Mini-mash question/problem?

Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Pat Ko » Tue, 10 Feb 2004 14:48:14



Aloha,
     I just finished up my first mini-mash brew day (having done
several extract + specialty grain batches in the past).  I conducted
the mini-mash in my brewpot on top of the stove (it's too big to go in
the oven).  I used 3.25 lb of grain in a grain bag and started out
with about 6 quarts of water, which from what I've been reading makes
my mini-mash a bit on the thin side.  The problem I ran into was, even
with a little too much water to start with, there still was not enough
water in my brewpot to fully immerse the grain bag (initially it was
only about half in the water).  Not knowing what else to do, I added
water until the level came up to the top of the grain in the bag,
which ended up being about twice what I started out with.  The one
possible saving grace, at least this is what I've been telling myself,
is that since the grains were in a grain bag, that should have kept
the enzymes relatively close together along with the starches they
needed to interact with.  I'd like to reap the benefits of a mini-mash
without having to add to my equipment inventory.  Can anyone help me
out or have any relevant comments regarding this problem?  Thanks in
advance for any and all info.

Pat

 
 
 

Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Jack Erbe » Wed, 11 Feb 2004 07:21:36



<snip>

Quote:
>Can anyone help me
>out or have any relevant comments regarding this problem?  Thanks in
>advance for any and all info.

I have a grain bag (fine nylon, not muslim) that is about 10" x 20".
When I use it I gather the top, make a 1" or so fold, and put a ***
band around that.  

When I put 3 to 4 lbs. of grain in that and it will still lay flat
covering most of the bottom of a 8 or 10 quart pot.  The grain layer
is only 1" or so deep.  I use 1.2 quarts per pound or grain and that
much water will cover the grain bag.  

I do take a wooden cooking spoon and spread and flatten the grain out
to move the water around.  I do that every 10-15 minutes and usually
turn the bag over and spread the grain around again.  

The pot I use has a heavy bottom and holds heat well, I occasionally
give it 15 seconds or so of flame from the burner to keep temp up to
155F or so.

I have been dunking that whole bag in the preheated (180F+/-) boil pot
to rinse the grains.  Sort of like a combination mash out and sparge
although I am usually really steeping grains rather than mashing them.

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Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Michae » Wed, 11 Feb 2004 08:40:34


Quote:
> I have been dunking that whole bag in the preheated (180F+/-) boil pot
> to rinse the grains.  Sort of like a combination mash out and sparge
> although I am usually really steeping grains rather than mashing them.

Very good advice. You might want to try this; take the grain bag out of the
pot and pour the wort into another vessel. Put a kitchen colander above the
boil pot, put the grain bag in the colander and pour the wort through the
grains and pour another 2-3 quarts of 175F water through, too.

If you want to try a very inexpensive way to mini-mash, here's what I did at
that stage. My first mash tun; ice cream comes in two gallon buckets at most
supermarkets. Get two, eat the ice cream and make a 'Zapap' two bucket
sparger. The instructions are in Charlie P's book, TNCJHB. The instructions
are for a set of two five-gallon buckets, but, you can make it work.

Michael

 
 
 

Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Pat Ko » Wed, 11 Feb 2004 12:59:38


Thanks for the responses.  I was wandering through Walmart today and
just happened to stroll down the cookware aisle.  Even though I don't
really want to buy any additional equipment, I started looking at
various pots and checking prices anyway.  I came across a big roasting
pan (like for a turkey) and thought hmmmm, that would work and I
already have one at home.  It didn't cross my mind earlier because we
keep it in a different cabinet than the rest of our pots.  I took a
look at it this evening and it looks like it would be the perfect size
for a mini-mash and it can fit in the oven.  I guess the tricky part
that I'll have to work out now is pouring the wort from the hot
roasting pan to the brewpot and catching all the grains in a grain bag
on the way without making a huge mess....any suggestions?

Pat

 
 
 

Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Eupsych » Thu, 12 Feb 2004 02:26:36


Quote:
> is that since the grains were in a grain bag, that should have kept
> the enzymes relatively close together along with the starches they
> needed to interact with.  I'd like to reap the benefits of a mini-mash

This has been a topic of controversy, with some saying that bagged
malt in an excess of water won't convert and some saying that it will.
I think that the truth is probably somewhere in between. The
concentrations of enzymes inside the bag probably is high enough to
convert. Any starch that escapes the bag, however, will get diluted.
Then it is unlikely to come into contact with the enzymes and probably
will not convert.

You mention in a later post about mashing in an oven. Better check the
oven first! My oven gets way too hot at the 150F setting.

I've been partial mashing using a 2 gallon "Victory" drinking cooler,
which runs about $10. I used a vegetable steamer as a false bottom and
did a batch sparge. It will handle 3 lbs nicely and 4 lbs is about the
maximum. Overall, it works but my efficency has been low, about 40%.
I'd like to get that up higher. I'm currently thinking about replacing
the vegetable steamer false bottom with a braided hose, like Denny
Conn describes on his web site. I also didn't follow his batch sparge
instructions to the letter, so next time I'm going to be more careful
about that. (A botched batch sparge??) Any thoughts on improving this
would be appreciated.

 
 
 

Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Theodore Klo » Thu, 12 Feb 2004 07:47:56


Quote:

>  came across a big roasting
> pan (like for a turkey) and thought hmmmm, that would work and I
> already have one at home.  It didn't cross my mind earlier because we
> keep it in a different cabinet than the rest of our pots.  I took a
> look at it this evening and it looks like it would be the perfect size
> for a mini-mash and it can fit in the oven.

After an unsuccessful attempt at a slow-cooker minimash I switched to
the turkey pan a.k.a. Dutch oven.  I can easily do 5 lb. of grain and
it's so much easier to maintain temperature.

After making a big mess putzing around with grain bags, collanders and
strainers, I bought a Phil's Mini Lauter Tun.  I know you said you
don't want to add equipment but I found it to be worthwhile.  I use a
big stainless ladle to get the mash into the lauter tun.

 
 
 

Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Eupsych » Fri, 13 Feb 2004 07:28:23


Quote:
> After making a big mess putzing around with grain bags, collanders and
> strainers, I bought a Phil's Mini Lauter Tun.  I know you said you
> don't want to add equipment but I found it to be worthwhile.  I use a
> big stainless ladle to get the mash into the lauter tun.

What kind of efficiency to you get with this system? My hunch is that
the big drawback to a lot of minimash techniques is that the
efficiency is pretty low.
 
 
 

Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Jack Erbe » Fri, 13 Feb 2004 10:41:19



<snip>

Quote:
>I guess the tricky part
>that I'll have to work out now is pouring the wort from the hot
>roasting pan to the brewpot and catching all the grains in a grain bag
>on the way without making a huge mess....any suggestions?

I put the cracked grains in the bag dry and steep/mash them in the
bag.  Because the bag is only 1/4 or less full, it will lay flat and
fully immersed on the bottom of the 10 quart pot.

And the extra space in the bag lets me move the grains around to keep
them well wetted and at an even temperature.

After the steep time is up (I usually do 45 minutes) I take the steep
pot to the boil pot (which has the now preheated water in it), pick
the grain bag up by the end that is held shut with a *** band, and
dunk it up and down in the water several times.  Then I pour the steep
liquor in the boil pot, drain the grain bag into the steep pot with a
colander,  give the bag a gentle squeeze, and add that too.  

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Mini-mash question/problem?

Post by Theodore Klo » Sat, 14 Feb 2004 01:19:30


Quote:

> > After making a big mess putzing around with grain bags, collanders and
> > strainers, I bought a Phil's Mini Lauter Tun.  I know you said you
> > don't want to add equipment but I found it to be worthwhile.  I use a
> > big stainless ladle to get the mash into the lauter tun.

> What kind of efficiency to you get with this system? My hunch is that
> the big drawback to a lot of minimash techniques is that the
> efficiency is pretty low.

I've only done one batch this way so far, and I didn't measure
efficiency.  I was just trying to work out the procedure.  Next batch
I'll measure and report.

In general, I'm not as worried about efficiency as I would be doing
AG.  I just do the partial mashes so I can include specialty malts and
adjuncts that would be out of the question with extract+specialty
brewing.