Mashing above the malt pipe technique - 50L BM

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Mashing above the malt pipe technique - 50L BM

Unread postby BrauTim » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:16 am

I've searched for a post on this subject but not found anything, although I know there is some related info out there!

EDIT: This is about filling the BM with water so that the level of the water during the recirculating mash is above the malt pipe so that I can maximise volume for a 55L batch (minimum).

I'm looking to brew a maximum batch volume I can with the 50L malt pipe. It's looking to be 12.5Kg grain with maybe some added sugar in the boil to get to OG 1.050 depending on how the mash efficiency works out with this technique. For this first attempt the batch size I am aiming for is 55L.

I see one way to achieve this is to mash with the water level above the malt pipe, so here's my plan.

  • Measure and treat 74L of liquor, draw off 15L to get to a starting volume of 54L (54L is normal mash volume for my beers with approx 10Kg of grain)
  • Dough in and start the mash at 38C
  • Raise temp to 1st rest at 63C
  • Stop and stir the grains
  • Continue with mash and gradually add as much liquor as possible, reserving a minimum 3 litres for sparge
  • I see the volume of water exceeding the top of the malt pipe at this stage
  • Continue to 2nd rest at 71C, mash out etc, sparge and then boil
  • Boil should be around the 65L mark following sparge and drain of malt pipe.
  • Top up boil with sugar if efficiency has suffered to get to pre-boil gravity
Has anyone mashed above the malt pipe before and can share any experience or see any glaring faults with my plan?

I'll take a couple of photos to provide some idea of what it looks like (assuming it all goes well) :D
Last edited by BrauTim on Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Mashing above the malt pipe 50L BM

Unread postby MattSR » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:19 am

You should be able to get 1.050 with a single mash in the standard malt pipe without using adjuncts (such as LDME)

In fact one of the brews on the Speidel site gets 1.070 on a single mash in the 50L..
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Re: Mashing above the malt pipe 50L BM

Unread postby dinnerstick » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:39 am

I don't know if it's meaningful to compare the 20 and 50L BMs in this sense, but just for reference one of my regular brews in the 20 is a 26L batch of a 1.068 beer, all malt, no extract or sugar. By purely ignorant extrapolation, you could knock out a 65L batch of a similar beer. That's probably not meaningful, but I would be shocked if you couldn't produce considerably more than 55L of a 1.050 wort.
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Re: Mashing above the malt pipe 50L BM

Unread postby BrauTim » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:38 am

OK thanks for the feedback, one main concern is the boil, I understand that the pot is a 70L size so with a 65L litre boil (to get me 55L post-boil) it's going to be close to the top. Am I being over-cautious here?

I was only going to use sugar if efficiency dropped from my usual 80% because of the mash method.

I agree that I could produce more volume at 1.050 if capacity allowed, but I'm sure the capacity of the pot is the limiting factor here.

I think my OP wasn't clear enough so I've made some edits to aid understanding.

Also for this thread I'm not interested at higher OG for normal volumes (I'm sure Spiedel don't recommend more than 50L or water volume above the malt pipe as a technique). I have produced a 1.075 Belgian and can easily get above 1.060, but this thread isn't about that.
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Re: Mashing above the malt pipe technique - 50L BM

Unread postby Nesto » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:36 pm

I've mashed "above the malt pipe" a couple of times on my BM20 and it works fine. I had efficiency in line with other brews with less liquor.

Like you, I drew off water (after addition of salts) to bring initial volume down so I could verify a good flow. Starting rest of 38-43C is a good idea - I think one benefit may be eliminating mash pipe fountains.

I don't bother with stopping to stir. I don't think it's necessary, but it can't hurt. Since I don't stir, I add back water after a few minutes verification of flow at dough in temp.

Have good gloves so you won't burn yourself when removing the wing nut and hold down bar at the end of mash. And you may need (definitely needed on BM20) a method to raise malt pipe above the normal resting spot on the drip bow for sparge/drain. I have a hoist that I use. Also saw someone else here use a stainless steel grate that they placed on top of the BM and rested the malt pipe on the grate.

I'm going the eventually test the max volume, I was still quite a few liters from max. Also monitor hot break closely. We don't have the instant off capability of propane if a boil over threatens. You need to be ready: stir, use Fermcap, have a water spray bottle, etc.
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Re: Mashing above the malt pipe technique - 50L BM

Unread postby BrauTim » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:49 pm

Great Stuff Nesto, thanks.

I'll be running this one in manual mode so hovering over it more than usual, especially because of the risk of boilover, I've got some of those green Blichmann branded gloves which should help when digging around for the wing nut and I've got a hoist but hadn't thought about the extra clearance needed so will fish around for something to use.
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Re: Mashing above the malt pipe 50L BM

Unread postby gert » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:00 pm

BrauTim wrote: one main concern is the boil, I understand that the pot is a 70L size so with a 65L litre boil .


No, Ralf from Speidel wrote me: "The vessel has 85 liter. You can boil up to 75 liter."

I got no experience in doing so. You'll give it a try?

Futher: to raise OG you can first maisch with the short pipe, and than a second mash with the large pipe. That's what I'm planning to do (as soon as I got a bigger CCT).
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Re: Mashing above the malt pipe technique - 50L BM

Unread postby BrauTim » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:18 pm

Thanks Gert - I'll scale up to a 60L batch, that means I need 80L total water and 13Kg grain, pushing the limits !

Also I've prepared a 3L starter this evening which is leaving me a few billion cells short for pitching for 60L but I'm sure it'll pull through! Brewing on Sunday

:beer:
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