Author Topic: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?  (Read 1850 times)

Offline wobdee

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Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« on: September 30, 2015, 12:58:00 PM »
Just a thought, would mashing results be similar to soaking a tea bag? The length you steep a tea bag determines the amount of flavor and color to a certain extent, would this somewhat be the same with mashing grains?

I've read about people trying to push the limits of mash times mostly on the short side to save time but I'm wondering if that is hurting flavor extraction?

Offline leejoreilly

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2015, 01:08:10 PM »
Just a thought, would mashing results be similar to soaking a tea bag? The length you steep a tea bag determines the amount of flavor and color to a certain extent, would this somewhat be the same with mashing grains?

I've read about people trying to push the limits of mash times mostly on the short side to save time but I'm wondering if that is hurting flavor extraction?

In my experience, once you've mashed for an "appropriate" time, you've converted all of the starches available, and further mashing doesn't do much. "Appropriate" mash time probably varies according to your equipment setup, temps, volumes, etc., but once you're done, you're done.

It's not effectively different for tea bags, if you steep as long as you mash; tea steeped for one hour isn't that different from tea steeped for two.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2015, 01:13:17 PM »
It's a fair question, but in my experience the opposite is true.  And here's why & how, in my opinion:

Since you really don't want to mash for any less than 20 minutes, there is plenty of time for the malt flavors to get fully incorporated into the wort, such that waiting for much longer than that doesn't help at all.  No one is advocating only mashing for 3-4 minutes like tea.  The grains are always in there for a much longer time.

Also, since a longer mash time increases efficiency while a shorter mash time reduces efficiency, then the brewer who mashes for a shorter time generally needs to use MORE malt to hit the same OG, thus theoretically adding MORE malt flavor!  And the reverse is true as well, longer mash time means you don't need as much malt, which can dilute your malt flavor, at least in theory.  I have run experiments on this in the past that were not conclusive, need to run more.
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Offline ultravista

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2015, 01:55:13 PM »
I generally mash for 90 minutes while I am getting everything else ready for the brew day. It does make for a slightly longer day.

It gives me time to do other things too while the mash does it's thing.

I have always had good results so I'm sticking with it ... :)

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2015, 02:53:33 PM »
No because the mash is doing more than just extracting flavor from the grain. There is also the release of enzymes and starches that are subsequently converted to sugars. As that process extends through time you are more likely to get a drier beer as the long chain sugars continue to be broken down and the wort becomes increasingly fermentable. Usually a malty beer needs some of those long chain sugars for body and residual sweetness.
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Offline toby

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2015, 02:57:01 PM »
Just a thought, would mashing results be similar to soaking a tea bag? The length you steep a tea bag determines the amount of flavor and color to a certain extent, would this somewhat be the same with mashing grains?

I've read about people trying to push the limits of mash times mostly on the short side to save time but I'm wondering if that is hurting flavor extraction?
Not particularly, because what brewers are looking for is starch conversion to maltose.  Once it's converted, letting the malt sit longer provides diminishing returns in most cases.  Eventually, you will start to extract tannins from the husks (and it will start to taste exactly like tea, ironically).  In other words, those flavors you'll extract won't help your beer.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2015, 03:07:17 PM »
No because the mash is doing more than just extracting flavor from the grain. There is also the release of enzymes and starches that are subsequently converted to sugars. As that process extends through time you are more likely to get a drier beer as the long chain sugars continue to be broken down and the wort becomes increasingly fermentable. Usually a malty beer needs some of those long chain sugars for body and residual sweetness.

+1
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2015, 03:46:28 PM »
Wouldn't the length of mash also depend on how well your mash tun holds temperature? Say I'm making a really malt-heavy beer and mash high. Say 156 F. If I mash for 30 min, it is likely that I'll end up with lower efficiency. If I mash for 60 min in a tun that doesn't lose much temperature-wise, I'd likely get the same result at 156 F. If I mash for 80-90 min in a tun that loses 4-6 degrees over that time then I'm potentially activating more beta amylase at the end of the mash due to the dropping temperature and making for a more fermentable wort and higher efficiency. Just some thoughts.

I did a quick gallon batch last night on the stovetop with a 30 min mash at 156F. Efficiency was lower but I already had a good handle on my average PPG from previous batches so I hit my expected OG right on.

Offline neddles

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2015, 04:28:00 PM »
If I mash for 80-90 min in a tun that loses 4-6 degrees over that time then I'm potentially activating more beta amylase at the end of the mash due to the dropping temperature and making for a more fermentable wort and higher efficiency.
My understanding is that your beta activity is gone around ~30 min depending on several factors... maybe a little sooner or later than that. So it will be long gone by 80 minutes.

Offline denny

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2015, 04:37:29 PM »
Let's not confuse body and flavor.  Mashing long can result in more complete dextrin conversion, which can translate to thinner body.  But even if you used a mash schedule that increased body, that wouldn't necessarily result in an increase in malt flavor.  Any time you want to influence flavor, think recipe first and foremost.
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Offline toby

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2015, 04:41:16 PM »
Once enzymes are denatured, they are denatured.

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2015, 04:46:24 PM »
Once enzymes are denatured, they are denatured.

Ah... I didn't think about this. So beta is not active if the temp starts high and then drops?

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2015, 05:47:47 PM »
Plus 1 to Dennys comment.

And Toby is right, but its not like a light switch. When ONE enzym is denatured that enzyme stays denatured, but THEY dont all denature instantly at a bright line specific temp. At a certain temp THEY begin to denature. Given enough time at that temp eventually they all will be denatured. Remember the chart Denny has posted in the past. There are overlapping areas for alpha and beta and overlapping areas for temp and ph. Its not like the light switch, click its on, click its off.

Offline toby

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2015, 06:08:43 PM »
What Jim said.  It's not all denatured instantly, but if you hold temp above the denature point for an extended period of time, you're not going to get much activity from that particular enzyme.

Offline coolman26

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Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2015, 07:10:40 PM »
Let's not confuse body and flavor.  Mashing long can result in more complete dextrin conversion, which can translate to thinner body.  But even if you used a mash schedule that increased body, that wouldn't necessarily result in an increase in malt flavor.  Any time you want to influence flavor, think recipe first and foremost.
Well stated, because of issues beyond my control, my imperial stout mashed for almost 5 hrs. The resulting beer
Tastes the same as when I made it before. The body however was much thinner and dry. I almost liked it better actually.
Jeff B