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Old 06-06-2006, 04:40 AM   #1
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Default Mash Thickness and Efficiency

I'm currently going through the tuning of mash thickness (quarts per lb) on some of my more used recipes. I'm wondering what other brewers experiances have been as far as achiving your best Efficiency by tuning your mash thickness.

It seems my efficiency goes up, as the thinner I go, but it tastes worse (tannins?). Whats a successful strike qts/lb ratio you've had? And what was your target temps on the mash aswell?

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Old 06-06-2006, 01:27 PM   #2
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I usually shoot for 1.33-1.5qts/lb. If I'm doing steps with infusions then I often wind up closer to 2qts/lb by mashout. I'm not sure I've noticed any correlation between mash density and efficiency/taste at those ranges, but I can't say there isn't one. There is a correlation between mash thickness and conversion times (related to the density of the substrate that the enzymes can attach to and move through the mash on whilst doing heir chores), but in a non-commercial setting where most mashes last 1-1.5hrs it's not that much of an issue.

In terms of target temps for the mash that's purely recipe dependent. A single-infusion mash might be anywhere ~148-158F. Lower temps yield more fermentable/drier worts, higher temps yield less fermentable/sweeter worts. Step mashes are a whole 'nother beast entirely.

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Old 06-06-2006, 01:32 PM   #3
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I don't think that it is worth to mess with mash thickness to gain 1-2% efficiency points. As you noted, to thin of a mash starts.

I'd rather choose the mash thickness based on the enzymes that I want to emphazise.

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Old 06-06-2006, 05:10 PM   #4
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I brew English style bitters and just add grain and mash water until it looks right. (Of course, my interpretation of what looks right, isn't necessarily the same as anybody elses). Using this highly scientific method, I need very slighly more than 1 qt of water per pound of grain, and get a thick mash whithout any dry spots. My efficiency is usually between 85 and 90%, but I think this is determined by the sparge, more than the mash thickness.

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