Author Topic: Maintaing mash temperature?  (Read 5271 times)

Offline mthomebrew

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Maintaing mash temperature?
« on: April 07, 2014, 11:57:21 AM »
Hey all, yesterday I conducted my first partial mash and I have some questions/concerns. Firstly, I was mashing 4 1/2 lbs of grains, so I heated 8.25 quarts of  strike water to approximately 165 for a target temp of 152. When I added the water to the grain, the temperature seemed to drop fast, and after about 10 minutes it was down to 140. I pre-heated the cooler before mashing to prevent extreme temperature loss, but it did not seem to help. I have a 5 gallon Igloo drink cooler for my mash tun. I did a heat test prior to mashing to get an idea of how well the cooler held temp and calculated a 7 degree loss/30 min. My grain was room temp when I mashed, not sure why I had such rapid heat loss. To try and keep the temp in the desired range, I was adding hot water. Now this is my concern, I am worried that the amount of water I added to keep the temperature up threw off my whole batch. I ended up adding about 3.5 quarts of extra water. After my 1 hour mash, I tried to stay on track with the recipe and recirculated, then drained off my starting capacity(8.25 quarts) and then added 4 quarts of 180 water for the mashout. I then drew off the 4 quarts and proceeded with my 3 gallon boil. I had about 3.5 quarts of wort leftover in my cooler. I'm sad I had to leave all of those fermentables out of the batch. After temperature fluctuations and adding water my efficiency seems like it was in the toilet. After the boil I added the 4.1 lbs of DME. I took a gravity reading of 1.056 before pitching the yeast. My  main question is, how can I consistently maintain a mash temp? Second question is, if I need to add water to maintain a temperature, how do I adjust the rest of the mash accordingly as to not leave any wort behind? Thank you in advance!!

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Maintaing mash temperature?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 01:21:12 PM »
did it hit your desired temp at first? or did it drop below your target right away?

if the second, up your strike temp some next time. if the first, wrap the whole thing in some heavy blankets/comforters to increase the insulation. I assume the lid was on the whole time?

you should add the strike water, add the grains, stir very well, read the temp, adjust if needed, then put the lid on and leave it alone for the duration of the mash. if you are losing too much heat, wrap it as described.

on the efficiency issue, it's fine to add extra water but you have to pull it all out and boil it off to get the sugars. you added top up water but you had more wort. the only reason to add top up water is because you don't have room in your kettle to boil the whole amount or because you over boiled.

additionally, the 4 qts, if a mashout, should go in with the rest of the water. if a sparge then it's fine but it sounds like you didn't need to sparge because you already added the extra water to keep your temp up.
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Offline mthomebrew

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Re: Maintaing mash temperature?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2014, 08:09:46 AM »
Thanks man, I will try insulating more around the cooler and raise my strike temp next time. Cheers!