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06/12/06 01:29 PM  
Upgrading Brewing Setup
Hello everyone,

I'm looking to upgrade my brewing setup in the near future. My main objectives are that I would like to have at least dual burners so that I can perform a decotion and I need to brew at least 10 gallons. I am leaning towards using converted kegs, but I was wondering what systems you are using and what you like/dislike about them. Any suggestions are very much appreciated.


06/12/06 02:04 PM  
Re: Upgrading Brewing Setup
Pat, how much decoction mashing have you done so far?
06/12/06 02:15 PM  
Re: Upgrading Brewing Setup

I've done quite a bit - 1 batch! :-) It was a hefe, and had great results. I want to make sure that I keep it as an option in the future. I figure I'll need at least 2 burners anyway, so it shouldn't be any more equipment.

06/12/06 10:23 PM  
Re: Upgrading Brewing Setup
Sounds good. I asked because I have done 2 and I'll never do another. But both were dopplebocks, in that case I became convinced the extra 8 friggin hours got me nothing extra. But then, and I can't believe I'm saying this, I have never done a hefeweise! From what I understand there is debate if decoction mashing really does anything - except with hefeweisen. So I guess I should be careful saying I'll never do another, cause some day I'd like to do a hefe!

Have you looked at all into heating with water heater elements? Going electric makes a set up more "brew indoors" friendly. Mine uses an element, and in this months BYO they did a thing on some guy whose setup uses a couple (a better idea than one).

Sometimes a single element does not cut it and I need to use gas outside. When that happens I boil in a converted keg.

06/13/06 11:27 AM  
Re: Upgrading Brewing Setup
I've never done a decoction mash but I do a lot of step mashing. It does make a difference in creating a wort that is more fermentable and also seems to create a more complex malt profile in the finished beer. It adds about another hour to my mash process. Others claim they can't tell the difference, I can. So you'll have to judge yourself whether it's worth the effort. A good experiment is making a hefe. Try making a batch with a single step infusion at 148 and then compare that to a multi-step 113, 122, 145, 152, 168. It's a world of difference!

I use a HERMS setup.

06/13/06 11:47 AM  
Re: Upgrading Brewing Setup
I always step mash too, though I have never seen a measurable difference with an acid rest so I mash in targeting the mid 120s. But decoction - especially if you go the full blown, 8 hour triple decoction - will challenge your love of brewing!!
06/14/06 01:56 PM  
Re: Upgrading Brewing Setup
I have thought about using electric. It would be great to brew indoors but I'm concerned about 2 things. 1. Wouldn't I need to install some kind of ventilation system? 2. Electricity costs... have you noticed a jump in your electric bill when you use your element setup?

I'm actually thinking about using propane for the boil kettle and hlt and using an element in a small controller box to use when recirculating my wort.

06/14/06 04:34 PM  
Mashing Techniques
Can someone please point me to a good source to learn about the technical effects of turbid mashing?

Also, a general question...

In commercial breweries that perform a step mash (ie. St. Bernardus) how do they heat their mash to the increasing temp. rests?

06/14/06 05:29 PM  
Re: Upgrading Brewing Setup
I use all propane with my three tiered setup and for heating the mash for step mashes I use an immersion chiller coil in the hot liquor tank. So you pump wort from the bottom of the mash tun up to through the immersion coil in the hot liquor tank and then back on to the top of the mash tun. With an electrical heating element that comes in contact with the wort you run a good chances of scorching the wort. I don't recommend going that way.

Turbid mashes (from http://www.homebrew.com/articles/article07220002.shtml)

"The brewing process begins by adding water to the mash tun and then adding the grain. This mixtures is allowed to remain at a low temperature rest for a period of time, then liquid is withdrawn. This liquid is called the "turbid mash". The "turbid mash" is boiled for approximately 2 minutes. Boiling water is added to the main mash and a saccharification rest is undertaken for approximately 30 minutes. The main mash is sparged, and collected in the kettle. The liquid from the "turbid mash" is returned to the mash tun and a second saccharification rest is undertaken. The second mash is sparged, and also added to the kettle. The combined wort is then boiled for approximately 5 hours."

In some commercial breweries the boiling kettle has a steam jacket surrounding it and mechanical mixing forks in the mash to do step mashing. In others they use a HERMS.

06/14/06 07:56 PM  
Re: Upgrading Brewing Setup
Cisco, if you'd like to send me a few shots of your setup I'd love to show everyone.
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