From the HBD Archive
From: hplabs!gatech!oldale.pgh.pa.us!ken (Kenneth R. van Wyk)
Subject: my two cents on mashing
Date: 1990-05-15 23:33:38 GMT

For what it's worth, I thought that I'd toss in my feelings on mashing
- perhaps it'll be useful to those who might be considering trying a
mash but don't think that they have the {equipment|experience|
inclination|whatever}.

Though I still consider myself a novice (just started brewing in
December, but I've been doing a lot of experimenting), I've been
really drawn to the idea of mashing. When first learning about the
logistical details and all, I thought that I wouldn't be able to do it
without considerable expense. Then, I gradually talked myself into
trying things, after thinking out each step of the progress.

First, I decided that I'd start with doing a small mash in addition to
2 cans (actually, bags) of extract. I made an India Pale Ale (I'll
include the recipe for those who can stomache this long message :-)
and mashed an additional 2 lbs of pale malt. Then, I tried a half
mash. The half mash is still fermenting, so I can't comment on that,
but the IPA was, IMHO, truly wonderful. Certainly the best that I've
made so far.

I use a 5 gallon stainles steel stockpot that I got for $32.95 at a
local Service Merchandise (discount warehouse store) for boiling and I
mash in a 2.5 gallon stockpot that cost me about $15 a few years ago.
For sparging, I use the "tea bag" method with a sparging bag (so the
local supplier calls it - it's actually a filter bag with a coarser
bottom than side) and sparge in 2 baths of 170F water. Granted, the
extraction efficiency with this type of sparge can't be as good as
doing a false-bottom, etc., sparge, but I have no complaints thus far.

For the boil, I use about 3.5-4 gallons in the stockpot. Of course,
you have to be extra careful for a boilover with this much wort in a 5
gallon pot, but the gas stove helps in turning things off Real Fast if
need be.

Finally, I made an immersion worth chiller using 10 ft. of copper
tubing, a compression fitting, and a couple other odds and ends - all
bought at the local Hechinger (mainstream (yuppy) house supply store).
The entire chiller cost me about $13 and 10 minutes to make. If
there's enough interest, I'll post the details of what I did.

I put the stockpot in my basement utility sink with the wort chiller
inside, and the sink filled up to about the 2/3 mark on the stockpot.
Then, I crank up the chiller, carefully allowing some water to drain
from the sink as it gets near the top of the stockpot. Between the
chiller and the cold water on the outside of the stockpot, I can cool
4 gallons of boiling wort in about 15-20 minutes easily. (I add some
previously boiled and cooled water to the carboy when I pitch the
yeastie boys to bring the level up to about 5 gallons.)

Sorry to get so long winded. I think that my approach works pretty
well - the results have been real tasty. BTW, I found that mashing 5
lbs of malt in my last beer was tremendously *easier* than mashing 2
lbs in my first attempt, because maintaining a constant temperature
was (not surprisingly) much easier.

For those who have stuck it out so far, here's the recipe for the IPA
that I made (which is modified from Papazian's IPA):

Pale After Math Ale (I brewed this after an exam...):

6.6 lbs American Classic light extract
1 lb Crystal malt (didn't have the lovibond - and I added this at
sparging time)
2 lbs British Pale Malt (mashed via step procedure up to 155F)
3 oz Fuggles leaf hops (1 @ 50 minutes, 1 @ 30 minutes, 1 @ 20 minutes)
1 oz Cascade leaf hops (sprinkled in from 10-0 minutes)
2 tsp gypsum (in mash water, to lower ph)
1/2 tsp Irish moss (added at 10 minutes)
1 pkg M.eV. high temperature British ale yeast

Notes:
- I used a 1 Qt. starter culture started 2 days before brewing.
- For bottling, I used 1/2 cup corn sugar prepared in a coffee maker,
with about 1/2 oz. Cascade leaves in the filter and the corn sugar in
the pot. Makes a great semi-dry hopping. The aroma on the IPA was,
IMHO, perfect!
- O.G. was 1.054.
- F.G. was 1.018.

Again, sorry for being so long winded here. Hope someone gets some
use out of all these words...

Cheers,

Ken van Wyk
ken@oldale.pgh.pa.us

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