Mash schedules?

Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:08 am

I've been looking for a good reference that discusses mash schedules for the homebrewer. I've been using Randy Mosher's "Brewers Companion" which has some excellent information about various mash schedules. However, the schedules described in that book seem best suited for a commercial brewery using underconverted grain (a 4.35 hour decoction mash, for example). Even the simple British 1-step infusion mash schedule described in this book takes about 3 hours from dough-in to sparge.

- Is such a long mash really required for proper enzyme activity & conversion with the highly modified malts we have today??
- With the limited means of termperature control available to most homebrewers, perhaps it would be even better to mash high modified grains a shorter time with more temperature accuracy?
- How does the water:grain ratio (mash thickness) affect things?

What type of mash schedule do you usually use?
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nahthanS
 
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Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:29 am

That's a lot of question. Anyway here is my best stab at an answer.

Very few of the grains we use need more than a single infusion mash. IMHO mashout is really even optional. I almost always use a 60 minute single infusion mash. If I do something different I have a very specific reason for it.

Is such a long mash really required for proper enzyme activity & conversion with the highly modified malts we have today??


No. Some steps can actually hurt your beer with the highly modified malts. For instance a protein rest will breakdown to many of the proteins and you will loss head retention in your beer, unless you use a lot of adjuncts, ie. Wheat.

With the limited means of termperature control available to most homebrewers, perhaps it would be even better to mash high modified grains a shorter time with more temperature accuracy?


Yup.

How does the water:grain ratio (mash thickness) affect things?


You need to have the right water to grain ratio to get the right ph in your mash. You need the right ph and temp to get the enzymes that you want to do their work.

For more info look here…

http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html
http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

Let the debate begin....

Travis
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Lufah
 
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Mon Oct 24, 2005 12:16 pm

I went and did some looking around and it seems most people just worry about hitting the temps and not so much the water volume. So the grain to water ration really dosn't matter so much. Just hit your temps. At least that is the info I can find.

Travis
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Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.
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Lufah
 
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Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:18 pm

Thanks for the info Lufah! Temperature and pH seem far more important than the details (like water:grain ratio). Yeah, your comments about doing a protein rest with well-modified grain makes sense. The only time i've done a protein rest recently was when using unmodified wheat (Belgian witbier).

One mash tip, while I'm thinking about it..
I mash in a 15 gallon gott cooler (ugly orange circular monster) & I used to have troubles hitting the target temp, I seemed to end up too low more often than I wanted. Preheating the mash-tun with boiling water for 15 minutes & before dough-in/strike has helped tremendously.
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nahthanS
 
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Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:08 pm

I usually try to keep my water at 1.25 to 1.50:1 water to grain. There is lots written about mash thickness, but this seems to work for me. They say 1.25:1 is the ratio to shoot for. I will go as high a 1.50:1 in some cases. I don't completely understand all that goes on in a mash; I just try different things and note the differences. I will learn all about mashing someday, but I just go on experience today. I mash for 60 to 75 minutes, and I think that is about all you need. "They" say if you mash for longer you will get a more fermentable wort, compared to mashing for only 60 minutes. Conversion will happen within 60 minutes in most cases. I'm just a novice so take this info with a grain of salt.

Mash on!
Peace!
pvignola
 
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Mon Oct 31, 2005 6:22 pm

Yeh,

I never argue with success so water grain ratios never really bugged me until I stuck a sparge 4 times then I thought about geletin.

Just something to think about, same goes with length. If I am top end on temp on a single infusion say 155 to 158 I will back the time down to even 45 min provided the iodine passes. I find 150 takes about 75 min in my system but I wouldn't argur 15 min one way or the other.

Malts are well modified these days and I have never seen a reason to do a protein rest. That being said, I have had issues with chill haze in the past to which I have been lead to understand can be reduced by doing a protein rest. No proof of this, just a rumour unless someone here can clear that up (no pun intended) :lol: .

Dogger
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Dogger Dan
 
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Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:24 pm

As far as mash temps go it all depends on the body I want for my beer. 150 gives a light body, but the addition of cara pils can help with that as well as other adjucts. I usually always do 150 temp, 90 min mash and 1.50:1 water to grain ratio. When using the cara pils Ive been doing a step mash anywhere from 15-30 min at 122-130.

I use to settle for a 60 min mash but since I changed my routine a year ago, applying the 90 min mash and a much finer crush for my grain, I found my efficiency to be in 80's consistantly. I questioned this, rotating 60min w/ normal crush, 60min w/ fine crush and so on and have stuck with the 90 min mash. Of course with some peoples systems a fine crush will give a stuck sparge everytime, so I always recomend a longer mash time. I also dont iodine test since small specks of hulls in the sample can and will give a negative reading.

Now all this can get very tricky, depending on water PH and malt used. I personally never adjust my PH yet I formulate my recipes to compensate for my hard water(well water) Experimenting is almost as enjoyable for me as drinking my beer. THe worst that can happen I end up drinking a sub par beer. OH nO :lol:

So now that Im done with my tangent post I will leave thee and hope that I helped abit.

Heath
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