Chemically, what is the difference between seeping and mashing?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Bosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
1,055
Reaction score
228
Location
Seoul
Now I know that mashing is getting water to the right temp and then putting the grain in and then catalysts get to work and convert starch in the grain to sugar. Then you sparge to make sure that all of the sugar gets out. Seeping on the other hand is making a kind of a tea out of a bit of grain so that you get a bit more flavor in the beer.

What I don't understand is why when having a bit of grain in a muslin seeping bag you can't get the starch to convert to sugars as well (kind of a micro mash). It you slosh the muslin bag around in a bit of water why wouldn't the starches convert into fermentable sugars that way too?

Basically my crappy stove is nowhere near being powerful enough to do AG and I don't have enough money to start importing turkey fryers into Korea so what I'd like to do is kind of micro-mashes with just a few pounds of grain while still getting all of the sugars I can out of them.

I assume that I'm confused about something, but I don't know quite what it is...
 

Sir Humpsalot

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2006
Messages
3,996
Reaction score
94
The length of time and the importance of temperature control. Heating a bunch of grains until the temp hits 160 is one thing. Maintaining 154 plus/minus 5 for an hour is something else altogether.

Can you mash in a kettle? Definitely! A lot of people do. But it has to do with temp control. And rinsing process.

Oh. And also pH. The acidity of the wort is reduced due to the large amount of water. This affects conversion as well.
 
OP
B

Bosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
1,055
Reaction score
228
Location
Seoul
Hmmm, so if I maintained temp decently enough (my pot is good and thick so its good at that) and rinsed by dipping the grain bag in and out of water it could work? hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Don't know what to do about pH, maybe dissolve some dme in bottled water to get a beerish pH?
 

Sir Humpsalot

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2006
Messages
3,996
Reaction score
94
Bosh said:
Hmmm, so if I maintained temp decently enough (my pot is good and thick so its good at that) and rinsed by dipping the grain bag in and out of water it could work? hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Don't know what to do about pH, maybe dissolve some dme in bottled water to get a beerish pH?

Easier than that. Just limit yourself to no more than 2 quarts of water per pound of grain.


Seriously, do a search on here for "Mini MLT". Somebody made a 2(?) gallon Mash Tun for doing partial mashes and posted pictures and a parts list. I think it would be perfect for your needs.
 

DAAB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2005
Messages
379
Reaction score
5
When mashing the brewer converts the starches to sugars in the mash tun, this is a temperature sensative process.

Steeping uses specialty malts, the maltster has already converted the starches to sugar.

When steeping all you are doing is rinsing out the sugars, this isn't a temperature sensative process. However, steep too cold and you wont retrieve as many of the sugars as you can, steep to hot and you will extract unwanted tannins.
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,937
Reaction score
12,870
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
You could very easily do a partial mash- I used to do PMs in my bottling bucket before I got a big mash tun. All you do is use some DME to make up the difference since you're only using a couple of pounds of grain. You could also do a very small AG batch that way, too. (The only problem I had with the bottling bucket was it didn't hold heat very well- I wrapped it with a sleeping bag to help it maintain the temperature).
 
OP
B

Bosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
1,055
Reaction score
228
Location
Seoul
Why can't you do everything in the brew pot and just leave it on low heat to keep it at the right temperature? Nobody seems to do that so there must be a reason...
 

Drunkensatyr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
19
Just a bit more difficult to regulate the temp.. Too easy to get it too hot. Some people DO it that way, just not as many as the ones that use coolers, buckets, bucket and colander...... Just remember there is no RIGHT or WRONG way to preform a mash. All you are doing is using temp control to extract sugar. Any method you use will work, just not always as efficiently. Have fun with it!
 

Moonpile

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
667
Reaction score
2
Location
Pasadena, MD
I've never tried this but one way to control temperature for a partial mash in a kettle is to strike and then put the kettle in the oven with the temp set accordingly. It sounds like a really good way to do it.

We did our first partial mash on Memorial day using a 5 gal Rubbermaid cooler and we put the grains in two long nylon grain bags. Just tasted the hydro sample after primary last night and it was fan-freaking-tastic.
 

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
108
Location
Charlottesville, VA
Bosh said:
Hmmm, so if I maintained temp decently enough (my pot is good and thick so its good at that) and rinsed by dipping the grain bag in and out of water it could work? hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Don't know what to do about pH, maybe dissolve some dme in bottled water to get a beerish pH?
Five Star makes a product that balances your pH automatically. You just add a couple tbsp to the strike water, and it stabilizes the pH @ 5.2.

Check it.

I just used it for the first time. Not bad at all.
 

Got Trub?

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2007
Messages
1,538
Reaction score
12
Location
Washington State
Mashing is an enzymatic process where the amylase enzymes in your base malt converts starch to sugar. This process is temperature, pH and concentration dependant. If you put malt and specialty grains in a bag and then into 5+ gallons of 150F water there would be some conversion but it would be low as the opportunity for the diluted enzyme to meet a starch molecule would be low. Increasing the duration would help but you are in a race against time as the enzymes are denaturing and becoming inactive. This denaturation process is also increased when the mash is dilute.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,260
Reaction score
779
Location
Southwest
Also, the specialty grains that are steeped often include mostly caramel and roasted malts. There isn't much convertible starch content in those, and most of the enzymes have been denatured already. You need to add something with some diastatic power, like 2-row.
 

KopyKat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2005
Messages
473
Reaction score
7
Location
Round Rock Texas
One point that should really be clarified is what you are steeping.

If it is only specialty grains with no base malt grain. A 30 minute steep at a moderate temp of aprox 155° give or take 5° will do everything you can expect. However you may mash an hour or more if you wish to try to extract even more from the grain.

If you are using base grains as in Mini Mash or Partial Mash, then steeping to achieve a mash equivalent would involve more time, a grain to water ratio of somewhere between 1.1 qt per pound and 1.5 qt per pound with most brewers doing somewhere in the middle and depending on the water involved, some pH adjustment, especially for light base malts.

The oven preheated to your mash temp would be a great way to do temp control as long as your oven can maintain a fairly even temp. Checking it with an oven thermometer would be a good idea at first.

As to pH. Get a free water report and then post it asking the question or go to John Palmer's book or one of the many others that discuss water.

As to length of time for the mash. You will not need to go for the ultimate in efficiency with a small amount of base so I would probably let it go for 45 minutes and sparge.

As to sparging or rinsing. Do a batch sparge.
  1. Prepare another batch of water at 175° about the same amount as you mashed in or a bit less.
  2. Pull you bag up at the end of the mash time just above the wort so as not to splash and let it drain.
  3. Lower the bag of grain in the new water and gently move it up and down to rinse the grains. Do this for a couple of minutes to ensure all the sugars are dilute in the water. Drain as above.
  4. Combine these two pots of wort, being careful not to splash and then add water and extract to the correct amount - usually 2 1/2 to 3 gallons and start your boil.
Note: In all steps above try to reduce to a minimum the amount of splashing to prevent aeration of the wort at this point.

Disclaimer: The above is my opinion based on my own thoughts and experience and is worth exactly what you have paid for it. I cannot be held liable for any negative consequences for acting on these opinions except that I will be happy to accept and drink any product you ship to me in which you have used the above opinions and advice and render an opinion on that. :D
 
Top