Thicker mash vs. longer boil

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by sbaclimber, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I am putting together a recipe for this year's X-mas IIPA and am considering mashing more-or-less as I would for my normal IPAs but boiling for longer to increase the OG, as opposed to doing a thicker mash like I did last year (which was a bit of a PITA, though it didn't stick, thankfully....).
    Other than a darker color, more caramelized sugars, a higher utilities bill, and a longer brew-day, is there anything else I should be aware of when boiling longer as opposed to mashing thicker?
    My reason for considering this, is at my "normal" IPA water2grain ratio I have my best efficiency. Due to mash-tun volume constraints, by mashing thicker, I automatically have a decrease in efficiency. I thought maybe I can avoid this by boiling longer instead!?
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    temperature rest mashing or recirculation ?

    a longer boil will make less in the end so compensate ahead with the correct water, either way it shouldn't make a difference
     
  3. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Temp rest.
    The reduction in volume yield is already part of the calculation, so that is taken care of. :)
    (27l. IPA @6% vs. 20l. IIPA @8%)
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    a thicker mash just means more to sparge with, the thick mash doesn't really change much but the sparging with more water rinses off more remain sugar, the longer boil just adds more bitterness, thickens and caramelizes it
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If you're willing to settle for a lower volume of beer, nothing wrong with what you propose. You'll get a slightly darker, more concentrated wort by using a longer boil. Here's an alternative you might consider: Make your IPA normally, hop for the higher IBUs of the imperial IPA and augment your wort with some good quality pale or amber malt extract, either dried or liquid. Add at flameout and let stand for 10 minutes to pasteurize and you have an instant high-gravity beer! I've done that in the past with some of my high-gravity brews to great effect.
     
  6. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    +1 to Nosybear's advice. There's nothing wrong with doing a partial mash brew if your mash tun can't hold enough grain.
     
  7. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to both of you for the advice. I had thought of adding some DME to bump up the OG without the hassle of a thick mash or long boil.
    After moving from extract to AG, it sort of feels like a step backward and a bit like cheating...
    (even though my brain tells me it is still perfectly *legit* :? )
     
  8. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    it's not cheating or a step backwards. it is using all the ingredients available to produce the beer you are desiring.
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Hey, if you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'.
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    oh corn sugar dme, anything on the list here as a sugar is fine as a late adjustment I do it all the time
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Actually I felt the same way. Then I wanted to do a brew that wouldn't fit in the mash tun. How to do it? Cheat. I mashed all the specialty grains, a rather hefty load of base malt and then added malt syrup at flameout. Granted, it felt like putting the training wheels back on. Then the LHBS asked me to test brew a kit for them - a partial mash batch, came out great. My schedule has been so far off the rails I couldn't get in a brew day for a while so I brewed an extract batch, an American Brown Ale. Today's brew was pure all-grain, step mash, the full monte but just because a carpenter gets an airgun doesn't mean he retires his hammer. Moral of the story, if you need more gravity than you can get from your system, augment with LME, honey, molasses, sugar, anything you need to get the gravity and the effect you want.
     
  12. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    SBA,
    What is your mashing process?
    Are you mashing with the full volume of water or doing some sort of sparging?
    Brian
     
  13. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Right at the moment, a standard brew is 6.5kg grain and 22l water, which fills my tun to absolute capacity. I then do a single batch sparge w/ 14l of water. After absorbtion and dead-space, I collect ~30l of wort.
    For my X-mas brew last year, I had 7.85kg grain, 20l mash water, and sparged twice (12l + 4l). I don't remember off the top of my head how much wort I collected pre-boil, but ended up with 22l in the fermentor. Due to the bit of extra sparging, my efficiency was still pretty good (about 1.5% lower than normal), but stirring such a thick mash and then sparging twice seems like more work than just boiling longer.
     
  14. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    I'd stick with the batch sparging method. At some point if you come across a larger vessel for a tun, I'd increase it.
    Don't be worried about the longer boil. I routinely boil for 90 minutes especially with my lighter beers.
    Good Luck
    Brian
     
  15. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback.
    Now I am hoping for a low pressure weather system on the weekend to help the boil.
     
  16. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the general rule of thumb is your mash tun is twice the size of your batch of beer being made so for a 5 gallon batch use a 10 gallon or more mash tun, just makes things easier :)
     
  17. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    This I have discovered the hard way.... :?
     
  18. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Update:
    It didn't quite work the way I was hoping.... :|
    Probably due the very high pressure weather system, my boil-off turned ended up 1.5l. short.
    ...and for some unknown reason, my brewhouse efficiency was 1-2% less than normal too.
    So, it won't quite be an IIPA, *just* a X-mas IPA. Should still be mighty tasty though. :)
     
  19. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    If you keep a pound of DME at hand, you can always correct your OG to keep the recipe to spec.
    Even if it's in the fermentor, you can boil some up and add it.
    Either way, i'm sure it'll be fine.
    Brian
     
  20. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I did think about that, but after making a starter I only had 1/2lb. DME left... :oops:
     

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