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Letting wort sit before the boil

If I want to mash/sparge/collect runnings, then take 2-3 hours off before the boil, will the wort still be OK? I’m concerned about souring.

I’ll keep the collected wort in my kettle with the lid on for a few hours before I boil.

I think there might be a risk there for souring. It would be better to bring it to a boil and then let it sit, but that’s a huge waste of energy. Letting it sit for 2-3 hours will also be a huge energy waster, because it will cool down quite a bit in that time and you’ll have to bring it all the way back up to a boil.

What’s your motivation for taking the break? An alternative might be to just let it mash longer, or mash in later on and then go do what you have to do. People do overnight mashes - I’ve never done it but that’s an option anyway.

It’ll be fine. My wife suffers from chronic migraines. One brew day, I had to take her to the ER, 45 minutes into my mash. I dropped her off, and returned home and collected all of my wort but I didn’t want to start the boil till I picked her back up. So, about three hours after the collection, I picked right back up with the brew day as normal. Just way later than I’m used to. The beer turned out great.

I would say there is no harm in letting it sit for a few hours. It will not sour in that time simply because it’ll be too hot for souring bacteria. They’ll be more worried about saving their lives rather than proliferating and producing lactic acid until it cools to around 100*F and even then they will not kick in immediately. Once it does though, it’ll be quick, so for example if you leave it overnight you’ll end up with a nice pellicle and a sour wort which is not necessarily a bad thing depending on what you’re making.

I’ve sparged and boiled 3-4 hrs later to attend my daughters track meets with no problems. I wrapped the BK with blankets to minimize heat loss.

If you don’t denature the enzymes with 10+ minute at >168F, you’ll end up with a very attenuative wort. Not a bad thing at all for some beers, though.

Yeah, I was fly sparging with a mashout.

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