Correct mash thickness

Physics, chemistry and biology of brewing. The causes and the effects.

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Correct mash thickness

Postby Mashmonger » Sat Jan 05, 2002 2:35 pm

I am wondering what is the ideal ratio of water to grain is in all grain brewing? I have just been using enough water to top off the grain, is there a more scientific method?
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Grist to Water

Postby BillyBock » Sat Jan 05, 2002 4:15 pm

Most how-to texts will use anywhere from 1:1 to 1.33:1 (qts of water:lbs of grain). I usually use 1.33:1. This gives a mash that I can stir without a lot of effort. I've tried 1:1 before and I really had to work to stir the mash!
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Mash thickness

Postby Azorean Brewer » Sun Jan 06, 2002 8:18 am

Read Papazian's joy of homebrewing, every advanced all grain brewer show have this as a bible, it will save you a lot of time "experimenting" and get right to making good all grain beer the first time. I read the complete section three times before I ever cooked any grain. The advanced section tells you the advantages of water to grain ratios. Billy Bock as usual was right on in his advice, I use 1 to 1 1/4 Quarts per pound, the thicker mash yields better extract but it creates extra work stiring, by adding just a tad more water up to 1 1/4 qts. per lb. of grain or so makes it easier to stir and I really don't notice the difference in the final product, the real key is the temp's you use the higher the temps the heavier the body of beer. IE 150F for 90 min.s thinner body more alcohol, 158-160F for 90 min's less alcohol more malty body. Optimum medium 154F for 90 min's. Good luck. Paul the Azorean Brewer.
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Temp scheme

Postby Mashmonger » Sun Jan 06, 2002 12:00 pm

I have done quite a bit of research in this area (Glug, Glug) and I can see that you know your stuff. Last time I brewed a malty, relitivly low ethanol stout O.G. 1.07 T.G. 1.03 the temp was 170 for about 50 min then droped into 160's fo another 30 min. Tickeling the critical temp. gave my stout an almost legendary quailty amongst my friends, even though there were some style devations. thanks guys for all the help!
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Scientific method

Postby andytv » Tue Jan 08, 2002 5:44 pm

I found that when it comes to brewing, there is always a more scientific method, and there is also always someone willing to showcase their experience by explaining it to you.
Instead, here is what Stephen Snyder (Author - The Brewmaster's Bible) has to say..... " Water is generally added at a ratio of between one and two quarts per pound of grain, depending on the type of mashing schedule and ingredients used. Less water produces a thicker mash and better breakdown of proteins in the malt as well as higher extraction rates from the grain. Larger amounts......thinner mash, better starch degrading enzyme activity,....wort higher in maltose."

He goes on to explain that while it may seem logical to produce a thinner mash w/ more maltose (fermentable), thinner worts take much longer to convert and enzyme activity may be stopped altogether......it is better to err on the thick side, using 1 1/3 qt per pound of grain (include specialty grains).

Temperature affects the process in many ways, an elevated temp at saccharification rest will produce a fuller bodied beer, but with less fermentables. Looks like you got it right w/ your stout (full body, moderate alcohol), but a high temp rest won't work for all beers. Different enzymes do their work at different temps, the Germans know all about it, with their decoction mash techniques, which produce their characteristically good beers. In the book, The Brewmaster's Bible, there are guidelines which correlate beer styles with mash method, etc.
I suggest you check it out, or feel free to post specific questions, I'll be glad to relay more info.
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