Saturday, August 8, 2009

Setting the Thermal Mass in ProMash

Yesterday I did Brew 39, my golden brew (I'm 39 this year). I'll write more about that in a few days, once I verify that fermentation has started. Today I'm going to talk about Pro Mash. This is the first brew that I've done using Pro Mash, and I have to say, I'm pleased with the software. After calibrating my equipment, it gave me spot-on temperatures and quantities to get the infusions I needed.

Now, about calibrating equipment. One of the things you will see is a strike temperature calculator. It will want to know the thermal mass of your mash tun. When you pour hot water into your mash tun, the tun itself will cool the water down (unless, of course, you happen to have pre-heated your mash tun to about 170 degrees. Most people don't do that with Rubbermaid Cooler based mash tuns, though.) How much? That's where the thermal mass comes in. I heated three gallons of water to 188 degrees and poured it into the tun. Then I measured the temperature of the water after a minute or two. It was 182 degrees. Go to the Strike Temperature calculator, tell it you are putting in 0.001 pounds of grain (it won't let you enter zero), and that 182 is the desired strike temperature. Finally, play with the thermal mass setting until you have 188 as the Initial Strike Water Temperature. Mine came out as 0.165.

Once you have that, you'll want Pro Mash to remember your setting. Go to menu item Options / System Settings, and select Mash System. Among the entries will be a setting for thermal mass. Enter that, and hit Ok. You're done! Next time you brew, the mash schedule will automatically determine for you the temperature the water needs to be to get the right temperature.

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