# Mash Thickness for a barleywine?

I plan on brewing Denny’s Old Stoner next weekend, which uses 26 pounds of grain for a 5 gallon batch. The first time I made this several years ago, I had a lot of difficulty getting an even mash temperature. I attribute that to the mash being very thick. I think I used a 1:1 ratio. I’d like to bump it up to 1:25 to 1 for this batch, but that means 8 gallons of strike water and probably 5 g of wort leaving me only about 2.5 g to sparge with. I’m wondering what others have done to get a thinner mash or otherwise address the temperature problem created by using that much grain.

I do it as no sparge these days then partigyle a second batch.

[quote=“Denny”]I do it as no sparge these days then partigyle a second batch.[/quote]That’s how I did my last BW, it worked out great. I scaled up my grain bill by figuring 60% efficiency for the no sparge, I ended up with 57%.

For the second beer I added 5 gallons of 190° to the grain bed, drained it, did a half hour boil and ended up with 4.25 gallons of 1.048 beer in the fermenter.

Just out of curiousity, how much of your fermentables in a more typical batch, say 12 to 16 pounds of grain, do you get from the mash and how much from the sparge? I don’t use brewing software, so my apologies if the answer is more readily available from that source.

The typical estimate is that you get about 2/3 from the mash and 1/3 from the sparge.

Depends on the mash ratio. A pound of grain soaks up 1 pint of liquid. If you mash with 2qt/lb = 4pint/lb, you get back 3 pints and one sticks. So you’re getting 75% of the sugars in the liquid. Of course theres always a little bit of loss either from incomplete conversion or some dead space that keeps a little extra liquid behind, which brings you closer to Denny’s estimate. Plus your grain may not match the average pts/lb you’d use to figure efficiency.

If you mash at 1qt/lb = 2pt/lb, you’ll get a little under 50% of the sugars out in the mash.

Same math goes for the sparge. You have 10 pints = 1.25gal of sugar liquid in a 10lb mash after draining, so adding 3gal of sparge water gives you 75% of the leftover sugar. and again its always a little less than this for the reasons cited above.

With that large of a grain bill you might be getting less sugar than if you reduced your grain. It depends on how you sparge.

http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/2012/1 ... sugar.html

I didn’t want to partigyle, so I did end up going with the full grain bill and eight gallons into the mash. It came to the top of my cooler but I got it all in with just enough free board to stir and close the lid. I stirred a lot and hit the desired mash temp with about two degrees variation through my tun.

First run gave me about 4.25 gallons, so I spared with 3.75 gallons. Boiled for 75 minutes and ended with about 5g and 2/3rds gallons in the fermenter. My OG was 1.090, fifteen points low, which was disappointing. I crush my grain at the LHBS and don’t know if it was that I crushed too coarsely, the extra 2/3rds of a gallon, or other factors that led to the low OG.

[quote=“Jeff4Amnesty”]My OG was 1.090, fifteen points low, which was disappointing. I crush my grain at the LHBS and don’t know if it was that I crushed too coarsely, the extra 2/3rds of a gallon, or other factors that led to the low OG.[/quote]What efficiency did you use when creating the recipe? Batch-sparge efficiency will drop as you increase the grain weight, so you should have anticipated perhaps a 10% loss for this beer. One thing you can do is to keep a lb or two of light DME on hand to boost the OG if needed.

Your high volume is the big problem. If you had boiled down to 5 gallons, it would have been 1.102. It’s always hard to estimate boiloff rates, and once you put the hops in, you’re tied down to a flameout time.

Your high volume is the big problem. If you had boiled down to 5 gallons, it would have been 1.102. It’s always hard to estimate boiloff rates, and once you put the hops in, you’re tied down to a flameout time.[/quote]

I boil to OG, not volume or time. About 20 min. before the last scheduled hop addition, I check the gravity. If I’m on track, I go ahead as planned. If not, I boil for a while longer before I add my finishing hops.

[quote=“Denny”]I boil to OG, not volume or time. About 20 min. before the last scheduled hop addition, I check the gravity. If I’m on track, I go ahead as planned. If not, I boil for a while longer before I add my finishing hops.[/quote]+1 It took me a while to figure this out because I was always focused on the final volume, but with a refractometer and a cold bowl to rapidly chill the wort, it’s possible to quickly dial in the OG.

I found this out not too long ago when I brewed a barleywine. I ended up adding one pound of honey, to a three gallon batch, once the fermentation was going good.

If so equipped, you could also use your sight glass to gauge your volume, and then calculate from there using a known pre-boil gravity.

If so equipped, you could also use your sight glass to gauge your volume, and then calculate from there using a known pre-boil gravity.[/quote]

Yeah, but basically it would still be an estimate. Not to mention that you’d have to take the volume expansion of boiling liquid into account. Believe me, I’ve tried a number of things and just taking a sample is the easiest, most direct and accurate method.