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Big Grain Bill....Small Mash Tun

I have learned the hard way that I can really only successfully mash about 24lbs of grains with my set up. I have the standard HomeDepot 10Gal Mash Tun with the matching hot liquor tank. This is typically great for 10gallon batches. However, there are some recipes that call for more grains (the dopple that I want to brew calls for over 30lbs). I know this will not fit in my mash tun.

Do I have other options other than getting a larger Mash Tun, or making a smaller batch?


Thicker mash might help. Go down to 1qt/lb grist. Could do separate mashes but that would be kind of a PIA

There is no sin is using some malt extract to get a higher OG. My MT is a 25 galllon SS kettle that allows me to get 20 gallon batches. For something with a really big OG I would rather add some extract to the boil than get a smaller batch.

There are a lot of Barley Wine recipes that call for extract to get that big a beer without larger equipment.

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If I’m having trouble with a very large batch or very large grain bill, I’ll go with a thicker mash and double or triple sparge to get my pre-boil volume. Additional benefit for additional sparges is higher efficiency, which is nice with a high gravity beer.

Thicker mash, smaller batch, or two separate mashes are all options, the latter one being the least desirable because it takes all dang day long to brew two partial batches instead of just one. But it’s an option.

great. I am assuming when you say 1qt/1lb “GRIST”…grist means per pound of grain?

Generally when I’m planning a high gravity brew that involves more grain than my mashtun can handle(I use a 5G picnic cooler) I mash what I can comfortably and make up the rest with LME or DME. However, last winter I decided to do a ‘split-mash’ for a 1.080 Dopplebock. I mashed 1/2 the grains in a normal manner, drained and sparged, then used that liquor for the 2nd 1/2 of the grain bill. It did increase my mash efficiency by an additional 10% over the previous attempt at mashing the full grain bill in the 5G cooler. But it took an extra 75 minutes. Tradeoff? All depends on whether your time is more or less valuable than the cost of some DME or LME.

Grist = grain

Look into sequential mashing. It’s very similar to what @jimrmaine is speaking of.

Sequential mashing needs you to keep an eye on the pH/gravity… Your buffering capabilities will start to hold the acid hostage, thusly allowing extra proteins(cloudy brews) or tannins( flavor suckers) occur… Sneezles61

You can also steep your specialty grains separately

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Wow,All great options…

Brew Cat…

how long and at what temp would you steep your specialty grains?

I would go about 165° for 20-30 min. Just as you would for an extract with specialty grains batch.

That’s a good idea doing them separately BTW. Never gave it a thought.

I did my split batch, IPA then to an APA… I did a full hour,1 pound of 90 crystal in a gallon and a quarter… My volume was so close to a gallon, and 1.034… Sneezles61

The way I’ve done it is steep it in the first running in the brew kettle then do the lauter etc and drain second running on top by time all said and done maybe 20 min. I’m thinking maybe you could just steep it in your sparge water although I never did it that way. Actually when ive done it at all wasn’t so much because of mash tun size but because I was doing a party gyle. I would do a grain bill then sparge to two pots holding different specialty grains

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