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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: skyler on April 12, 2011, 10:03:38 AM

Title: 20 min mash
Post by: skyler on April 12, 2011, 10:03:38 AM
I understand that most domestic craft brewers do super-short mashes. Why don't we (homebrewers)? Anyone tried this? Any reason not to? Do you have to greatly adjust mash temp?
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: beveragebob on April 12, 2011, 10:27:50 AM
Because we have more time and there is a whole lot more going on than just simple conversion of starches to sugars. It's late and I'm tired so, I'll let others expound on the virtues of a longer mash. Personally, all of my mashes are at least 90 minutes....it's not a race....it's a hobby.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: gordonstrong on April 12, 2011, 12:29:01 PM
It's not the mash temp.  You have to start with the right malts, often selecting more for speed of conversion than for flavor (remember Turbo Pils?).  You have to have it crushed into almost flour, at least to a uniform small size, without doing the same to the husk.  You have to properly hydrate it.  You have to stir it.  You have to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the mash.  You have to maintain a proper pH with the right enzymatic cofactors present.

Or you can let it go longer and get to basically the same place without all the equipment, process control, and fuss.

People who do this for a living are looking to maximize throughput through their fixed resources so they can maximize profits.

If it was only about saving time, it would probably be fastest to skip the mash and just open a can.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: dmtaylor on April 12, 2011, 01:25:54 PM
If you have a family, time IS a factor.

As such, I have run a lot of experiments with mash time.  For me and my system, the limiting factor was attenuation.  20 minutes wasn't ever long enough for proper attenuation, e.g., the final gravity would quit at like 1.028 and be done.  30 minutes was enough about 50% of the time.  But 40 minutes always works, so that's what I do now -- 40 to 45 minutes.  Try it and see.  No need to mash for 90 minutes unless you want your beer to be as dry as possible -- heck, then why not mash for 2 hours or overnight if you want it that dry.  But for 95% of styles, 40 minutes is perfect.  At least for me.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: gordonstrong on April 12, 2011, 01:38:42 PM
Dave, can you describe your crush?

FWIW, I normally mash 60 minutes in a single infusion, and it's always done.  So I'm sure with precise measurement, it's possible to determine an earlier time.  I usually use that time to go clean carboys, find hops, or otherwise get set up for the rest of the process.  So it's not wasted time per se.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: bluesman on April 12, 2011, 01:47:19 PM
I usually mash for 60 min and get for the most part "complete conversion" but I'm not sure exactly when and how repeatable the conversion occurs. This is a good question. I can get complete conversion time after time at 60 min so I am of the mindset that "if it works...don't fix it".

IMO...the pros outweigh the cons for this particular mechanism. Perhaps I'm just staying on the safe side with this one.

That being said...I wouldn't be opposed to saving time if I was confident of the outcome.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: Hokerer on April 12, 2011, 02:33:32 PM
I usually use that time to go clean carboys, find hops, or otherwise get set up for the rest of the process.  So it's not wasted time per se.

+1  That's the biggie for me.  Why go to the extra effort needed to minimize mash time when I can just let it go the full hour and get plenty of other things done during that time.

Like that infomercial says "Set it and..... forget it!"
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 12, 2011, 03:37:05 PM
I understand that most domestic craft brewers do super-short mashes. Why don't we (homebrewers)? Anyone tried this? Any reason not to? Do you have to greatly adjust mash temp?

The also sparge and lauter for over an hour, all the while at mash temps.  To say they do a 20 min. mash isn't really accurate.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on April 12, 2011, 03:55:08 PM
First post here. :)

I've tried short-ish mashes, around 30 minutes, and while I didn't have a problem with attenuation I did have decreased efficiency.  No other problems that I can recall.  I did condition the malt before milling and did stir it several times.  I've never been a long-masher (and I stopped doing iodine tests years ago); I just mashed an Imperial Pils at 147* F for 45 minutes, then up to 156* F for 15 minutes, then a mash-out @ 165* F and lauter/sparge.  The FFT finished at 84% AA (using a washed slurry of Wyeast 2124) which is a bit higher than I wanted.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: ccarlson on April 12, 2011, 04:00:42 PM
IMO if you really can't afford to spend an hour mashing, you should go back to extract brewing.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: 4swan on April 12, 2011, 04:17:05 PM
I tried 30 and 40 minute mashes for a while with fly sparge and no mash out (insert Denny's point here.)  I didn't have any attenutation problems and my efficiency was fine, although none of those were big beers.  I've started going back to 60 minute and my efficiency might have gone up a point or two.  Basic Brewing Radio had a good podcast in February about mash times if you're intetested.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: weithman5 on April 12, 2011, 04:31:35 PM
to me, shortening the mash time would make me feel more "time pressed" as it is i find this to be relatively leisurely, i plan my mash for around 60 minutes and give or take a few, i don't worry
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 12, 2011, 04:46:32 PM
I've actually started going the other way and do most of my mashes for 75-90 min.  It improves my conversion efficiency and gives me drier beers, which I like.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: ccarlson on April 12, 2011, 04:47:22 PM
Sometimes I brew early in the morning and the 60 minute mash gives me time to drink coffee and wake up.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: bluesman on April 12, 2011, 04:54:30 PM
I've actually started going the other way and do most of my mashes for 75-90 min.  It improves my conversion efficiency and gives me drier beers, which I like.

Me too... especially for my lagers. Plus it gives me more time to take care of other tasks during my brew session.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 12, 2011, 05:08:36 PM
Plus it gives me more time to take care of other tasks during my brew session.

No kidding!  That's my time for house cleaning and laundry!
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on April 12, 2011, 05:24:04 PM
Quote
No kidding!  That's my time for house cleaning and laundry!
I can't do laundry until I've run the laundry water through the IC first.  :)

I agree with earlier sentiments that if it was about saving time, open a can of extract.  I tried it as an experiment on wort/beer quality (quality is paramount, time can kma  ;D).  I didn't see any drop in wort/beer quality but efficiency seemed less predictable/consistent (especially when switching base malts) so I went back to longer mashes.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: weithman5 on April 12, 2011, 05:49:25 PM
if it was just about time, i would just open the can of beer
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: Mark G on April 12, 2011, 07:48:05 PM
Sometimes I brew early in the morning and the 60 minute mash gives me time to drink coffee and wake up.
Yep, that 60-90 minutes is coffee time for me, plus I use it prepare all my boil additions, etc.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: dmtaylor on April 12, 2011, 08:02:44 PM
To answer Gordon's earlier question about the crush on my system, it's a fine crush -- just a touch finer than the default Barley Crusher setting, so there's a good bit of flour in there.

A year or so ago, I was getting an average brewhouse efficiency of 90%, so a 40-minute mash time certainly does not adversely impact efficiency, either, at least not for most grains.  Maybe a Munich-based beer would suffer from lack of enzymes (I don't know, I haven't done one lately), but for anything else including American 2-row, Maris Otter, German pilsner malt, etc., I haven't had any issues whatsoever with efficiency.  In fact, I've actually purposely dialed back my crush slightly to shoot for closer to <85% efficiency, because I theorize that I was spreading my malt too thin, i.e., too much sugar out of too little grain.  More experiments are needed, but in the end, taste is what really matters, right?  And my beers are tasting great.  Even win awards here and there when I bother to submit them (I haven't for a while).

To those who are suggesting that 60 minutes is mandatory or else go back to extract, you have got to be kidding me.  'Nuff said.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: dmtaylor on April 12, 2011, 08:06:42 PM
Oh, and one more thing.  I am a Dennybrew batch sparger.   :o
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 12, 2011, 08:18:59 PM
Oh, and one more thing.  I am a Dennybrew batch sparger.   :o

And we love ya for it!
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: Will's Swill on April 13, 2011, 12:28:56 AM
In fact, I've actually purposely dialed back my crush slightly to shoot for closer to <85% efficiency, because I theorize that I was spreading my malt too thin, i.e., too much sugar out of too little grain.  More experiments are needed, but in the end, taste is what really matters, right?  And my beers are tasting great. 

Were your beers tasting great before?  I'm just wondering what impact you think 90% efficiency has that having < 85% efficiency does not.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: oscarvan on April 13, 2011, 01:00:09 AM
For some reason it seems that 75 minutes works in the cosmic scheme of my brew setup....... It just feels right, and more importantly it all tastes right. Go ahead, flame away, I have no data no tests, no side by side quintuple blind tasting..... I just know that it works, very nicely.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: skyler on April 13, 2011, 10:40:13 AM
It's true that the 60+ minutes of mash time is a good time to measure hops, pick up more propane, take a shower, and make a pot of coffee. But I was wondering if perhaps an accidentally low mash temperature could be corrected by a shortened mash. For example, I was brewing a brown ale and accidentally hit 150 instead of my intended 154. I was able to raise it to 152 by adding extra water, but didn't have enough space to get it up to 154... I wonder if I could have just shortened the mash to 40 minutes for the sake of the fuller body and greater residual sweetness.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: dmtaylor on April 13, 2011, 02:04:46 PM
In my experience, yes, it could help.  Why continue to dry out the beer unnecessarily by mashing for 60 minutes or more if you can cut it to 40 minutes with minimal risk of hurting anything.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: realbeerguy on April 13, 2011, 02:27:19 PM
Sometimes I brew early in the morning and the 60 minute mash gives me time to drink coffee and wake up.

This

Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 13, 2011, 02:39:36 PM
dry out the beer unnecessarily

I guess I really question if it's unnecessary.  One of the problems I find again and again in homebrews is a too dextrinous beer that lacks crispness and drinkability.  JMO.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: pyrite on April 13, 2011, 03:09:26 PM
dry out the beer unnecessarily

I guess I really question if it's unnecessary.  One of the problems I find again and again in homebrews is a too dextrinous beer that lacks crispness and drinkability.  JMO.

We'll wouldn't lack of crispness have more to do with a poor choice of malt selection, and a poor choice of yeast strain selection that does not finish dry and crisp?

Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 13, 2011, 03:21:30 PM
We'll wouldn't lack of crispness have more to do with a poor choice of malt selection, and a poor choice of yeast strain selection that does not finish dry and crisp?



Those are contributing factors, but IMO not the main cause.  You can use the same malt and yeast and completely change the body of the beer by manipulating mash temp and time.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: tygo on April 13, 2011, 03:41:53 PM
What level of apparent attenuation are you usually looking for in your beers Denny?
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 13, 2011, 04:06:56 PM
What level of apparent attenuation are you usually looking for in your beers Denny?

Good question, and I'm gonna have to approximate an answer since I guess I never think of it like that.  I'd say in general I like to get 80ish %.  Of course, that can vary with the style and recipe, but when I'm making an alt or APA (for instance) that's what I'm shooting for.  And of course, it ALL varies with personal preference.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 13, 2011, 04:35:42 PM
I understand that most domestic craft brewers do super-short mashes. Why don't we (homebrewers)? Anyone tried this? Any reason not to? Do you have to greatly adjust mash temp?

The also sparge and lauter for over an hour, all the while at mash temps.  To say they do a 20 min. mash isn't really accurate.

This is what I was going to say. While commercial breweries may only mash for 20 minutes, conversion is still taking place during vorlauf and sparging.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: bluesman on April 13, 2011, 04:36:25 PM
Somewhat related. There are alot of factors to consider when manipiulating body and mouthfeel.

The one thing that I tend to look at first is the mash parameters like time and temp. There are also other considerations as well like mash pH, hopping rate, carbonation level, grist bill (use of specialty malts) and yeast AA%.

With all of these variables it can seem overwhelming but really it's just a matter of tweaking each variable to achieve your desired outcome. Playing with the variables, one at a time, is the best way to really understand the cause and effect of the variable at hand.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: gordonstrong on April 13, 2011, 04:54:12 PM
If I'm trying to tweak body and mouthfeel, mash time is one of the last knobs that I'd turn.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: Bret on April 13, 2011, 05:00:20 PM
If I'm trying to tweak body and mouthfeel, mash time is one of the last knobs that I'd turn.
What would the first knob be?
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: bluesman on April 13, 2011, 05:03:19 PM
If I'm trying to tweak body and mouthfeel, mash time is one of the last knobs that I'd turn.

I agree Gordon. I really should have left out mash time as a "tuning knob" and focused on mash temp as my primary target for body and mouthfeel adjustments.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: gordonstrong on April 13, 2011, 05:10:29 PM
If I'm trying to tweak body and mouthfeel, mash time is one of the last knobs that I'd turn.
What would the first knob be?

Either mash temperature/program or grist composition. They're about equal to me.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: Bret on April 13, 2011, 05:17:58 PM
I was thinking temperature too.  Early on I learned the acronym MALT = More Alcohol Lower Temperature.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 13, 2011, 05:28:55 PM
If I'm trying to tweak body and mouthfeel, mash time is one of the last knobs that I'd turn.
What would the first knob be?

Either mash temperature/program or grist composition. They're about equal to me.

I agree with you, Gordon.  But if I do those and still can't get what I'm going for, mash time is another tool to use.  But it's the last tool I reach for.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: dmtaylor on April 13, 2011, 07:31:58 PM
If I'm trying to tweak body and mouthfeel, mash time is one of the last knobs that I'd turn.

I would agree with this.  It's a variable that can be toyed with, but it is certainly one of the most variable variables, if that makes sense!
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: malzig on April 14, 2011, 11:16:41 AM
dry out the beer unnecessarily
I guess I really question if it's unnecessary.  One of the problems I find again and again in homebrews is a too dextrinous beer that lacks crispness and drinkability.  JMO.
I find this, too, including in my own beers, early on.  I'm curious what you think of as drying out a beer "unnecessarily", dmtaylor.

These days, I try to get most of my beers down to 2.5°P/1.010, more like 2 °P for something like an Alt or a lager.  I find that I'm rarely content with a beer that finishes over 3 °P.  Occasionally, I'll make a Porter or Oatmeal Stout that's I'll design to finish higher, if I happen to be in the mood.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: ccarlson on April 14, 2011, 11:25:07 AM
dry out the beer unnecessarily
I guess I really question if it's unnecessary.  One of the problems I find again and again in homebrews is a too dextrinous beer that lacks crispness and drinkability.  JMO.
I find this, too, including in my own beers, early on.  I'm curious what you think of as drying out a beer "unnecessarily", dmtaylor.

These days, I try to get most of my beers down to 2.5°P/1.010, more like 2 °P for something like an Alt or a lager.  I find that I'm rarely content with a beer that finishes over 3 °P.  Occasionally, I'll make a Porter or Oatmeal Stout that's I'll design to finish higher, if I happen to be in the mood.

I agree. 1.010 - 1.012 is perfect for me. Anything much above that seems too sweet.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: bluesman on April 14, 2011, 11:40:49 AM
Termial gravity is dependent on alot of factors like yeast strain AA%, OG, mash temp, grist bill (unfermentables), fermentation health and some other related factors. Session beers are best in the 1.008-1.012 range whereas bigger beers can finish higher around 1.016-1.028 range and higher depending on OG and AA%.

I like most af my lagers (Helles,Ofest,etc...) to finish in the 1.010+/- range.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on April 14, 2011, 12:36:07 PM
I have the opposite problem, my beers dry out a bit too much sometimes and I always have to mash higher than what a recipe might dictate to hit the same FG (yes, they're calibrated :)).  By mashing higher I don't really get more sweetness.  I often don't get fuller mouthfeel either.

I have heard Bamforth say (words to the effect) that he doesn't really know what all affects 'mouthfeel' but that he knows it's not dextrins.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 14, 2011, 03:10:57 PM
I agree. 1.010 - 1.012 is perfect for me. Anything much above that seems too sweet.

You can combat sweetness with appropriate hopping.  For me, it's that the beer's too "thick" to be truly drinkable.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 14, 2011, 03:14:01 PM
I have heard Bamforth say (words to the effect) that he doesn't really know what all affects 'mouthfeel' but that he knows it's not dextrins.

Has he explained what led him to that conclusion?
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: bluesman on April 14, 2011, 03:31:29 PM
I agree. 1.010 - 1.012 is perfect for me. Anything much above that seems too sweet.

You can combat sweetness with appropriate hopping.  For me, it's that the beer's too "thick" to be truly drinkable.

Agreed. This is a good way to balance the beer. I like to increase my bittering addition to help offset this condition which at the end of the day will achieve more of a balance in the flavor and mouthfeel of the beer.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on April 14, 2011, 04:09:14 PM
I have heard Bamforth say (words to the effect) that he doesn't really know what all affects 'mouthfeel' but that he knows it's not dextrins.

Has he explained what led him to that conclusion?
I just listened to a 40 min interview during lunch that I thought was it...but it wasn't. :(  I'll keep looking.

There was thread about it on another Home Brew Type forum and one person pointed out that whisky has a fuller mouthfeel than many beers and has no dextrins at all.

Editted cuz there ain't no 'e' in real whisky.:)
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: a10t2 on April 14, 2011, 04:50:59 PM
The also sparge and lauter for over an hour, all the while at mash temps.  To say they do a 20 min. mash isn't really accurate.

And probably mash in for over an hour too. On our biggest beer it takes 65 min to mash in and 80 min to vorlauf/sparge. The grain is in the tun for 2.5 hours with no "mash rest" at all.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on April 14, 2011, 08:50:17 PM
I have heard Bamforth say (words to the effect) that he doesn't really know what all affects 'mouthfeel' but that he knows it's not dextrins.

Has he explained what led him to that conclusion?
Found it, about 12 minutes in or so. (http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/582)
It's a Q&A session on Brew Strong, Jamil actually brings it up and Charlie agrees.  My 'words to the effect' aren't very close but the message is still the same.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: denny on April 14, 2011, 09:55:41 PM
Thanks.  I'll listen as soon as I have a chance.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on April 14, 2011, 10:51:39 PM
Thanks.  I'll listen as soon as I have a chance.
I was listening to it as I drove home and got the time wrong, better to tune in @ ~8:30. :)

EDIT: Bamforth doesn't know 'dreaded' Fahrenheit, 65* C is 149* F (not 144* F). I dunno Celcius but I knew that 144* sounded wrong.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: malzig on April 15, 2011, 10:53:57 AM
I agree. 1.010 - 1.012 is perfect for me. Anything much above that seems too sweet.
You can combat sweetness with appropriate hopping.  For me, it's that the beer's too "thick" to be truly drinkable.
You can balance an overly sweet beer with more bitterness (or roast!), but the effect is different than drying a beer out.  I find the dry beer more pleasant and drinkable.  I enjoy a really chewy, thick beer, occasionally, but most heavy-bodied beers are also sweet and I hate finishing a beer and having my mouth covered in sticky-sweet sugar.
I have the opposite problem, my beers dry out a bit too much sometimes and I always have to mash higher than what a recipe might dictate to hit the same FG (yes, they're calibrated :)).  By mashing higher I don't really get more sweetness.  I often don't get fuller mouthfeel either.
What so you consider too dry?
I definitely believe I get a higher FG at higher mash temperatures.  If you don't, you may need to check your thermometers.  Another way that I've found effective for adding body is certain adjuncts, particularly Torrified Wheat and Oats.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on April 15, 2011, 11:48:28 AM
What so you consider too dry?
I definitely believe I get a higher FG at higher mash temperatures.  If you don't, you may need to check your thermometers.  Another way that I've found effective for adding body is certain adjuncts, particularly Torrified Wheat and Oats.
I do get a higher FG from mashing higher.  But if recipe says mash @ 152* F and gives a FG then I'll generally have to mash higher to hit that FG from the same OG.  I tried to premptively answer the 'thermometers calibrated?' question when I wrote 'yes, they're calibrated' (fwiw, with a NIST-certified/calibration-verified mercury thermometer at mash temps).  I agree that those are good grains for adding body, flaked barley and rye work too.

I've also considered some sort of contamination (and I still haven't ruled that out) but once the beer hits FG it doesn't drop any more nor does the post-fermentation pH (which is almost always between 4.2 and 4.5, measured with a meter).
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: malzig on April 16, 2011, 01:10:55 PM
I do get a higher FG from mashing higher.  But if recipe says mash @ 152* F and gives a FG then I'll generally have to mash higher to hit that FG from the same OG.
I do find it odd that your FG would increase but you wouldn't get more body with a higher mash temperature.

As far as the specific mash temperature and it's effect on FG, that's going to vary from brewery to brewery because of other variations in procedure.  I often find that I have to mash lower to get the same FG as some other brewers I've worked with, but I don't consider that a problem, just a fact that I account for in my process.
Title: Re: 20 min mash
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on April 18, 2011, 11:32:09 AM
I do get a higher FG from mashing higher.  But if recipe says mash @ 152* F and gives a FG then I'll generally have to mash higher to hit that FG from the same OG.
I do find it odd that your FG would increase but you wouldn't get more body with a higher mash temperature.

As far as the specific mash temperature and it's effect on FG, that's going to vary from brewery to brewery because of other variations in procedure.  I often find that I have to mash lower to get the same FG as some other brewers I've worked with, but I don't consider that a problem, just a fact that I account for in my process.
I have had some experiences that agreed with what they mentioned in that Brew Strong episode.  That is, two identically brewed beers (same batch, split between two fermenters) and each pitched with different yeast.  The beer that finished with a lower FG had more mouthfeel and more sweetness than the one with the higher FG.  Their point in that discussion was that mashing higher does not necessarily yield more sweetness or mouthfeel.

Then there is the point about whisky, which has a lot more alcohol (which has a lower SG than water) and has no dextrins yet can have more mouthfeel than some beers.