Author Topic: Mash temperatures  (Read 4207 times)

Offline micsager

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Mash temperatures
« on: May 16, 2012, 08:34:39 AM »
Depending on style, I mash anywhere from 149 to 152.  I think I did 154 once, but don't remember the style. 

Anyway, at a recent non-bjcp competition that was judged by the brewer and owner of a local microbrewery, it was suggested that I mash at 160, or even a bit higher.  Traditionally, I start freaking out if I get to 155 or so.  The two beers I entered were a Session IPA and an Imperial Stout.  The same brewer made the statement "crystal malts are the enemy of good beer" 

FWIW, this is my favorite brewery in the Seattle area.  (Fremont Brewing)

Any thoughts?

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2012, 08:48:18 AM »
Going higher than 155 is certainly not out of the norm. I believe Lagunitas mashes their IPA at 160. I frequently go to 158 or so for Scottish Ales, or any kind of beer that I want a lot of body too, especially ones that are low gravity. Its pretty crazy how a 3.5% scottish ale with nothing but maris otter and roasted barley can have as much body as they do.

I dunno about the crystal malts are the enemy of a good beer statement....
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Offline denny

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2012, 08:49:34 AM »
Depending on style, I mash anywhere from 149 to 152.  I think I did 154 once, but don't remember the style. 

Anyway, at a recent non-bjcp competition that was judged by the brewer and owner of a local microbrewery, it was suggested that I mash at 160, or even a bit higher.  Traditionally, I start freaking out if I get to 155 or so.  The two beers I entered were a Session IPA and an Imperial Stout.  The same brewer made the statement "crystal malts are the enemy of good beer" 

FWIW, this is my favorite brewery in the Seattle area.  (Fremont Brewing)

Any thoughts?

I think whoever made those comments is not only full of himself, he's full of something else, too.  Saying that "crystal malts are the enemy of good beer" is pompous and short sighted.  Try to tell a British brewer that crystal malts are ruining his beer!  Like any other ingredient they have a place if used correctly.  The brewer/judge was letting his own preferences lead his tasting, which has no place in a comp.  I'd take his comments with a grain if salt, at least until you have a chance to get more feedback on the beer.
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Offline micsager

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2012, 08:51:32 AM »
Depending on style, I mash anywhere from 149 to 152.  I think I did 154 once, but don't remember the style. 

Anyway, at a recent non-bjcp competition that was judged by the brewer and owner of a local microbrewery, it was suggested that I mash at 160, or even a bit higher.  Traditionally, I start freaking out if I get to 155 or so.  The two beers I entered were a Session IPA and an Imperial Stout.  The same brewer made the statement "crystal malts are the enemy of good beer" 

FWIW, this is my favorite brewery in the Seattle area.  (Fremont Brewing)

Any thoughts?

I think whoever made those comments is not only full of himself, he's full of something else, too.  Saying that "crystal malts are the enemy of good beer" is pompous and short sighted.  Try to tell a British brewer that crystal malts are ruining his beer!  Like any other ingredient they have a place if used correctly.  The brewer/judge was letting his own preferences lead his tasting, which has no place in a comp.  I'd take his comments with a grain if salt, at least until you have a chance to get more feedback on the beer.

Thanks Denny.  In a month, will you try them?  I'll have both at the WAHA booth.  I'd love to hear YOUR review. 

Offline denny

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2012, 08:52:09 AM »
It would be a pleasure, Mic!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 09:09:53 AM »
+1.  Sounds like personal preferences versus objective judging to style IMO.
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Offline anthony

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 10:21:27 AM »
Not to mention that 160F on his system is probably not equivalent to 160F on your system.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 10:21:59 AM »
My mash tun (cooler) doesn't temps very well when I stuff it full of grain, so while crystal malts help boost the final gravity, I also select them for complexity. Without crystal, my big stouts would be VERY unimpressive.

Maybe he meant TOO much crystal is detracting from your IPA? I would agree with that.

He still worded it poorly and was not very helpful to you.
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Offline micsager

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2012, 10:57:10 AM »
My mash tun (cooler) doesn't temps very well when I stuff it full of grain, so while crystal malts help boost the final gravity, I also select them for complexity. Without crystal, my big stouts would be VERY unimpressive.

Maybe he meant TOO much crystal is detracting from your IPA? I would agree with that.

He still worded it poorly and was not very helpful to you.

That comment was not made to me personally.  It was said to all the homebrewers during the "awards presentation"  And he was very clear in his statements.  Most of us kind of looked at ech other, and wondered......

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2012, 11:05:40 AM »
Maybe he was thinking about a nice dry IPA, and not other styles?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline micsager

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2012, 11:09:15 AM »
Maybe he was thinking about a nice dry IPA, and not other styles?

Maybe.  A CDA won the competition.  I'm gonna try mashing at 160 this weekend with another batch of my session IPA.  (of course a "session" form me is about 5.5%)

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2012, 11:48:37 AM »
That comment was not made to me personally.  It was said to all the homebrewers during the "awards presentation"  And he was very clear in his statements.  Most of us kind of looked at ech other, and wondered......

Woah... well, brewers are sometimes an opinionated group.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2012, 04:21:41 PM »
The same brewer made the statement "crystal malts are the enemy of good beer"
So that's a bit over the top, but there's a grain of truth to it and I imagine he was trying to shake up people's thinking.  I imagine that judges need to drink a heck of a lot of homebrew that would be better if the brewer had reined in the Crystal Malt.  I wouldn't be surprised if it would turn out to be a better rule than an exception for most homebrewers to design a recipe, then halve the amount of Crystal Malt before they brew it.

As far as British brewers are concerned, they make a broad range of base malt-centric beers.  It's one of the great advantages to starting with some of the worlds most flavorful base malts.  I find that Crystal Malt dominated "British" beers tend to be more highly represented by US attempts at British-style beers than British beers themselves.

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2012, 07:15:45 PM »
FWIW, I routinely mash my American-style ales (mostly IPA and Amber) between 154-156.  Anything below that, and my beers tend to overattenuate.

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Offline malzig

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Re: Mash temperatures
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 02:56:43 AM »
The American Ale yeast can work well with some high mash temperatures. 
For reference, Sierra Nevada mashes their Celebration Ale at over 157°F.