Originally Posted by jjones17
What I like to do is mash in 5 degrees or more too HIGH, then stir like a madman for 5-8 minutes. By then, I am usually at my mash traget temp and I can lid the sucker.
Great advice, especially on mash thickness and sparging, but this I take some issue with.
Temperature control is very important to control the type of fermentables you get--beta amylase denatures slowly at around 149F, and much faster as the temperature rises. Alpha amylase works best up to 158F, hence why 153F is a sort of "standard" mash temp for a lot of beers--it's a good compromise between killing off the beta too fast and the sweet spot for alpha performance.
If you are mashing in at 158F and taking 5 minutes to stir it down to 153F, you may get fine efficiency
but it'll be a lot tougher to control the taste of your beer--you're going to be denaturing a lot of your betas, hence generating a lot less fermentable a wort than you want out of a recipe calling for a 153F single-infusion mash.
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