Overnight Mashing

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jbakajust1, May 29, 2014.

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  1. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (729) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    In the Homebrew Recipes forum I posted a recipe for my Dopplebock and made mention of not overnight mashing this particular beer. @pweis909 @hoptualBrew both had some questions about overnight mashing, and I didn't want to derail the recipe post onto the topic, so I thought I would answer it here instead. There are quite a few others who use this method here on the forum, this is just my method. There questions are quoted below and then my answers.

    I use a cooler for my mash. I mash at the same temps I normally would at a normal mash pH. I wrap the cooler in an electric blanket wrapped in a sleeping bag. I lose about 1*F per hour, and usually mash 9-10 hours total. I don't have a pH meter or strips so I don't know what the drop in pH is, but if I don't acidify the sparge water my beers have a flabby finish from too high a finishing pH (if I add acid to the beer in the glass it is no longer flabby). I know that it is a pH thing and not an overnight mash thing as I have had it on regular 60 minute mashed beers as well. I have never had any lactic present itself in any of the 18 beers (9 mashes) I have done with this method, which includes 2 Pilsners, both judged in BJCP comps, one that placed 3rd in category. With only 10 hours of time and above 130*F I've never had any issues. I have started to blanket the mash w/ CO2 before closing up just in case. I had one mash that I did a partigyle on, the second runnings beer was all GP with very low hopping, and 1056. When I burped I could get a faint aftertaste of sour mash gone bad, not disgusting, just a very low taste like my bad sour mash berliner from a few years ago. It didn't show up in the big beer, just the second runnings one, and only after a burp.

    I have mashed at 149*F-152*F with no sugar added and gotten very low FG beers. I have mashed at 160*F on a 1.112 Wee Heavy (the first runnings beer mentioned above), fermented with 1968 & 1056, and finished at 1.033. I went from around 76% extract efficiency to 86%, even a couple 90%. Makes life a lot easier, put the boys to bed on Friday night, dough in, wrap up, have a beer and watch TV with my wife for an hour or so, go to bed, wake up, fire up the sparge water, batch sparge for 10.5 gallons post boil, either partigyle, split boil, or single boil/split ferment, usually done by noon, 2 at the latest (partigyle). I had a Saturday where we had plans from 9:45-5 out of town, I mashed in the morning, left for the day, came back and finished in the evening (can be used during week too around work schedule).
     
    #1 jbakajust1, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
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  2. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Initiate (0) May 29, 2011 Florida

    Nice, the mash never gums up? Never had any stuck sparges with this? *knocks on wood*
     
  3. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (729) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Nope. Never had a stuck sparge. The grain bed settles really well when left alone for 10 hours. I recently did 10 gallons of Rye Saison with 28.5% Flaked Rye and no rice hulls, no issues at all.
     
  4. slusk

    slusk Initiate (0) Sep 28, 2009 Virginia

    There's a section in Gordon Strong's brewing better beer about this. Seems a lot of brewers are doing this with good success.
     
  5. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,500) May 21, 2010 Texas
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    Wrapping with insulation seems real important. I did one and the temp dropped much further than I expected given that I mashed in a cooler. I was only about 7 hours and it dropped WAY further than I expected (near 120, down from 157 to start). Twas a bit funky but none of the bottles of finished product wound up being drainpours. Not sure if it was the mash or just a funky recipe (was the munich 10, munich 20, caramunich I, II, III, malt heavy, 1 lb crystal total, light hops recipe, so maybe it was a bad idea or maybe it was the drop in mash temperature, not sure).
     
  6. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (729) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    @AlCaponeJunior my first one was UN-insulated, dropped from 154 to 120 over 9 hours, Pilsner, placed 3rd in Category, no funk.
     
  7. warchez

    warchez Aspirant (201) Oct 19, 2004 Massachusetts

    I have done this plenty of times with high success. My only failure with overnight mash was this past winter. It was a really cold two days. I wrapped the mash up as usual but at somepoint it lost enough temp to get into the low 100F range and it started to sour and get a little butyric. I did taste it and it tasted somewhat OK, but it wasn't worth it to hold on to.
    Regardless, I'll do overnight mashes again, I'll just be more cognizant of the ambient and keeping it "warm enough".
     
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  8. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,500) May 21, 2010 Texas
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    Well 2nd choice was "my recipe just sucked." :rolling_eyes:
     
  9. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,904) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
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    Hmm... the rare fails that are being reported here are giving me second thoughts. My weekend brews include a low grav pale beer where some of these off flavors might stand out.
     
  10. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (729) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    @pweis909 no prob @ all. Flush the top with CO2, wrap in a heated throw ($20 @ Wally World), sleeping bag, 9-10 hours, your golden. Like reported above, my first batch had no heat added dropped to low 120s (February in garage), placed in a BJCP comp, no off flavors, and only beer I ever picked up an off note on is a second runnings beer in burps only, and it is faint even there (I recognized it because I had a bad sour mash).
     
  11. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,904) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
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    Maybe I'll try. I have an electric blanket I could use (conveniently not yet put away from this past winter; this is northern WI, after all). I'm thinking it might be helpful to raise my water:grain ratio from my customary 1.33 to something higher, maybe 2. This would mean more thermal mass and less headspace in the mash tun. Since it would be a long mash, I wouldn't be so concerned about dilution of enzymes. Should be plenty of time for conversion. Maybe I'm overthinking.

    I think I have enough CO2 left in my tank.
     
  12. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,500) May 21, 2010 Texas
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    hell in Tx you could just wait for summer and then stick it outside with nothing at all, and only worry about the temperature rising. :rolling_eyes:
     
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  13. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (323) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    I use a ten gallon cylindrical Rubbermaid cooler. I lay pot holders on the uninsulated lid, but otherwise just rely on the insulation built into the cooler. I usually leave it on the kitchen counter - 72-ish ambient. It typically drops from 154 to 148 over 9 hours. The first time I did it, I was stunned! It made a super dry Cream Ale with no sugar added :wink:. I've since made it part of my SOP for heavy beers - DIPA, Barleywines, etc.
     
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  14. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,500) May 21, 2010 Texas
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    people add sugar to creme ales? why? don't tell me they prefer the west coast variety :rolling_eyes:
     
  15. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (729) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    This is part of the reason I mash for 10 gallon batches, so I can max out the volume on my MLT. I either partigyle, split boil, or split ferment to get different beers.
     
  16. Smokebox_79

    Smokebox_79 Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I made a Tripel not that long ago and the mash lasted almost 3 hours. Temps stayed ok (kept adding near boiling water when it dropped) But the beer ended up WAY darker than I had intended. Does the longer mash extract more color? I thought this or maybe too much Caravienne.
     
  17. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,904) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
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    Sounds like jbakajust1 has had success with pilsners using this technique. Makes me think the impact on color is low and some other issue was at work
     
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  18. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (729) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Yeah, the color shouldn't be any darker from mashing longer.
     
  19. kdb150

    kdb150 Initiate (0) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania

    And then spend the night fantasizing about your mash tun saying, "Feels like I'm wearing nothing at all. Nothing at all. Nothing at all!"
     
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  20. koopa

    koopa Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey

    Now I know what keeps pushing you back towards SMASH beers :slight_smile:
     
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  21. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,500) May 21, 2010 Texas
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    You're a truly sick puppy. I like that in a person. :grimacing:
     
  22. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,904) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
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    So I tried it with my APA rather than my lower gravity English Bitter. My temperature dropped 10-15 degrees over 7 hours. My mash tun was wrapped in an electric blanket and sleeping bag for extra insulation. I did not have the means to put a layer of CO2 over the mash like jbakajust1, but there is nothing amiss about the taste of the wort.

    My extraction efficiency was 76%; I usually plan for 72%. One interesting thing about the batch is the difference between the first and second runnings. The first runnings accounted for 75% of the extract. Usually it's closer to 66% in my experience. Makes me think that if I ever did no sparge, I might want to try a longer mash time? Speculative, anecdotal stuff.
     
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