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Old 02-21-2007, 04:44 PM   #1
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Default Mash water volume ratios.

OK lets talk water volumes you use in a mash. I am pretty particular about it myself. Different brews have different amounts of mash water. It runs with mash temperature for me and relates to the finish I want. A hotter and thicker mash gets a higher terminal gravity, a thinner and cooler mash will a lower terminal gravity.

When I started all-graining I was a 150 degrees and 1 quart per pound for everything kind of brewer, but I have gotten away from that. My IIPA for example is generally mashed at around 146 with 1.333 quarts per pound. My work horse Pale Ale is generally around 150 and is around 1.25 quarts, while my bock is 154 and 1 quart.

What is your practice?

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Old 02-21-2007, 04:50 PM   #2
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I like a Malty Ale with body and am not trying to get maximum ABV so I go at 68°C and 2.61l/kg. (around 154 and 1.3) For an IPA i'll drop them a bit.

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Old 02-21-2007, 04:54 PM   #3
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Pretty sure that this is a topic that Palmer talks about, and the conclusion was that while mash thickness has some impact on wort fermentability, the impact of temperature is much, much larger. So, I've just stuck to a basic 1.25 - 1.30 qt/lb ratio, occassionally a bit thinner when I've had to make temperature adjustments with hot or cold water infusions. I target temperature as best I can and leave thickness constant.

What I'm really shocked at is that my last beer fermented out a *lot* dryer than I expected (to 1008), despite a mash temp that was solidly in the middle (154). Not sure if there was an issue with my thermometer being off a couple degrees, or what, but I didn't think I'd end up with that high an attenuation (85%) without a much cooler mash.

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Old 02-21-2007, 04:56 PM   #4
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OMG...you weren't kidding!

Great topic.

I've actually been experimenting with this lately too. I am trying to figure out a happy medium so I don't have to use cara-pils anymore (not that I mind using it--I just want to graduate as a brewer and say I don't have to use it if I don't want to...).


If I am deciphering your fancy brewers terms "terminal gravity", essentially for a dryer beer you want a thin mash and a lower mash temperature. For a maltier, more body beer you mash thick and at a higher temp....right?

This is how I understand it and have been testing it lately. Notes on my latest beers have taken more pages so I can go back and read specifics on what I've done.

I assume you don't use any kind of dextrine malts in your recipes (I'm too lazy to go back and look)?

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Old 02-21-2007, 05:29 PM   #5
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I have been wondering this myself. My DunkelWeizen was a thin mash because I did a protein rest, stepped in a cylindrical @150. I have been trying to shoot for higher mash temps (154 ish) @1:1 for things like Oatmeal Stout, etc....and 1:1.25 1:1.5 and around 150ish for Pale's etc.

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Old 02-21-2007, 05:40 PM   #6
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I brew on the dark side, so I tend to mash thin (>1.3) & higher temps (152-155). That gives me more body, malt, mouthfeel and high final gravities. Hoppy ales will go the other way.

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Old 02-21-2007, 05:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude
OMG...you weren't kidding!

Nope, he weren't!


For the time-being, I'm keeping my ratio at 1.25-1.3 for all my brews and working hard on really fine control of my mash temperatures. The way I look at it is that at this point, it's one less variable to worry about. I have also read, like '_bird said, that temperature has waaay more noticeable affect on the final product.
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude
OMG...you weren't kidding!

Great topic.

I've actually been experimenting with this lately too. I am trying to figure out a happy medium so I don't have to use cara-pils anymore (not that I mind using it--I just want to graduate as a brewer and say I don't have to use it if I don't want to...).


If I am deciphering your fancy brewers terms "terminal gravity", essentially for a dryer beer you want a thin mash and a lower mash temperature. For a maltier, more body beer you mash thick and at a higher temp....right?

This is how I understand it and have been testing it lately. Notes on my latest beers have taken more pages so I can go back and read specifics on what I've done.

I assume you don't use any kind of dextrine malts in your recipes (I'm too lazy to go back and look)?
I use dextrine malts in lagers from time to time, but it has been way too long since I made one, so I can't really say if I would now. I don't use them in my ales and let lighter crystal kind of fill in that spot if I feel the need.

An example is my IIPA which is really a very strong and hoppy brew, but because of the low mash temperature, the higher volume of water in the mash, the balancing of all the alcohol with the malt, the dryness from low mash temperature balanced by the sweetness coming from the alcohol, all go together create a beer that tastes much smaller then it is. I had a fellow brewer drinking some the other night and his comment was it was he expected it to be thicker. When I told him the OG and strength he couldn't believe it. By utilizing the variables you can do all kinds of things.
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:29 PM   #9
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40 ounces H20 to 1lb malt for mostly everything.
up to 56 ounces H20 per pound of malt for my single decoction beers.

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Old 02-21-2007, 09:00 PM   #10
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Does mash thickness affect anything besides wort fermentability? If it doesn't, you could just keep you water volume constant and change the temp. as someone said earlier. It must have some other effect, too.

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