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Author Replies
04/22/07 01:34 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
It does not matter what shape your mash tun is in. Just lightly add water to the top gently enough so that you don't disturb the surface of the grain bed. Keep at least an inch or two of water above the grain bed.
04/22/07 03:02 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
and so channeling isn't a problem with the stainless braid?

04/23/07 10:25 AM  
Re: all grain gravity problems

Stainless braid adherents are usually batch spargers. I think channeling could indeed be a "problem" if you fly sparge with it. "Problem" in quotes because again, I don't think efficiency inherently affects beer quality, except negatively if it gets very high.

To answer an earlier question: as long as your mash converted all the sugars then yes, you can run off a batch sparge really fast without losing efficiency (versus a batch sparge run off slowly). Try not to turn it up so high that your wort stops running clear though.

It sounds like you are considering a switch to fly sparging. Both batch and fly sparging are old enough techniques that either could be called "traditional," and both are endorsed by respected brewers. On some systems the efficiency goes up with fly sparging, and for others it goes up with batch sparging. Probably everyone would agree batch sparging is faster, but many people don't really care. Also the long sparge during fly sparging can be set up so you don't have to pay attention to it.

Anyway my point is great beer can be made either way, so there is no need for you to switch your equipment right now, unless you just feel like it.

04/23/07 10:58 AM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
Check out this link for a discussion on the efficiencies of lautering in different mash tun designs.


04/23/07 01:16 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
Glad to see you have your issues worked out. The crush really is that important.

Now just enjoy making good beer for a couple of batches before tweaking your system too much. Establish a good base so you know what your base is.

Jim K
04/24/07 03:05 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
"I don't think efficiency inherently affects beer quality"

Maybe so but you certainly need to be able to predict efficiency somewhat accurately if you are going to properly design a recipe.

Scott Jackson
04/24/07 03:38 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
I won't go into my long explaination here but in reponse to the sugar making the beer hot/cidery question - When yeast metabilize cane (table) sugar they produce invertase which tastes like green apples (cider). They do not produce invertase when metabolizing Invert Sugar (of which Belgian candi sugar is one form).
04/24/07 03:52 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems

Thats one of the most straightforward explanations I've heard for why it makes sense to invert sugar for brewing (so many others have either made no sense or been too long winded...)

Is it accurate that cooking down table sugar with the juice of a lemon will invert the sugar?

Wit Sok
04/24/07 05:51 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
I've used 2.5 lbs of table sugar in a 5.7 gal batch of golden strong with no "cidery" flavor. I've also used 2.25 lbs in a 5 gal dark strong with the same results. My experience suggests the "cidery" phenomenon is folklore. I believe poor quality/old yeast and old extracts were proabably the culprit back in the "old days."


04/25/07 08:13 AM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
When discussing flaovrs the two things that always come up are palate & threshold. Everyone has a different palate, thus you may be more or less sensitive to a particular flavor than the general population (for example, I know I'm less sensitive to the papery flavor that often comes from oxidation than most folks). The other question is when does a compound reach the threshold where it is perceptible? In big belgian beers with a lot going on, a little cider may just blend into the complexity.

Of course, there is no arguing with actual results.

04/25/07 10:12 AM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
Good point Mark.

I am more in WitSok's camp than in Scott's with regard to cideriness/sugar/invertase. Scott, why do you believe invertase has a green apple taste?

The compound I have seen associated most with green apples (acetaldehyde) is also one that can be left over in the beer if the yeast is unhealthy (perhaps due to large amounts of refined sugar in the wort). You might expect this off flavor to age out. I once had a cidery flavor in a light tripel (using 15% dextrose adjunct I think), but it aged out in 2 weeks, so I didn't worry about it. Maybe that's why it's called "green" beer flavor.

Personally, I would wait until I actually had a problem with cidery flavors before worrying about any of this.

04/25/07 02:27 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
this debate about sugar use rages in many forums on homebrewing. a diversity of opinions abounds. I suppose the only way to arrive at a consensus would be to have as many people chime in as possible. The thing I'm most curious about is whether there is much validity in the argument that one should use belgian syrup or rock candy rather than corn sugar or even sucrose.

I used a mix of sucrose and turbinado in my last batch and am planning to bottle these with plain sucrose as well. This is the first time I've done so, having always used belgian rock sugar in the past (bottling with corn sugar).

thoughts based on past experience anyone?


04/25/07 04:48 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
> I suppose the only way to arrive at a consensus would be

> to have as many people chime in as possible.

A consensus--but I would still wonder whether the answer was right.

An interesting question to ask in those forums would be "have you ever actually had a cidery off-flavor?" And then look at the circumstances, if any, where the flavor is reported.

If I followed the rules and didn't taste the beer for 2-3 weeks after bottling, I would say I have never had cidery flavor. This despite using 5-15% corn or table sugar in various recipes.

04/26/07 01:38 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
It is amazing what one might taste at the power of suggestion. If you think sugar dosed beers should have a cidery taste, then you'll probably percieve it.

I don't hear warnings about mead tating cidery. Honey is mainly glucose and fructose, the components for sucrose, and is very low in nutrients. One might expect the same phenomenon.


Scott Jackson
04/26/07 06:15 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems

Invert sugar can be made at home my boiling table sugar with a small amount of acid.

From what I have read, unless plain table sugar (non-inverted) is used in an amount of over 20% of fermentables the "cidery" flavor is below most taste thresholds.

The reason I really like to make my own invert sugar is that I can control the process (the longer it is boiled the more flavor and color it will add) and it is so much cheaper than buying the so-called "Belgian Candy Sugar" available at homebrew shops.


It is a scientific fact that yeast must produce invertase to metabolize plain table sugar. I suppose it is somewhat subjective as to what it tastes like. I can give you the reference to the articles I read if you want.


Honey is a form of invert sugar.

04/26/07 07:36 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
But Belgian rock are not! Many claim rock sugar does not cause cider flavor.

Yeast directly ferments d-glucose, d-fructose, d-mannose, and some will ferment d-galactose. Sugars such as sucrose, maltose, and raffinose require enzymes to hyrdolise these sugars, (ref A Textbook Of Brewing Vol 1 pg 369). Typically these di and tri-saccarides make up 10% of the sugars in honey. Glucose makes up about 70%, about of the sugar, of which 30% d-glucose and 40% l-glucose (not invert and requires invertase), ref The complete Meadmaker pg 90. So if 20% is the thershold, then mead should exhibit "cidery" flavor.

What is your reference stating invertase has a cidery flavor?

Still a doubting Thomas.


05/02/07 07:02 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems
<<Re: all grain gravity problems

Hot would surprize me, that generally refers to a beer that is strong and tastes it. Yours won't be that strong so I doubt the alcohol will lunge to the fore front. As far as the other things, one way to find out. This is actually a bit of a new area for me, I'm familiar with what high ratios of sugar does in beer - but that is always in the context of strong beer. I've never put a high percentage of sugar in a session-strength brew. This may prove to be an interesting experiment, I think you should let it run its course and get back to us about how it turned out!>>

Well I just opened the first bottle and I have to say that I'm glad I didn't dumped it. Certainly not the best beer I've made or tasted but it works. Nice coppery yellow collor, sparkling head. Very mellow spiciness on the nose and not at all hot. Dry finish. Crisp. Not much in the way of flavor, probably because of the low SG and poor extraction efficiency. But I learned from it and still got a drinkable Belgian single.

thanks for all of the advice folks.


06/07/07 03:53 PM  
Re: all grain gravity problems

Just came across your last post in this thread, which I had missed when I was on vacation for a while. I certainly don't dispute the fact that yeast use invertase to metabolize sucrose. Like WitSock I would love to see any articles that show invertase tastes cidery, if you have references.


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