Author Topic: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)  (Read 3430 times)

Offline johnf

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2011, 06:04:24 AM »
There are lots of reasons to dough in at 104. If you are decocting, it lets you decoct a lot. It lets you fix mash pH before you get to the more important part of the mash. Malt doesn't gelatinize at 104 so you can dough in without stirring and breaking up dough balls. As Charlie Bamforth said on The Sunday Session a few months ago, it is cheap insurance against malt that isn't quite as modified as you think it is (as it will continue to break down beta glucans). It's one things to say "today's modified malts" but how many of you take a sample from your bag of grain and observe the length of the acrospire? I do, and you would be surprised at the variation from bag to bag.

So lots of benefits, admittedly minor, and no downside. I wouldn't recommend it for people doing infusion mashes in coolers, but it is easy on my system and I do it each time.

This whole "today's modified malts dictate that you should always do single infusion" argument is kinda crap isn't it? German brewers have always step mashed and still do today. English brewers have always done single infusion, even hundreds of years ago. If something changed between 1980 and 2010 such that everyone should have been step mashing in 1980 and everyone should be single infusion mashing today, the pros never got that memo. Low temperature rests aren't just about proteolysis (according to Bamforth in the aforementioned interview, proteolysis doesn't happen at appreciable levels in mashing anyway).

So I'm all on board with the theory that proteolysis isn't typically required or desired in mashing but I think that does not imply that there is no reason to dough in at lower temperatures.

Offline astrivian

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2011, 01:55:19 PM »
i did some more reading and now i am wondering about pH. i heard from my lhbs that they don't worry about pH very much. do you all adjust it? if so how
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Offline denny

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2011, 02:50:01 PM »
i did some more reading and now i am wondering about pH. i heard from my lhbs that they don't worry about pH very much. do you all adjust it? if so how

I do now, but I brewed award winning beers for 10 years before I really worried about it.  If you're just starting AG, you've got other things to deal with.  Get the basic methods down, then worry about pH.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2011, 03:48:17 PM »
i did some more reading and now i am wondering about pH. i heard from my lhbs that they don't worry about pH very much. do you all adjust it? if so how

Denny's pretty much right - don't worry about it too much. Water is the last thing to master - get your mashing and yeast management skills right first. Mash pH will usually adjust itself. Just make sure that your water is fit for brewing: no off-flavors, chlorine removed. If you want to experiment, there's no harm in buying some pH test strips; just resist the urge to monkey with your water unless you've got serious pH or ion level problems.

The exceptions are if you're dealing with really alkaline water (i.e. high carbonates, bicarbonates and/or magnesium) or extremely pure water. In the first case, you might need to add some food-grade acid to get your mash pH in the right range. In the latter case, you might need to add some calcium to react with the phosphates in the malt to get the pH to drop.

Good information here:

  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Understanding_Mash_pH

and here:

  https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Offline astrivian

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Re: Understanding the Mash (for noobs like me)
« Reply #34 on: May 29, 2011, 07:12:28 AM »
oh good thanks. i was talking to someone at my lhbs and he said the same thing. that is one less thing to worry about.

i was reading "how to brew" and there was a lot in there about pH so it got me thinking.
Never trust a skinny chef and never trust a sober brewer.