Size limitations (how much can I mash in this?)

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by wolfie7873, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    Been making 2.5 gallon batches for a while now, but was hoping to make a full 5 gallons and split it for some exbeerimentation. Can I fit 14.5# of grain and requisite amount of water into a 5 gallon cooler mash tun? Obviously, I could try, but if I fail, I'd have a mess and no easy way out. Anyone have experience?
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    can't say for sure, but I do BIAB and my mash tun / kettle is only 5 gallons. At 1.25 qts/lb, i've maxed out at about 12 lbs or so of grain.
    The lid didn't even sit properly on it with that much, and i'm sure the temperature was a bit uneven throughout, but it worked.
    I've since tried to stick around 10 lbs. a little extract to supplement things is also a possibility if you can't quite get enough in there
     
  3. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    scroll down to the 3rd calculator on this site... "Can I Mash it?" http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

    14.5# grain at a mash thickness of 1.25 = This mash will take up 5.69 gallons of space.
     
  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    haha, never watched the show, but I got a bob the builder vibe from your post.

    "Can we brew it?"
    "YES WE CAN!!!"
     
  5. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    thread hijacking,
    [​IMG]
     
  6. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    Ha!

    Looks like a late addition of lactose was being counted in the weight of my grain bill. Turns out I have only 13.5# of grain, which at 1.25 qts/lb is 5.28 gallons total. Since a 5 gal cooler holds 5.5 gallons, I can make this work. Barely. Whew!

    For any interested, this is going to be a triple chocolate stout with half racked onto montmorency cherries. <crosses fingers>
     
  7. newmanwell

    newmanwell Active Member

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    FWIW: I had 11lbs of grain in my mash tun last brew session and it topped off a little under the 5 gallon mark (10 gallon tun). I was at a 1.31 ratio. So I think you'll be able to do it but maybe consider a slightly thicker mash (1.15-1.20).
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Move the lactose over into the "other ingredients" area - it's not a fermentable, nor does it get mashed.
     
    Brewer #250615 likes this.
  9. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    does the other ingredients section account for gravity, color, etc. of the ingredient (when applicable or known)?
     
  10. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    If you leave it as a fermentable and don't check 'late addition' its gravity contribution affects the hop utilization rate and thus IBU calculation, so there's something to it.
     
  11. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought wolfie your grain bed will be tall and not very wide. Need to be careful lautering I would guess.
    Brew On!
     
  12. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    Everything fit (barely) and it was a successful brew day. The tall grain bed led to a shorter recirculation, but a longer lauter and higher-than-expected effciency so I was happy with that. I got more activity on facebook about this particular brewday than any other. I wonder if my friends are chocolate fiends.

    Can't say I blame them. The wort tasted like hot cococa.
     
  13. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    Adding for posterity.

    The completely full tun and the extremely slow lauter led to what I believe is an over-conversion. I was pleased to get a slightly higher starting gravity, but it's finishing way too low for what I wanted, and all I can think is that it was still converting during the lauter and because the tun was so full, I couldn't add enough hot water to stop. If I do this again, I'll drain the bed as fast as I can without it getting stuck, add 180 degree water, stir, recirc and hopefully get what I intended.
     
  14. newmanwell

    newmanwell Active Member

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    Also in a thick mash the enzymes are more active. In other words there is the same amount of enzymes in the mash but since they are less thinned out it is easier for them to "chop away" at the starches.
     
  15. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget to raise the starting mash temp to at least 156 if you want more left.
     

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