From the HBD Archive
Subject: More on hop backs. Mash effieciency.
Date: 1992-06-26 15:56:00 GMT

Russ sez:

>My plan now is to pour boiling water into the plastic
>buckets/hop-back and let it sit while the wort is chilling as usual. The
>heat should sanitize the buckets. Then I can pour the cooled wort through
>the hop-back. No hot wort, no plastic nasties, and well-oxygenated wort
>as a by-product.

True. But, as you note below, I don't think you will extract as many
hop oils from the wort by circulating cooled wort over them.
Moreover, I'd worry some about bacterial contamination. Since you're
running cooled wort over fresh hops you're basically dry hopping. But
dry hopping in the secondary is safer than what you propose here
because some alcohol has already been generated during primary
fermentation and therefore lessens the risk of contamination.

>One concern about your hot wort/hop-back/chill scheme,
>Kinney, is that the hops are not being used as a trub filter bed, at least
>not for the cold break material. But I guess that's the price you pay
>for all that great hop aroma that'll be extracted by the hot wort. Does
>Sierra Nevada hop-back with hot or cold wort?

You know me, Russ. I'm the infamous pot-scrubber-in-a-mesh-bag guy.
With that technique, I filter the wort up front. Your point about the
cold break material is true but all hop backs assume the circulation
of hot wort over the hops prior to the wort entering the wort chiller.
Letting the wort sit on the cold break is another issue and one that I,
frankly, don't worry too much about. I figure I'm doing such a good
job of filtering off the hot break, a little bit of cold break can't
be too detrimental to my beer, discussions about the pros and cons of
this notwithstanding. Plus, with the ol' BrewCap system, I can drain
away the cold break immediately upon the cessation of primary
fermentation. I figure that's the time to get the beer away from the
cold break anyway since allowing the beer to sit on the break appears
to be advantageous during the respiration phase of the yeast. I know
some would disagree but my beers have been turning out just fine.

Sierra Nevada hop-backs with hot wort.

And Gordon worries about the low yield of his mashes:

>I use a one step infusion mash at 155 for 45 minutes.

Mashing at 155 will not convert as many of the sugars as would mashing
at 150. Mashing at 155 will promote a dextrinish wort. You'll miss
the maltose since the enzymes for converting these are inactive if not
destroyed at the higher temps.

>It looks like I get complete conversion testing with iodine. I tested
>before so I know what to look for when conversion was complete.

I usually see starch conversion at 45 minutes, too. But Dave Line
recommends letting the mash continue for another 45 minutes past
starch conversion for an even more complete conversion.

>I sparge with about 4 gallons ~170 water until it no longer tastes
>sweet, about 6 gallons. I sparge in the Zap-pap lauter tun (nested
>buckets with the inner bucket drilled with about a thousand holes.)

Again, following Dave Line, I use a sparge bag. He points out that
sparging in a plastic bucket will promote capillary action along the
sides of the bucket thus wasting all that water. The coarseness of
the sides of a sparging bag reduces this tendency. Although I've
never done a side by side test, I had a customer who did and he
reported an increased yield with a sparge bag. FWIW.

>Sparge now takes about 45 minutes to complete.

That's plenty of time.

Cheers ya'll,

___ ----------------------------------------------------------- ___
| | Kinney Baughman | |
| | | |
\ / \ /
| "Beer is my business and I'm late for work" |

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