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Author Topic: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...  (Read 5830 times)

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2015, 08:19:48 am »
Nobody can tell you that your preferences are wrong or that your technique is wrong if this mash process makes beers you like. With my system I generally tend to mash lower and longer for most styles. I am often mashing saisons and other dry styles at 144-146 and then decocting up to 156-158. It makes a better beer on my brewhouse than sixty minutes at 150 or whatever most people are doing.

There could be a number of reasons why you prefer mashing this way that may go beyond your drinking preferences. The water profile might lean towards a maltier beer (in several ways). The crush on the grain might not give you sufficient solubility of starches and you're getting too many unfermentable sugars or far more maltose than glucose left behind after a normal sixty minute mash. The water:grist ratio may be too thick and similarly you are getting the same results.

I think it would be most interesting for you to brew the same beer with somebody else and let you mash at 149 and let them mash at 154 or wherever they would normally mash on their own system and compare the beers. If you feel the beers are generally the similar then you are just mashing properly for your own system. If you can tell a distinct difference in the beers then it is probably just a matter of preference.
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Offline charles1968

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2015, 09:05:08 am »
Here's a bit of data on the relationship between mash temp and attenuation (and hence dryness):

source: http://www.woodlandbrew.com/2013/01/measured-mash-temperature-effects.html

So for maximum dryness, 148 Fahrenheit is about right. 85% attenuation would get an average lager down to 1007 by my guesstimate, so if you want to go drier you still need to look at the yeast & recipe.

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2015, 09:34:18 am »
I only single infuse because I do not have a direct-fired MT.

One does not need to have a direct-fired tun or a RIMS  to step mash.  Step mashing can be performed via boiling water infusions.

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23324.msg297750#msg297750

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2015, 09:35:51 am »
That's a fantastic graph there -- I'm going to save that link for safe keeping.

For whatever it's worth (not much), my own data looks more like a shotgun blasted it a couple of times:



The reason mine is so goofy is probably because it hasn't eliminated all the other variables such as yeast strain, mash time, amount of crystal malts, etc.  This is just a simple plot of every recipe I have made over like the past 10 years, regardless of these variables.  I suppose sometime I might want to whittle it down to more same/similar variables.  But anyway, there you have it.

EDIT: Looking at the data a little more.... I can see that over the range of 144 to 162 F, the Kai graph would show a decrease in attenuation of about 12%.  My own data for that same range of 144-162 F shows a decrease of 9%.  Which is more accurate?  Probably Kai.  But suffice it to say that there does seem to be an effect, which seems to really kick in right at around 155-156 F.  Below that mash temperature, it's pretty much a straight horizontal line, no matter whose graph you look at.  Interesting...........
« Last Edit: October 03, 2015, 09:47:33 am by dmtaylor »
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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2015, 10:08:47 am »
The number one thing that affects attenuation is a yeast strain's ability to break the glycosidic bonds that bind the three glucose molecules in the trisaccharide maltotriose (C18H32O16), as the ratio of dextrins and trisaccharides to disaccharides and monosaccharides increases with mash temperature. 

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2015, 10:20:28 am »
I only single infuse because I do not have a direct-fired MT.

One does not need to have a direct-fired tun or a RIMS  to step mash.  Step mashing can be performed via boiling water infusions.

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23324.msg297750#msg297750
True and I have done a few Hochkurz mashes.  But there is a lot of feeling around in the dark because I can't seem to determine how much of which temp water will get me where I want to go.  I have hit the numbers properly but not without some anxiety over it.  Plus, a number of brewers have said that having the temp rise over time (1° per minute or whatever) has a difference impact than adding boiling water and getting the temp up quicker.  Possibly a bunch of horse hockey but not sure.
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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2015, 10:22:50 am »
True and I have done a few Hochkurz mashes.  But there is a lot of feeling around in the dark because I can't seem to determine how much of which temp water will get me where I want to go.  I have hit the numbers properly but not without some anxiety over it.  Plus, a number of brewers have said that having the temp rise over time (1° per minute or whatever) has a difference impact than adding boiling water and getting the temp up quicker.  Possibly a bunch of horse hockey but not sure.

A gentile rise can be performed with boiling water infusions as well.  It is not as easy as using a directly-heated tun, but it can be done.

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2015, 10:52:52 am »
Gang:  As I continue to brew, I realize that I like beers to finish on the dry side.  Not mouth-puckeringly dry but dry.  I have occasionally had beers that had a little too much sweetness in the finish and so I have found myself lowering my single-infusion mash temps.  I only single infuse because I do not have a direct-fired MT.  I have been using a Thermapen to measure mash temp so I'm confident in my measurements although I also realize that everyone's system is different.  My mash temp range was small to begin with.  I rarely mashed lower than 150 and rarely higher than 152.  Those recipes I mashed at 152 I now bring down around 150 and some recipes that were 150 have been brought down closer to 149.  Is it possible that I could mash all my beers around the same temp and the "fullness" or "maltiness" of some beers would be brought out by the grain bill and possibly the attenuation level of the yeast as opposed to the mash temp?  I recently made a 100% RedX beer (well, 100% base malt along with some british crystal and Special B) and I probably should have mashed it lower than 150 because it's very malty and it doesn't finish quite as dry as I would like.  I occasionally see people say that they mash at 156 or 158 and I can't comprehend how that could be unless they have 500ppm of sulfate in their water or something.  This is a ramble, I know.  What say the board?

I agree with your theory, Ken.  Malts today are so "hot" with diastatic power that mash temp makes much less difference to attenuation than it used to.  There may be a difference between 148 and 158, but there's no discernible difference between 150 1nd 152.  The best way to control body is through your recipe.
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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2015, 10:54:54 am »
An interesting note...in his book "Homebrew Beyond the Basics", Mike Karnowski relates an experiment he did.  He brewed 2 versions of a recipe, one mashed at 146 and the other at 164.  The low mash temp batch finished at 1.006 and the high mash temp finished at 1.016.  In a tasting with 10 commercial brewers and judges, 9 of them chose the low temp, low FG batch as having more body.  So, does mash temp and FG really matter that much?
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Offline charles1968

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2015, 11:42:33 am »
That's a fantastic graph there -- I'm going to save that link for safe keeping.

For whatever it's worth (not much), my own data looks more like a shotgun blasted it a couple of times:



The reason mine is so goofy is probably because it hasn't eliminated all the other variables such as yeast strain, mash time, amount of crystal malts, etc.  This is just a simple plot of every recipe I have made over like the past 10 years, regardless of these variables.  I suppose sometime I might want to whittle it down to more same/similar variables.  But anyway, there you have it.

EDIT: Looking at the data a little more.... I can see that over the range of 144 to 162 F, the Kai graph would show a decrease in attenuation of about 12%.  My own data for that same range of 144-162 F shows a decrease of 9%.  Which is more accurate?  Probably Kai.  But suffice it to say that there does seem to be an effect, which seems to really kick in right at around 155-156 F.  Below that mash temperature, it's pretty much a straight horizontal line, no matter whose graph you look at.  Interesting...........

Looks consistent with the other graph to me. You're just lacking a couple of data points from mashing at super high temp, but you might not want to ruin your beers for the sake of a graph!

Offline charles1968

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2015, 11:44:38 am »
An interesting note...in his book "Homebrew Beyond the Basics", Mike Karnowski relates an experiment he did.  He brewed 2 versions of a recipe, one mashed at 146 and the other at 164.  The low mash temp batch finished at 1.006 and the high mash temp finished at 1.016.  In a tasting with 10 commercial brewers and judges, 9 of them chose the low temp, low FG batch as having more body.  So, does mash temp and FG really matter that much?

All other things being equal, the 1006 beer in that test would have significantly higher abv, which might explain why it was perceived as fuller. I reckon you'd have to compare two beers of same abv but different FG to answer your question?

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2015, 11:45:38 am »
you might not want to ruin your beers for the sake of a graph!

Exactly!  Those very few data points on the high end were probably cases where I was drinking a little too much while brewing, and said to myself "aw hell, why not just see how it turns out"!  Those never seem to turn out all that great honestly.  I determined long ago to never ever exceed 154 F anymore, and 153 F is really pushing it as it is.  My personal taste I guess.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2015, 11:55:39 am »
An interesting note...in his book "Homebrew Beyond the Basics", Mike Karnowski relates an experiment he did.  He brewed 2 versions of a recipe, one mashed at 146 and the other at 164.  The low mash temp batch finished at 1.006 and the high mash temp finished at 1.016.  In a tasting with 10 commercial brewers and judges, 9 of them chose the low temp, low FG batch as having more body.  So, does mash temp and FG really matter that much?

body i get. but dry vs sweet/higher residual sugar? i usually perceive that in my beers.
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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2015, 03:27:12 pm »
An interesting note...in his book "Homebrew Beyond the Basics", Mike Karnowski relates an experiment he did.  He brewed 2 versions of a recipe, one mashed at 146 and the other at 164.  The low mash temp batch finished at 1.006 and the high mash temp finished at 1.016.  In a tasting with 10 commercial brewers and judges, 9 of them chose the low temp, low FG batch as having more body.  So, does mash temp and FG really matter that much?

body i get. but dry vs sweet/higher residual sugar? i usually perceive that in my beers.

I admit that I was skeptical when I read it, too.  But I know Mike and respect his judgement, so I'm withholding my judgement until I try it myself.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: I've been rubbing my chin about mash temps lately...
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2015, 08:36:03 pm »
  I recently made a 100% RedX beer (well, 100% base malt along with some british crystal and Special B) and I probably should have mashed it lower than 150 because it's very malty and it doesn't finish quite as dry as I would like.
First off, I would implicate the British Crystal and Special B as the likely culprits for your beer not finishing as dry as you'd like.

I recently brewed a mainly Red X hoppy lager that finished very crisp and dry. Since Red X has a similar diastatic power to Munich malt, it will convert itself, but I like to include a small amount of Pilsner malt to boost the enzyme content (since I BIAB, my mash is pretty thin - this may not be necessary on everyone else's system). I mashed at 149F, which is a few degrees lower than my usual 153F, but not as low as I go for Belgian ales or really big barleywines. I targeted 120PPM of sulfate, which is noticable but not crazy high. IBU's were probably in the 40-45 range (I made some last-minute substitutions, so I don't recall the exact amount).

Anyways, sorry for the rambling respone to your rambling question  ;D Basically, mash temp was just a small portion of the steps I took to ensure that my beer finished as dry as I wanted. Grist is probably the biggest factor, but mash time/temp (and knowing how that works in relation to your system), water treatment, and hop selection and usage all come into play. You can pick any one of these factors to adjust if you want to help dry out your recipes. Depending on your system, mash temp doesn't necessarily need to be the first choice.
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