The Twangy Tannic Dumper – part 2

I am going to be a pro, I thought to myself Saturday morning as I hauled hot water by the 5 gallon bucket from the bathroom tub faucet out to the garage and poured it into my hot liquor tank.  I had gotten up early and was too excited to eat any breakfast.  I fired up the burner on the liquor tank, and hauled enough water to fill it (14.5 gallons).  I estimated a campdon tablet was good enough for my very soft water with only chloramine in it.  The mashtun piping was primed by opening the liquor tank ball valve and allowing the water to flow through all the lines until it started to “underlet” into the mashtun.  This is basically a way to let all the air escape out of the lines and pipes through the system.  If there was an air bubble it could get pulled into the motorized liquor pump and stall it out.  Once the mashtun had about an inch of water in the bottom of it, I stopped the flow of water from the liquor tank and added a few handfuls of rice hulls.  Then the 25 lbs. of grain went in on top of everything, and I continued to underlet to allow the water to soak into the grains.  This is only effective so far as the water levels equalize between the two tanks.  I ended up having to pump over on top of the grain for the last few gallons.  All in all, 8 gallons of hot water was added to the crushed grain.

The SmaSH recipies that this recipe was modeled after utilized a step mash profile similar to a Hochkurz Double Decoction without the decoction.  Dough in is around 120-130 degrees, the mash is stirred to break up any dough balls and then allowed to settle.  The pump is turned on and the flow out of the mashtun and through the RIMS pump and heating element is restricted to a trickle.  This is to allow the grain to naturally form a filter system.  Pulling the liquid out too fast results in a compacted mash and the pump will struggle.  I was very pleased with myself and thought everything was going great as I opened up the valve fully and allowed the liquid to drain down to the pump as fast as possible.   My target temperature for this first step of the Hochkurz is a short protein rest on the high side of the window at 133 degrees for 20 minutes.  This went according to plan and my next step was a maltose rest at 144 degrees.  This I did perform for 90 minutes because that is what the SMaSH beers mash profiles were.  As the temperature was ramping by applying a small burner to the mashtun, I prepared my brewing salts that I just recently picked up.  The water spreadsheet showed that I needed 12 grams of Gypsum, 3.2 grams of calcium chloride, 5.2 grams of Epsom Salt, 2.2 grams of baking soda, and 0.96 grams of chalk (calcium carbonate).  My scale only weighs to the nearest gram, so I swag guessed it because I was a professional!  Well since all this was adding so much alkalinity to the water, the pH needed to be adjusted by adding 3ml of 88% lactic acid solution.  Boy, is that right?  Only 3 ml?  It doesn’t look like enough…


There, now my calculated pH was down around 5.3 according to this totally awesome color coded spreadsheet.  Well, I don’t have a pH meter yet, so I hope everything is all right there.  What do all the brewing books say?  Relax and have a homebrew.  After adding a bunch of minerals to the sparge water as well (and more lactic acid for good measure), I did just that, I sat down and cracked open a homebrew.  Once the timer went off, I adjusted the temperature up to the next step at 158 for the dextrinization rest for 120 minutes.  This went off without a hitch, except my wife comes out to the garage and asks when I will be done with brewing.  To which I reply “Still mashing, but be done soon.”  The mashout temperature was raised to 170 degrees for 10 minutes.  So in review, 4 hours into my brew day, I begin to mashout.

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