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Help Heating the Mashtun

Would anyone have any advice on how (or how not) to pre-heat a 70 qt. cooler that has been converted into a mashtun? I’ll be brewing my first AG recipe next weekend and was wondering if simply pouring a couple of quarts of boiling water into the cooler would do the trick, or if I should add a larger volume (a gallon or so) of cooler water (150 or 170 or so). Would adding boiling water warp the inside of the cooler?

I learned the hard way with my first AG batch about a month ago. I totally missed my mash temp.
For my system (52 qt chest cooler), I just heat the strike water an extra 5 or 6 degrees to make up for the heat loss in my MT. So instead of 164 degree strike water for a 152 degree mash temp, I’ll use 170 degree water. This may be something you’re just gonna have to experiment with, with your set up to see how much heat your MT absorbs.

Go grain to water so that you can raise your water temp to make up for the heat loss.

+1

Thanks very much for all of the comments – I’m going to have to put my ignorance on display and ask what is meant by going “grain to water”

Add the strike water to the mashtun first, then add your grain. Some guys put all their grain in the mashtun first, then add water. The grain will mix in better and more easily doing grain to water and the temp will be easier to stabilize.

Makes sense! Thanks for clarifying…

Take good notes. If you’re under temp, keep track of how much hotter you need the water next time. Do the reverse if you’re too hot.

+100
Document EVERYTHING. Write down every temperature, quantity, and time. By doing that, you should be able to correct most mistakes for your next batch.
Another thing I learned the hard way, start heating up your sparge water as soon as you get your mash temp stabilized.

That’s going to depend on what you use to heat the water. If I did that with my burner, my sparge water would be ready 45 min. early.

That’s going to depend on what you use to heat the water. If I did that with my burner, my sparge water would be ready 45 min. early.[/quote]
Same here. Gotta love the power of a good burner!

My point is, figure out how long it’s gonna take you so aren’t mashing any longer than you have to.

Agreed, but mashing a bit longer if you don’t time it right is no big deal.

Agreed, but mashing a bit longer if you don’t time it right is no big deal.[/quote]

I concur. If I go a few minutes past the 60 minute mark or however long I’m mashing, it’s nothing to worry about at all.

Agreed, but mashing a bit longer if you don’t time it right is no big deal.[/quote]

I concur. If I go a few minutes past the 60 minute mark or however long I’m mashing, it’s nothing to worry about at all.[/quote]

I knew that as soon as I typed this, I was going to get this response. I know that an extra long isn’t an issue. All I was getting at is, take notes, so you can streamline your brew session. Get the standard process down pat, so you can start tweaking other parameters of the brew session. It took me 13 years to finally make the jump to all grain. I can make an extract batch in my sleep. It’s like making mac & cheese. So, when I switched to all grain, I wanted to get my process down so I’m not running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. I’m not trying to argue anything here, I just feel like my point keeps getting pushed aside.

Point well taken – and thanks very much to all of you who took the time to reply!

Get some brewing software and find the thermal mass of your tun and you won’t have to guess, wait, and/or preheat anymore. Very reliable once you’ve got it dialed in. I add grain to tun first and add water at my target temp. I hit my mash temp every time. Process wise, I measure water and put on burner. I find that by the time I mill my grain I am very close to target temp. Mash away…

Not sure what size of batch but I believe I have read stories 70qts is too big for normal gravity 5G batches. Users report a radical loss of temp since it is not filled enough to create thermal mass…

Plug in your water/grain ratio, grist temp. and target mash temp. into this calculator. Should be right on the money every time:

http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/infusion.html

Per zwiller’s post, has anyone experienced irregular or unreliable heat retention when mashing standard gravity 5 gallon recipes in a 70 qt. cooler?

Also, could someone clue me into how I can include quotes in my posts? (still new to the forum!)

[quote=“Dan S”]Per zwiller’s post, has anyone experienced irregular or unreliable heat retention when mashing standard gravity 5 gallon recipes in a 70 qt. cooler?

Also, could someone clue me into how I can include quotes in my posts? (still new to the forum!)[/quote]

1). 70qt is fine for standard gravity if its a 5-day cooler (coleman xtreme, etc). i got one an usually mash overnite, and find with a 1.05ish 5gal recipe that i lose a few degrees. use a blanket or something similar is you are having issues maintaining temp.

2). for quote: simple way is to go to user preferences in control panel and change board type (or something like that) to “subsilver 2”. search quote if you can’t find it. i had to get help on this one when they changed over to the new format.

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