Friday, May 6, 2011

High gravity in a small mash tun

- this is actually from a few years ago, but found it lying around and thought I'd post it -

I'm doing a little grilling, having a hefe, and felt like rambling about my dopple Bock. I made one a while back in my little 5 gallon mash tun, and learned a thing or two. The first was that it's way too small for a high gravity beer. It maxes out at about 10 pounds of grain. I can do more, but it's a pain to work with. In addition, I'm pretty sure my efficiency was way off. I say pretty sure, because I managed to screw up my gravity readings, but I can tell you that it was much stronger than my numbers showed. The worst part, however, was flavor. It wasn't bad. It was fairly tasty, but it didn't come out right. It was a little sweet, a little thin, and generally bland. I should have taken the time to give it a proper tasting, which I plan to do with my hefe, but I didn't.
Anyway to the point. This was my first high gravity all grain beer, and my 5 gallon mash tun can't handle it. I need more water for the mash, and the ability to run more water for sparging. Like I said, it wasn't bad, but doing it right would only make it better. I want to make a larger mash tun, but if I can't do that by the time I get around to needing to make, say, a barley wine, I'll do the calculations and do a partial mash.
My hefe, and the kolsch right behind it, are turning out excellent. I'll talk more about those later if I remember.