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Old 02-25-2008, 10:23 PM   #11
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I've never considered mash thickness as a factor in fermentability. If someone has a good reference or solid experimentation to suggest the relationship b/w mash thickness (as opposed to temperature, pH considerations) and fermentability, I'd be fascinated.

Side contextual note: I plan to, starting with a yeast I have going now, do a thorough asessment of several different Belgian(-style) yeast strains, harvesting through 2 or three generations, doing a similar set of beers with each, one of which I plan to be a Saison- or Farmhouse- style that I'll try to get as bone dry as humanly possible, and I want to control everything to that effect.

It'll also be a useful bit of knowledge for everyday brewing.

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Old 02-25-2008, 11:13 PM   #12
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I must be the odd duck here as I do all mine at 1.33 to 1.5 qt per pound and never had any problems. All my efficiency's are in the 82-85% range.

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Old 02-26-2008, 12:09 AM   #13
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From Palmer:

The grist/water ratio is another factor influencing the performance of the mash. A thinner mash of >2 quarts of water per pound of grain dilutes the relative concentration of the enzymes, slowing the conversion, but ultimately leads to a more fermentable mash because the enzymes are not inhibited by a high concentration of sugars. A stiff mash of <1.25 quarts of water per pound is better for protein breakdown, and results in a faster overall starch conversion, but the resultant sugars are less fermentable and will result in a sweeter, maltier beer. A thicker mash is more gentle to the enzymes because of the lower heat capacity of grain compared to water. A thick mash is better for multirest mashes because the enzymes are not denatured as quickly by a rise in temperature.

I believe, I have another reference on this as well. I'll look when I get home tonight.

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Old 02-26-2008, 12:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai
I've never considered mash thickness as a factor in fermentability. If someone has a good reference or solid experimentation to suggest the relationship b/w mash thickness (as opposed to temperature, pH considerations) and fermentability, I'd be fascinated.
Greg Noonan from New Brewing Lager Beer in Appendix B, "The Infusion Mash":

"...mash thickness will affect fermentability. The thicker the mash, the more effective the enzymes will be, and the longer their power will last. Alpha-amylase is especially sensitive to mash thickness. When brewing for a dextrinous wort, it is important that the mash be kept thick, so that alpha-amylase will not be degraded before all the malt starch is reduced to at least dextrins. The greater the degree of attenuation desired, the thinner the mash should be. It is common to gradually thin an infusion mash with boiling liquor when it is for a well-attenuated beer."
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:01 AM   #15
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"The Science of Step Mashing" article in the Jan-Feb issue of BYO has a little more explanation of the thick vs thin mash characteristics, with the same conclusions that a thicker mash will result in a less fermentable wort.

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Old 02-26-2008, 03:31 AM   #16
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Good info here, great question OP.

Once I figured out my desired mash thickness, I was able to completely delete using carapils from any recipes. I always felt carapils was "cheating" in a sense.

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Old 02-26-2008, 09:31 AM   #17
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Well I feel a bit better now. Thanks everyone.

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Old 02-26-2008, 10:28 AM   #18
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"A compromise of all factors yields the standard mash conditions for most homebrewers: a mash ratio of about 1.5 quarts of water per pound grain, pH of 5.3, temperature of 150-155°F and a time of about one hour. These conditions yield a wort with a nice maltiness and good fermentability." A Quote From Palmer's "How to Brew"

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Old 02-26-2008, 02:49 PM   #19
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"A stiff mash of <1.25 quarts of water per pound is better for protein breakdown, and results in a faster overall starch conversion, but the resultant sugars are less fermentable and will result in a sweeter, maltier beer."

I'm a bit slow.... So, does this mean that you will get a lower efficiency from a thicker mash? It says the sugars are less fermentable, but doesn't say less sugars, however, I'm automatically drawing the conclusion of less sugars, not sure why?

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Old 02-26-2008, 03:57 PM   #20
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You should not jump to that conclusion. You get good conversion, but more of the starches are converted only as far as the longer chain dextrines that your yeast cannot ferment, rather than the simpler sugars that your yeast can ferment.


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