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Old 03-05-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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Default Starch to Sugar conversion

FIRST BABY!!!


Oddly enough I actually have a "science question". My HBC did a mashing presentation recently and we were talking about different processes that take place at different temps and I have a basic question...

Is all starch conversion done during the malting process and then mashing is simply "washing away" and then breaking down those sugars into simplier sugars for the yeast to then munch away on?

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Old 03-05-2009, 09:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Cape Brewing View Post
Is all starch conversion done during the malting process and then mashing is simply "washing away" and then breaking down those sugars into simplier sugars for the yeast to then munch away on?
not really - the malting process prepares the starches to be converted...

that's why the grain is dried after it's germinated long enough.

Here's what Mr. Palmer has to say on the subject:

How to Brew - By John Palmer - What is Malted Grain?
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Old 03-05-2009, 10:00 PM   #3
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Congrat's Cape on being the first.

As I understand it and as a generality (some of us in this forum will get caught up in details) and for "base" grains, malting is essentially "tricking" the barley "seed" into germinating (Sorry for all the air quotes). When it does this, it has created the enzymes that we want for mashing. The starch in the barley is largely left as starch. Then germination is stopped by drying it out and kilning it. So, what you're left with instead of just starch is starch and enzymes. At certain temperatures, and in the presence of water, these enzymes will convert the starch to sugar (this is mashing). There are other enzymes that will break down proteins, etc., but that's really outside your question.

So, no mashing is not simply "washing away" sugars. That's what lautering is for. Mashing is taking advantage of the enzymes formed during malting to convert starches to sugars. Then you wash away the sugars (wort) during the lauter.

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Old 03-05-2009, 10:43 PM   #4
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Wheeee! A sub-forum for nerds! I'm in! Must have more exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 03-05-2009, 11:27 PM   #5
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I approve of this forum.

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Old 03-05-2009, 11:32 PM   #6
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Now THIS is a subforum I'd really like to start sinking my teeth into.

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Old 03-05-2009, 11:38 PM   #7
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Is this finally the "Kaiser Honorary Forum"?

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Old 03-06-2009, 12:45 AM   #8
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Just wanted to tack onto this thread. I was paging through Fix (Principles of Brewing Science) and saw a table indicating the starch/sugar content of raw barley and barley malt:

.........................................Starch %........................Sugar %
Barley....................................63...... ............................2
Malt.......................................58..... .............................8

You can see that some sugars are already present in raw barley and that some starches are converted to sugars during malting.

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Old 03-06-2009, 03:15 AM   #9
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The only malt where complete starch conversion happens during the (greater) malting process is crystal or caramel malt. Here the endosperm of green malt is coverted though heat before the malt is kilned.

The germinating seed converts starch only at the rate as it needs sugar for its growth. If all the starch was converted during germination, all that sugar would be consumed by the growing barley plant and the yield would be extremely low. The goal of germination in malting is to create enzymes and the cytolysis (breakdown of cell walls) and let the seedling burn as little sugar as possible.

Kai

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Old 03-06-2009, 04:57 AM   #10
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Right. What Kai said.

Conversion only happens through coaxing enzymes, through temperature, to get to work. That's why we have mash temps. The lovely thing about malting is that the enzymes that are needed to convert the starch are self contained in the barley once they've been coaxed into germinating through the malting process.

And god bless the mods for creating this subforum.

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