# Strike water volume

When I decided to go all grain, I bought a 15 gallon kettle with a false bottom so I can use it as a mash tun and boil kettle. I do 5 gallon batches and thought a bigger kettle would be wise if I happen to do larger batches. So far I haven’t. Now the problem I have with this kettle is that the grain bed lies below the thermometer port on the kettle. This wasn’t too big of a problem because I mashed with the lid off, gently using the burner to keep temperature, and placing the thermometer inside the kettle to watch the mash temperature. I struggled with this process. Now I insulated the kettle, and will mash with the lid on. The volume of strike water I need for 5 gallon grain bills range from 3.2 to 3.8 gallons, more or less using 1.2-1.5 quarts per pound of grain ratio. It takes 4.7 gallons to reach and cover the thermometer port built into the kettle. My question is will the extra gallon or so of strike water needed to cover the thermometer ruin the beer? Will a thinner mash hurt?
Thanks

I’ll give my 2 cents. Most of my beers have a grist of 11 or 12 pounds so I use one gal for “absorbtion” in the mash. I mash with a ratio closer to 1.75 qts/lb, so I mash routinely with 5 to 5.5 gals and don’t feel it has any negative impact on the beer. Also, I batch sparge and this gets me pretty close to equal first and second runoff volumes.

Most of the kits I have done had grain bills between 8 and 10 pounds for 5 gallons. When you figure your strike water volume,should you account for the absorption also? If so, I should be alright with the additional gallon or so because I never took that into account.

You are correct, allow for the absorption. :cheers:

I’ve never accounted for absorption when figuring strike water. I mash at 1.50qt/lb because it is easy to figure in my head. Figuring the grain absorption for the mashout or sparge.

What ever you need to get to the thermometer, use it.

10lb @ 1.25qt/lb = 3.125 gallons

10lbs @ 1.75qt/lb = 4.375 gallons.

The trick is being able to maintain the temp with a burner and no circulation. Easy to overshoot your temp.

I had a chance to witness a friend doing his mash. But he was brewing 25 gallons. He had his kettle insulated. After a protein rest, and he was at mash temperature, the kettle set for 80 minutes, lost maybe a degree during that time. This is what brought me to insulating my kettle and changing my mash process. I have yet to try the new process. I’ll try adding more strike water to reach the thermometer and see what the out come will be. I think thinner mash, lesser body? Correct?

YMMV.

Some will say they see no difference from 1.25 to 1.75qt/lb.

You will have to decide for yourself.

I have always batch spared using a cooler, I loose about a degree in an hour so not too worried. Are you using a step process, I read about that in the Palmer book and thought I might want to move toward that method if it better. Just curious thanks

I mash between 0.8-1.5 qts/lb of grain with no appreciable difference. Try it and see for yourself. I think it’ll be OK.

For what it’s worth: most microbreweries dont measure their mash-in volume because they mix the water and grain at the same time. when the grain has stopped flowing from the hopper, the water stops too. “thick porridge” is generally what they shoot for. We can calculate the water to grain ratio after the fact, and add some water if needed, but the process is far from precise. as long as my temperature, and Ph are good, i dont fret about it.

At home i usually brew 1.5qt/lb. works fine for me.

At home i usually brew 1.5qt/lb. works fine for me.[/quote]

What do you think about using a 2 quart per pound ratio. That is what Iwould need to reach the thermometer in the 15 gallon mash - boil kettle for 5 gallon batches. If I have to, I can spend \$70.00 and buy a false bottom for my 8 gallon pot. Bought that from More beer. That would probably be the best thing to do in the long run.

What do you think about using a 2 quart per pound ratio. That is what Iwould need to reach the thermometer in the 15 gallon mash - boil kettle for 5 gallon batches. If I have to, I can spend \$70.00 and buy a false bottom for my 8 gallon pot. Bought that from More beer. That would probably be the best thing to do in the long run.[/quote]

I usually use 1.5 qrt/gal, but with smaller grain bills, I’ll up that to about 2qrt/gal and I get much better efficiency. I haven’t noticed any ill effects to mashing with that much water.

I usually use 1.5 qrt/gal, but with smaller grain bills, I’ll up that to about 2qrt/gal and I get much better efficiency. I haven’t noticed any ill effects to mashing with that much water.[/quote]

Thank you so much! We will see what happens. I want to do an Irish Red next, and trying this new mash proceedure, I am going with the 2 quart per pound of grain.