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Old 03-30-2009, 10:59 PM   #1
jldc's Avatar
Nov 2008
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I'm new to this AG thing and I understand that a higher temperature mash produces a less fermentable wort (and more body), and the reverse is also true.

Why would you mash for a time other than sixty minutes? I've seen recipes that call for 45 or 90 min mashes.


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Old 03-30-2009, 11:24 PM   #2
Why that human mask?
pompeiisneaks's Avatar
Jan 2009
Redmond, WA
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Newer to AG too, but from what I recall reading, time doesn't matter that much w/ 60 mins being a minimum, most people don't want to wait, so they stop then. Longer just allows for more chance to convert the yummy sugars.... Problem is that its harder to keep temps that long in some systems... or so I understand... the longer the better... for more complete conversion. I need a cure for my ellipses disease :P.
Fermenting/Kegged/Bottled NONE :( I moved to the NW and haven't had time to setup my brew rig since! (but hey, I'm in the Pacific NW so there's so much awesome beer I don't need to brew it as much hah!

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Old 03-30-2009, 11:45 PM   #3
Denny's Evil Concoctions
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Well modified malts no longer need long mashing times.

It also depends on what enzyme at what temp. Beta amylase likes more time, where alpha chews up starch faster.

Read through Palmer's section on AG.

In the old days even pils malt had lower diastatic power and required long mash times. Todays base malts are very well modified.
I may not be an expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express........ 6 months ago.

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Old 03-31-2009, 02:33 AM   #4
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Oct 2005
Long Island
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If I mash below 150F, I always mash for more that 60 minutes - usually 90. I have had some cool mashes that had not finished converting by 60 minutes.
I normally mash at 152 - 154F. At those temps 45 minutes is probably enough, but I still do 60 minutes because I need to wait for the sparge water to heat up.


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Old 03-31-2009, 02:57 AM   #5
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Sep 2008
Vancouver, BC, Canada
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The Brits seem to mash for 90 as a rule; I've seen this on the UK forums and in books. Graham Wheeler says:

"A typical mash period is 90 minutes. Some home-brewers reduce this to 60 minutes to save time, but a lower quality wort or a poorly-balanced wort is likely to result, particularly if the mash drops significantly during the mash period." (Brew your own British Real Ale, 2009, p. 74)

Personally, I don't buy this. 60 is enough for me. I brewed a Pale Mild two weeks ago and only mashed for 30 minutes. Hit my efficiency spot on. Mind you, I have only tried it coming out of the primary into the secondary - tastes fantastic. Could end up terrible, but I'm sure it won't.

I could be way off on this, and some of the more experienced might disagree.

More thoughts anyone?

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Old 03-31-2009, 04:14 AM   #6
Nov 2008
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"In the old days even pils malt had lower diastatic power and required long mash times. Todays base malts are very well modified"

Excellent post...Todays malts are highly modified, most of the conversion is done. Your job is mostly extraction. This is why I will never step mash. I do however sometimes make a decoction for flavor profile. If you make a beer with a lot of adjucts toss in a little distillers malt, it has ridiculously high DP.
Flowing: Dubble, Flanders Stout, Imperial Stout
Put to bed: Barleywine, Eisbock, Flanders Red, Kriek, Framboise, Brandy Barrel Mead
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:47 PM   #7
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Sep 2008
Lakeland TN
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Don't you run into increased risk of tannin extraction with longer than 60 minute mashes?

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Old 03-31-2009, 03:38 PM   #8
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Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by Cpt_Kirks View Post
Don't you run into increased risk of tannin extraction with longer than 60 minute mashes?
Tannin extraction is a function of temperature (~>180F) and pH (~>8... I believe). The pH and temperature of the mash are too low for tannin extraction.

Mash times are primarily concerned with conversion to saccharification (and dextrinization) so that virtually no starches are left. Think about this: the laboratories that conduct malt analyses do a mash with a fine grind to find out the time it takes to reach saccharification and to give an idea of diastatic power. With most of todays malts, this is usually around 10 minutes.

For the homebrewer, who uses a coarser grind and variable mashing equipment/techniques, this takes longer. An iodine test will tell you if conversion is complete. 60 minutes is a good number to complete saccharification for most grist bills. 90 minutes may be overkill, but it can't hurt and will ensure complete conversion, especially when mashing for a wort to be highly attenuated by producing a high proportion of maltose (via beta-amylase, like Denny's Evil Concoctions said).

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Old 03-31-2009, 03:38 PM   #9
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Jul 2008
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I don't think tannin extraction is an issue at mash temps. I have started extending my mash to 90 minutes as a rule though.
Here is some more info that should answer all of your questions:
"I brew with a water cooler and some part from the toilet." - JohnnyO

"I do gravity feed the last gallon or two through my Therminator, but I expect you could suck start a Volkswagen before you could suck start one of these. - GilaMinumBeer

"..... Bull was right." - TXCurtis

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Old 03-31-2009, 04:06 PM   #10
Apr 2008
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I can't remember where I read it........maybe Palmer's.......but another reason for extended mash times are when mashing thin. What I read was......a thick mash concentrates the enzymes and allows for a more rapid and efficient conversion.......while a thin mash dillutes them, thus requiring more time for a complete conversion. It seems the author felt that mashing at 1.7 to 2.2 quarts per lb should mash up to 90 minutes for complete conversion.

I tried the thin mash process proposed on this board this past saturday, with a hybrid batch/fly sparge.......efficiency was excellent, and the quality of the wort was noticeably better in the last gallon of runnings than I have been used to.

My technique was: 1.7 quarts per lb. Mashed at 152 for 90 minutes (end temp was 146). After vorlauf, drained MLT (got about 2.5 gallons of wort). Fly sparged with 185 degree water, raised grain bed temp to about 158. No stirring at all. Fly sparged until I had about 1 inch of water above the grain bed, then shut it off. Waited 10 minutes, then drained. Collected another 2.5 or so. Repeated with water heated to 190, stopped with water level about level with grain bed. Waited 10 minutes, then drained.......ended up with about 7.2 gallons total wort. Efficiency was 82%, but most importantly, I think it's a process that I can easily reproduce each time without worrying about flow rates, or stirring, or messing with the grain bed, or repeating the vorlauf between water additions.

I am going to attempt to repeat this my next batch and see what happens.

Of course, the real test will be when my oatmeal stout is finished.....I can't wait to compare it to my last oatmeal stout which was traditionally fly sparged.

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