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Old 06-26-2007, 01:25 AM   #1
enginerd
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Default Significance of Mash Temp???

Caution: I'm about to stick my foot in my mouth.
I've read just about everything that I can get my hands on about conducting my mash and can't find info for what I'm looking for. (I know, I probably didn't look hard enough and enter EAC dialoge here)
Caution: I'm about to nerd out here - but hey, that's my style.
Everything I've read is very QUALitative about the differance between higher and lower mash temperatures. Can someone please help me out on something a little more QUANTitative.
I only have 4 AG batches under my belt, so I don't have enough first hand experience to be able to tell the differance between mash temps. But, I've got to believe that there are those of you out there that do.
I know that there are about a bizillion differant variables in play here and I certainly wouln't expect any reply to be dead nuts on. I was just hoping that someone might be able to give me some idea, like:

All things equal besides mash temp, a beer will go from 1.050 to 1.010 if mashed at 150, but only down to 1.014 if mashed at 154.

I hope this all makes sense and thanks in advance for any insight.

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Old 06-26-2007, 01:29 AM   #2
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Sorry, I haven't read anything quantitative either. I think if there were formulas like you're after they would've programmed them into the brewing software already.

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Old 06-26-2007, 01:38 AM   #3
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In addition to the difference of a mash at 150 F and 156 F, the thickness of the mash is another variable.

I believe, if you're mashing at 150 or lower, you want a thinner mash (1.50 qt/# - mashing higher likes a thicker mash of around 1.00 qt/#)

If you know what style of beer you're making, just use these rules.

Light, crisp beer = mash < 150 F
Heavy sweet beer = mash > 155 F

Not much more to it, unless you become a professional or just want to learn more about it.

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Old 06-26-2007, 02:06 AM   #4
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"I think if there were formulas like you're after they would've programmed them into the brewing software already."

I was thinking that too. I use Beersmith. I've tried changing the "mash profile" and it has no effect on the final gravity. Good thought, but I think I have to call no joy.

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Old 06-26-2007, 02:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewer3401
In addition to the difference of a mash at 150 F and 156 F, the thickness of the mash is another variable.

I believe, if you're mashing at 150 or lower, you want a thinner mash (1.50 qt/# - mashing higher likes a thicker mash of around 1.00 qt/#)

If you know what style of beer you're making, just use these rules.

Light, crisp beer = mash < 150 F
Heavy sweet beer = mash > 155 F

Not much more to it, unless you become a professional or just want to learn more about it.
Yeah, I've read about mash thickness. If you want to talk variables, I'm sure we could go on for days. Yeast strain, ferment temp, phase of the moon....

Professional - I think not. I've got a job and besides I'm more of a beer drinker than maker. I just like making my own, that's all. The real motivation behind the question is really just to learn more and this is one of the holes I've found in the literature. I guess after getting more batches under my belt, I'll have all the feel for mash temp that I'll need.
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Old 06-26-2007, 02:25 AM   #6
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Mash temp is more important than mash thickness; I'd stick with a 1.25 qt/lb (or thereabouts) ratio and experiment with the temperature for starters. I'd leave the thickness variable constant; most people feel they have enough control by changing temp without making thickness adjustments.

Beersmith, I know, won't take mash temp into account when calculating FG; all it does is use an assumed attenuation rate. IIRC, it won't even account for the use of simple sugars, which in effect are 100% fermentable. It's just not that sophisticated in this regard.

Technically, a higher mash temp isn't going to make the beer sweeter, per se; it'll make it thicker, but it's because there are more non-fermentable long-chain dextrines, which are pretty much tasteless. A beer's sweetness will usually derive from the use of crystal malts.

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Old 06-26-2007, 02:45 AM   #7
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I agree with you on temp versus thin/thickness. Just adding a new dimension of confusion to the thread.
Most authorities say using 1.25 qt/# is sufficient and a good ratio to use.
I guess I read too much.

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Old 06-26-2007, 04:15 AM   #8
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To be honest, I've never measured my water to grain ratio very carefully - probably because of what I've heard about the mash temp having a greater impact. I've gone by the feel of it - how my stir feels. I have been consistent though, so I think I'll stick with the method.

Interesting insight bird about the lack of flavor in long chains - I didn't realize that. That tidbit could change the whole way I look at formulating a recipe.

No worries about confusion 3401, "We're gonna need a bigger boat" (Brody)

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Old 06-26-2007, 01:52 PM   #9
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[quote=enginerd]Caution:
All things equal besides mash temp, a beer will go from 1.050 to 1.010 if mashed at 150, but only down to 1.014 if mashed at 154.
quote]

All things being equal, then, the sugars aren't broken down to simpler sugars as much as they will at a lower mash temperture because Beta Amalyse is denatured at 149f over 40 minutes or so.

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Old 06-26-2007, 05:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enginerd
I was just hoping that someone might be able to give me some idea, like:

All things equal besides mash temp, a beer will go from 1.050 to 1.010 if mashed at 150, but only down to 1.014 if mashed at 154.

I hope this all makes sense and thanks in advance for any insight.
You will have to figure it out for your system and recipe as there are too many variables some of which have already been mentioned. My recommendation is to brew a batch following the recipe and mash temp(s) provided and see what you get. When you brew it again adjust accordingly. Unless you are seeking extremes adjusting the temperature is likely the easiest to control with the most affect. I can give you an example from my experience while dialing in my system brewing Scottish 60/+ ales:

Mash Temp F.G
152 1.009
156 1.011
160 1.012

As the_bird said it affects body not sweetness for most beers. Really big beers it could affect the sweetness depending on your yeast and how well it can attenuate and ferment all the available sugar. Hope this helps
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