Author Topic: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)  (Read 3503 times)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2011, 12:27:46 PM »
I think you'll find the answers to all those questions in chapters 14 and 16 of How to Brew.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter14.html

oh wow. i didn't realize the whole book was online. i just thought it was a teaser.
The online version is the first edition of the book, the 3rd edition came out a couple of years ago.  I think it's worth buying.
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Offline denny

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2011, 12:36:30 PM »
Agreed.  The 3rd ed. is much more comprehensive, includes different, more up to date info, and is easier to read.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2011, 01:45:33 PM »
Agreed.  The 3rd ed. is much more comprehensive, includes different, more up to date info, and is easier to read.

Oh sweet. I am on it.

Thanks for the tip on the mash out deal.

So i have a sample mash schedule to show you and see what you think. The style is my own thing really, but it is sort of like a Belgian golden ale (with a dash of lemon and orange). This is a very high gravity ale, around 13% ABV (i like em strong).

I plan on using a cooler w/ a false bottom rather than the stove this time.

Start with a grain/water ratio of 1.25 qt/lb.
Heat the water to 108 to dough-in for 20 minutes at 104.
Add more water at 205 degrees to bring the temperature to 143 for 60 minutes. (about 2.15 qt/lb)
Finally add more water at 204 degrees to raise the temp to 160, hang here for 30 min (about 3.05 qt/lb)
Drain, lauter, then boil.

I put this together in Beersmith.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2011, 02:28:47 PM »
Actually wait, that is 16 gallons total water volume and that doesn't include sparge water. Decoction maybe?

What about this (for 10 lbs of grain):

Dough-in at 104 for 20 minutes with 2 qt/lb
Decoct 8.5 quarts, boil, to bring it all to 143 for 60 mins
Decoct  4 quarts, boil, to bring it to 155 for 30 mins
« Last Edit: May 22, 2011, 02:39:57 PM by astrivian »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2011, 10:26:03 PM »
Actually wait, that is 16 gallons total water volume and that doesn't include sparge water. Decoction maybe?

What about this (for 10 lbs of grain):

Dough-in at 104 for 20 minutes with 2 qt/lb
Decoct 8.5 quarts, boil, to bring it all to 143 for 60 mins
Decoct  4 quarts, boil, to bring it to 155 for 30 mins

Is this for a 2 or 3 gallon batch? 10 pounds of grain is not going to get you to 13% even at 3 gallons without a LOT of added sugar. Nothing wrong with that just saying. with 10 lbs of grain and 3 lbs of cane sugar you might manage 4 gallons of 13 percent beer. 
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2011, 07:33:24 AM »

Is this for a 2 or 3 gallon batch? 10 pounds of grain is not going to get you to 13% even at 3 gallons without a LOT of added sugar. Nothing wrong with that just saying. with 10 lbs of grain and 3 lbs of cane sugar you might manage 4 gallons of 13 percent beer. 

No you are right, sorry i should have posted that. I created this mash schedule in Beersmith and it just defaulted to 10 pounds of grain. Good point though, the actual recipe will have much more grain (i do add corn sugar usually).

You know, i might be up for an experiment and tasting. Maybe one batch could be decoction and the other i can just pour out the mash from the cooler and heat it up on the stove, then dump it back into the cooler. I might do this actually, it would be a great way for me to learn about mashing and taste profiles.
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Offline denny

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2011, 09:09:39 AM »
Actually wait, that is 16 gallons total water volume and that doesn't include sparge water. Decoction maybe?

What about this (for 10 lbs of grain):

Dough-in at 104 for 20 minutes with 2 qt/lb
Decoct 8.5 quarts, boil, to bring it all to 143 for 60 mins
Decoct  4 quarts, boil, to bring it to 155 for 30 mins


That's ridiculously complicated IMO.  There is no need to mash in at such a low temp.  Why are you doing the decoctions?  Why not a single infusion?
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2011, 09:20:42 AM »
No need for the dough in at 104.

Malts today are vastly different than they were "back in the day".  The mash steps that were required then are not required today.

Before you decoct, plot your single infusion mashes, Mash temp vs. FG for similar recipes with the same yeast.  (Ideally the same recipe).
First learn how mash temp impacts your beer on your system.

Decoctions can be emulated using grains, but they promote a rich maliard reaction and are typically a few points more efficient at sugar extraction from the malt.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2011, 07:08:46 PM »
Maybe i am not understanding something. What is "single infusion"? is that the same as a single step?
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2011, 07:16:42 PM »
Maybe i am not understanding something. What is "single infusion"? is that the same as a single step?

Yes.

Basically all of the crushed malt is mixed (infused) with hot water to achieve a mash temperature of 146-158F, depending on the style of beer being made. The infusion water temperature varies with the water-to-grain ratio being used for the mash, but generally the initial "strike water" temperature is 10-15·°F above the target mash temperature. The mash should be held at the saccharification temperature for about an hour. The goal is to achieve a steady temperature.
Ron Price

Offline astrivian

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2011, 07:50:20 PM »
No need for the dough in at 104.

Malts today are vastly different than they were "back in the day".  The mash steps that were required then are not required today.

Oh okay thanks. And thanks for the tip on single infusion. So you all are saying just infuse the grain to one desired temperature, let it sit for about an hour (holding the same temp), then mash out? If that is the case then i agree, i was making it way to complicated.

So Bonjour, a better experiment would be the same recipe mashed at two different temperatures?
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2011, 08:33:56 PM »
So Bonjour, a better experiment would be the same recipe mashed at two different temperatures?
Brew something like a Strong Scotch Ale with a 148/9F mash
and a duplicate with a 155/6F mash
something like 1.070 OG, easy to brew
Fred Bonjour
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Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2011, 08:36:26 PM »
When I brew Belgians, (which are my favorites) I only do a single step infusion at 148-150*. I add 1.5 qts water per pound, and figure adding water at 16-18* higher than your mash temp, to account for heat loss when adding to cooler temp grains.Grains will absorb water, and my experience is 1/10th gallon per pound. So if you have 10lbs grain, you'll likely lose 1 gallon water to absorption.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2011, 08:48:33 PM »
 ;D This is really funny actually. I thought my single temperature mashes were too simple so i made them more complicated thinking it was better. Now i see i should go back to the single. Full circle :) I do, however, understand much more than i did before. Besides, my "single step" varied about 10 degrees while i was doing it on the stove. Not exactly repeatable.

This has been a great learning experience. I am excited. I have a recipe that has been quite successful in the past but i will try two batches at different temperatures, just so i understand this process and the end product better. This will be my second attempt at all-grain. The first time i was in over my head and it didn't turn out well so i went to partial mash/extract. Now i have a much better understanding of what i am doing, or plan on doing when i get back to it.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2011, 01:09:52 AM »
Besides, my "single step" varied about 10 degrees while i was doing it on the stove. Not exactly repeatable.

If you're just doing single infusion mashes, build a mash tun. No need to risk scorching or overheating your mash.