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 Post subject: Temperature Issues
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:12 pm
Posts: 2
I'm having trouble with my temperatures. The dial thermometer coming out of the mash and the controller/probe reading are about the same and that is fine. But when I stick a handheld mercury thermometer (which I trust) on top of the mash after exiting the heating element I'm getting almost 5 degrees different reading. I'm dealing in celsius, so this is huge. I would like to do single infusion and dial my mash in at 65 to 68 degrees but when the system self regulates at 65 my mercury thermometer reads the wort coming out and back on top of the mash at 70. i've had some brews that did not ferment out all the way and tried to rescue them but to no avail. Anybody else have temperature issues? What are some peoples mashing guidelines? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Temperature Issues
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Pint Glass
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:26 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Stamford, CT
Since no one has replied with an answer yet, and clearly you see a temp difference in your mercury thermometer. I would calibrate all three, call or email Bob at Sabco so that he can send you instructions on how to do it on the BM. With your mercury thermometer I would make sure it is accurate by putting it in boiling water, then near freezing water.

My mashing schedule depends on the beer but I usually do single step, then a 168ºF mash out for last 15mins, then sparge with 170ºF water from the HLT. When I brew Belgians, which is quite often, I do a multi step starting at 122ºF, then 148ºF and the mash out as above.

For what it's worth -and I know you've heard it a million times, watch your crush. A thick crush will insulate your MT better, thus keep temps more consistently throughout the depth of the grain bed. I had to increase my mill gap within the last year, and saw my temps stabilize between the mash thermometer, the PLC thermometer, and a stem thermometer I use inside the mash. They are all in harmony now. If you're having fermentability issues you may also want to check your mash water, and sparge water PH.

Hope this helps, cheers!
Hooch

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Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. - Ernest Hemingway


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 Post subject: Re: Temperature Issues
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:12 pm
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Thank you for getting back to me. I've been communicating with Matt from Sabco and I have been running water tests to make sure the thermometers are correct. And I have calibrated all of them. Some of the dial ones on the BM were off about 3 degrees. I'm using a pH stabilizer in my mash water because it is too high based on my strips. I'm sure everything was too hot for my first couple of brews and I was brewing at mashout temps! I'm getting closer to dialing it in. We might think it's the PLC. The heating element shouldn't heat my mash up that hot.


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 Post subject: Re: Temperature Issues
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:46 am 
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Pint Glass
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:26 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Stamford, CT
Quote:
I'm getting closer to dialing it in. We might think it's the PLC. The heating element shouldn't heat my mash up that hot.


Glad to hear that you're getting closer to finding a solution. Please keep us posted, and good luck.

Cheers,
Hooch

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Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. - Ernest Hemingway


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 Post subject: Re: Temperature Issues
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Pint Glass

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:56 pm
Posts: 65
Quote:
I'm using a pH stabilizer in my mash water because it is too high based on my strips.


Off topic and please don't take this as criticism... but the 5.2 Stabilizer has proven to be snake oil - and I wish 5 Star would not sell it. Stabilizer is filled with sodium and phosphate buffers that I find add a weird minerally flavor to light beers - and have little "buffering" capability with most people's water. It was designed for a brewery that did not want to manage their water - had moderate alkalinity and high calcium. Unless you have their water profile - it will not work as described. The strips tend to read a bit high, when tested against a calibrated pH meter and calibration solutions - so it is entirely possible your pH was fine. Liquid Acid (phosphoric and lactic) and calcium rich minerals such as gypsum or calcium chloride are better choices for managing mash pH, and a bit more involved.

If you use a prediction spreadsheet like Bru'n Water or Brewers Friend, you can easily calculate mineral and/or acid additions to neutralize alkalinity and bring your mash pH into control. If you are working without a good pH meter - then shoot for the middle of the best range around 5.4. That will give you some forgiveness if the pH shifts high or low a little bit. Those prediction tools have a bit of a learning curve.

I am bit of a water profile nut - so forgive the shift off topic. If you would like some help with your water - don't hesitate to ask. I talk quite a bit about brewing water on my blog.

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