Tuesday Beer Trivia: The Mash

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Put your knowledge of the mashing process to the test in this week’s Tuesday Beer Trivia quiz.

Mashing is the first step in making beer (excluding recipes made from extract, of course). It is the vital process that ultimately generates a sugar-rich wort that yeast can then ferment into beer.

After you take the Beer Trivia quiz below, scroll down to the “Beer Trivia Answer Explanations” section to learn more about the mashing.

Beer Trivia Answer Explanations

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Question 1: Mashing is the term for the hot water steeping process that hydrates the malt, gelatinizes its starches, releases its natural enzymes, and converts the starches into fermentable sugars. The mash is typically the source of most, if not all, sugar that the yeast ferments into alcohol. (How to Brew, page 141)

Question 2: The four types of diastic enzymes that hydrolyze starches into sugars are alpha-amylase, beta-amylase, limit dextrinase and alpha-glucosidase. (How to Brew, page 147)

Question 3: During the mash, enzyme activity is most active within the first 20 minutes with a steep drop off in activity after 60 minutes. (How to Brew, page 149)

Question 4: While the ratios can vary outside this range, typically a mash is conducted with a water-to-grain ratio of 1.5-2.0 quarts per pound. (How to Brew, page 151)

Question 5: Lautering is the process of separating liquid wort from the mashed grains. This wort is then used as the basis to make beer. Sparging is the process of rinsing grains of any residual sugars after the mash is lautered. Vorlauf is a re-circulation process done before lautering to promote a stable grain bed which keeps the wort clear. Mashing out is the process of raising the mash temperature to halt enzymatic activity. (How to Brew, glossary)