Oginme

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Tyso22 said:
Ok, so what you're saying is the majority of the starch to sugar conversion happened before I lost control of the heat? So I should have converted enough to have a successful fermentation? If that's the case then I'm relieved. So, did I basically just inadvertently do a "mash out" with my wort, just a bit early?

Pretty much yes, this is what you did.  There are brewers that I am acquainted with who do 20 minute mashes all the time, so you should be fine.
 

Tyso22

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Well I very much appreciate your help on this one. I use big mouth bubblers in a dark room so I just went and checked and fermentation is well under way and a nice healthy krausen layer has formed too so it's definitely time to cheers to that!
 
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