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Old 12-13-2012, 05:31 PM   #1
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Default How to achieve a dryer finish?

I want my pale ale to finish a bit dryer, any suggestions? I've heard mash long and low. Can someone elaborate on this technique? Cheers!

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Old 12-13-2012, 06:22 PM   #2
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Mashing low activates a different enzyme that breaks down the grain's starches into more simple sugars that the yeast can easily eat.

Mashing around 146-148 will dry out your pale ale. You don't need to mash any longer than the normal 60 min.

You can also just add 1-1.5 lbs per 5 gallon batch of simple sugar (LME/DME/Table Sugar/Honey, etc.) to dry out the beer, but that will also boost your ABV.

Those are your options!

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Old 12-13-2012, 07:10 PM   #3
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LME/DME may not dry the beer out much - esp since they often contain some crystal malt or carapils

lower mash temp = more fermentable sugars

your grain bill can also have an impact, use less crystal malt or specialty malts or use a simple sugar like dextrose, candi syrup, honey etc in place of some base malt

use a more attenuative yeast strain

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:58 PM   #4
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Yes, Mashing in low 150s or even the high 190s will dry your beer out. Replacing some of the base malt with corn sugar or table sugar will also help lower your FG.

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:02 PM   #5
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I like my pale ales and IPAs a little drier too.
I like to add a 1/2 lb of light brown sugar to the fermenter about 1.5-2 weeks into fermentation.

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nike_Eayrs View Post
I want my pale ale to finish a bit dryer, any suggestions? I've heard mash long and low. Can someone elaborate on this technique? Cheers!
Please post your current recipe, if you have one.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:18 PM   #7
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Obviously as others have said, temperature is important. You might also try getting a water report and upping your sulfate level with gypsum, if the report says you're low on sulfate (or perahps not just if you're low...some like their sulfate up at 300ppm).

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammy71 View Post
Yes, Mashing in low 150s or even the high 190s will dry your beer out.
Uhh, I think you meant high 140's

As others have said, there are different enzymes that activate at different temperatures during the mash and they affect the body and fermentability of the beer.

Your 3 basic enzymes are
- alpha-amylase: does most of the heavy lifting, turning large starch chains and long chain sugars into simple sugars for the yeast. Can only work from one end of the chain (known as the reducing end), and thus cant break down some more complex sugars, espcially ones that have branch points in them.
- beta-amylase: breaks up really long chains into smaller chains for the alpha-amylase. Works from the other end of the chain (the non-reducing end), thus making more available to the alpha-amylase
- limit-dextrinase: breaks down the branch points in the starch chain, making even MORE sugars available to the yeast.

Each enzyme works in a different temp range
- alpha: 155-160
- beta: 140-150
- limit-dextrinase: 140-145

The enzymes are active below those temp ranges, but are much less active. Going much above those ranges will denature (i.e. destroy) those enzymes.

So what to do? Well, for maximum fermentability, you would want to mash around 145, where both limit-dextrinase and beta-amylase are both active, and then ramp up to the 150s to let the alpha-amylase finish off.

This is the basic reason for using a multi-step mash.

If your the nerdy type, brewkaiser.com has a great article explaining all the specifics with lots of pics and graphs. http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Starch_Conversion
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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In addition to mashing lower (148-150, for example) and adding ~10% sugar to a recipe, you can reduce or eliminate any cyrstal/cara malts from the recipe. Also, simply giving it more time to completely finish out or ramping up the temperature after the first two weeks can have an effect.

Obviously, a healthy yeast starter, nutrients, and O2 can all help. Plus, certain yeast strains will finish drier. For instance, you can do everything counter to what's been said so far (mash high, use crystal malts and pitch low quatities of yeast) with a French Saison strain and finish really low...

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:26 PM   #10
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Recipe is critical. Skip the crystal malts altogether if you want a dry beer. There's no law that says homebrew must have crystal malt. One of the best beers I've made (a Kolsch) was also my dryest, and used zero crystal malt.

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