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Old 08-13-2012, 04:32 PM   #11
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Default Randy Mosher on Basic Brewing Radio

I was listening to an episode of Basic Brewing Radio not too long ago and the guest, Randy Mosher, said that he mashes overnight all the time. He indicated that the enzymes are only going to work so long, and then there is nothing more to do. He saw no disadvantages to doing the mash overnight.

Also, I am confused as to why the beer might be drier. As I understand it, the drier beers come from a lower mash temperature and beers with more body are mashed at a higher temperature. However, the enzymes are denatured at higher temperatures, not lower temperatures. It is for this reason that when doing a step mash, you must always start with the lower rest temperature and move up through the steps. If the process were reversed, you would denature the enzymes at the higher temperature and cause nothing to happen at the lower temperature. So my confusion is why would a mash that is cooling from a higher temperature cause the enzymes to make a drier beer when (at least theoretically) they have already been denatured at the higher temps?

I think that you would be fine with mashing all night. Then you would have the added advantage of being able to start with the boil early the next morning. Mark

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Old 08-13-2012, 07:30 PM   #12
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I don’t know for sure if increasing the mash temperature over time does anything different than holding the temperature. I’ve done it both ways and it seems that increasing the temp adds some extra malt complexity.

I’ve tried doing it on the stovetop, adding just enough heat to hold the temp, but it’s real tricky. It’s better and way easier to put it in the oven. At 250ºF it takes about an hour to mash out. If I match the mash temp I can hold it as long as I want.

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Old 08-13-2012, 07:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by LuiInIdaho View Post
Also, I am confused as to why the beer might be drier. As I understand it, the drier beers come from a lower mash temperature and beers with more body are mashed at a higher temperature. However, the enzymes are denatured at higher temperatures, not lower temperatures. It is for this reason that when doing a step mash, you must always start with the lower rest temperature and move up through the steps. If the process were reversed, you would denature the enzymes at the higher temperature and cause nothing to happen at the lower temperature. So my confusion is why would a mash that is cooling from a higher temperature cause the enzymes to make a drier beer when (at least theoretically) they have already been denatured at the higher temps?
The only reason I mentioned it is that some more "prominent" sources have mentioned a potentially drier beer as a result, however perhaps they were figuring the temps would drop rather quickly, as they did in Kai's experiment where he showed much higher fermentability with longer mashes. Holding the temps for as long as I do in my cooler before significant loss begins, I think there is denaturation and thus no further conversion of maltose.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:23 PM   #14
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Well, took a gravity reading this AM on the aforementioned pale ale, which was overnight mashed at a starting temp of 153...falling to 143 after 8 hours...

Beer temp was 57 and gravity read..... 1.002?!?!

It didn't taste hot or alcoholic. Tasted awesome actually...but this dry attenuation is puzzling

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Old 08-20-2012, 02:17 PM   #15
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It could very well end up drier. The higher fermentability comes at low mash temps (140's). With an extended time in this range the wort could be very fermentable (drier). Enzymes are not denatured in the temp range you are working with so they will continue to work as long as there are starches, maltose, and maltotriose to "chop" up. Also, enzymes do not get "used up", they are just catalysts to the reactions taking place so without big changes in pH or temperature they will continue to work as long as there are starches and short chain sugars available.

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Old 08-20-2012, 02:32 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by helibrewer
It could very well end up drier. The higher fermentability comes at low mash temps (140's). With an extended time in this range the wort could be very fermentable (drier). Enzymes are not denatured in the temp range you are working with so they will continue to work as long as there are starches, maltose, and maltotriose to "chop" up. Also, enzymes do not get "used up", they are just catalysts to the reactions taking place so without big changes in pH or temperature they will continue to work as long as there are starches and short chain sugars available.
Interesting. Wonder how high id have to start the mash in order to get complete conversion before reaching lower, more attenuating temps?

While I know the enzymes don't get used up, why shouldn't all conversion be done within the first few hours? Why would there be starches left to convert?
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:49 PM   #17
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I'm a lazy brewer so I've done overnight mashes and overnight cooldowns with no major issues although you will want to mashout before going to bed to keep conversion from continuing throughout the night and creating the 'extra dry' beer that the posters above have been experiencing.

Amylase enzyme is the main conversion enzyme that is working to create more fermentable sugars. At 158°F, amylase denatures in about 60 minutes. When it gets below 150°F, it will hang around for a long time. If you do not maintain enough heat to keep the mash in the 150°F-158°F range and denature all of the amylase, it'll keep working and dry your beer out.

So when doing overnight mashes, either make sure you can maintain that heat range (I shoot for 2.5 - 3 hours in that range but that might be overkill) or do a mashout before going to bed.

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Old 08-20-2012, 03:02 PM   #18
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I like the idea but have yet to try it.

I am going to do a few like this since I do the preperation for brewing a little bit each night before I brew on the weekend, but I think this will make "brewday" a whole lot easier.

I have been brewing Milds and Ambers that Mash at about 154 and (maybe I just add a degree or two) let it go overnight,,, maybe add some "dextrine" malt to play it safe.

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Old 08-20-2012, 04:49 PM   #19
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I'm a lazy brewer so I've done overnight mashes and overnight cooldowns with no major issues although you will want to mashout before going to bed to keep conversion from continuing throughout the night and creating the 'extra dry' beer that the posters above have been experiencing.

Amylase enzyme is the main conversion enzyme that is working to create more fermentable sugars. At 158°F, amylase denatures in about 60 minutes. When it gets below 150°F, it will hang around for a long time. If you do not maintain enough heat to keep the mash in the 150°F-158°F range and denature all of the amylase, it'll keep working and dry your beer out.

So when doing overnight mashes, either make sure you can maintain that heat range (I shoot for 2.5 - 3 hours in that range but that might be overkill) or do a mashout before going to bed.
Like I said, I typically don't lose even a degree in the first hour, so my 153 mash should have been 152.5 or so after an hour, then probably 151 after two hours. I figured by then I might have had full conversion anyway and therefore no more starches left to convert. This doesn't seem to be the case though.

This weekend I mashed at 156 for an OktoberFAST and again had efficiency in the low 80s. We'll see how far it attenuates in a week or two.

I'd still like more science behind why this is possible. If everyone does iodine tests to see if conversion is "done" after 45-60 minutes...how am I getting further conversion hours and hours later? Again, my temps are staying very near the initial mash temp for the first few hours (120m).
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:57 PM   #20
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I'd still like more science behind why this is possible. If everyone does iodine tests to see if conversion is "done" after 45-60 minutes...how am I getting further conversion hours and hours later? Again, my temps are staying very near the initial mash temp for the first few hours (120m).
An iodine test is an imperfect science -- it shows high starch levels. Just because an iodine test passes, it doesn't mean the wort is starch-free, it just means the starch level is low enough to indicate enough conversion has taken place to proceed with brewing. This is one of the reasons I switched to a refractometer instead of the iodine test.

And the relationship between time, temperature, and enzyme denaturing is not linear. So if 158°F denatures in 60 minutes, 152°F can take exponentially longer which would keep amylase active well past the 120 minute mark.

So your problem is you are letting amylase over-convert the wort resulting in a beer that is too dry. You basically have two options:
  1. Mash at a higher temperature and the amylase will denature faster, resulting in a less fermentable wort.
  2. Perform a mashout (this is what I do) at some point in the middle of the night. Bring it to 170°F for 10 minutes and the amylase will denature.
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