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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > To Mash or not to Mash, That is the Question
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:54 AM   #1
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Default To Mash or not to Mash, That is the Question

Hey guys, so I'm starting my second batch of beer. My first batch was a brown ale, and now I am preparing to brew a dry Irish Stout. I'm going to brew it tomorrow morning, and I have a question concerning it. The recipe requires a bunch of normal malted grains, but then I also have 8oz of flaked barley. My question is, should I do a partial mash of the flaked barley? From what I've heard, flaked barley won't contribute much if I just put it in with the rest of the grains as is. If anything, it will just contribute starches that cannot be digested by the yeast, or so I've heard. So, should I do a partial mash? If so, how exactly does one do a mash, what is a mash...Sorry, I'm a noob at brewing, and would very much appreciate some input.

THANKS!!!

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Old 11-06-2010, 06:04 AM   #2
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if you are not mashing the other malted grains , what are you doing with them? And mashing is basically soaking the grains in hot water for a period of time to extract the sugars from them.

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Old 11-06-2010, 06:11 AM   #3
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if you are not mashing the other malted grains , what are you doing with them? And mashing is basically soaking the grains in hot water for a period of time to extract the sugars from them.
I'm sorry, maybe I should have clarified. I'm not sure what the exact name is of what I do to my grains. I soak them in water at 155 F for half an hour. Then I add the liquid malt extract, then the hops, etc. Is this mashing?
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:20 AM   #4
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I'm a first timer too, but that sounds like a PM or a specialty grain recipe. So just do the partial like the recipe ask. Your not doing a "full" mash due to the fact your adding the fermentable sugars when you add the LME.

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Old 11-06-2010, 06:30 AM   #5
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I'm a first timer too, but that sounds like a PM or a specialty grain recipe. So just do the partial like the recipe ask. Your not doing a "full" mash due to the fact your adding the fermentable sugars when you add the LME.
Oh wow, so I guess with my first batch I actually did a partial mash. I soak my grains in the water at 155 for half an hour or so, and then I add the LME. After that I add hops, gypsum powder, and irish moss. I then boil for an hour, and in he last 5 minutes I add .5 oz of hops. Then I strain everything. So mashing is just soaking the grains in hot water? I thought it was something else I guess. Tomorrow I will just add the flaked barely with the rest of the grains unless anybody says differently. Thanks guys, as I said, very new to brewing, and loving it.
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:56 AM   #6
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How many pounds of grain are you "mashing" in what amount of water?

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Old 11-06-2010, 07:44 AM   #7
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I just completed a Dry Stout recipe that had flaked barley in it. It was only my third brew and I wasn't sure if I should go for the extract with steeping specialty grains or the partial mash.

From listening to the episode about dry stouts on the old Jamil Shows he said you can get some benefits of the flaked barley with just a steep but in the end I ended up going with a partial mash. I did the stovetop version and I actually hit my OG right on.

If possible I'd say go for the partial mash, it was sort of exciting.

The main difference is that the steeping is 155 degrees for a half hour but the partial mash is something like 155 degrees for an hour then another 10 minutes in your sparge water.

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Old 11-06-2010, 07:52 AM   #8
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There is mashing and there is steeping. The difference between the two is enzymes. If you aren't using a base malt to provide enzymes, then you are steeping. If you have enough base malt to convert the starches in your grains, then you are mashing. Assuming you are using proper volumes, temps and times of course. If you go though all the motions of mashing, but don't have base malt, then it's just steeping, even if you're hitting temps and sparging and everything. Gotta have the enzymes to mash.

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Old 11-06-2010, 07:59 AM   #9
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There is mashing and there is steeping. The difference between the two is enzymes. If you aren't using a base malt to provide enzymes, then you are steeping. If you have enough base malt to convert the starches in your grains, then you are mashing. Assuming you are using proper volumes, temps and times of course. If you go though all the motions of mashing, but don't have base malt, then it's just steeping, even if you're hitting temps and sparging and everything. Gotta have the enzymes to mash.
Does this mean if we are steeping but have some base malt in there that we are basically mashing? Your explanation is the simplest and best I've seen, there was a difference that I couldn't wrap my head around until now.
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:17 AM   #10
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Does this mean if we are steeping but have some base malt in there that we are basically mashing?
Not necessarily. He said volume is a part of it too, and temps are extremely important.

1) To have the enzymes from the base malts be able to convert the starches to sugars effectively in the other grains that need to be mashed but don't have the diastatic power to convert themselves, the mash must not be too thick nor too thin. A proper mash consistency is between 1 to 2 quarts of water per pound of grain.

2) You also must have enough base malt.

3) The temp must be right for enzyme activity, and depending on whether you want more fermentable vs. non-fermentable sugars the typical single infusion mash temp is 150 to 158F, held until the starches have been converted (which can be tested with iodine).
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