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Mash water question

My mash kettle has a heating element inside it. So the false bottom is raised to be above the heating element. When I fill the kettle 2 gallons are bellow the false bottom. It does recirculate the wort during the mash. So far I have done 3 batches with my setup. What I did was if the mash required 3.5 gallons of water I would fill up to the false bottom then add 3.5 gallons of water, since if I only put 3.5 gallons only 1.5 would be above the false bottom. So when it comes time to sparge/transfer to boil kettle if I need 6 gallons about 4.5 get added before any sparge would make it to the kettle if the grains soak up about 1 gallon… So instead of having 2.5 from mash and 3.5 from sparge I get 4.5/1.5, so my sparge always goes too fast. I figure this will effect my efficiency.
What would be my best option for starting water amount in the mash kettle taking into account the 2 gallons bellow the false bottom?
Would I be better off just moving to a cooler? Or possibly the RIMS rocket? so I get rid of the 2 gallon issue?

Thanks

I think you need the grist in contact with the hot water to preform the conversion, so by ignoring whats under the false bottom i think is good. Also you recirc too, so you get the benefit of setting yer grain bed and rinsing. Part I maybe didn’t catch tho, where is the rest of the total volume? Obviously you do account for grain soaking up, do you know what yer efficiency is yet? I suppose thats were this is going, by not being able to figure in the wort under the FB. Try your full amount and the extra for grain soak, then towards the end of mashing ramp up the temp then rinse and drain. You may be able to find/figure yer efficiency from there. Sneezles61

If you’re recirculating I see no reason to thin your mash. The water is all making contact throughout the grain bed anyway, assuming your port is below the false bottom like mine. The only reason I’d mash thinner is if you need the water volume just to keep the grain bed submerged.

Having said that if you have 4.5 gals in the tun then that’s the volume you should use in your efficiency calculations. You can’t just pretend the 2 gals below the false bottom aren’t there.

What I was eluding to, as the 2 gallons under the false bottom does count. But encourage the idea of gittin’ the grist submerged… Sneezles61

How much liquid is left in your mash kettle when you drain it?
Do you tilt it to drain as much wort as possible out of the kettle? The amount of wort left in the mash kettle (deadspace) is one of the greatest impacts on your efficiency.

I’m not sure how much water is under my false bottom but I still use 1.25 quart to pound of grist ratio. Sometimes even a little less if using a lot of grain for a big beer that might over fill the MT.

I also think if you are recirculating, it all should be about the same. Bottom line is how is your efficiency and most important, how does the beer taste.

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Yup. That’s why I love BIAB. MT becomes BK as soon as I pull the bag and there’s no wort loss or dead space to account for.

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