Author Topic: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?  (Read 312 times)

Offline Andy Farke

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Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« on: March 06, 2021, 06:53:58 PM »
A friend asked an interesting question -- could you use masa in a cereal mash in the same way as corn grits? Has anyone tried this? I'm genuinely curious...how might the processing affect flavor/character? Would it improve aspects of flavor or stability or potential yield in the mash?
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Offline denny

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2021, 07:09:04 PM »
A friend asked an interesting question -- could you use masa in a cereal mash in the same way as corn grits? Has anyone tried this? I'm genuinely curious...how might the processing affect flavor/character? Would it improve aspects of flavor or stability or potential yield in the mash?

I have not done it, but I know people who have.  Didn't taste much different than other forms of corn.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2021, 08:54:01 PM »
I have not done it, but I know people who have.  Didn't taste much different than other forms of corn.

That was kinda what I was expecting, in terms of taste. I figured this was the sort of thing homebrewers would have tried. Thanks for the info!

After your reply, I did a side-by-side look at the nutrition stats for each. Based on the available stats per 100 g of each, typical cornmeal has twice the fat content (0.8 g vs. 1.9 g) and nearly five times the protein content (1.5 g vs. 7 g). Total carb content (which I assume is a proxy for starch/fermentable sugars) is much higher in cornmeal than hominy (14 g vs. 79 g). Just speculating, I would guess that means masa would give a lower potential yield in the mash, and maybe less foam and more stability due to the lower proteins and fat content?

I guess my conclusion from all of this is that masa would be a fun gimmick ingredient, but regular cornmeal is probably preferable for the average homebrew project. Maybe I'll give masa a try at some point, just for fun.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2021, 09:24:32 PM »
Masa has that taste that corn grits don’t have from being processed with lime (calcium hydroxide). I would be curious if it affects ph and also if that taste comes through in larger amounts. I like that taste.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2021, 10:31:12 PM »
Masa has that taste that corn grits don’t have from being processed with lime (calcium hydroxide). I would be curious if it affects ph and also if that taste comes through in larger amounts. I like that taste.

For sure! I love the taste in food (esp. the tamales from our favorite vendor), but wonder if it would fit in with a beer, or just be a little strange?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2021, 12:13:06 AM »
Have you thought about a minimash to see how much extract it provides?
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2021, 01:02:17 AM »
Have you thought about a minimash to see how much extract it provides?

That's a great idea! And an excellent way to test it out...might have to try this in the next few months.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2021, 09:11:23 PM »
Does masa harina have to be 'cereal-mashed' before use or can it just be added straight to the mash?  I do know some brewers who use it (I have it in the house at all times but have never used it in brewing) and the only caveat I hear from them is that it can cause runoff issues so rice hulls might be necessary. 
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2021, 09:56:48 PM »
I am guessing cereal mash since you need to cook it to make Tamales 🫔. Just a guess though.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2021, 10:10:20 PM »
I will add it to chili and also make a roux with it for soups and such.  I love the character it brings to foods and I can only imagine that it would come across nicely in a beer.  But I have never done a cereal mash. 
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Offline denny

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2021, 10:33:46 PM »
I will add it to chili and also make a roux with it for soups and such.  I love the character it brings to foods and I can only imagine that it would come across nicely in a beer.  But I have never done a cereal mash.

It's easy....just boil the masa.  Many people add 5-10% of the malt they'll be using to keep the cereal mash from getting gummy.  Dunno if you'd need to do that with masa
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2021, 12:21:43 AM »
I will add it to chili and also make a roux with it for soups and such.  I love the character it brings to foods and I can only imagine that it would come across nicely in a beer.  But I have never done a cereal mash.

It's easy....just boil the masa.  Many people add 5-10% of the malt they'll be using to keep the cereal mash from getting gummy.  Dunno if you'd need to do that with masa
Okay, go slow.  I'm a simple person.  Bring water to a boil, drop the masa in (let's say one pound just to make it easy) and boil it?  For how long?  Just add it to boiling water and turn the boil down... off?  You're also talking about adding malt so 5-10% of crushed grain goes into the boil with the masa?  I would love clear steps because I wouldn't want to mess up an entire batch of beer because I'm simple.  :P  Thanks Denny.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2021, 03:09:22 AM »
Okay, go slow.  I'm a simple person.  Bring water to a boil, drop the masa in (let's say one pound just to make it easy) and boil it?  For how long?  Just add it to boiling water and turn the boil down... off?  You're also talking about adding malt so 5-10% of crushed grain goes into the boil with the masa?  I would love clear steps because I wouldn't want to mess up an entire batch of beer because I'm simple.  :P  Thanks Denny.

This page from Milk the Funk has some pretty good directions for cereal mash & the associated boiling -- http://www.milkthefunk.com/wiki/Cereal_Mashing -- I would guess this would work for masa, too.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2021, 03:27:59 AM »
Mmm, thanks for that Andy.  I wonder if there is a masa-specific link somewhere... * rubs chin *
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Re: Masa instead of corn grits in cereal mash?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2021, 03:41:57 AM »
LOL.  A search led me to one of my own THREADS on another board.  Turns out I used masa harina in a cream ale in 2015 without doing a cereal mash.  A number of other brewers have done this and a number of other results I found mentioned that masa harina is precooked and ready to go straight into the mash.  There are a number of corn products out there (grits, corn meal, etc) so hopefully no confusion here.  I went and checked my notes on that particular beer (made in January of 2015) but I did not make any tasting notes at all. 
Ken from Chicago