Return to the Mash Tun...

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Thurston Brewer, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I was an all-grain homebrewer 30 years ago for about a 2.5 year stretch (college age...). I was pretty successful and popular at the time, since nobody else was doing it.

    Fast forward to today, two kids approaching college, and I'm making a return to the home brewing scene. Much has changed in that three decades!

    My first batch will be a 3 gallon run of a chocolate porter - aiming for something like Hangar 24 makes. My wife and I love this kind of smooth dark ale.

    I've just about completed re-creating my setup: infusion mash, propane burner, two-stage fermenter. I'm using White Labs Burton Ale Yeast. Should be fun and maybe quite tasty, too.

    One of the things that's changed is the internet and cool places for brewnuts like this one. Mash day will be this Tuesday - wish me luck!
     
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  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Well I know for sure your in safe hands in this forum in the porter department! Not my expertise but I've a sneaky suspicion that there are a few porter pros round here :p.

    Welcome back to the modern brew world Thurston its that thirsty Thurston ha ha
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back to brewing!
    I laid out for about that long, too, before getting back into it this year. It's definitely a brave new world. Everything you'd ever care to know is on the internet (and a helluva lot that you'd rather not) and great brewing information is everywhere.
     
  4. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back to brewing !
    not only is there so much information out there , the range of malts and yeasts will have improved vastly in that time as well
     
  5. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Well, my Return to the Mash Tun has been delayed... Today was to be brew day, but I realized at the last minute that I forgot to buy Calcium Carbonate which I will need for the water in my Chocolate Porter. My LHBS is not open until 4PM, and since I was planning on starting this morning, I would have to go without proper water treatment, which would largely defeat the purpose of all my planning...

    Consequently, tomorrow will be brew day - with all needed items in hand. Better to wait than to compromise my brew!!

    I need to find a 24/7 LHBS!!
     
  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    #6 J A, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
    I'm lucky as heck. My local is open 7 days a week from about 11 to 7 except 5:00 on Sundays. :)
    I've made a fair number of emergency runs, before, after and sometimes in the middle of a brew day.
     
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  7. Thormonsta

    Thormonsta New Member

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    Every home brew supply store with in 100 miles of me is closed on Sunday and Monday. Every one! I think they all got together and are colluding or something. Nothing worse than realizing that you are missing something at 8PM on Sat for a Sunday brew.
     
  8. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I'm moving to Texas!!
     
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  9. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    OK, I got my Calcium Carbonate and the yeast starter is cooking. Tomorrow's Brew Day for sure!!!

    My first brew after 32 years off... I'm kinda excited!!
     
  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Woo hoo I'm excited too thirsty I love the build up to a big brew day especially if you've been planing it all week or more!:) What's ya starter size you making a porter aye?
     
  11. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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  12. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Whew! Got the mash up and running...

    Mash pH came out at 5.21 (spot on!). For water treatment I went by the guidance of Dave Line's classic book 'The Big Book of Brewing', and once again his advice was golden!

    The Strike Water calculator from Brewers Friend Windows app was miles off, though. It said I needed 2 gallons at 166 °F, but I put in 3 and still only came up to 146 °F... I had to draw off some wort and bring it up to 200 °F then add it back to get up to 152.5 °F. Mash thickness = 1.92 qts/lb, which is much looser than I had planned. I'm gonna need to guesstimate strike temp for the next batch; maybe 176 or so...

    Because of the loose mash, I reached starch end point at 10 minutes (!), but I'm going to give it a full 60 to ensure that I get some maltose in with the dextrins, to try and maintain a decent balance. We shall see...
     
  13. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    After a 90 minute boil, my wort cooler brought it down to the high 80s (not bad, but needs improvement), and I came out with 3 gallons at 1.055. Pretty damned close to the target of 1.057!

    Gotta let it cool a bit before pitching. Don't know whose more anxious for that; me or my yeastie beasties!

    mmmm.... Porter!
     
  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    You can change you strike temp setting in your brew profile thirsty. I usually gat a 2celcius drop once mashed in but I brew in a bag so I'll hit flame under kettle if mash temp is low. But then again I'm not too fussed as long as it is within the degree I want she's all good.

    What ya cooling your brew with thirsty Imersion chiller? What's ya time frame on chilling to near pitch temps mate?
     
  15. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    It's a coil of copper tubing I place inside an Igloo cooler (the same one I use as a mash tun). I just fill it with ice and water and siphon the brew through.... voila!
     
  16. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    That's the first way I chilled! Except I used a 5 gallon bucket instead of a cooler. Turn that coil into a counterflow chiller. Then you won't need to get ice when you brew!
     
  17. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Well there is more than one way to skin a cat I say.mi never thought of that:eek:. Cheers thirsty hay what temp you get into FV? I've been thinking of doing a pre chiller type thing to chill water before Imersion chiller.
     
  18. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Counterflow is quite effective, but can't do it here... In So Cal we're 5 years into a monster drought - pissing water down the drain just to cool brew won't cut it. I made the ice myself then poured the melt water into my rain barrel for watering the veggie garden. No waste, mate!
     
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  19. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    It was nearly 90 degrees... a bit too high for my tastes so I'll need to up the cooling efficiency somewhat. I pitched at 75 and have a nice, rich yeast head as I take my last draught and head for the sack.

    Ahh, brew day! :)
     
  20. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Here in Aus that's why a lot of us no chill. no water used in chilling wort just Mother Natures cool overnight temp hopefully if not wack the cube in fridge following morning to continue to chill to pitch temp. I've done a couple of no chill batches they were lovely no clarity probs neither. Just gotta watch Bittering at start add them in at 30 to go to adjust extended Bittering in cube then do aroma additions into cube and dry hop once ferment has eased.
     

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