The Grainfather

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lil'wheaty
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by lil'wheaty » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:31 pm

No worries, glad I could help!
You're right, your pH shouldn't be an issue if you've done SMaSH brews before, or not enough that it was noticeable. So the only other thing I can come up with on the fly is...maybe it had something to do with dough balls or hot/cool spots. 8.4kg is a pretty big amount of grain (I think the GrainFather is 'approved' for 9kg), and from experience I found I had to beat the hell out of large mashes when doughing-in to get an optimal consistency. I don't often use the GrainFather calculators, but I'm pretty sure they thicken up the liquor-to-grain ratio for the bigger grists you use. That would have increased the chances of not having optimal mixing and/or flowing of recirculated fluid and temperatures. Maybe?

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Beert » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:09 pm

Ah!
You’re right, it was quite a job to get all that grain doughed-in. I added the grains in 5 dumps of about 1-2 kg per dump. I’m reasonably sure there were no ‘dry’ clumps but the porridge was certainly thick enough that I’d be surprised if it was a consistent thickness throughout. I think it’s very plausible that this resulted in poor recirculation on the wort.
I guess the thing to do on my next 8.4 kg batch is to dough-in the grains extremely slowly and aim to get it super consistent. I could try to use more water for the mash and see what that does.
I’ll let you know how the next one turns out.
Thanks!

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lil'wheaty
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by lil'wheaty » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:02 am

I forgot to mention why I don't use the GrainFather calculators regularly - and it's mostly because my separate (homemade) sparge setup only has a capacity of 15L. So I often use thinner mashes and smaller sparge volumes, which must inadvertently help the enzymatic ability of my mashes. I 'usually' get to avoid the dreaded thick mashes which are understandably harder to mix, recirculate, and sparge. I'll often take volumes from the sparge calculations and implement them into the mashes. I find the GrainFather calculators are definitely a good resource, but still find myself taking calculations from my partial-mash and BIAB days!

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elreplica
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:01 pm

Anybody do a killer Pils w/ the GF besides Mike? Looking for some exemplars...
At Bat: Czech Pils
On Deck: Marzen Lager, ESB
In the Hole: Maple Wheat
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clone
On tap: Pils, Marzen, Baltic Porter

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lil'wheaty
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by lil'wheaty » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:05 am

Just good quality pilsner malt and saaz hops all the way through. No brewing salts (if using Halifax municipal water or another low ion source), and use lactic acid to drop the mash pH to your desired level. My recipe below won a silver medal at a national competition in Saskatoon. It's quite labour intensive, but here goes:

5.5gal Batch:

OG: 1.051
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5%
IBU: high 30's

- 10lb Pilsner Malt in 4.4gal with acid
- 15min @ 125F, 30min @ 148F, 30min @ 158F, 10min @ 167F
- Decoction x 2
- Sparge with 3.9gal water at 170F

- 1.5oz saaz @ 60min
- 2oz saaz @ 20min
- Irish Moss @ 15min
- 1oz saaz @ 10min
- 1oz saaz @ 0min

- Starter of Czech Pils @ 12C
- Diacetyl rest x 2 days @ 20C
- Lager based on preferred schedule

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:47 am

Thx Ian...seems to me I remember hearing about your win...
At Bat: Czech Pils
On Deck: Marzen Lager, ESB
In the Hole: Maple Wheat
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clone
On tap: Pils, Marzen, Baltic Porter

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elreplica
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:48 am

What do you mean by "decoction x2"?Or perhaps more specifically the best way to do this?
At Bat: Czech Pils
On Deck: Marzen Lager, ESB
In the Hole: Maple Wheat
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clone
On tap: Pils, Marzen, Baltic Porter

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lil'wheaty
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by lil'wheaty » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:56 pm

I do decoctions between the protein rest (which does improve head retention when I do it for this particular brew) and beta rest, then again between the beta rest and alpha rest.

1)After the protein rest is done I lift the grains up and pull 1/3 (1.4-1.5gal) of the thickest mash portion and place it in a pot. I bring the pot up to around 150F for a quick 15min saccharification rest to help with conversion, then bring it to a boil for 30min. It's quite easy to scorch because you should have barely any visible liquid in the pot when you start, so you have to be constantly stirring. A little bit of scorching in the form of 'browning' is what you're looking for, but just make sure you don't have any burnt/black portions. After that's done I carefully add it back to the GrainFather which usually brings me close to 140F. I move on to the next (beta) rest by getting the GrainFather to bring the mash up the rest of the way to 148F.

2)After the 30min @ 148F is done, I lift the grains up again and pull 1/4 - 1/5 (0.8-1.0gal) of the thinnest mash portion and place it in the pot. I immediately bring that up to a boil for 30min as most, if not all, of the conversion has already happened at this point. You should notice by now that the mash has already started to darken in overall colour from Maillard reactions. Once this step is done I carefully add it back to the GrainFather which usually brings me close to the mid-150'sF, letting the GrainFather bring things up the rest of the way to the 158F alpha rest.

After those steps are done just proceed as normal with a quick mash out, then sparge as usual and head to a boil. You should have a nice golden colour to work with now, much darker than if you did a simple infusion/temperature mash with just Pilsner malt. My friends and I definitely notice the improvements the decoctions make in overall rounded/complex flavour and aroma profiles - even just from a simple Pilsner malt bill - when compared to a single or double infusion/temperature mash with character or specialty grains (Vienna, Munich, Crystal, etc.). Enjoy!
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elreplica
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:03 pm

Thanks bud...my favourite Canadian Pils Steam Whistle does a concoction mash...if you were to compare it to a commercial brew what would you say it's closest to?BTW looks yummy!
At Bat: Czech Pils
On Deck: Marzen Lager, ESB
In the Hole: Maple Wheat
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clone
On tap: Pils, Marzen, Baltic Porter

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elreplica
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:26 pm

Hey Ian...I assume measures are US not imperial...
At Bat: Czech Pils
On Deck: Marzen Lager, ESB
In the Hole: Maple Wheat
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clone
On tap: Pils, Marzen, Baltic Porter

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lil'wheaty
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by lil'wheaty » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:50 pm

Imperial gallons for the water volumes and US gallons for the decoction amounts, sorry! I end up flipping back and forth between US, imperial, and metric when I brew....ends up occasionally pissing my buddies off but it helps with BYO information, US and Canadian forums, GrainFather calculators, Canadian prices by weight, etc.

This recipe is closest to an authentic Pilsner Urquell, which was what I was going for when I tried to clone it. The stuff over here that we get in cans is kind a kind of syrupy version, but this beer tastes pretty damn close to what you get in Prague or Pilsen!

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elreplica
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:23 am

Lol. Me too with the measures...I don't mind the Urquell here so much though...sounds good. Thanks again.
At Bat: Czech Pils
On Deck: Marzen Lager, ESB
In the Hole: Maple Wheat
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clone
On tap: Pils, Marzen, Baltic Porter

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lil'wheaty
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by lil'wheaty » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:23 am

No worries, anytime! I guess the best way to describe this version compared to the cans is 'fresher'?

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